260. Message From the Government of the United States to the Government of the People’s Republic of China 1

The U.S. side has studied most carefully the Chinese message of October 25, 1972, and respects its motivations. At the same time, the Chinese side will understand that the U.S. side must adhere to its principles. The U.S. position was explained by Dr. Kissinger on October 26, 1972: “We will not be stampeded into an agreement until its provisions are right. We will not be deflected from an agreement when its provisions are right.”

The current situation arose from the U.S. side’s attempt to accommodate the DRV side by accepting an accelerated and arbitrary schedule which proved to be unworkable. The U.S. side is now earnestly engaged in bringing about the rapid conclusion of a settlement that can be signed and implemented. It shall use its maximum influence to this end, but the task requires as well the cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The changes that are necessary in the agreement do not touch its essence and can all be accommodated within its present framework. In this regard, Dr. Kissinger in his October 26, 1972, press conference publicly reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to its essential provisions.2

The need now is for the immediate end of public harassment, one final negotiating session in Paris, and then a brief interval to enable the U.S. side to accomplish the objectives mentioned in the Chinese note.

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The cooperation of the DRV is essential in this effort. Public pressure must have the opposite consequence and indefinitely delay a solution.

Attached is a message which the U.S. side has sent to the DRV side on October 27, 1972, proposing a concrete schedule to complete the agreement and reaffirming unilateral U.S. undertakings with respect to that schedule.3 With mutual good will and a cooperative attitude the remaining obstacles to a settlement can certainly be surmounted in a matter of weeks.

It would be greatly appreciated if the Chinese side would use its considerable influence in a positive direction so as to help bring about the peace that now is so near.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. No classification marking. A handwritten notation on the first page reads: “Handed to Mrs. Shih by Fazio, 8:45 p.m., 10/27/72.” This meeting was held in New York. Fazio also gave the PRC representatives a 2-page message responding to a DRV message of October 26. The U.S. message reads in part: “The U.S. side wishes to point out that Dr. Kissinger will not be available between November 4 and November 9.” (The Presidential election was November 8.) This message and Fazio’s undated memorandum of record are ibid. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 166.
  2. Kissinger’s October 26 press conference is printed in Department of State Bulletin, November 13, 1972, pp. 549–558.
  3. See footnote 1 above.