51. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 18. Please pass following message to the President.

Although outwardly pleasant in his general demeanor towards us today, Le Duc Tho turned tough and insolent in his presentation of DRV proposals for remedial measures for implementation of Paris Agreement.2 His proposals amounted to a renegotiation of significant portions of the Agreement and protocols and were reminiscent of attitudes he displayed last December.
Among other measures, he suggested new ceasefire arrangement, which would result in GVN withdrawal from all areas it reclaimed after Communist land-grab immediately following signature of Agreement last January. Additionally, he seeks secure points of entry for supplies and secure lines of communication across GVN-controlled territory.
He denied that DRV had been illegally infiltrating supplies, but gave us to understand that they are prepared to stop it. He was, however, surprisingly frank about DRV and PRG forces in Cambodia.
On Laos, it appears we may be able to get a solution and an assurance of withdrawal. On Cambodia, however, he remains intransigent. I nevertheless have impression he has not yet shown his full hand.
On economic aid, it is quite clear that they want it badly, but as yet unclear what, if anything, they are prepared to pay for it. This would seem to be major card we have to play. However, I did, once again, warn of serious military consequences if they fail to reach satisfactory understandings with us.
Finally, you should be aware that we are having significant problems with Saigon, which is behaving very much as it did last fall. We have written a draft memorandum of understanding,3 which has had to be broadly revised to meet Saigon’s objections, and which may not yet be fully satisfactory to President Thieu and his advisers. I have given it to Le Duc Tho today and he will give me his reaction tomorrow.
We meet again at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.

End text.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 35, HAK Trip Files, Paris Trip, May 1973, HAKTO 1–46. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. A memorandum of conversation of Kissinger’s May 18, 3–6:45 p.m. discussion with Le Duc Tho is ibid., Box 114, Country Files, Far East, Vietnam, Paris Memcons, May 17–23, 1973.
  3. The draft memorandum of understanding is attached to the May 18 memorandum of conversation.