275. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
Sitto 39. Send directly to aircraft, Tail number 53118. Our friend delivered a written response at 5:15 p.m. Washington time today (July 5).2 The response was indefinite, suggesting delay from September to some mutually acceptable time closer to the end of the year, for example the end of November or December providing by that time all that is necessary is done. Note says final time for the event and its publication could be pinpointed subsequently assuming progress in other preparations toward meeting the understanding you discussed with messenger June 30,3 the whole scenario contingent upon nothing occurring in the interim which would make the situation unfavorable or jeopardize positive results.
The foregoing appears at best to be a holding action which seeks both delay and further progress in areas of particular interest, with such progress a pivotal factor. I will not discuss this message with anyone, pending further guidance from you since response is somewhat different than anticipated and I want to be absolutely sure that you have had an opportunity to assess its implications while on your trip. I will not contact messenger until I hear from you. Please acknowledge upon receipt.4
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, For the President’s Files—China/Vietnam Negotiations, Exchanges leading up to HAK trip to China, December 1969–July 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Haig used the following pseudonyms in the message: the “friend” is Vorontsov; the “messenger” is Dobrynin. Kissinger later recalled that he was in Bangkok when Haig telephoned Lord at 3 a.m. to deliver the news, “speaking in double-talk (which an illiterate child could have deciphered).” (Kissinger, White House Years, p. 835) Kissinger’s recollection, however, is evidently in error on the issue of when Haig called Lord. Although no record of the conversation has been found, Haig could not have called Lord before delivery of the Soviet note in Washington at 5:15 p.m., or 5:15 a.m. (July 6), Bangkok time. Haig, on the other hand, may have called Lord before drafting this message to Kissinger, which was sent on July 6 at 3:33 a.m. GMT, or 9:33 a.m., Bangkok time.↩
- Document 273.↩
- See Document 269.↩
- In message Tosit 11 to Haig, July 6, Kissinger provided his initial response: “Please inform the President of essentially holding response by messenger. Will therefore proceed with other alternative letting messenger’s proposal sort itself out.” Kissinger added: “Re messenger, there should be no reply.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, For the President’s Files—China/Vietnam Negotiations, Exchanges leading up to HAK trip to China, December 1969–July 1971)↩