138. Backchannel Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the Defense Attaché at the Embassy in France (Oveson)1

WH42546. Please deliver following message from Secretary Kissinger to Special Advisor Le Duc Tho to your customer as soon as possible.

Begin text:

President Ford has asked me to call to your particular attention the following paragraphs from the address he delivered on August 12 to a Joint Session of the Congress and to the American people:2

Quote: Now, let there be no doubt or any misunderstanding anywhere, and I emphasize anywhere: there are no opportunities to exploit, should anyone desire. There will be no change of course, no relaxation of vigilance, no abandonment of the helm of our ship of state as the watch changes.

We stand by our commitments and we will live up to our responsibilities, in our formal alliances, in our friendships, and in our improving relations with potential adversaries.

On this, Americans are united and strong. Under my term of leadership, I hope we will become more united. I am certain America will remain strong.

To our allies and friends in Asia, I pledge a continuity in our support for their security, independence, and economic development. In Indochina, we are determined to see the observance of the Paris Agreement [Page 547]on Vietnam and the cease-fire and negotiated settlement in Laos. We hope to see an early compromise settlement in Cambodia.

End quote.

President Ford, as you must be aware, has been a firm supporter of President Nixon’s policy in Indochina for five and one-half years. In the spirit of mutual respect and candor which has always characterized our exchanges, Mr. Special Advisor, I must convey to you that President Ford is a man with a keen sense of American honor. He also shares the view, as we all do on the American side, that the DRV has a positive path open to it—of peaceful settlement, reconstruction, constructive ties with the United States and the Western world, and a truly independent role in world affairs. The President is ready to engage with you on this path. It is up to you.

End text.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 34, Vietnamese War, Camp David File. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 136.