177. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

42865. SUBJECT: Letter to President Thieu.

Please deliver to President Thieu the text of the following letter from President Ford. The original is being pouched. We do not intend to make the exchange of letters public.
Begin text: (Dated) February 24, 1975

Dear Mr. President:

Your thoughtful letters of January 24 and 252 come at a time when Vietnam is very much on my mind and on the minds of other people here and throughout the world. I share your concern about North Vietnam’s failure to observe the most fundamental provisions of the Paris Agreement and about the heightened level of North Vietnamese military pressure. I wish to assure you that this government will continue to press for the full implementation of this Agreement.

Once again the South Vietnamese people and armed forces are effectively demonstrating their determination to resist Hanoi’s attacks. Despite your existing limitations on ammunition and other supplies, I [Page 643]was particularly impressed by the performance of your forces at the Phuoc Long Province capital and at Ba Den Mountain, where they were overwhelmed only by greatly superior numbers after being cut off from resupply and reinforcement.

Even though your offers to reinstitute negotiations have been rejected thus far, they clearly demonstrate that it is the Communist side—not the Republic of Vietnam—which is prolonging the war. We continue to believe that implementation of the Paris Agreement, with direct negotiations between the Vietnamese parties, is the quickest, most appropriate, and most effective way to end the bloodshed in Vietnam. We strongly support your efforts to resume negotiations and will make every effort to provide the assistance that is so necessary to your struggle until peace comes.

The path to peace is never easy. It has been extraordinarily long and difficult in Vietnam. But I remain hopeful that if we persevere we will yet reach our objective of a fair peace, a lasting peace and a peace which is consistent with the will of the South Vietnamese people—justifying the sacrifices of the Vietnamese and American peoples.


Gerald R. Ford

End text.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 5, Vietnam, Nguyen Van Thieu. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by the White House; approved by Miller, EA; Wenzel, EA/VN; and Luers, S/S.
  2. On January 24, Thieu appealed to Ford to “denounce and severely condemn the violations of the Paris Agreement perpetrated by the communist side in Viet-Nam.” (Ibid.) The January 25 letter is in Document 166.