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

WH31530. 1. Please deliver the letter from President Nixon to President Thieu which is attached at Tab A.

2. The revised agreed text referred to in the letter is at Tab B. You should provide this text of communiqué to the GVN.

Warm regards.

Tab A

“Dear Mr. President,

“Thank you very much for your letter of June 22 in which you express the concern of your government about two elements of the draft communiqué which Dr. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho are negotiating in Paris. The first has to do with your desire to have a specific reference to the electoral process in the communiqué. The second has to do with the Communist effort to give geographical substance to their political pretensions by describing their ‘territory’ and locating their ‘capital.’

“In the light of your letter and also of the comments expressed to Ambassador Whitehouse by Foreign Minister Lam, I have instructed our negotiators to seek changes in the draft text of the communiqué. [Page 298]The results of their efforts have been sent to Ambassador Whitehouse, who can provide you with the revised agreed text. I think you will see from that text that your essential requirements have been met and that the price which has been paid for them, in the form of Communist amendments to the text, is acceptable.

“With particular respect to your two elements of concern, you will note that we have included a sentence on elections, and we have made the territorial question much vaguer than in the previous draft. The mention of Loc Ninh was not eliminated, because your own representatives to the Two Party Joint Military Commission included it in the text of their press announcement on May 16.3 However, its mention has been subordinated in the text to the issue of the Two Party Joint Military Commission, and it has been separated from the mention of Hanoi in order to avoid any suggestion of parallelism as a capital city.

“In view of these changes, I would appreciate receiving your assurance that a representative of your government will join Dr. Kissinger on June 7 and 8 in Paris to sign the joint communiqué in the format which has been agreed between our two governments.4


[Omitted here is Tab B, Text of the Draft Communiqué.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 415, Backchannel Messages, Bunker/Whitehouse, April–July 18, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. See Document 63.
  3. The press announcement was transmitted in telegram 8692 from Saigon, May 17. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  4. On June 6 Thieu responded to Nixon: “After having examined this draft very carefully, I must say that the points I raised in my last letter have not been adequately taken into consideration, while the other points have been changed or added which make the latest draft even more detrimental to us than the drafts of May 24 and May 25 as proposed by Ambassador Sullivan while he was in Saigon.” (Backchannel message 485 from Saigon, June 6; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 415, Backchannel Messages, Bunker/Whitehouse, April–July 18, 1973)