13. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Xuan Thuy, Chief of North Vietnamese Delegation
  • Vo Van Sung, North Vietnamese Delegate General in Paris
  • Phan Hien, Member of North Vietnamese Delegation
  • North Vietnamese Interpreter
  • One Other North Vietnamese Official
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Major General Vernon Walters, Defense Attaché
  • Winston Lord, NSC Staff
  • John D. Negroponte, NSC Staff

Dr. Kissinger: The last time I was late. I am early this time.

Xuan Thuy: It is not good to be too late or too early.

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t expect the Minister to let me win the war, but could he let me win one small argument? The Minister doesn’t want to bear the responsibility for my having an inferiority complex.

You all know Mr. Negroponte. We have sent Mr. Smyser back to school. Mr. Smyser will rejoin us for our twenty-fifth meeting in September of 1972. He has been sent to the university for one year. Mr. Negroponte is on my staff. He does not work for anyone else.

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With the change of Ambassadors I want the Minister to know that Ambassador Porter knows about these discussions, but no one else on the delegation. But he is not authorized to discuss them.

Xuan Thuy: I met Ambassador Porter once on September 9th.

Dr. Kissinger: I also understand that the Minister met with Senator McGovern.

Xuan Thuy: Yes, I did. He came here and met many people.

Dr. Kissinger: Has the Minister decided which United States candidate he will support in 1972?

Xuan Thuy: That is up to the American people. I am certain you will support President Nixon.

How shall we proceed now?

Dr. Kissinger: I think it is the Minister’s turn to open this meeting. I presented our eight points at the beginning of the last meeting. How is the Special Adviser getting along?

Xuan Thuy: The Special Adviser is still in Hanoi. He asked that when I see you again to convey his greetings.

So you give me the opportunity to speak first.

We have studied carefully the eight points you put forward the last time on August 16. In our view we think that as in the last time when you put forward your seven points you did not go directly to the substance of a settlement of the political problem of South Vietnam. You argue that if the two parties could come to agreement on the other principles, then such agreement would affect the political situation in South Vietnam and particularly will affect the forthcoming elections. You said that the U.S. would be neutral in the election for the Lower House as well as the Presidency of South Vietnam. You said that the United States will abstain from supporting any candidate in South Vietnam.

But after the statement of President Nixon about United States neutrality in the election and after the activities of Ambassador Bunker in South Vietnam, the situation in South Vietnam has been revealed very clearly. Measures of terror and fraud in the Lower House election have been seen by everyone. The United States has supported fascist and dictatorial acts by Nguyen Van Thieu and has stepped up its intervention more than ever with a view to preserving the Administration headed by Thieu. The United States has directed the electoral farce in South Vietnam so that the group of Nguyen Van Thieu could win the election.

Now the United States is preparing for the election of Nguyen Van Thieu again to the Presidency. And at the same time the U.S. is persuading other people to run in the election so as to give it a democratic facade. We have laid stress on the change of Nguyen Van [Page 250] Thieu and you have strived to consolidate the Nguyen Van Thieu Administration.

We have repeatedly reiterated that if the United States Government maintains the Nguyen Van Thieu Administration, then we can come to no settlement at all. And we are not alone in saying so. The Vietnamese people as a whole and world opinion hold the same view. The United States actions are just the contrary of United States words.

In my view the eight points which you put forward the last time in the face of the present situation in South Vietnam, these eight points have no ground, no basis. Therefore I would like to ask you how shall we negotiate the political problem now? I wonder what you will be saying on this subject. I am prepared to listen to you.

Another point I would like to take up now is the question of the withdrawal of the United States and other foreign forces from South Vietnam. You said that the terminal date for U.S. troop withdrawal would be August 1, 1972 if an agreement could be signed on November 1, 1971. So you still maintain the period for troop withdrawal is nine months provided that an agreement is reached. And if no agreement is reached, then the nine month period remains. Thus the final date you have given you use only to illustrate your position.

On the other hand, Mr. Special Adviser said that you would leave behind American military advisers and technical personnel. This shows that you are not willing to withdraw the totality of United States forces and that you continue to support and give aid to the Saigon Administration.

Moreover, you insist upon a limit of aid to North Vietnam. This is very absurd and constitutes a violation, an encroachment on the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We therefore emphatically reject this proposal.

Therefore what I said in point 1 regarding the total withdrawal of United States forces in 1971 and what you have said in your eight points are still far apart. The last time we expressed our preliminary comments and after careful study of your proposal we have realized more clearly our own views.

As for comment on the other points, I still feel we should concentrate on the questions of withdrawal and the Saigon Administration. The other problems can only be settled easily when we can agree on these two points. You propose that we should agree on a statement of principles. The great principles include precisely the questions of U.S. troop withdrawal and the Saigon Administration.

Since you put forward your eight points the actual situation has demonstrated our views. I am now awaiting your views.

Dr. Kissinger: Is that all you have to say, or is there anything else?

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Xuan Thuy: After a second examination of your proposal I realized that the two crucial points on which we should exchange views thoroughly are the questions of troop withdrawal and the Saigon Administration.

Dr. Kissinger: I appreciate the comments of the Minister which I have already read several times in the protocols of Avenue Kleber. While I recognize the points the Minister made and while I will say one or two things about them, I think they are really beside the point. I know the Minister has read his instructions and so I reply to whoever drafted his instructions. The authors of those instructions know as well as I do . . .

Xuan Thuy: I wonder whether you will be answering personally or on behalf of the White House?

Dr. Kissinger: On behalf of the White House.

Xuan Thuy: If you speak on behalf of the White House, I am prepared to listen to you, but if it is your personal view then I am only prepared to listen partially. Because you say I speak from instructions. Therefore I say I am prepared to listen to the instructions you have received from the White House.

Dr. Kissinger: You will. It is perfectly clear that we did not step up our intervention in South Vietnam. The opposite is true. It is not true that we participated in the electoral process so that President Thieu can win. The opposite is true. We have tried for two months with good will and a serious attitude to implement the propositions which we have advanced. If you had approached us with a serious attitude, you would have seen that we would have made a serious effort to assure that the South Vietnamese people could express their views.

Those who have negotiated with us seriously have found that we carried out the letter and the spirit of every agreement we have made.

But we are getting tired of being accused at every session of trickery and deceit. We recognize that the problem is difficult and we have understanding for your concerns. And we are more than prepared to meet as many of your concerns as we reasonably can. But we demand the same attitude toward ourselves.

It is difficult to believe the seriousness of a Government which has on four occasions in the last year made the special representative of the President come here to Paris without the presence of the representative of Hanoi. This has happened in fact on five occasions, twice in September of 1970, once in May 1971, in August and again now.

Let me sum up where I think we stand, and I believe we have reached the end of these discussions.

We have made a major effort to come to a rapid agreement with you. We recognized that you have major problems and we have spent [Page 252] our time attempting to meet them. We believed that they could all be worked out if there were a real intention to reach agreement.

If we could have reached agreement on some general principles, you would have found us a willing partner in the search for peace which is the highest goal of this Administration and which, as you well know, I started as a private citizen.

Since May 31 we have done the following things:

—We have agreed to fix a date for American and allied withdrawals as part of a negotiated settlement.

In all our proposals, incidentally, we have followed the outline of your seven and nine points and drawn on the language of your formulations to the maximum extent possible in order to show our good will and serious intent.

—We have said that if the other aspects of a settlement are agreed, we would consider some adjustments in that timetable.

—We have agreed that the question of the armed forces of Indochina should be settled among the Indochinese parties themselves, as you proposed.

—With respect to prisoners of war we have changed our position that the release should be completed two months before completion of withdrawals and agreed to your proposal that release be completed at the same time as withdrawals.

—We have agreed that the 1954 and 1962 Geneva Agreements should be respected, that there should be no foreign intervention in the Indochinese countries, and that the Indochinese people be left to settle their own affairs, in effect your points 5 and 6.

—We have agreed that the problems of the Indochinese countries be settled on the basis of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and non-interference, which is drawn verbatim from the first sentence of your point 6.

—We have agreed that South Vietnam should adopt a foreign policy of neutrality, based on Madame Binh’s points 4B and 5.

—We have agreed that reunification should be left to North and South Vietnam, in effect, Madame Binh’s point 4A.

—We have agreed that there should be a general ceasefire throughout Indochina as part of an overall settlement instead of an immediate ceasefire before a settlement which we proposed on October 7. Of course, we continue to prefer an immediate ceasefire.

—On the political issues we have agreed to include political as well as military issues in a negotiated settlement.

—We have declared that the South Vietnamese should determine their own political future and that we would not attempt to shape it.

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—We have agreed to make a series of declarations that would give force to that pledge and which we believe would have a major political impact on South Vietnamese political life.

—We have said that we would support no candidate, and would remain neutral in the South Vietnamese election.

—We have said that we would abide by the outcome of either these elections or any other political processes shaped by the South Vietnamese.

—We have said we would agree to a limitation on our military and economic assistance relationship with any government in South Vietnam.

—We have told you honestly that we are not experts on South Vietnamese politics and perhaps we don’t understand them sufficiently. And we have asked for some counter formulation and we are prepared to listen to counter proposals from you. We have received nothing but vilification and untrue statements.

—Finally we have told you that upon signature of an agreement in principle, the President is prepared to recommend to Congress a $7.5 billion aid program for all Indochina, of which $2 to $2.5 billion would be earmarked for North Vietnam.

These are not the actions of a government which does not want an agreement.

These are not the actions of a government that wants to trick or deceive you. If we want to waste time, we can do it at Kleber. You have proven you are able to do it there with the able assistance of our colleagues.

I do not believe that the issue of withdrawal would present an insurmountable problem.

There is only one issue and that is the political problem. We admit that it is extremely difficult. We are prepared to listen to any reasonable proposal.

So far you have asked us to impose one particular government on Vietnam and to overthrow the existing government. We have told you again and again and I’m telling you once more today we are prepared to discuss with you how to establish a political process which truly gives the South Vietnamese people a chance to express their views. And we have said on innumerable occasions that we are willing to abide by the outcome of the political process.

The results of this summer in no respect have come up to our expectations. (Xuan Thuy asked Mr. Kissinger to repeat the last sentence which was then repeated.)

We have not discussed our negotiations here with any of your allies. But if you ask those of your allies who have negotiated with us [Page 254] they will describe us as having been meticulous and having attempted in good faith to carry out agreements we have made.

As I have told you on innumerable occasions, the President does not have to send his principal foreign policy adviser secretly twelve times to Paris in order to waste time.

He does not have to send me here in order to engage in petty maneuvers of trickery. Nor have you explained why I, as a private citizen and against the opposition of the entire government, launched negotiations for a bombing halt, nor why I now in the government should engage in maneuvers designed to thwart negotiations.

So the choice is up to you. If you have any concrete ideas of how to escape the deadlock which we have reached you can be sure we will examine them constructively and with the attitude of finding an acceptable solution.

Our strong preference is for negotiations and peace, the quicker the better. Whenever you choose this course we will be prepared to join you immediately and discuss with you seriously. But since this point has not yet been reached, I recommend we adjourn this channel until either of us has something new to say.

Xuan Thuy: Have you finished?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

Xuan Thuy: Let me say this. We have also told you many times no other people want peace more earnestly than the Vietnamese people. We have a long history of struggle against foreign aggression. We can say speaking of Vietnam as a whole that since World War II there has not been a day in Vietnam when the shooting has stopped.

Therefore what we desire the most is to have peace so that we can engage in peaceful reconstruction of our country. We want to live in friendship with all other peoples. What we want to see is countries with a higher level of science and technology help us with our peaceful reconstruction.

But to have peace we must have genuine independence and freedom.

The Vietnamese people cannot accept peace while still under the threat of bombing and shelling. The Vietnamese cannot accept peace without genuine independence and freedom.

The Vietnamese people are reasonable. We respect culture, we are courteous, and we always reciprocate at a higher level than those who deal with us.

As for those who only look to their own interests and have no respect for our interests, we are always ready to do the same.

The Paris Conference has lasted for three years. This proves my assertions. In negotiations we have proven good will and serious intent. [Page 255] We are patient and we persevere in getting peace. We want to settle the Vietnam problem by peaceful means and not by war.

But if at the Paris Conference trickery is used against us we always have a response. Similarly, on the battlefields we are also prepared to respond.

Mr. Special Advisor Kissinger says that you have crossed the ocean many times to come here. I have told you too that our government desires a peaceful settlement. That is why when the President of the United States downgraded the Paris Conference, I remained here.

I am entrusted with plenipotentiary power. I have the responsibility to reach peace through negotiations. Therefore, whenever you are prepared to have negotiations to reach peace, we are also prepared to do that. But when you are prepared to use other means, we are also prepared to take other means to cope with the situation.

The views you have expressed here today have not brought anything. You have only related things we know already and I don’t want to comment on all the points now.

At the very beginning I told you that the crucial problems are the military and the political problems. If we can come to a reasonable settlement of these two problems, the other problems can be settled. These are the two problems which constitute the spinal cord, the spinal bone of the declaration of principles. We still have diverging views.

You have proposed a period for your troop withdrawal. This period does not suit us. We have explained how and why it does not suit us.

Regarding the Saigon Administration, you tried to explain time and again your position regarding this question. The more you explain this question, the more the actual situation belies your assertions. I really did not expect that after the election for the Lower House in South Vietnam and after the activities of Ambassador Bunker towards the candidates in South Vietnam, that Mr. Special Advisor Kissinger would still affirm that the United States wants fair elections in South Vietnam, that you want to abstain from influencing the results, and that you want the South Vietnamese people to freely express their views.

Therefore whatever you say, we have to look at the facts. The facts are that the United States wants to leave behind troops and is unwilling to totally withdraw them. When you make statements about the period of troop withdrawal, about leaving behind advisers, and about limiting aid to North Vietnam, these statements clearly show your position.

My second conclusion is that the United States, one way or another, wants to maintain the Nguyen Van Thieu Administration in power in order to implement neocolonialism in South Vietnam.

As for us, we require the United States’ withdrawal in totality in 1971—the totality of U.S. forces include ground, navy, and air forces, [Page 256] military and technical advisers, war material, military bases, without any reservation or exceptions.

As to the question of power in South Vietnam, we insist that if the United States strives to maintain the Nguyen Van Thieu Administration then no settlement can ensue.

So I agree with Mr. Special Advisor to adjourn this channel, since our views are still far diverging, until either party has something new. Then we should meet again.

In our view, the seven points of the Provisional Revolutionary Government and the nine points we have put forward here are reasonable and logical proposals. It is not true as you said that we repeat here what we say at Kleber Street. I propose you read again the minutes we have of our meeting here. Look at what I have told you and look at what I have said at Kleber Street. We always keep our word and we match our words with our deeds. We are prepared for a peaceful settlement with good will.

Dr. Kissinger: Are you finished?

Xuan Thuy: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me just comment on a few things you have said so that we don’t misunderstand each other.

First, I would like to express my high esteem for the Minister with whom I have now met twelve times. I respect the meticulousness and the toughness with which he has carried out his instructions.

If we nevertheless consider it a sign of disrespect to the President that no representative is sent from Hanoi, it is not out of disrespect but only due to the fact that we also have an envoy here with plenipotentiary powers.

Xuan Thuy: Could you repeat that?

Dr. Kissinger: We also have an Ambassador here who has every power to negotiate. There’s no need to send the President’s Special Advisor here.

I want to make absolutely clear my high personal esteem, and that of my government for the abilities of the Minister, which for our taste are sometimes too formidable.

It is simply hard to believe the desire of the government in Hanoi to settle rapidly if there is no representative of its political leadership here.

As for the other points which the Minister raised, I simply wish to keep the record clear.

Let me repeat, first, we believe that the issue of troop withdrawal is soluble and I believe that if the Minister put his negotiating skills to the matter we could resolve that problem if the other points were settled.

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Second, regarding the limit on military aid to North Vietnam, the point we made was that we offer, without being asked, to limit our military aid to South Vietnam and we have said that this should be in proportion to the limits on military aid to North Vietnam.

Xuan Thuy: You act as if Vietnam were yours, as if North Vietnam belonged to you too. Vietnam belongs to the Vietnamese people.

Dr. Kissinger: You know we don’t believe that. We have said a hundred times that we want the independence of Vietnam. There is no sense in going through the same exercise.

It takes a special form of logic to believe that the United States which is withdrawing from all over Asia, wants to keep forces in one particular corner of Asia.

Now regarding the maintenance of a particular government in South Vietnam, if you have any information about South Vietnam at all, then you will know that we did our best to try to arrange a fair electoral process for the South Vietnamese people at this time.

But I don’t want to talk about the present election situation because now it is too late to do anything about it. I continue to believe that if we had understood each other earlier many things would have been possible.

I want to tell you again that it is up to you whether to believe me or not; that’s your problem. If you want a settlement, I believe one is possible. We are not committed to maintaining any particular government in Vietnam. Your refusal to settle with us has the objective consequence that we have no other choice.

We are prepared, as I have said to you many times, to discuss with you what constitutes a free political process. We are not prepared to exclude any particular group, either those who support Thieu or those who support others. And if you had put your energies on this problem then you would have found us prepared to discuss it with you.

Ever since I first met the Minister over two years ago, I have proposed that we set a terminal date for ourselves and that we hold to it. If you want to ask your Soviet colleagues, you will find I gave them a precise schedule of how we would settle the Berlin question, and we beat that schedule by two weeks.

You have chosen to use this channel in a different way, to present us with a series of ultimatums instead of cooperative effort to resolve common problems. That is your choice.

Each side will now have to do what it must do. As far as we are concerned, we are prepared to make a serious effort to make peace with you whenever you are ready to make a serious effort with us.

Xuan Thuy: Have you finished?

I would like to make something clear about your interlocutor here and at Kleber Street.

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Normally I would not have been at Kleber Street to lead the DRV delegation. The Provisional Revolutionary Government would not have appointed its Foreign Minister to these negotiations. This shows the importance we attach to the Paris Conference in a settlement of the Vietnam problem. But the party which has used the Paris Conference for other purposes is the United States.

Formally speaking, I should return to Hanoi; Mrs. Binh should return to her government; and we should appoint here a person at the same rank as Ambassador Porter.

Whenever a meeting is necessary with Mr. Special Advisor, then I and Mr. Le Duc Tho, together or alternately, could come here to meet you. So formally speaking, we have shown our respect to you.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are important and we are not important. I think that the formal aspect is not crucial to the settlement of the problem. What is crucial is the substance of the problem, whether the U.S. is willing to settle the problem, whether we are willing to settle the problem.

I would not like to repeat once again the two questions concerning troop withdrawal and the Saigon Administration. We attach importance to these two points.

Dr. Kissinger: But you do not have any proposals? May I ask a question just so that I can tell the President exactly what you have in mind?

Xuan Thuy: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: Your point 3—I mean point 3 of your 9 point proposal and not Madame Binh’s. You say that the U.S. should stop supporting Thieu and should make a secret agreement; you say a lot of other vague things. But you never say concretely what you want us to do.

You have said we should use the October 3 elections to bring this about. Our proposal was designed to have maximum impact on the election. In the conditions now existing that is now impossible.

We still believe the framework of our point 3 provides an opportunity to move in that direction of a free choice.

I have told you a hundred times that we are not supporting any particular government. You have never made a concrete operational proposal. Maybe you have to the New York Times, and I do not know yet what you have said to Senator McGovern. But not to me.

So what concretely do you have in mind under existing conditions? What do you want us to say? How would you formulate point 3? Our point 3? Even if we accepted your point 3 it doesn’t mean anything; it is just an abstract point.

Xuan Thuy: I think that what is important is the substance of the problem. As to the wording, an agreement to the wording is easy. As [Page 259] to the substance, we think that the United States now is unwilling to give up Nguyen Van Thieu. And without that, without giving up Nguyen Van Thieu, no settlement can be reached.2

Once Le Duc Tho proposed a concrete idea. I have advanced a concrete idea.

Dr. Kissinger: What was Le Duc Tho’s concrete idea? The Special Advisor is so fertile with ideas, I do not remember which one it was.

Xuan Thuy: You can look again at the minutes of the meeting. As for myself I have suggested that Nguyen Van Thieu resign, but you consider this suggestion impossible and you want to act in your own way. And in such a way we feel you want to cover up your designs to maintain Nguyen Van Thieu.

Now the Nguyen Van Thieu Administration controls nearly a million man army equipped by the United States with American advisers. The Administration of Nguyen Van Thieu has a huge police force and a great number of pacification teams besides a heavy net of CIA agents in South Vietnam and over 200,000 United States troops in South Vietnam.

The United States is now helping Nguyen Van Thieu to transport his forces and launch operations here and there. The United States Embassy is doing everything to support Nguyen Van Thieu militarily and politically. (While Thuy’s remarks were being translated, Mr. Kissinger interjected that this was “nonsense.”) You cannot give up Nguyen Van Thieu.

Dr. Kissinger: For the hundredth and twentieth time I tell you the question is not whether to support or give up Thieu, but what process will shape the future of Vietnam after the settlement.

Mr. Minister, do you have anything else?

Xuan Thuy: You often state that you do not support any special candidate. What you want to find out is how to realize a political process in South Vietnam, a process that is democratic, free and so the people of South Vietnam can express their views.

That argument is known to us and world opinion, but you use it to cover up the substance of the problem, that is to say the United States wants to maintain Nguyen Van Thieu.

And the facts, the actual situation, have been demonstrated sufficiently to every Vietnamese, and to all peaceloving people of the world.

Dr. Kissinger: I suggest, Mr. Minister. . . . The only way we can deal together is on the basis of what we say. The President does not have to send his special advisor here secretly to play games.

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When you are willing to discuss seriously on the basis of what we say then we can discuss with you. Until you have tested us, it does not make any sense to psychoanalyze what I say. You have not even tested us.

You know how to reach General Walters.

Xuan Thuy: I agree, but I should add one more thing. Since you refer to whom I receive or meet with in the press, I wish to say that this is something we normally do. Whoever asks to meet us we receive them. If they ask about the situation or if they ask about our position, we answer. With journalists, we answer them as we please. But it is another question back home whether they write what I have told them. I feel that very few faithfully reflect what I have told them.

Second, you suggest that we should approach our allies. How do we negotiate Vietnam . . .?

Dr. Kissinger: Not about Vietnam, but on other matters. Just to see how we conduct our negotiations. We have not discussed Vietnam with your allies.

We always believe that when I am involved in negotiations we could go secretly, rapidly and get to the heart of the matter. But for that it is important that we behave with honesty.

I am talking about matters which concern them, not matters that concern you. My point was that you will find that no one has been tricked by us. We have kept every promise. We have been tough negotiators, but we have kept every promise.

No one knows I have made 8 points, or 7 points to you, and no one knows what you have said. And we will not now approach any of your allies to give them an account of what has happened.

I told you on many occasions we believe that the war must be settled with you. Though we are disappointed we cannot settle here with you, we will not go to others to settle it. Whatever discussions we have with other countries, including your allies, will not concern you.

The war will be settled either by negotiations with you or unilaterally, but not by the intervention of other countries. That is our attitude.

Xuan Thuy: I have clearly understood you now. I too have been saying that a peaceful settlement should be sought in Paris.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree.

Xuan Thuy: Le Duc Tho and I maintain this secret channel with you. No one knows that we have put forward our nine points or your seven points.

Dr. Kissinger: Nor does anyone from us.

Xuan Thuy: So we have come to that point. If there is nothing more to say, then I propose we adjourn.

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Dr. Kissinger: I have nothing more to say. But I still hope to greet the Minister in the United States sometime. I have not invited any other Vietnamese, North or South, except the Special Advisor.

Xuan Thuy: Thank you, and on behalf of Mr. Le Duc Tho, thank you beforehand. And if that is our desire, we should make efforts to bring that day closer.

Dr. Kissinger: That is our intention.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1039, Files for the President, Vietnam Negotiations, HAK II 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place at the North Vietnamese Residence at 11 Rue Darthé.

    In a September 13 memorandum to Nixon, Kissinger described the discussion as “the shortest meeting on record.” Le Duc Tho did not attend, and they were at an impasse and agreed not to plan another meeting. (Ibid.) Kissinger observed in his memoirs: “The absence of Le Duc Tho could leave no further doubt that we had run out the string on this series of meetings. Xuan Thuy made no effort to say anything new, in effect reading a propaganda speech of the kind put forth repetitively in the plenary sessions of Avenue Kléber. The meeting adjourned after two hours, the shortest secret session ever. We parted with the understanding that either side could reopen the channel if it had something new to say.” (Kissinger, White House Years, p. 1036)

    Xuan Thuy had pushed for the meeting at Politburo direction. In a September 7 cable from Le Duc Tho and Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh, Thuy was told: “Our strategy for the diplomatic struggle at this time is directly linked to our strategy on the battlefield, so at least for the moment we cannot resolve anything with the Americans and we must instead patiently and steadfastly prolong the [secret] discussions.” (Message from Nguyen Duy Trinh and Le Duc Tho to Xuan Thuy, 7 September 1971, in Doan Duc, et al., compilers, Major Events: The Diplomatic Struggle and International Activities during the Resistance War Against the Americans to Save the Nation, 1954–1975, volume 4, pp. 299–300)

  2. This paragraph was highlighted.