81. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Vietnam (Bunker)1

WHS 2305. Deliver at opening of business.

While we are awaiting word from Hanoi about resuming our negotiations, we should use intervening period to prepare supervisory machinery to be in place immediately at time cease-fire goes into effect. Here in Washington, we are working on International Control Commission preparations. We would like you in Saigon to move ahead on preparations for Two-Party and Four-Party Joint Military Commissions.
We recognize that GVN may be reluctant to join us in such planning while they continue to take stand in principle against current draft agreement. However, we note that they are, nevertheless, making many pragmatic preparations for a cease-fire. We consequently think it is worth our while to attempt to bring them into planning ventures with us.
Please bring Fred Weyand completely into picture with respect our current draft agreement and have him form very small planning [Page 329] staff to work out details of Four-Party Joint Military Commission in form we would consider optimum to U.S. interests. Once he has done this, have him send us brief outline of his thinking through these channels no later than 3 November. He should have informal liaison with General Cao Van Vien in preparing his plans but should not rpt not at this stage undertake to exchange any papers with Vien.
If we find plans satisfactory and if Vien seems willing pursue planning more definitively, we will instruct you concerning further steps to be taken with GVN.
I am sure you understand the extreme sensitivity of this matter and urge you to caution Fred Weyand and all involved that it should be undertaken with the most scrupulous care to avoid compromise and public speculation.

Warm regards.

  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; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.