321. Message From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Sullivan) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Thanks for sending me Bunker’s 03472 to give me some feel for current GVN attitudes.
My general reaction is that effort to “discuss” protocols is one last stalling tactic which they know will cause breakdown of signing schedule. It is of course impossible both from our viewpoint and DRV viewpoint, to handle protocols as separate, subsequent event.
GVN has had our original drafts of protocols for three months. They have never once commented on them. They have received full briefings as we negotiated. They have not only not rpt not commented; they have declined to answer specific questions put to them.
Even in this démarche, they give no rpt no clue about their “points which are of great concern.” Therefore, their tactics are all the more transparent.
Both Bui Diem and, through Lam, Vinh Loc, have suggested this same step with me and I have flatly refused. By moving it up a notch to Tran Van Lam with you, they may think they have a greater prospect because “greater face” is involved.
Fortunately, Tran Van Lam is a weak man and not a very clever one. Also, he is one whom Thieu would be quite happy to disown and discredit. I suggest you take him into camp, wheedle his signature on everything, and then light candles for his future. I know this sort of thought has never occurred to you.
Warm regards.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1020, Alexander M. Haig Special File, Gen. Haig’s Vietnam Trip, Tohaig 1–105, January 14–21, 1973 [1 of 2]. Secret; Operational Immediate; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Guay and Scowcroft. Also sent to Haig as Tohaig 105/WH 30146.
  2. Document 315.