74. Editorial Note

The Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, also known as the Paris Peace Accords, was signed in Paris on January 27, 1973, by representatives of the Governments of the United States, the Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam. It provided for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam and marked an end to U.S. combat in the war in Vietnam. Documentation on the negotiations that culminated in the agreement, including Kissinger’s conversations with Ambassador Dobrynin, are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IX, Vietnam, September 1972–January 1973.

The same day, Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev wrote a letter to President Nixon congratulating him on the conclusion of the agreement. Brezhnev wrote: “There is no doubt that consistent realization of the achieved agreement on peaceful settlement of the Vietnam problem, while eliminating one of the most dangerous hotbeds of international tension, will in many ways facilitate the healthening [sic] of the entire world situation.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 495, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 15)

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On February 2, Nixon replied to Brezhnev and thanked him for his message. Nixon wrote with regard to the Paris Peace Accords: “We are now in the first stages of implementing that agreement. I am certain that if all concerned act in accordance with both the letter and the spirit of this agreement, major benefits will be rapidly felt not only by the people of Vietnam but by the world as a whole. You may be sure that the United States will do its full share to assure the faithful implementation of the agreement and to heal the wounds of war. I am confident that you agree with me that restraint by all interested countries is of great importance.

“I agree with your statements concerning the beneficial effects of the Vietnam settlement on our mutual relations. We have already demonstrated that even while the Vietnam conflict was still going on, major forward steps could be taken by our two countries. This process should undoubtedly be accelerated now.” (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 70, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Exchange of Notes Between Dobrynin & Kissinger, Vol. 5)