107. Note From the Soviet Leadership to President Nixon1
In accordance with the wishes of the President we have brought to the attention of the leadership of the DRV the considerations on the Vietnam question expressed by the President and by Dr. Kissinger in their conversations with the Soviet Ambassador. The leadership of the [Page 345] DRV was in particular informed of the wishes of the American side in connection with the prospective confidential meeting on April 24 between Dr. Kissinger and representatives of the DRV in Paris.
In reply to this the Vietnamese side confirmed their position regarding the negotiations of four sides in Paris. They are ready to resume these negotiations—the arrival to Paris of Nguyen Thi Binh2 testifies to that.
So far as confidential meetings between the representatives of the DRV and Dr. Kissinger are concerned, the Vietnamese side could agree to such meetings. An appropriate representative of the DRV would be ready to come to Paris to the agreed date—April 24. But these meetings should, as before, be conducted in parallel with the official four-sided negotiations, having in mind the fact that these two forms of negotiations should facilitate each other. That is why in the situation when the United States unilaterally suspended the official negotiations and during the time of the US continued refusal to renew these negotiations, the Vietnamese side does not deem it possible to conduct confidential meetings as well.
The Vietnamese side also stressed the dependence of the renewal of negotiations on the bombings of the DRV. The Vietnamese side considers it wrong to sit down at the negotiating table at a time when American aviation expands bombings and strafings of the DRV territory.
The leadership of the DRV were informed about a new approach of the American side on April 13 concerning a possibility of having a confidential meeting between Dr. Kissinger and representatives of the DRV in Moscow. In a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador in Hanoi the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the DRV Nguen Fui Chin [Nguyen Duy Trinh] confirmed the principle position of the DRV on the question of confidential meetings as it is stated above. He promised to give later on a reply to the concrete suggestion of Dr. Kissinger.
As soon as the reply from Hanoi is received we shall inform the President through Dr. Kissinger.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 493, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 10. No classification marking. The note is handwritten. A notation on the first page indicates that Vorontsov handed the note to Kennedy in Kissinger’s office at 1:30 p.m. Kissinger later recalled in his memoirs that “the next morning, April 16, Dobrynin read me a message from the Soviet leadership stating that they had brought my complaint about the aborted secret meeting to the attention of Hanoi.” (Kissinger, White House Years, p. 1122) Kissinger met Nixon at the President’s office in the Executive Office Building the morning of April 16 (10:20–10:55 a.m.). (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No record of the conversation between Kissinger and Dobrynin, whether in person or by telephone, has been found.↩
- Chief delegate of the Provisional Revolutionary Government in South Vietnam.↩