89. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Chief of the U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks (Porter)1

WHP 83. 1. Reference your 031236Z,2 I think we must continue plenaries as a backdrop to our private sessions and as a way of insuring to the maximum extent possible that Saigon presents a common front with us in the negotiations. It was, for example, most useful that you were able to obtain an advance copy of the pertinent excerpts of the GVN statement prior to the last plenary so that we were able to take corrective steps in adequate time. Frankly, I feel that what you say at the plenaries at this juncture is not as vital as your continued close liaison with GVN delegation to insure that they refrain from exacerbating any differences which may exist between us.

2. Admittedly there is not much you can say at the plenaries themselves other than the general line you have already taken until we have consulted further with Saigon and held our private meeting with DRV negotiators. You should therefore keep your remarks general and brief, drawing, as appropriate, on my October 26 press conference, staying away from substantive exchanges. You should stay away from implication that there are major substantive problems to be resolved. You should say that the agreement can be settled rapidly and the other side knows well what remains to be done.

3. We will be sending you by courier in a couple of days the text of the draft agreement as it now stands. It is the same as the October 17 version we gave you with the exception of Articles 7 and 8 on which the DRV subsequently met our basic position. I’m sure you realize that this text has to be fully protected. It would be extremely harmful if verbatim language of the agreement became public. As you well know, there remain a number of changes which we will seek to obtain at our next meeting with DRV negotiators. For your information, while we believe they will eventually come around and agree to meet, no date has yet been fixed.

4. Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 107, Country Files, Far East, Vietnam Negotiations, Paris Negotiations, January 25, 1972–January 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent via Haig and Guay.
  2. In a message sent on November 3 at 1236Z, Porter wrote: “I need guidance as to subjects to discuss at future Kleber meetings and those I should avoid. I am running out of platitudes and beatitudes.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 857, For the President’s Files (Winston Lord)—China Trip/Vietnam, Sensitive Camp David, Vol. XXI (1))