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

471. 1. The following is the text of a letter to President Nixon from President Thieu which I was given by Foreign Minister Lam a few minutes ago.

Begin text.

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you very much for your letter of May 30,2 and the information you kindly gave me on the draft joint communiqué which Dr. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho are negotiating in Paris.

On the basis of your assurance that you would not accept anything in the communiqué which could remotely occasion adverse effects for our government, I would like to explain to you more fully our concern on two major questions in the draft communiqué:

According to the letter and spirit of the articles in the Paris Agreement on the exercise of the South Vietnamese people’s right to self-determination (Chapter IV), we consider that the general elections are the main and ultimate purpose of the political process. The establishment of the NCNR and the question of democratic liberties are to be viewed as subsidiary to the elections, and cannot be taken separately from the elections, or over-emphasized out of context of the Paris Agreement.
The Communists pretend that there are “two governments, two territories” in SVN. They are [garble—proposing] now to secure the appearance that they are “administering” a territory under their concept of “areas of control”, by proposing contrary to the provisions of the cease-fire protocol, that the TPJMC are to be located on the boundary lines of the “two zones”, in order to consecrate their idea of two territories under two governments in SVN.

This is a Communist stratagem which I believe that we should avoid.

For the same reason, we would like to leave out the specific mention of “Loc-Ninh and Saigon” in relation to regular liaison flights, to oppose Communist pretentions that they have an official capital in SVN, parallel to Saigon.

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Foreign Minister Tran Van Lam will communicate to the United States Embassy our concrete proposals along those lines, on the above mentioned points which we consider of fundamental importance to the RVN.

I earnestly hope for your understanding, help, and support on these matters which, under somewhat benign appearance, could vitally affect the future of SVN.

Sincerely, Nguyen Van Thieu.

End text.

2. Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 415, Backchannel Messages, Bunker/Whitehouse, April–July 18, 1973. Secret; Flash.
  2. See Document 62.