51. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Air Attaché at the Embassy in France (Guay)1

WHP 76. Please deliver the following message to your customer at your 11:00 pm meeting:

Begin text: The President notes with appreciation the message from the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam which satisfies all his points with respect to Laos and Cambodia as well as U.S. prisoners.2

As the DRV side knows, the U.S. side has made strenuous efforts in Saigon, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, and Bangkok to secure an agreement. As the DRV side also knows, the U.S. side has always taken the position that it could not proceed unilaterally. Unfortunately the difficulties in Saigon have proved somewhat more complex than originally [Page 267] anticipated. Some of them concern matters which the U.S. side is honor-bound to put before the DRV side.

The President wishes the Prime Minister to know that under these circumstances he has asked Dr. Kissinger to return to Washington immediately to consult on what further steps to take.

The President must point out that the breach of confidence committed by the DRV side with respect to the Arnaud de Borchgrave interview bears major responsibility for the state of affairs in Saigon.

The President requests that the DRV side take no public action until he can submit a longer message with his considerations which will be transmitted within the next 24 hours.3

The U.S. side reaffirms its commitment to the substance and basic principles of the draft agreement and the President wishes to assure the DRV that he is totally committed to the goal of achieving a negotiated settlement at the earliest opportunity.4

End text.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 857, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David, Vol. XXI (1). Top Secret; Flash; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 30.
  3. Kissinger drafted the longer message, transmitted in Hakto 49/231 from Saigon, October 23, 0525Z. The longer message was essentially an elaboration of this one, and was sent to Haig with directions that it be delivered by Guay to the North Vietnamese at 3 p.m. local time on October 23. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 44, Geopolitical File, Vietnam, Cables, January 1970–November 1972)
  4. The North Vietnamese reply to this message emphasized the need to stick to the agreed upon schedule and sign the agreement before the end of October. In backchannel message Tohak 100, October 23, 2333Z, which transmitted the reply to Kissinger, Haig commented: “This message is in response to your first message and does not consider the message passed through Guay this morning [the second, longer message]. However, there appears to be no basis for concern that the other side will not, as you predicted, accept whatever additional requirements are placed on them. The simple facts are that they wish to settle. I will meet you at the aircraft [when Kissinger arrived from Saigon] to discuss situation here which is positive in every respect and fully supportive of game plan outlined by you.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 104, Country Files, Far East, South Vietnam, HAK’s Saigon Trip Hakto & Tohak Cables, October 16–23, 1972 (1 of 2))