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Volume VII

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968


Vietnam, September 1968-January 1969
Editor: Kent Sieg
General Editor: Edward C. Keefer

Office of the Historian


Bureau of Public Affairs

Document Numbers

Document Dates

September 1-October 1, 1968: Efforts To Move the Peace


Talks Forward; the Ohio Exercise
1 through 24

Sep 2-20, 1968

25 through 43

Sep 21-Oct 1, 1968

October 2-15, 1968: The Breakthrough in Paris


44 through 62

Oct 2-12, 1968

63 through 74

Oct 12-15, 1968

October 16-25, 1968: Negotiating the Understanding


75 through 96

Oct 16-21, 1968

97 through 122

Oct 21-25, 1968

October 26-31, 1968: The Bombing Halt


123 through 141

Oct 26-29, 1968

142 through 169

Oct 29-31, 1968

November 1-12, 1968: South Vietnamese Abstention From


the Expanded Peace Conference; the Anna Chennault Affair
170 through 192

Nov 1-4, 1968

193 through 212

Nov 4-12, 1968

November 12-30, 1968: South Vietnamese Participation in


the Paris Peace Talks
213 through 226

Nov 12-19, 1968

227 through 242

Nov 20-30, 1968

December 1, 1968-January 20, 1969: Resolution of the


Procedural Delays and the Opening of the Expanded Peace
Talks
243 through 260

Dec 1-19, 1968

261 through 287

Dec 20, 1968-Jan 19, 1969

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian

Summary
Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII
Vietnam, September 1968-January 1969
(This is not an official statement of policy by the Department of State;
it is intended only as a guide to the contents of this volume.)
Since 1861, the Department of States documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States has constituted the
official record of the foreign policy and diplomacy of the United States. Historians at the Office of the Historian collect,
select, arrange, and annotate the principal documents that make up the record of American foreign policy. The
standards for preparation of the series and general guidelines for the publication are established by the Foreign
Relations of the United States statute of October 28, 1991. (22 USC 4351, et. seq.) Volumes in the Foreign Relations
series are published when all necessary editing, declassification, and production steps have been completed.
The documents in this volume are drawn primarily from the Department of State Central Files, the papers of President
Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisers at the Johnson Library in Austin, Texas (including excerpts from tape recordings of
the Presidents phone calls), the decentralized lot files of the Department of State, the historical files of the Department
of States Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the files of the National Security Council, the records of the Secretary of
Defense and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, the Official Records of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, and the files of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Almost all of the documents printed here were originally classified. The Information Response Branch of the Office of
IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, in concert with the appropriate offices in
other agencies or governments, carried out the declassification of the selected documents in accordance with the
applicable provisions of Executive Order12958.
The following is a summary of the most important issues covered in the volume. Parenthetical citations are to numbered
documents in the text.
Introduction
This volume covers a period of 4 months culminating in mid-January 1969 when the Johnson administration finally
achieved, after much agonizing deliberation and consultation, formal four-party peace talks on Vietnam. In the fall of
1968 peace seemed beyond President Johnson's grasp, even though talks were taking place in Paris between the
United States and its North Vietnamese adversaries. These two-party peace negotiations were deadlocked over
Johnson's insistence on reciprocal guarantees for the complete cessation of the bombing of North Vietnamese territory.
Within weeks, dramatic changes created the groundwork to bring together the two parties in formal talks on substantive
issues of a peace settlement. The peace talks struggled to move to formal session while the United States held its
Presidential election amid suspicions by the Democratic and Republican candidates, and the President himself, that
their respective opponents were using the peace process to influence the election.
Movement Toward Final Peace Talks
President Johnson firmly believed that a hard line approach to the negotiations would compel the North Vietnamese into
an agreement on formal four-party peace talks that would justify a bombing halt. "If we can stay for a few weeks with our
present posture in Vietnam, we can convince the North Vietnamese that they wont get a better deal if they wait," he
confided to his staff during a September 4, 1968, meeting at the White House. (4) The North Vietnamese had refused to
discuss any assurances of reciprocity throughout the late spring and summer of that year. During the fall, however, the
impasse slowly began to ease. One minor but significant indication was the so-called "nuanced language" used by the
North Vietnamese during a private meeting on September 15 with the American negotiators in Paris, W. Averell
Harriman and Cyrus Vance. The general feeling was that this might represent a breakthrough. (14) In a subsequent
meeting of his foreign policy advisers, Johnson insisted that any breakthrough meet his three minimal requirements for a
halt: withdrawal of enemy forces from the demilitarized zone (DMZ), a termination of attacks on major South Vietnamese
cities, and admission of the South Vietnamese Government (GVN) to a seat at the conference table. Johnson was also
adamant about not stopping the bombing without concessions from Hanoi. Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford had tried
repeatedly without success to persuade the President to end the bombing for the sake of moving the peace process

forward. (15) The Soviet Union began to exercise greater initiative in pressing the North Vietnamese to moderate their
stance on reciprocity for a bombing cessation. A meeting between Presidential Special Assistant Walt Rostow and
Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin on September 10 led to a message from the Soviet Government that appeared to
indicate readiness on the Communist side to move forward if the United States terminated its bombing and related
military actions. (9)
In separate meetings with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the President, and the rest of the Cabinet, Harriman, who had
returned from Paris during the third week of September for consultations in Washington, failed to convince Johnson that
termination of the bombing, the only trump card he held, would be worth playing without firm assurances of DRV
reciprocity. (19, 20) The doves within the administration remained convinced that the North Vietnamese had gone more
than far enough to ensure that a bombing halt would not be in vain. (22) On September 18 the Department of State
instructed the delegation in Paris to press the North Vietnamese for agreement on the issue of South Vietnamese
representation at the talks as an important element in "facilitating" a complete bombing halt by the United States. (23)
Harriman and Vance responded that a more direct link had to be established between agreement on South Vietnamese
representation at expanded talks and the termination of the bombing of North Vietnam. On September 25 the delegation
submitted a revised proposition to the North Vietnamese delegates. (32) Meetings between Harriman and Vance and
Soviet diplomats in Paris, as well as other indications through third-party sources in Norway, suggested that the Soviets
were prepared to pressure the North Vietnamese into substantive peace talks. (26, 27, 28, 29, 33, 34)
North Vietnamese reluctance to negotiate on terms acceptable to Johnson was not the only problem he had to contend
with during the period covered in the volume. The United States was involved in a bitter Presidential election campaign
in which Vietnam was the principal issue. In a September 30 speech at Salt Lake City, Democratic Presidential
candidate Hubert Humphrey, the sitting Vice President, began to distance himself from Johnsons Vietnam policy by
publicly stating a unilateral U.S. bombing halt was an "acceptable risk for peace." (40) Although Johnson refrained from
public criticism of Humphreys new position, his lack of any political assistance or public support of Humphrey during
critical moments of the campaign made it clear how he viewed his Vice Presidents public statement. In a private
conversation with Senator Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois), the President questioned Humphreys speech but acknowledged
that Humphreys position did not diverge too far from the position of the administration. (42) What most annoyed the
President was Harriman's tacit approval of the Humphrey speech. (50, 51)
Toward a Breakthrough on Negotiations
The last weeks before the election brought a dramatic breakthrough at Paris. In an October 2 meeting with Harriman
and Vance, the North Vietnamese delegates requested further clarification on the three prerequisites for a complete
bombing halt. (45) In expectation that a breakthrough would soon follow, Vance immediately returned to Washington for
a brief round of consultations. (49) On October 9 the U.S. delegation in Paris reported that the North Vietnamese had
addressed the issue of GVN participation in the talks, the issue that had remained deadlocked for months. (54) Two
days later Hanoi's representatives requested a clarification from the U.S. delegates as to whether the United States
would end the bombing of North Vietnam if Hanoi accepted the Saigon governments presence at the talks. (58) The
next day Vance received a message from the Soviet Embassy in Paris, which more strongly reiterated the North
Vietnamese agreement to hold substantive talks after a complete bombing halt. (60) During this period, the President
called upon his top advisers, and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu as well, to review the North
Vietnamese proposal. (61) Ambassador to South Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker assured the President that Thieu concurred.
(62, 64, 66)
The road to peace talks was still not clear. On October 14-15 the administration debated a new condition for a halt.
Wary of a last-minute effort to take advantage of any halt, hawks within the administration convinced the President to
insist upon a 24-hour maximum interval between the cessation of bombing and the start of the expanded talks. (67-70,
72, 73) Hanoi's representatives reacted strongly to what they perceived as a "new condition." (76) In an October 16
conference call briefing the three primary Presidential candidates, Humphrey, Richard Nixon, and George Wallace,
Johnson cautioned them not to say anything publicly that would undermine the ongoing negotiations. All three
candidates expressed unanimous support for the negotiating process. (80)
President Thieu, however, began to equivocate on his previous commitment to the peace process by raising a series of
objections and procedural concerns. Starting with concerns regarding participation of the NLF as a "separate entity," his
objections only increased as the days went by. Thieu insisted that the National Liberation Front (NLF) should not have
an equivalent status to South Vietnam and should appear at the Paris negotiations only as a part of the North
Vietnamese delegation. (87, 89) The Johnson administration believed that it could work out a satisfactory resolution to
the problem of NLF representation and of other issues, such as the seating arrangements for the two sides. (94) On
October 21 North Vietnamese delegation chief Xuan Thuy proposed a joint communiqu for release by the United
States and North Vietnam, so that "there be no further misunderstandings" in light of "the statements coming out of
Saigon." Thuy insisted that both sides devise a secret minute of the October understandings and stated that Hanoi
would only accept a lengthy interval between a bombing halt and the beginning of formal negotiations. (95) Such a delay
was unacceptable to Washington.

The last days of October, however, saw progress in Paris and Washington. The Soviet Embassy in Paris and Soviet
Ambassador to the United States Anatoliy Dobrynin communicated the strong desire of the Soviet Union to see
substantive talks begin quickly. (92, 98) On October 22 the Soviet Government proposed "splitting the difference"
between the two delegations on the time interval, a proposal that both Harriman and Vance supported. (99, 101)
President Johnson and his advisers decided to agree to this 3-day interval. (103, 104) In addition, by October 24, the
U.S. Embassy in Saigon had arranged an apparent agreement with the South Vietnamese Foreign Minister on most of
the remaining procedural problems with South Vietnam. (118) On October 24 a Soviet diplomat in Paris told Vance that
"his government was deeply interested in finding a solution and that he was acting under the instructions of his
government." (119) Dobrynin assured Rostow during an October 25 meeting that the U.S. representatives had
expressed themselves "very clearly" on the "facts of life" prior to a full halt and the opening of talks and that the North
Vietnamese understood the U.S. position. (122)
Progress toward a breakthrough accelerated during the last week before the election. On October 27 Thuy proposed
that talks begin on November 2 if the United States terminated the bombing on October 30. "We have now got
everything we have asked for," Vance reported to Washington. "We should accept." (128) In a meeting that evening at
the White House, the Presidents advisers were virtually unanimous in their support for moving ahead on the basis of
this new position. Johnson first wanted a candid assessment regarding the impact of the halt on U.S. troops in Vietnam
from the field commander there, and he directed that General Creighton Abrams return to Washington. (129) Arriving in
the early morning of October 29, Abrams immediately met with Johnson and other senior officials. Following a review of
the breakthrough, the President pointedly asked Abrams if implementation of the three key parts of the understanding
would further endanger U.S. forces in Vietnam. Abrams assured the President that the cessation would not result in
further casualties and that the enemy would not be able to take advantage of the halt and undertake any further
offensive actions. He added that he had no reservations regarding the implementation of the halt; indeed, providing the
enemy kept to the understanding, the halt would work out to a military advantage to the United States. Johnson decided
to go ahead with the bombing cessation. (139)
The Position of South Vietnam
It was at this moment that the South Vietnamese Government began to equivocate on participation in the expanded
talks. On October 29 Thieu informed Bunker that the November 2 date was too soon for him to have his representatives
ready to attend. (149) Johnson was outraged but still hoped for the successful initiation of the peace process. In order to
give Thieu more time, Johnson opted for a postponement of a few days. (151) The President and his advisers already
believed there was a conspiracy to derail the negotiations to help the Republicans in the election. Anna Chennault, an
associate of Republican Presidential candidate Richard Nixon and co-chair of Women for Nixon, had been in contact
with Bui Diem, South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States. "There is no hard evidence that Mr. Nixon himself
is involved," Rostow reported in an October 29 memorandum to the President. "Exactly what the Republicans have
been saying to Bui Diem is not wholly clear as opposed to the conclusions that Bui Diem is drawing from what they have
said." (145) During the regular Tuesday luncheon with his foreign policy advisers, Johnson expressed dismay at
Bunkers reports on his unsuccessful efforts to arrange a meeting with Thieu. Thieu's uncharacteristic unavailability
seemed to confirm Johnson's belief in a conspiracy between the Republicans and the South Vietnamese. Presidential
Consultant Maxwell Taylor suggested that "it may be sinister, or it may be ineptitude," while Johnson prophesized that
"Nixon will doublecross them (the South Vietnamese) after November 5," election day. (148) Later that day South
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Thanh informed Bunker that the dispatch of a delegation to Paris would require approval
from his countrys National Assembly. Bunker assessed that the GVN would not be ready to go ahead at the current
time. (149) Concerned about proceeding to Paris without the GVN aboard, Johnson agreed to a further postponement of
2 days in order to give Bunker more time. (150) He also sent to Saigon a stern letter that Bunker could use. (151, 155)
In contrast, by October 30 the North Vietnamese definitively dropped their demand for a secret minute of the
understandings. (158) In light of these developments, members of the administration universally objected to Thieus
latest effort to stall the talks. (161) Johnson decided to proceed with the announcement of the bombing halt on October
31, which would be followed by talks on November 6, in order to give the South Vietnamese the maximum amount of
time to consider joining in the expanded negotiations. (167) On October 31 Bunker reported that Thieu was "coming
around," but informed Thieu of Johnsons decision to proceed regardless of the GVNs official stance on the expanded
talks. (165) The Presidents speech announcing the halt aired that evening. (169)
Prompt opening of expanded talks proved elusive. On November 1 Thieu announced that on the next day he would
deliver a speech regarding the talks. Johnson dispatched a message for Bunker to deliver to Thieu admonishing him to
"move forward together in Paris," but Thieu refused to see Bunker before he made his speech. (175). On November 2
Thieu publicly stated that he would not send a delegation to the expanded talks in Paris, effectively preventing the
convening of the four-party meetings. (178) In turn, the North Vietnamese refused to accept further meetings solely
between U.S. and DRV representatives. (196) Late in the evening of November 2 Johnson discussed with Senator
Dirksen, his old colleague and an intimate of both Nixon and Chennault, the connection between the Republicans and
the South Vietnamese. The President described the actions of Nixons supporters as "treason" and instructed Dirksen to
transmit a warning to Nixon that he must act to prevent any adverse impact upon the Paris talks. (181) On November 3
Johnson called Senator George Smathers (D-Florida), who had been in contact with Nixon. Smathers stated that Nixon

denied any knowledge of the affair, and the President countered that he had documented proof of a Republican
connection to the GVN. (186) Apparently at the urging of both Dirksen and Smathers, Nixon made a telephone call to
Johnson that afternoon to disclaim personally any involvement with the entire affair. (187) In light of Nixons denials and
Johnsons own reticence about revealing the full range of government surveillance and wiretapping of Chennault and
Diem, the decision was made not to make public the information gathered regarding the Republican-South Vietnamese
connection. (192-194) In a close vote, Nixon won the 1968 Presidential election. (199)
With 2 months still remaining in office, President Johnson was determined to open substantive talks, but Thieu would
not see Bunker for a week. (203, 206) When they did meet, Bunker unsuccessfully pressed Thieu to dispatch a
delegation to the expanded conference. Bunker reported afterward that Thieu "wants to find a way out of the situation in
which he finds himself." (208) Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs William Bundy also
delivered a stern admonition to Bui Diem. (210) In addition, Johnson asked Nixon to transmit to Thieu a message
pressuring him to join the Paris talks. (205, 207, 209) It was not until a November 11 meeting with Nixon that Johnson
secured the President-elects promise to present a "united front" on Vietnam. At that time, Nixon agreed to communicate
formally to the South Vietnamese his desire that they participate in the Paris talks. (211) At the Presidents behest,
Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, in a November 12 news conference, strongly rebutted continuing recalcitrant
statements coming out of Saigon. (213) Agreement between the U.S. and South Vietnamese Governments on a joint
position relating to negotiating issues was worked out during November. (217, 228) In Paris the U.S. delegations protest
of enemy attacks on unarmed American reconnaissance planes as well as its shelling of certain South Vietnamese cities
helped to re-establish trust with South Vietnam. (222-228, 233) On November 26 Thieu finally agreed to dispatch a
delegation to Paris, and made a public announcement the following day. (235, 236)
The official talks still did not begin. South Vietnam raised a series of procedural issues, the most prominent of which
were the particular use of flags and name plates, the speaking order of the participants, and the physical arrangement of
the conference, including most notably the shape of the conference table. On the latter issue, the North Vietnamese and
the National Liberation Front (NLF) insisted on a four-sided table to emphasize equality between the parties, while the
United States and especially the GVN favored a two-sided arrangement that did not obviously give the NLF equal
footing with the GVN. (250, 260, 264) On January 2, 1969, the North Vietnamese relented on their requirement that
made flags and nameplates contingent upon the acceptance by the other side of a continuous round table. (268, 269)
On January 7 Johnson sent Thieu a strongly worded message to desist from the "continued stalemate on present lines"
that was undermining public support within the United States for South Vietnam. (276) Thieu continued to refuse to
consider such a trade-off from his original position on the shape of the table. (277-279) Pressure on Thieu from
Washington coupled with the involvement of Soviet diplomats eventually overcame this impasse. On January 13 the
Soviet Ambassador in Paris directed his subordinate to propose a resolution: a round table with two smaller rectangular
tables at opposite sides; no flags or nameplates; and speaking order arranged by the drawing of lots. (280, 281) Both
the North Vietnamese and the American delegations agreed to this proposal on January 15, as did both South Vietnam
and the NLF the next day. (283, 284) On January 18 the first meeting between the four parties, which focused solely on
modalities for the substantive talks, was held. (286) The Johnson administration left office on January 20, 1969, with the
knowledge that peace talks were finally underway.

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian

Preface
The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign
policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of
State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the
Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans,
researches, compiles, and edits the volumes. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations
codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These
regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.
Public Law 102-138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 established a new statutory
charter for the preparation of the series, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198
of P.L. 102-138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State's Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).
The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United
States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include
all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United
States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign
Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or
deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit
no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of
concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30
years after the events recorded.
Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series
This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues
in the foreign policy of the 5 years (1964-1968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in
34 volumes a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson's administration.
This volume documents U.S. policy toward Vietnam from August 1968 to January 1969. Volumes I-VI cover Vietnam
from 1964 through August 1968.
Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII
The editor of the volume sought to present documentation that explained and illuminated the major foreign policy
decisions and problems on Vietnam faced by the President and his key foreign policy advisers during the last 4 and 1/2
months of his administration. The documents highlight the Johnson administration's slow and agonizing internal
deliberations on how to achieve formal four-party peace negotiations on Vietnam in Paris. A good part of this search for
peace was carried out during the 1968 Presidential election amid suspicions by the Democratic and Republican
candidates, and President Lyndon Johnson himself, that the respective Presidential candidates were using the peace
process to influence the election. In addition, both the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the
Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) had their own demands for the procedures and modalities of the formal peace
process, all of which had to be reconciled. This volume is the account of how the Johnson administration achieved the
opening of formal four-party peace talks in Paris.
President Johnson and his principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense Clifford,
Assistant to the President Rostow, and other official and unofficial advisers became almost exclusively concerned with
the goal of starting the peace negotiations in Paris. The administration was split between hard liners, including the
President himself, and so-called doves. The hardliners refused to stop U.S. bombing of North Vietnam without a promise
from Hanoi that it would withdraw from the Demilitarized Zone, cease its attack on South Vietnamese cities, and accept
South Vietnam represent-atives at the peace table. The doves, Secretary of Defense Clifford and Chief Paris negotiator
Averell Harriman, favored stopping the bombing in the hopes of moving the peace process forward. A main theme of the
volume is how the doves eventually convinced the President that North Vietnam, under heavy pressure from the Soviet
Union, would agree to his demands.
A second major theme of the volume is the interaction between the peace negotiations and the Presidential election.
Vietnam was a major campaign issue debated strenuously by Republican candidate Richard Nixon, Democratic
candidate Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Independent candidate Governor George Wallace. The prospect of
imminent peace talks had the potential to influence the elections. This theme is developed principally through the

extensive use of transcripts of Johnson's phone calls as the President sought to convince the three candidates to
support his conditions for a bombing halt and for opening the formal peace talks.
The volume's third major theme is how the Johnson administration had to persuade, cajole, and coerce the Republic of
Vietnam and President Thieu to accept the deal that the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with the
help of the Soviet Union, essentially worked out at the end of October 1968. Much to Johnson's dismay, South Vietnam
refused to agree to terms before the Presidential election. Not until January 16, 1969, did all four parties agree to the
modalities of the talks--size of the table, use of flags or nameplates, and speaking order. On January 18, 1969, just 2
days before the Johnson administration left office, the peace talks officially began.
Editorial Methodology
The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order
of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather
than the date the memorandum was drafted.
Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines,
supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as
exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed
and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern
typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling,
capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are
silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is
set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics.
Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the
front matter of each volume.
Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that
remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by
indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification
purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in
their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.
The first footnote to each document indicates its source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This
note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his
major policy advisers read the document.
Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of
additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe
key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed
documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to
supplement or explicate the official record.
The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.
Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation
The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute,
reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory
Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the
preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of
individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on problems that come to its attention.
The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.
Declassification Review
The Information Response Branch of the Office of Information Resources Management Programs and Services, Bureau
of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume.
The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National
Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of
national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate
geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and
the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.
The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 2000 and was completed in 2002, resulted in the
decision to withhold no documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 1 document, and make minor excisions of less
than a paragraph in 7 documents. The information was excised to protect intelligence sources and methods, in keeping
with requirements of Executive Order 12958. The editor is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in
preparing this volume and the result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and
editorial notes presented here provide an accurate account of U.S. policy toward Vietnam from August 1968 through
January 1969.
Acknowledgments
The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives
and Records Administration, especially Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess, who provided key research
assistance. The editor also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of historians at the Central Intelligence Agency,
especially Scott Koch, the staff of the Center of Military History, Sandra Meagher at the Department of Defense, and the
staff of the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, for their valuable assistance in expediting research of this volume.
Kent Sieg collected documentation for this volume and selected and edited it, under the supervision of Edward C.
Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Rita M. Baker and Vicki E. Futscher did the copy and technical
editing, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the declassification review. Max Franke prepared the index.
Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
June 2003

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian

Sources
Sources for the Foreign Relations Series
The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records
needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic
activity. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government engaged
in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and
complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected
records. Most of the sources consulted in the preparation of this volume have been declassified and are available for
review at the National Archives and Records Administration.
The editors of the Foreign Relations series have complete access to all the retired records and papers of the
Department of State: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files ("lot files") of the Department at
the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Department's Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of
international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and
Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials;
and the files of overseas diplomatic posts. All the Department's indexed central files for these years have been
permanently transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland (Archives II).
Most of the Department's decentralized office (or lot) files covering this period, which the National Archives deems
worthy of permanent retention, have been transferred to Archives II.
The editors of the Foreign Relations series also have full access to the papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson,
President Richard Nixon, and other White House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved
at the Presidential libraries include some of the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from the
Department of State and other Federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence
Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The editors of the series also had full access to the files of the Department of Defense, including the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and to the records of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Sources for Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII
In preparing this volume, the editor made extensive use of Presidential papers and other White House records at the
Lyndon B. Johnson Library. The large Vietnam Country File within the National Security File was one of the most
important sources. Other useful components of the National Security File were the Files of Walt Rostow and
Memoranda to the President. For Johnson's meetings on Vietnam, the Tom Johnson Notes were the most valuable
collection, although Meeting Notes Files and the National Security Council File, National Security Council Meetings were
also useful. The Johnson tape recordings of both telephone conversations and meetings in the Cabinet Room, were
another key source from the Johnson Library. In fact, this volume relies more heavily upon Johnson Presidential
recordings than any previous volume in the 1964-1968 subseries. The Papers of Clark Clifford and George Elsey, were
also valuable. In addition, the editor researched files of the Nixon Presidential Materials at the National Archives,
College Park, Maryland. The most valuable files were the National Security Council Files, Paris Talks/Meetings, and
Kissinger Office Files, Kissinger Administrative and Staff Files, Transition.
Second in importance to the records at the Johnson Library were the records of the Department of State in Record
Group 59 at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. The most important were the A/IM Files of Averell
Harriman and Cyrus Vance, Lot 93 D 82, which contain telegraphic and other reports of their discussions at Paris. Other
Department of State records at Archives II of value were the IS/OIS files relating to the records of the Paris Peace
Conference, Lot 90 D 345, and Ambassador Bunker's personal files, Lot 74 D 417. The Central Files of the Department
of State in Record Group 59 that were of most value were POL 27 VIET S, the central file for military operations that
became a catchall for information on Vietnam, and POL 14 VIET/OHIO, a file relating to peace negotiations.
Of the records at the Department of Defense, which were viewed at the Washington National Records Center, the most
significant was the official files of Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, OSD Files, FRC 73 A 1250.
At the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, the Averell Harriman Papers proved a most valuable collection.

For intelligence issues, DCI (Helms) Files, the DCI Executive Registry Subject Files, the Files of DCI's Special Assistant
for Vietnam, George Carver, and some Directorate of Operations Files at the Central Intelligence Agency, proved useful.
Almost all of this documentation has been made available for use in the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent
of the agencies mentioned, the assistance of their staffs, and especially the cooperation and support of the National
Archives and Records Administration.
The following list identifies the particular files and collections consulted in the preparation of this volume. The
declassification and transfer to the National Archives of the Department of State records are in process, and many of
those records are already available for public review at the National Archives.
Unpublished Sources
Department of State
Central Files. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
Lot Files. For other lot files already transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park,
Maryland, Record Group 59, see National Archives and Records Administration below.
INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D 99
National and Special Intelligence Estimates, 1952-1985.
INR/IL Historical Files
Historical Intelligence files maintained in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and still under Department of State
custody.
INR/REA Files: Lot 90 D 99
National Intelligence Estimates and Special National Intelligence Estimates, 1952-1985.
INR/RSB Files: Lot 90 D 320
Soviet-Asia relations, 1965-1978.
National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
Record Group 59, Records of the Department of State
Subject-Numeric Central File. The subject-numeric system is divided into broad categories: Administration, Consular,
Culture and Information, Economic, Political and Defense, Science, and Social. Within each of these divisions are
subject subcategories. For example, Political and Defense contains four subtopics: POL (Politics), DEF (Defense), CSM
(Communism), and INT (Intelligence). Numerical subdivisions further define the subtopics. The following are the
principal files consulted for this volume:
AID (US) VIET S, U.S. aid to South Vietnam
DEF 4 SEATO, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
E US-VIET S, economic relations, U.S.-South Vietnam
E VIET S, economic affairs, South Vietnam
E 12 VIET S, land reform, South Vietnam
FN 12 VIET S, balance of payments, South Vietnam
ORG SAIGON, organization and administration, Saigon Embassy
POL IT-US, political relations, U.S.-Italy
POL 17 NOR CHICOM, diplomatic representation, Norway-China
POL 17-1 NOR-US, accreditation, U.S.-Norway
POL NOR-VIET N, political relations, Norway-North Vietnam
POL UK-US, political relations, U.S.-United Kingdom
POL 7 US, visits and meetings of U.S. officials
POL 15-1 US/JOHNSON, Head of State, the President
POL 27 US/HUMPHREY, Vice President's assessment of military affairs
POL US-USSR, political relations, U.S.-Soviet Union
POL 1 US-USSR, general policy, U.S.-Soviet Union
POL 17 US-VIET N, diplomatic representation, U.S.-North Vietnam
POL 15-1 VAT, correspondence and meetings with the Pope

POL 27-7 VIET, prisoners of war, Vietnam


POL 27-12 VIET, war crimes, Vietnam
POL 27-14 VIET/ASPEN, peace negotiations code named Aspen
POL 27-14 VIET/BAMBOO, peace negotiations code named Bamboo
POL 27-14 VIET/CROCODILE, peace negotiations code named Crocodile
POL 27-14 VIET/KILLY, peace negotiations code named Killy
POL 27-14 VIET/LION, peace negotiations code named Lion
POL 27-14 VIET/MARIGOLD, peace negotiations code named Marigold
POL 27-14 VIET/NIRVANA, peace negotiations code named Nirvana
POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO, peace negotiations code named Ohio
POL 17 VIET N, diplomatic and consular representation, North Vietnam
POL 1 VIET S, general policy, South Vietnam
POL 1-1 VIET S, contingency planning, South Vietnam
POL 12 VIET S, political parties, South Vietnam
POL 15 VIET S, Government of South Vietnam
POL 15-1 VIET S, head of state/executive branch, South Vietnam
POL 23-9 VIET S, civil disturbances and revolts, South Vietnam
POL 27 VIET S, military operations, South Vietnam
POL 27 VIET S/MARIA, cease fires, South Vietnam
POL 27-7 VIET S/BUTTERCUP, prisoner exchanges, South Vietnam
POL 27-14 VIET S, truce talks, South Vietnam
POL 30 VIET S, defections, South Vietnam
REF VIET, refugees, Vietnam
REF VIET N, refugees, North Vietnam
Lot Files
A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82
Correspondence, telegrams, and records of meetings of HARVAN (Harriman and Vance) mission to the Paris Peace
Talks on Vietnam, 1968-1969. Includes background material on Vietnam peace negotiations 1962-1969.
AmEmbassy-Saigon Files: Lot 75 F 193
Files and telegrams from classified and unclassified central subject files of the American Embassy in Saigon, 19501974.
Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240
Files of William P. Bundy as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 1964-1969.
Bunker Files: Lot 74 D 417
Files of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, including telegrams, personal and presidential messages, and correspondence,
1967-1973.
Bunker Files: Lot 77 D 146
Files containing Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker's official and personal correspondence, speeches and statements,
interviews, and briefing books, 1967-1973.
EA Files: Lot 74 D 246
Records relating to the Paris Peace Negotiations on Vietnam, 1966-1973.
EA Files: Lot 71 D 10
Files on the Paris Peace Talks, 1966-1968.
EA Files: Lot 72 D 33
Background papers on Asia, 1967-1968.
EA/ACA Files: Lot 69 D 128
Files of weekly reports on Vietnam peace negotiations, 1967-1968.
EA/ACA Files: Lot 72 D 175
Miscellaneous files of the Asian Communist Affairs Office, 1961-1969.
EA/VN Files: Lot 72 D 207
Files on the Manila Summit, the Clifford-Taylor trip to Southeast Asia, the Tet Offensive, and background material, 1964-

1968.
EA/VN Files: Lot 73 D 141
General files of the Interagency Vietnam Working Group.
EA/VN Files: Lot 73 D 461
Files on politics, defense, rural development, and elections in South Vietnam, 1967-1969.
EA/VN Files: Lot 74 D 51
Military files containing the record of the air war in Vietnam, 1963-1970.
EA/VN Files: Lot 75 D 167
Files on Vietnamese political-military affairs and meetings and trips of senior U.S. Government officials with Vietnamese
and Asian leaders, 1963-1969.
EA/VN Files: Lot 75 D 303
Files relating to the Free World Assistance in Vietnam, 1963-1971.
INR/REA/SA Files: Lot 75 D 352
South Vietnam Country files, 1968-1970.
IS/OIS Files: Lot 90 D 345
Chronological records of the Paris Peace Conference, 1968-1969.
IS/OIS Files: Lot 92 D 306
Telegrams transmitting the weekly reports of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker to the President, 1967-1973.
Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 410
Files of Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson, 1958-1973.
Katzenbach Files: Lot 74 D 271
Files of Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach, 1966-1969.
Kohler Files: Lot 71 D 460
Files of Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs Foy Kohler concerning his discussions with Ambassador Anatoliy
Dobrynin, 1967-1968; discussions between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, 19621968.
Komer Files: Lot 69 D 303
Files of Robert W. Komer, 1949-1969.
Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192
Files of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, 1961-1969, including texts of speeches, miscellaneous correspondence files,
White House correspondence, chronological files, and memoranda of telephone conversations.
S-AH Files: Lot 71 D 461
Files of Ambassador at Large W. Averell Harriman concerning Vietnam peace negotiating channels, 1967-1968.
S/S-I Files: Lot 72 D 316
National Security Action Memoranda Nos.1-371, 1961-1968.
S/S-I Files: Lot 72 D 318
National Security Council meeting memoranda and agenda, 1966-1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 68 D 453
International conference chronologies and briefing papers, 1967-1968, including background material for the Vice
President's East Asian trip, Ambassador at Large W. Averell Harriman's Near Eastern and European trip, and the
President's visit to Australia.
S/S-S Files: Lot 69 D 217

Administrative history of the Johnson administration; foreign policy fact books for Republican candidates; transition
books, 1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 70 D 207
Vietnam briefing books and reports, contingency studies, and background papers on negotiations, 1965-1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 70 D 48
Miscellaneous Vietnam reports and briefing books, 1949-1968, including briefing books on negotiating initiatives and
Senate committee reports.
S/S-S Files: Lot 71 D 228
Transition books for the incoming Nixon administration, December 1968.
S/S-S Files: Lot 76 D 435
U.S./U.S.S.R. conversations on Vietnam and Southeast Asia, 1961-1968.
Record Group 84, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the United States
Saigon Embassy files of Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, 1967-1973
Record Group 200, Records of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-1968
Record Group 273, Records of the National Security Council
National Security Action Memorandums
Record Group 407, Records of the U.S. Army Adjutant General's Office
Westmoreland v. CBS Litigation Collection, 1966-1972
Record Group 472, Records of the U.S. Army in Southeast Asia
Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Command Information Publications
Assistant Chief of Staff
Office of Civil Operations for Revolutionary Development
Office Files, 1966-1969
Phung Huang Directorate
Plans, Policy, and Programs Directorate
Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, Virginia
William Colby Files, Job 80-M01009A
DCI (Helms) Files, Jobs 80-R01580R, 80-B01721R, 80-R01720R, 80-M01044A, 80-B01285A, 85-T00268R
DDI Files, Job 80-B01721R
DDO/ISS Files, Jobs 78-32, 78-06425A, 78-0064235A
DO/EA Files, Jobs 79-00207A, 80-00088A, 80-00106A
Executive Registry Subject Files, Jobs 80-R51580R, 80-R01284A
O/DDI Files, Job 78-T02095R
SAVA (Carver) Files, Jobs 80-R01284R, 80-R012850R, 80-R01720R

Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas


Papers of President Lyndon B. Johnson
National Security File
Agency File
Country File
Intelligence File
International Meetings and Travel File
Files of Robert Komer
Head of State Correspondence
Special Head of State Correspondence
Komer-Leonhart File
Memos to the President
Name File
National Intelligence Estimates
National Security Action Memorandums
National Security Council Histories
National Security Council Meetings File
Files of Walt Rostow
Files of Bromley Smith
South Vietnam and U.S. Politics
Speech File
Subject File
Unarranged Files
Office Files of the White House Aides
George Christian
James R. Jones
Harry McPherson
Special Files
Meeting Notes File
Office of the President File
President's Appointment File (Diary Backup)
Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations
Reference File--Vietnam
Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room
White House Central Files
Confidential File
Subject File
Reference Files, Vietnam
Other Personal Papers
Clark Clifford Papers
George Elsey Papers
Alain Enthoven Papers
Morton Halperin Papers
Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings
William Jorden Papers

Oral History Collection


Dean Rusk Papers, Personal Appointment Books
Paul C. Warnke Papers, John McNaughton Files
William C. Westmoreland Papers
Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.
Official Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Southeast Asia Files, 1966-1968.
Nixon Presidential Materials Project
National Security File
Agency Files
Name Files
Paris Talks/Meetings
HAK Office Files, Country Files, Far East, Vietnam, Negotiations
National Security Council, Washington, D.C.
Johnson Administration Intelligence Files including records of the 303 Committee
Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
Record Group 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense
McNamara Files: FRC 71 A 3470
Files of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-1968.
McNamara Vietnam Files: FRC 77-0075
Vietnam Files of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-1968.
OSD Files: FRC 72 A 2467-2468, FRC 73 A 1250
Office of the Secretary of Defense Files.
OSD/General Counsel Files: FRC 75 A 0062
Files on the Pentagon Papers.
OSD/OASD/ISA Files: FRC 71 A 4919, FRC 69 A 6216, FRC 72 A 1498-1499, FRC 72 A 7500-7515, FRC 73 A 13501352, FRC 83 A 0119-0129
Files of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.
W. Averell Harriman Papers
Paul H. Nitze Papers
Henry A. Kissinger Papers
National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
Andrew Goodpaster Papers

Lyman Lemnitzer Papers


Maxwell Taylor Papers
U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.
Robert Komer Papers
DepCORDS/MACV Files
Files of the Deputy for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
William Colby Papers
Creighton Abrams Papers
Thomas Thayer Papers
William C. Westmoreland Papers
History File, History Backup, and COMUSMACV Message Files, 1964-1968.
U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
Army Chiefs of Staff Collection
Creighton Abrams Papers
William DePuy Papers
Richard Gard Papers
Harold K. Johnson Papers
Bruce Palmer Papers
John Paul Vann Papers
William C. Westmoreland Papers
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Headquarters Archive
Douglas Pike Collection
Published Sources
Documentary Collections
Barrett, David M. Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection. College Station, Texas: Texas A &
M University Press, 1997.
Council on Foreign Relations. Documents on American Foreign Relations, 1968-69. New York: New York University
Press, 1972.
Herring, George, ed. The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers.
Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1983.
The Pentagon Papers: The Department of Defense History of United States Decisionmaking on Vietnam, The Senator

Gravel Edition. 4 vols. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.


Pike, Douglas, ed. The Bunker Papers: Reports to the President From Vietnam, 1967-1973. 3 vols. Berkeley, California:
University of California Press, 1990.
U.S. Department of State, Department of State Bulletin, 1968-1969. Washington, 1968-1969.
U.S. House of Representatives, Armed Services Committee, United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: Study
Prepared by the Department of Defense. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971.
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B.
Johnson, 1968-69. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970.
Memoirs
Bui Diem with David Chanoff. In the Jaws of History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Bundy, William P. A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency. New York: Hill and Wang,
1998.
Califano, Joseph A. The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years. New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1991.
Chennault, Anna. The Education of Anna. New York: Times Books, 1979.
Clifford, Clark, with Richard Holbrooke. Counsel to the President: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991.
Colby, William. Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam. Chicago:
Contemporary Books, 1989.
DeLoach, Cartha Dekle. Hoover's FBI: The Inside Story by Hoover's Trusted Lieutenant. New York: Regnery Publishing,
1995.
Humphrey, Hubert. Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics. New York: Garden City, Doubleday, 1976.
Johnson, Lyndon B. The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969. New York: Rhinehart and Winston,
1971.
Kissinger, Henry A. White House Years. Boston: Little Brown, 1979.
McNamara, Robert S., with Brian VanDeMark. In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. New York: Times
Books, 1995.
McPherson, Harry. A Political Education. Boston: Little Brown, 1972.
Nguyen Cao Ky. Twenty Years and Twenty Days. New York: Steinard Day, 1976.
Nixon, Richard M. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grossett and Dunlop, 1978.
Palmer, Bruce. The 25-Year War: America's Military Role in Vietnam. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky
Press, 1984.
Rostow, Walt W. The Diffusion of Power: An Essay in Recent History. New York: Macmillan, 1972.
Rusk, Dean, as told to Richard Rusk. As I Saw It. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990.
Taylor, Maxwell. Swords and Plowshares: A Memoir. New York: W.W. Norton, 1972.

Westmoreland, William C. A Soldier Reports. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian

Abbreviations and Terms


AAA, antiaircraft artillery
ADA, Americans for Democratic Action
AID, Agency for International Development
A/IM, Office of Information Management, Bureau of Administration
ANZUS, Australia, New Zealand, United States
Arc Light, codename for U.S. B-52 bombing strikes in Southeast Asia
ARVN, Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam
Aspen, codename for U.S. peace negotiations through Swedish channels
B-52, USAF strategic bomber
Barrell Roll, codename for U. S. air operations over northern Laos
Bus (Buzz), nickname for General Earle Wheeler
C, Confidential
C-130, USAF transport plane
CAP, series indicator for outgoing White House telegrams
CAS, controlled American source
CBS, Columbia Broadcasting System
CIA, Central Intelligence Agency
CIDG, Civilian Irregular Defense Group, Republic of Vietnam
Chieu Hoi, Republic of South Vietnam's repatriation program for the Viet Cong
CINCPAC, Commander in Chief, Pacific
CINCPACAF, Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Force
CINCPACFLT, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet
CINCUSARPAC, Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific
CIP, Commercial Import Program
CJCS, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
CMC, Clark M. Clifford
COMUSMACV, Commander, U. S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
CORDS, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development
COSVN, Central Office for South Vietnam
CVT, Congress of Vietnamese Trade Unions
Daniel Boone, clandestine U.S.-ARVN reconnaissance operations into Cambodian border areas
DCI, Director of Central Intelligence
DCM, Deputy Chief of Mission
Delto, Department of State telegram to the Paris Delegation
Dep, Deputy
Deptel, Department of State telegram
DFF, Democratic Freedom Force
DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency
DIOCC, Defense Intelligence Office Command Center
DMZ, Demilitarized Zone
DOD, Department of Defense
DRV, Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)
EA, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
EA/ACA, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Office of Asian Communist Affairs
EA/VN, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Vietnam Working Group
EST, eastern standard time
Exdis, exclusive distribution
FOMIN, foreign minister
FRC, Federal Records Center
FULRO, United Front for the Struggle of the Oppressed Race, a movement for Montagnard autonomy
FWMAF, Free World Military Assistance Forces
FY, fiscal year

FYI, for your information


GME, George M. Esley
GMT, Greenwich Mean Time
GON, Government of Norway
GVN, Government of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
HAK, Henry A. Kissinger
HARVAN, Harriman-Vance mission to the Paris peace talks
HES, Hamlet Evaluation System
HHH, Hubert H. Humphrey
ICBM, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile
ICC, International Control Commission
ICEX, Infrastructure Coordination and Exploitation
ICRC, International Committee of the Red Cross
IMF, International Monetary Fund
INR, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
INR/DDC, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Deputy Director for Coordination
INR/IL, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Intelligence Liaison
INR/REA, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of Research and Analysis for East Asia and Pacific
ISA, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
IS/OIS, Office of Information Services
JCS, Joint Chiefs of Staff
JCSM, Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum
JGS, Joint General Staff, Vietnamese Armed Forces
JUSPAO, Joint United States Public Affairs Office
KIA, killed in action
LBJ, Lyndon Baines Johnson
Lien Minh, National Alliance for Social Revolution
Limdis, limited distribution
LOC, line of communication
M-16, U.S. military field rifle
MACV, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
MAP, Military Assistance Program
MiG, Soviet-built fighter aircraft
NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NLF (also NFL, FNL), National Liberation Front
NIE, National Intelligence Estimate
NM, nautical miles
NMCC, National Military Command Center
NMICC, National Military Intelligence Coordination Center
Nodis, no distribution
Noforn, no foreign distribution
NP, National Police
NPFF, National Police Field Force
NSA, National Security Agency
NSAM, National Security Action Memorandum
NSC, National Security Council
NSF, National Salvation Front
NVA, North Vietnamese Army
NVN, North Vietnam
OASD, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
O/B, order of battle
Ohio, codename for secret peace initiative mediated by the Norwegian Government
ONE, Office of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency
OSD, Office of the Secretary of Defense

PAVN, People's Army of Vietnam (North Vietnam)


PF, Popular Forces
PFF, Police Field Forces
PHN, Paul H. Nitze
Phoenix, U.S. military-supported program against the Viet Cong infrastructure
Phung Hoang, South Vietnamese Government-sponsored program to attack the Viet Cong infrastructure
P.L., Public Law
PM, Prime Minister
PNO, numbering system for recorded conversations
POL, petroleum, oil, lubricants; political
POLAD, Political Adviser
POW, prisoner of war
Prairie Fire, interdiction operations in Laos
PW, prisoner of war
PX, post exchange
RD, Revolutionary Development
recce, reconnaissance
reftel, reference telegram
RF, Regional Forces
RG, Record Group
ROK, Republic of Korea
Rolling Thunder, codename for program of U.S. air operations in North Vietnam
RP, route packages
RT, Rolling Thunder
RVN, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
RVNAF, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces
S, Secret
SAM, surface to air missiles
SAVA, Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
SC, Security Council
SEA, Southeast Asia
Sea Dragon, naval interdiction operations along the North Vietnamese coast up to the 20th parallel
SEATO, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
SecDef, Secretary of Defense
Secto, series indicator for telegrams from the Secretary of State while away from Washington
septel, separate telegram
SFRC, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Shining Brass, codename for cross-border operations into Laos and the DMZ
Sitrep, situation report
SNIE, Special National Intelligence Estimate
SOG, Studies and Observation Group
S/S, Executive Secretariat, Department of State
Steel Tiger, codename for U.S. air strikes against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos
SVN, South Vietnam
SYG, Secretary-General of the United Nations
TASS, official Soviet news agency
TCC, troop contributing countries
Todel, State Department telegrams to the delegation in Paris
Tosec, series indicator for telegrams to the Secretary of State while away from Washington
TS, Top Secret
TV, television
U, unclassified
UAW, United Auto Workers
UK, United Kingdom
UN, United Nations
UNGA, United Nations General Assembly
UPI, United Press International
US, United States
USAID, United States Agency for International Development Mission
USG, United States Government
USIA, United States Information Agency
USMACV, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam

USOM, United States Operations Mission


USSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
USUN, United States Mission to the United Nations
VC, Viet Cong
VCI, Viet Cong Infrastructure
VIET, Vietnam
Viet Cong (Vietcong), South Vietnamese and American term for soldiers of the National Liberation Front
VN, Vietnam; Vietnam Working Group, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
VNAF, South Vietnamese Air Force
VNCC, Vietnam Coordinating Committee
VNQDD, Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang (Vietnamese Nationalist Party)
VP, Vice President
WH, White House
Z, Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time)

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian

Names
Abrams, General Creighton, Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Acheson, Dean, former Secretary of State 1949-1953 and informal adviser to the President
Agnew, Spiro T., Vice-Presidential nominee of the Republican Party; after November 5, Vice President-elect
Albert, Carl, Representative (D-Oklahoma)
Algard, Ole, Norwegian Ambassador to the People's Republic of China
Allott, Gordon, Senator (D-Colorado)
Ball, George, Representative to the United Nations, May 14-September 25, 1968
Beech, Keyes, reporter, Chicago Daily News
Berger, Samuel R., Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam
Black, Eugene, Adviser to the President on Southeast Asian Economic and Social Development
Bogomolov, Sergei, First Secretary, Soviet Embassy in Paris
Brown, General George S., Commander, 7th Air Force
Brown, Harold, Secretary of the Air Force
Bui Diem, South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States
Bundy, McGeorge, President, Ford Foundation and informal adviser to the President
Bundy, William P., Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Bunker, Ellsworth, Ambassador to Vietnam
Calhoun, John A., Political Officer, Embassy in Saigon
Califano, Joseph, Special Assistant to the President
Carver, George A., Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs to the Director of Central Intelligence
Chapman, General Leonard, Marine Corps Commandant
Chennault, Anna, Co-chair, Women for Nixon
Christian, George A., Special Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary
Clifford, Clark M., Secretary of Defense
Colby, William, Deputy Director, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support, to November 1968;

thereafter Director
Dang Duc Khoi, Special Assistant to the Vice President, Republic of Vietnam
Davidson, Daniel I., Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large and member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace
Talks
Davis, Saville, reporter, The Christian Science Monitor
De Gaulle, Charles, President of France
Debr, Michel, French Minister of Foreign Affairs
Deepe, Beverley, correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor
DeLoach, Cartha Dekle, Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Dirksen, Everett, Senator (R-Illinois)
Dobrynin, Anatoliy, Soviet Ambassador to the United States
Duong Van Minh, General, exiled South Vietnamese general
Eisenhower, Dwight D., President of the United States, 1953-1961
Elsey, George M., Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
Enthoven, Alain, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis
Finch, Robert, California Lieutenant-Governor and adviser to Presidential candidate Richard Nixon
Flowerree, Charles C., staff member, Vietnam Working Group, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of
State
Ford, Gerald R., Representative (R-Michigan)
Fortas, Abe, Associate Justice, Supreme Court
Fowler, Henry (Hugh), Secretary of the Treasury
Ginsburgh, Robert N., member, National Security Council Staff
Goldberg, Arthur J., former Representative to the United Nations and informal adviser to the President
Goodpaster, General Andrew J., Deputy Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Gorton, John, Australian Prime Minister
Goulding, Phil G., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
Gromyko, Andrei, Soviet Foreign Minister
Ha Van Lau, Deputy Chief, North Vietnamese Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Habib, Philip C., Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and member, U.S. Delegation to
the Paris Peace Talks

Halperin, Morton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Plans and Arms Control)
Hardesty, Robert, Assistant to the President
Harlow, Bryce, adviser to the Nixon Presidential campaign and the President-elect's spokesman
Harriman, W. Averell, Ambassador-at-Large; Head, U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Helms, Richard R., Director of Central Intelligence
Herz, Martin F., Country Director, Cambodia and Laos, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Hickenlooper, Bourke, Senator (R-Iowa)
Ho Chi Minh, President, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Hoang Xuan Lam, General, Republic of Vietnam Commander, I Corps
Holbrooke, Richard C., staff member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Holdridge, John, Deputy Director, Office of Research and Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific, Bureau of Intelligence
and Research, Department of State
Hoover, J. Edgar, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Hughes, Thomas L., Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
Humphrey, Hubert H., Vice President
Jackson, Henry, Senator (D-Washington)
Johnson, Lyndon B., President
Johnson, W. Thomas (Tom), Assistant Press Secretary to the President
Jones, James R. (Jim), Special Assistant to the President
Jorden, William J., member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Kaplan, Harold, member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Karamessines, Thomas, Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency
Katzenbach, Nicholas deB., Under Secretary of State
Kissinger, Henry A., informal adviser to the Nixon Presidential campaign and principal foreign policy adviser to
President-elect Nixon
Komer, Robert W., Deputy for Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development to the Commander, Military Assistance
Command, Vietnam, and Special Assistant to the Ambassador to Vietnam, to October 28; thereafter Ambassadordesignate to Turkey
Kosygin, Alexei, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
Kuchel, Thomas, Senator (R-California)
Le Duc Tho, Special Adviser to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks

Le Nguyen Thang, General, Republic of Vietnam Commander, III Corps


LeMay, Curtis, Vice Presidential candidate, American Independent Party
Loan. See Nguyen Ngoc Loan
Lodge, Henry Cabot, Ambassador-at-Large to May 7, 1968; Ambassador to Germany after April 22, 1968
Mai Van Bo, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Representative to France
Mansfield, Mike, Senator (D-Montana)
Marks, Leonard, Director, United States Information Agency
McCain, Admiral John S., Commander in Chief, Pacific
McCloskey, Robert J., Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, and Department Spokesman
McConnell, General John P., Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
McCormack, John, Speaker of the House of Representatives (D-Massachusetts)
McGovern, Goerge, Senator (D-South Dakota)
McNamara, Robert S., President, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank)
McPherson, Harry C., Special Counsel to the President
Middleton, Harry, Staff Assistant to the President
Moorer, Admiral Thomas, Chief of Naval Operations
Mundt, Karl E., Senator (R-South Dakota)
Murphy, Robert, Adviser to President-elect Nixon and Head of the Transition Team
Negroponte, John, staff member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Ngo Minh Loan, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ambassador to Norway
Ngo Quang Troung, General, Republic of Vietnam Commander, 1st Division, I Corps
Nguyen Cao Ky, Vice President, Republic of Vietnam; after December 8, also Adviser to and Coordinator of the South
Vietnamese Delegation at the Paris Peace Talks
Nguyen Chan, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ambassador to the Soviet Union
Nguyen Dinh Trinh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Minh Vy, member, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nguyen Ngoc An, Chieu Hoi Minister, Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Ngoc Loan, General, Director General of Police, Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Thanh Le, member and spokesman, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks

Nguyen Van Thieu, President, Republic of Vietnam


Nguyen Van Vy, Minister of Defense and Minister of Veteran's Affairs, Republic of Vietnam
Nguyen Xuan Phong, member, South Vietnamese Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Nitze, Paul H., Deputy Secretary of Defense
Nixon, Richard M., Republican candidate for President to November 5; thereafter President-elect
Oberemko, Valentin, Minister-Counselor of the Soviet Embassy in France
Palmer, General Bruce, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Vietnam
Park Chung-hee, President, Republic of Korea
Percy, Charles, Senator (R-Illinois)
Perry, Jack, Political Officer in the Embassy in France
Pham Dang Lam, Republic of Vietnam observer at the Official Conversations on Vietnam to December; thereafter head
of the Republic of Vietnam delegation to the expanded Peace Talks in Paris
Pham Van Dong, Prime Minister, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Phan Hien, member, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Phan Quang Dan, Minister of State and Chieu Hoi Minister, Republic of Vietnam
Pursley, Colonel Robert E., Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
Read, Benjamin H., Executive Secretary, Department of State
Rebozo, Bebe, friend and adviser of Richard Nixon
Ridgway, Rozanne, Political Officer, Embassy in Oslo, Norway
Rivers, Mendel, Representative (D-South Carolina)
Roche, John, Special Assistant to the President
Rostow, Walt W., Special Assistant to the President
Rowe, James R., Washington lawyer
Rusk, Dean, Secretary of State
Russell, Richard B., Senator (D-Georgia)
Sainteny, Jean, unofficial French envoy to North Vietnam
Sidle, Winant, Major General, Chief, MACV Office of Information
Smathers, George A., Senator (D-Florida)
Smith, Abbott, Admiral, Chairman, National Board of Estimates

Smith, Bromley, Executive Secretary, National Security Council


Symington, Stuart, Senator (D-Missouri)
Taylor, Admiral Rufus, Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Taylor, Maxwell, General, Special Consultant to the President
Thanh Le, see Nguyen Thanh
Thanom Kittikachon, Prime Minister of Thailand
Thant, U, United Nations Secretary-General
Thompson, Llewelyn E., Jr., Ambassador to the Soviet Union
Tibbets, Margaret Joy, Ambassador to Norway
Ton That Thien, Minister of Information, Republic of Vietnam
Tower, John G., Senator (R-Texas)
Tran Buu Kiem, member, National Liberation Front Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Tran Chanh Thanh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Vietnam
Tran Lu-Y, Refugee Minister, Republic of Vietnam
Tran Thien Khiem, Minister of Interior, Republic of Vietnam
Tran Van Don, Senator, Republic of Vietnam
Tran Van Huong, Prime Minister, Republic of Vietnam
Tran Van Lam, Senator, Republic of Vietnam, and chief of unofficial South Vietnamese Delegation in Paris.
Trueheart, William, Deputy Director for Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
Truong Dinh Dzu, political leader, Republic of Vietnam
Vance, Cyrus R., member, U.S. Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Vo Nguyen Giap, General, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Vuong Van Bac, member, South Vietnamese Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Wallace, George, American Independent Party candidate for President
Wallner, Woodruff, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy in France
Walsh, John P., Deputy Executive Secretary, Department of State
Warnke, Paul, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International and Security Affairs
Westmoreland, General William C., Army Chief of Staff

Wheeler, General Earle G., Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff


Xuan Thuy, Chief, Democratic Republic of Vietnam Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks
Zorin, Valerian, Soviet Ambassador to France

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian

Index
References are to document numbers
Abrams, Gen. Creighton W., 5, 16, 42, 44, 51, 126, 167, 171, 197, 211, 249
Assassination threat, 3, 4
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 35, 38, 62, 64, 66, 105, 108, 109, 129, 134, 135, 140, 148, 234
Military situation in Vietnam:
Cambodia, hot pursuit into, 253
Cease-fire option, 140
Communist offensives, 4, 8, 253
Communist strategy, 61, 62, 66
DMZ activity, 66, 227, 244, 248
Laos bombing, 140
Pacification counter-offensive, 234
Paris peace talks and, 66
Psychological warfare, 140
Nuclear reactor at Dalat, proposed deactivation, 215
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 44, 140
RVN participation in peace talks, 143, 148
Agnew, Spiro T., 31, 188, 207, 212
Albert, Carl, 8, 135, 166
Algard, Ole, 25, 28, 33
Allen, 16
Allott, Gordon, 22
Alsop, Joseph, 180
An. See Nguyen Ngoc An.
Anna Chennault affair. See Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks.
Arends, Leslie, 8, 166
Arms control, 237, 238
Attacks on RVN cities. See under Bombing halt leading to formal talks; under Military
situation in Vietnam:
Cambodia, hot pursuit into, 253
Cease-fire option, 140
Communist offensives, 4, 8, 253
Communist strategy, 61, 62, 66
DMZ activity, 66, 227, 244, 248
Laos bombing, 140
Pacification counter-offensive, 234
Paris peace talks and, 66
Psychological warfare, 140
Nuclear reactor at Dalat, proposed deactivation, 215
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 44, 140
RVN participation in peace talks, 143, 148
Agnew, Spiro T., 31, 188, 207, 212
Albert, Carl, 8, 135, 166
Algard, Ole, 25, 28, 33
Allen, 16
Allott, Gordon, 22
Alsop, Joseph, 180

An. See Nguyen Ngoc An.


Anna Chennault affair. See Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks.
Arends, Leslie, 8, 166
Arms control, 237, 238
Attacks on RVN cities. See under Bombing halt leading to formal talks; under Military situation in Vietnam.
Bac. See Vuong Van Bac.
Bailey, Charles W., 72
Bailey, John, 255
Ball, George, 4, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, 49, 50, 51, 70, 109, 123, 168, 187, 255
Baskakov, 2
Beech, Keyes, 189, 223
Benti, Joseph, 156
Berg, David, 50
Berger, Samuel R., 17, 57, 64, 75, 87, 93, 114, 118, 120, 136, 140, 170, 175, 178, 189, 203, 243, 249, 270, 273
Black, Eugene, 5, 41
Bo. See Mai Van Bo.
Board of National Estimates, 16
Boggs, Hale, 166, 255
Bogomolov, Sergei, 2, 34, 141, 241, 284
Bohlen, Charles E., 218
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 3, 69, 137, 234, 255
Abrams' position, 35, 108, 109, 129, 134, 135, 140
Administration discussions, 35, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140, 148, 161, 167
Announcement of, 30, 71, 72, 93, 104, 106, 108, 110, 135, 136, 139, 152, 153, 156, 158, 161, 165, 166,
167, 168, 169, 172, 173, 184
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue (see also Violations of bombing halt agreement under Paris peace talks),
19, 23, 42, 46, 55, 67, 68, 129, 132, 140, 161
Bundy's proposal, 63, 68, 77, 106
Clifford's position, 15, 69, 70, 140, 161, 213, 219, 223, 225
"Complete and unconditional halt" issue (see also Joint secret minute of understanding below), 101, 107,
135
Congressional leadership, Johnson's consultations with, 109, 135, 166
"DMZ re-establishment" issue (see also Violations of bombing halt agreement under Paris peace talks),
19, 23, 26, 29, 35, 39, 40, 43, 45, 46, 55, 111, 129, 132, 139, 140, 161
DRV strategy, 214
DRV troop withdrawals and, 56
DRV-U.S. discussions, 7, 14, 24, 32, 54, 58, 71, 76, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 149, 157, 158
Helms' position, 140
Humphrey's campaign speech re, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 50
Interval between bombing halt and beginning of talks, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 78, 79, 82, 84, 85, 86,
88, 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 115, 116, 117, 119, 122, 123,
124, 125, 128, 129
JCS position, 68, 69, 70, 108, 161
Johnson's conversations with Nixon re, 38, 53
Johnson's message to military commanders, proposed, 191
Johnson's position, 4, 5, 70, 140, 141
Johnson's public remarks, 72
Joint secret minute of understanding, 95, 99, 101, 110, 116, 119, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128,
132, 149, 153, 155, 157, 158
LeMay's position, 121
Military consequences of halt, 35, 38, 68, 103, 105, 111, 140
Momyer's position, 111
Nixon's position, 38
Ohio channel of communication and, 25, 28, 29, 33
Political and public reaction in U.S., 69, 106, 108, 109, 173, 188
Postponements, 146, 147, 149, 150, 151, 153, 155, 182
Presidential campaign in U.S., impact on, 70, 123, 125, 129, 255
Presidential candidates informed about, 80, 113, 135, 139, 140, 166, 168
Reciprocity problem, U.S. handling of, 133
Reconnaissance flights and (see also Violations of bombing halt agreement under Paris peace talks), 35,
65, 67, 68, 177
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 35, 49, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 108, 109, 130, 132, 134, 140
Rostow's position, 131
Rusk's position, 69, 70, 140
RVN participation in peace talks and, 19, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 32, 34, 38, 42, 43, 45, 46, 50, 54, 55, 58, 59,

60, 65, 67, 140


RVN position, 62, 64, 200
Security breaches re negotiations, 75, 77, 86, 93, 107, 115, 122, 189
Soviet-DRV contacts, 41, 101
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement, 15, 18, 20, 26, 34, 50, 51
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 9, 26, 34, 47, 60, 88, 98, 99, 101, 107, 122, 130, 141, 150
Taylor's position, 140
Troop contributing countries and, 68, 70, 71, 75, 79, 135, 140
Westmoreland's position, 69
Wheeler's position, 69, 140
Boye, 25
Brandt, Willy, 211
Brown, Gen. George S., 140, 211
Brown, Harold, 167, 233
Bui Diem, 63, 87, 144, 189, 222, 228, 240, 258, 261
Paris peace talks, 89, 176, 210, 250, 258, 264
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 145, 161, 194, 207, 232
RVN participation in peace talks, 154, 176, 201, 207, 209, 210, 219
Bundy, McGeorge, 63, 68, 77, 106
Bundy, William P., 19, 23, 29, 51, 57, 63, 65, 73, 74, 78, 79, 82, 85, 86, 90, 93, 94, 110, 115, 118, 152, 153, 154, 175,
176, 179, 183, 193, 201, 204, 206, 209, 210, 226, 230, 235, 238, 244, 257, 258, 261, 271, 272, 276, 280
Bunker, Ellsworth, 16, 42, 89, 126, 142, 171, 174, 197, 201, 203, 229, 235, 240, 243, 249, 264, 287
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 62, 64, 66, 75, 105, 108, 109, 136, 155, 165, 167, 182, 189, 200,
214, 219, 255
Military situation in Vietnam, 8, 44, 61, 62, 66, 91, 214, 259, 265, 285
Nuclear reactor at Dalat, proposed deactivation of, 215
Ohio channel of communication, 25
Paris peace talks:
DRV-RVN contacts, proposed, 208
DRV strategy, 66, 214
DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 183, 190, 193
Military situation in Vietnam and, 66, 214
Procedural arrangements, 96, 182, 259, 270, 272, 273, 276, 277, 278
"Proceeding without RVN" option, 182, 214
Propaganda re, 114
RVN as head of delegation, proposed, 206, 208, 216, 217, 219, 222
RVN delegation membership, 228, 236
RVN domestic situation, impact on, 242
RVN participation, 24, 140, 143, 146, 149, 155, 159, 162, 170, 175, 178, 200, 206, 208,
214, 219, 222, 228, 236
RVN strategy, 259
RVN-U.S. joint position on negotiating issues, 208, 222, 226, 228
"Status of participants" issue, 87, 90, 94, 96, 114, 136, 170, 178, 200, 208, 217
Republic of Vietnam (RVN) (see also RVN subheadings above):
Civil defense program, 91
Corruption, 91
Coup rumors, 57
Economic situation, 91, 285
Land policy, 44
Lien Minh political front, 91, 230, 251
Minh's return, 44, 91
Paris peace talks' impact on domestic situation, 242
Political situation, 91, 265, 285
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 44, 91
Weekly reports, 44, 91, 259, 285

Burke, John, 57, 209, 210, 258


Burkley, Dr., 244
Burma, 220
Calhoun, John A., 222
Califano, Joseph, 38, 123
Cambodia, 5, 140, 220, 253
Carmichael, Stokely, 104
Carver, George A., Jr., 11, 16, 94, 201, 256
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 96
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 67
Coup in RVN, rumors, 17
Lien Minh political front, 11, 230
Military situation in Vietnam, 37, 72, 263
Paris peace talks, 94, 114, 258, 263
Phoenix program, 256
RVN participation in peace talks, 67, 201, 225, 235
Chan. See Nguyen Tho Chan.
Chapman, Gen. Leonard, 69, 167
Chennault, Anna, 173, 186, 191, 194, 207, 212, 232
China, People's Republic of, 9, 220
Christian, George A., 3, 4, 12, 22, 35, 38, 67, 68, 69, 72, 103, 104, 140, 148, 150, 152, 156, 168, 189, 202, 227, 231,
234, 238, 244, 248, 257, 272
Cleveland, Harlan, 4
Clifford, Clark M., 10, 23, 36, 42, 63, 67, 78, 115, 123, 166, 167, 193, 228, 235, 274, 287
Arms control, 237, 238
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 139, 255
Abrams' position, 129, 140
Administration discussions, 35, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140, 148,
161
Announcement of, 72, 106, 139, 153, 156, 161, 173
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue, 68, 161
Bundy's proposal, 106
Clifford's defense of administration policy, 213, 219, 223, 225
Clifford's position, 15, 69, 70, 140, 161
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 35, 161
Interval between bombing halt and beginning of talks, 73, 103, 104
Johnson's message to military commanders, proposed, 191
Joint secret minute of understanding, 121
Military consequences, 140
Political and public reaction in U.S., 69, 106
Postponement of halt, 153
Presidential campaign in U.S., impact on, 70
Reconnaissance flights and, 68
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 68, 70
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement of, 15
Troop contributing countries and, 68
Military situation in Vietnam, 3
Attacks on RVN cities, 257
Cambodia, hot pursuit into, 253
Casualties, 274
Communist infiltration from DRV, 231
Communist offensives, 4, 8, 253, 274
Congressional hearings on, 22
DMZ activity, 211, 227, 248
Laos bombing, 202, 248, 274
Nixon's briefings, 211
Reconnaissance flights, attacks on, 231, 234, 238
Status reports on, 246

Withdrawal of troops, 12, 35, 238, 244


Nixon transition, 211
Nuclear reactor at Dalat, proposed deactivation of, 215
Paris peace talks, 1, 150, 161, 202, 213, 227, 231, 237, 244, 248, 258, 272, 274, 275
Presidential campaign in U.S., 12, 255
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 161, 191, 192, 194, 195
RVN participation in peace talks, 140, 148, 150, 161, 180, 202, 204, 229
Thieu, attitude toward, 195
U.S. policy on Vietnam, 180, 195, 202
Colby, William, 197, 249
Communist insurgency. See Military situation in Vietnam.
Communist subversion in Southeast Asia, 220
Congress, U.S., 5, 22, 69, 109, 135, 166
Connally, John, 108
Cooper, John Sherman, 51
Corcoran, Maj. Gen. Charles A., 249
Corcoran, Thomas, 173
Corner, F. A., 79
Crane, Kent, 212
Cronkite, Walter, 189
Curtis, Carl, 51
Cushman, Lt. Col. Robert E., 140
Czechoslovakia, 122
Daley, Richard, 255
Dan. See Phan Quang Dan.
Dang Duc Khoi, 219, 258, 264, 277
Daniel, Price, 4, 167
Davidson, Daniel I., 20, 25, 28, 29, 33, 58
Davis, Jeanne, 179
Davis, Nathaniel, 4, 35
Davis, Saville, 192, 194
Debr, Michel, 51, 52
Deepe, Beverly, 194
De Gaulle, Charles, 168
DeLoach, Cartha Dekle "Deke," 212
Deming, Frederick, 231
Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) (see also Bombing halt leading to formal talks; Military situation in Vietnam;
Paris peace talks), 214, 220
Ohio channel of communication, 1, 20, 25, 28, 29, 33, 43
Papal peace initiative, 4, 5
Presidential campaign in U.S., interest in, 28
RVN non-participation in peace talks, preference for, 214
Soviet Union, relations with, 9
Diem. See Bui Diem.
Dirksen, Everett M., 5, 31, 36, 42, 81, 135, 166, 207
Johnson's conversations with, 31, 38, 42, 81, 113, 181, 205, 232
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 181, 188, 192, 232
RVN participation in peace talks, 205, 207, 209
DMZ. See under Bombing halt leading to formal talks; under Military situation in Vietnam; under Paris peace talks.
Doan Cong Lap, 57
Dobrynin, Anatoliy F., 1, 67, 68, 164, 218, 241
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 9, 18, 82, 86, 98, 100, 107, 115, 122, 130, 177
Paris peace talks, 92, 98, 122, 130, 177, 218
Do Cao Tri, Gen., 17
Don. See Tran Van Don.

Dong. See Pham Van Dong.


Dubs, Adolph, 218
Duc. See Nguyen Phu Duc.
Dulles, John Foster, 255
Duong Van Minh, Gen., 17, 44, 91, 140
Dzu. See Truong Dinh Dzu.
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 31, 69, 106, 112, 135, 161, 202
Elsey, George M., 15, 161, 191, 195, 202, 223, 229, 238
Engel, David, 233
Enthoven, Alain, 1
Evans, Rowland, 50
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 209, 212
Fessenden, Russell, 211
Finch, Robert, 187
Finney, Thomas, 50
Fitzgibbon, George, 51, 77
Ford, Gerald R., 8, 31, 113, 135, 166, 168
Fortas, Abe, 140, 255
Foster, William, 161
Fowler, Henry, 4, 35, 167, 231, 234
France, 263
Franklin, Maj. Gen. Wesley C., 220
Fried, Edward, 4, 231, 234
Fulbright, J. William, 207, 237
Gandhi, Indira, 72
Geneva Conference of 1962, 226, 228
Geyelin, Philip, 180
Giai, 25
Giap. See Vo Nguyen Giap, Gen.
Ginsburgh, Robert N., 13, 46, 56, 71, 117, 150, 167
Gleysteen, Dirk, 183, 210
Goldberg, Arthur J., 31, 42, 77
Goodpaster, Gen. Andrew J., 140, 148, 150, 151, 211, 244, 249
Goritsky, 241
Gorton, John, 68, 79, 86
Goulding, Phil G., 15, 191, 223
Graham, Katharine, 180
Gromyko, Andrei, 47, 51, 68
Habib, Philip C., 7, 71, 86, 120, 150, 152, 157, 184, 203, 208, 226, 240, 241, 245, 250, 260, 263, 287
Hai. See Tran Van Hai, Gen.
Halperin, Morton, 223
Hardesty, Robert, 167
Harlow, Bryce, 31, 181, 244
Harriman, W. Averell, 26, 28, 33, 60, 66, 94, 96, 98, 107, 109, 119, 122, 123, 149, 173, 174, 176, 178, 179, 184, 201,
206, 208, 210, 211, 216, 217, 218, 219, 222, 226, 227, 228, 235, 236, 244, 260, 264, 276, 279, 284
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 255
Announcement of, 152, 158
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue, 19, 55, 132
Clifford's defense of administration policy, 213
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 19, 45, 55, 132
DRV-U.S. agreement, 158
DRV-U.S. discussions, 7, 24, 32, 54, 58, 76, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158
Humphrey's campaign speech re, 50
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 76, 82, 84, 88, 95, 99, 110, 115, 116, 124,
128
Joint secret minute of understanding, 95, 116, 124, 128, 132
Postponements, 150
Reciprocity problem, U.S. handling of, 133
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 49, 132

RVN participation in peace talks and, 19, 24, 27, 32, 45, 54, 55, 58
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement of, 20
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 47, 88, 141
Johnson, assessment of, 255
Military situation in Vietnam, 21, 241, 248
Ohio channel of communication, 20, 25, 43
Paris peace talks, 22, 248, 246
Assessment of future prospects, 263
Bilateral DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 183, 185, 193, 196, 203
CIA support for U.S. delegation, 263
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 245
French influence on, 263
Guidance for Nixon administration negotiators, 287
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 23, 65, 110, 127
Presidential campaign in U.S. and, 45
Private meetings, 3, 7, 13, 14, 24, 32, 45, 54, 58, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158, 287
Procedural arrangements, 93, 120, 198, 239, 240, 261, 269, 271, 280, 281, 283
"Proceeding without RVN" option, 185
Recall, possible, 50, 51
RVN as head of delegation, proposed, 203
RVN delay in arrival, 240
RVN delegation membership, 241
RVN intransigence, 188
RVN proposal for three-phase approach, 261
RVN participation, 7, 2, 19, 24, 27, 32, 45, 54, 55, 58
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 241
"Status of participants" issue, 21, 241, 261
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 233, 241, 248
"Withdrawal of troops" issue, 20
Presidential campaign in U.S., 20, 45, 50, 51, 255
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 213
Republic of Vietnam political situation, 255
Rusk, criticism of, 255
U.S. policy on Vietnam, assessment of, 255
Harris, Louis, 108
Hasluck, Paul, 51
Ha Van Lau, 7, 26, 32, 43, 54, 95, 224
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 55, 132, 149, 184
DRV-U.S. agreement, 157, 158
DRV-U.S. discussions, 84, 116, 124, 128, 149, 157, 158
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 84, 116, 124, 128
Joint secret minute of understanding, 116, 124, 128, 149, 157
Soviet-DRV contacts, 101
Military situation in Vietnam, 233, 260
Paris peace talks:
DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 184, 196
First procedural meeting, 286
Private meetings, 45, 84, 116, 124, 128, 158, 184, 196, 221, 233, 234, 245, 260, 284, 287
Procedural arrangements, 184, 196, 245, 260, 278, 280, 282, 284
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 221
Reconnaissance flights, attacks on, 233
Helms, Richard, 3, 4, 12, 16, 17, 22, 37, 166, 167, 211, 220, 230, 234, 235, 238, 256, 275

Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 35, 67, 68, 72, 104, 139, 140, 148
Johnson's assessment of, 207
Lien Minh political front, 11
Military situation in Vietnam, 72, 202, 227, 238, 244
RVN participation in peace talks, 140, 201
Herz, Martin F., 118, 120, 136, 178, 217, 222, 243, 270, 273, 287
Hickenlooper, Bourke, 173
Hixon, Robert C., 161
Hoang Duc Nha, 230
Hoang Xuan Lam, Gen., 109
Ho Chi Minh, 2, 4, 5
Holbrooke, Richard C., 7, 233, 250
Holyoake, Keith, 51, 79
Hoopes, Townsend, 63
Hoover, J. Edgar, 209, 252
Hornig, Don, 202
Hughes, Col. Donald, 244
Hughes, Thomas L., 12, 43, 48
Humphrey, Hubert H., 1, 4, 12, 31, 36, 77, 103, 106, 113, 148, 172, 207
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 50, 80, 135, 166, 168, 255
Johnson's conversations with, 39, 80, 166, 168
Paris peace talks, 5, 80, 227
Presidential campaign in U.S., 12, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 50, 51, 108, 168, 173, 199, 255
Humphrey, Muriel, 168
Huong. See Tran Van Huong.
Ignatius, Paul, 167
Indonesia, 220, 262
Jackson, Henry, 22
Japan, 262
Javits, Jacob, 51
Johnson, Lady Bird, 207
Johnson, Luci, 168
Johnson, Lyndon B., 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 44, 54, 58, 84, 88, 91, 92, 95, 96, 99, 101, 119, 122, 124, 136, 149, 152, 162, 165,
184, 196, 203, 206, 210, 217, 218, 225, 226, 228, 234, 236, 237, 241, 245, 259, 262, 268, 269, 285
Arms control, 238
Ball's conversation with, 41
Ball's resignation from UN, 36
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 4, 5, 46, 55, 70, 72, 137, 140, 141, 255
Abrams' position, 35, 108, 109, 129, 134, 135, 140
Administration discussions, 35, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140,
148, 161, 167
Announcement of halt, 30, 72, 93, 104, 106, 135, 139, 153, 156, 161, 166, 167, 168, 169,
172, 173
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue, 42, 67, 68, 129, 140
Bundy's proposal, 77, 106
Clifford's defense of administration policy, 213
"Complete and unconditional halt" issue, 135
Congressional leadership, consultation with, 109, 135, 166
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 39, 111, 129, 139, 140
DRV troop withdrawals and, 56
DRV-U.S. discussions, 71
Humphrey's campaign speech re, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 50
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 86, 97, 100, 102, 103,
104, 108, 109, 115, 116, 117, 123, 125, 129
Johnson's conversations with Nixon re, 38, 53
Johnson's message to military commanders, proposed, 191
Joint secret minute of understanding, 121, 123, 125, 126
Military consequences, 35, 38, 68, 111, 140

Momyer's position, 111


"Nuanced language" by DRV, 14
Political and public reaction in U.S., 69, 106, 108, 109, 173, 188
Postponements, 146, 147, 151, 153
Presidential campaign in U.S., impact on, 70, 123, 125, 129
Presidential candidates informed about, 80, 113, 135, 139, 140, 166, 168
Reconnaissance flights and, 35, 67, 68
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 49, 67, 68, 69, 70, 108, 109, 130, 134, 140
Rostow's position, 131
Rusk's position, 140
RVN participation in peace talks and, 38, 42, 45, 50, 59, 67, 140
RVN position, 62
Security breaches re negotiations, 75, 77, 86, 115, 189
Soviet-DRV contacts, 41
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement of, 20, 50, 51
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 47, 122, 130
Troop contributing countries and, 70, 135, 140
Cambodia, 5, 253
Clifford's views on Johnson's position, 195
Dirksen, assessment of, 207
Dirksen's conversations with, 31, 38, 42, 81, 113, 181, 205, 232
Final comments as President, 286
Harriman's assessment of, 255
Helms, assessment of, 207
Honolulu Conference, proposed, 51, 52
Humphrey's conversations with, 39, 80, 166, 168
Kosygin's communications with, 122, 130, 138, 141, 164, 177, 255
Mansfield's conversation with, 77
McNamara's conversation with, 171
Military situation in Vietnam, 3
Attacks on RVN cities, 202, 257
Cambodia, hot pursuit into, 253
Cease-fire option, 140
Communist end-of-year offensive, possible, 252, 253, 254
Communist infiltration from DRV, 231
Communist strategy, 6, 62
Congressional hearings on, 22
DMZ activity, 202, 227, 244, 248
Laos bombing, 172
Nixon's briefings, 252
Pacification counter-offensive, 91
Psychological warfare, 140
Reconnaissance flights, attacks on, 231
Status reports on, 22, 246
U.S. planning for future operations, 18
U.S. strategy during bombing halt, 172
Withdrawals of troops, 12, 35
Nixon's conversations with, 38, 53, 80, 166, 187, 207, 211
Nixon transition, 211
Ohio channel of communication, 1, 20, 25
Papal peace initiative, 4, 5
Paris peace talks (see also RVN participation in peace talks below), 1, 22, 287
DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 229
Harriman's recall, possible, 50, 51
Harriman's status report, 246
Johnson-Kosygin communications re, 122, 130, 138, 141, 164, 177, 255
Johnson's final comments as President, 286
Johnson's message to Thieu re start of substantive talks, 142
Nixon's briefing, 252
Procedural arrangements, 272, 275, 276, 279
"Proceeding without RVN" option, 150, 151, 213, 227, 229
RVN as head of delegation, proposed, 204, 206

RVN delay in arrival, 244


RVN-NLF secret talks, proposed, 224
RVN participation in peace talks, 38, 42, 45, 50, 59, 67, 140, 143, 146, 148, 150, 151,
160, 163, 171, 172, 175, 188, 200, 202, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209, 229
RVN proposal for two-phase approach, 258
"Status of participants" issue, 123
United front by U.S. politicians, 5, 80, 81
Vance's assessment of, 49
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 221, 231, 248
Presidential campaign in U.S., 12, 31, 42, 50, 51, 70, 123, 125, 129, 108, 168, 173, 199, 255
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 140, 145, 146, 148, 163, 168, 173, 181, 186, 187, 188, 192,
194, 207, 212, 232
Rowe's conversation with, 173
Russell's conversations with, 109, 125, 172
RVN Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 140
RVN political situation, 140
Thieu's communications with, 142, 151, 160, 175, 276, 277, 279
Johnson, Tom, 8, 12, 22, 35, 36, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140, 148, 150, 152, 156, 202,
211, 227, 234, 237, 238, 244, 248, 272, 275
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) (see also Wheeler, Gen. Earle G.), 35, 51, 68, 69, 70, 108, 161, 211, 253, 274
Jones, James R. "Jim," 108, 140, 166, 168, 181, 184, 200, 205
Jorden, William J., 22, 51, 103, 258, 264
Kalb, Marvin, 72, 146
Kapenstein, Ira, 50
Kaplan, Harold, 22, 50, 51
Kaplow, Herb, 187
Karamessines, Thomas, 11, 94, 96, 114, 144, 148
Katzenbach, Nicholas deB., 18, 19, 23, 29, 51, 55, 65, 71, 154, 167, 175, 183, 204, 206, 218, 226, 247, 255
Kennedy, Edward M., 1, 50
Kennedy, John F., 135, 172
Khiem. See Tran Thien Khiem.
Khoi. See Dang Duc Khoi.
Kilday, Lowell, 272
Kirk, Roger, 243
Kissinger, Henry A., 244, 262, 266
Klein, Herbert, 123
Komer, Robert W., 16, 44, 197, 255
Kosygin, Alexei N., 1, 9, 15, 20, 68, 69, 150, 172, 237
Johnson's communications with, 122, 130, 138, 141, 164, 177, 255
Kraft, Joseph, 50, 180
Kuchel, Thomas, 22, 166
Ky. See Nguyen Cao Ky.
Ky (DRV official), 260
Laird, Melvin, 8
Lam. See Hoang Xuan Lam, Gen.; Pham Dang Lam; Tran Van Lam.
Laos, 59, 69, 140, 172, 202, 220, 247, 248, 262, 274
Latin America, 125
Lau. See Ha Van Lau.
Leddy, John M., 4
Le Duc Tho, 2, 66, 238, 241
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 24, 27, 32, 54, 55, 58
Paris peace talks, 3, 7, 13, 20, 24, 32, 54, 58, 287
Le Nguyen Khang, Gen., 91
Levinson, Lawrence, 167
Lien Minh political front, 11, 91, 230, 251
Lincoln, Frank, 246

Linder, Harold, 5
Lipscomb, Glenard, 35
Livesay, R. Eugene, 274
Loan. See Ngo Minh Loan; Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Gen.
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 211, 287
Long, Russell, 106
Lu-Y. See Tran Lu-Y.
Lyng, 33, 43
Macy, John, 246
Mai Tho Truyen, 91
Mai Van Bo, 266, 284
Malaysia, 220
Malik, Adam, 238
Manac'h, Etienne, 282, 283, 284
Manatos, Mike, 5
Mansfield, Mike, 5, 31, 51, 72, 77, 135, 166, 168, 207, 209
Marcos, Ferdinand, 68, 75
Marder, Murrey, 50, 51, 248
Marks, Leonard, 4, 35, 167
Marshall, John, 79
Martin, William McChesney, 231
McCarthy, Eugene, 1, 36, 50, 255
McCloskey, Robert J., 104, 194, 217
McCone, John, 31
McConnell, Gen. John P., 69, 103, 111, 140, 227, 244, 274, 275
McCormack, John, 8, 42, 113, 135, 166
McGovern, George, 1, 264
McGrory, Mary, 264
McNamara, Robert S., 171, 255
McPherson, Gen., 274
McPherson, Harry C., Jr., 56, 73, 140, 148, 152, 156, 161, 168
Middleton, Harry, 167
Military situation in Vietnam (see also Bombing halt leading to formal talks), 3, 16, 18, 220, 243
Attacks on RVN cities, 21, 162, 202, 257
Cambodia, hot pursuit into, 253
Casualties, 91, 274
Cease-fire option, 4, 16, 129, 140, 224
CIA report on, 72
Communist infiltration from DRV, 231
Communist offensives, 4, 8, 9, 16, 37, 91, 252, 253, 254, 274
Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia, 140
Communist strategy, 6, 8, 44, 61, 62, 66
Congressional hearings on, 22
Covert operations in DRV, 48
DMZ activity, 5, 66, 202, 211, 218, 221, 227, 233, 241, 244, 245, 248
Laos bombing, 140, 172, 202, 248, 274
Nixon's briefings, 211, 252
Pacification counter-offensive, 44, 91, 197, 234, 249, 259
Paris peace talks and, 66, 214
Phoenix program, 256
Political and psychological factors, 263
Prisoners of war, 260, 267
Psychological warfare, 140, 197
Reconnaissance flights, attacks on, 218, 221, 231, 233, 234, 238, 241
Soviet-U.S. discussion, 218
Status reports on, 22, 44, 246, 274
Tet offensive, 285
U.S. strategy during bombing halt, 172
Withdrawal of troops, 12, 35, 56, 238, 244, 265
Minh. See Duong Van Minh, Gen.
Mitchell, John, 146
Momyer, Gen. William, 111, 140
Moorer, Adm. Thomas, 69, 167, 257, 274

Movement to Struggle for Peace, 263


Moyers, Bill, 51
Mundt, Karl, 22
Murphy, Charles, 231, 246, 255
Murphy, Capt. Frank M., 220
Murphy, Robert, 238
Muskie, Edmund, 5, 207
National Intelligence Estimates, NIE 50-68, 220
National Liberation Front (NLF) (see also "Status of participants" issue under Paris peace talks), 224, 267
National Security Council (NSC) meetings, 4, 35, 167, 234
Negroponte, John, 7, 26, 34, 58, 119, 184, 287
Nelson, William E., 11
Ne Win, Gen., 220
Ngo Minh Loan, 20, 28
Ngo Quang Troung, Gen., 109
Nguyen Be, 249
Nguyen Cao Ky, 17, 75, 91, 93, 94, 165, 170, 201, 263
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 136, 189
Paris peace talks, 90, 94, 114, 136, 144, 159, 200, 219, 235, 236, 241, 250, 258, 261, 270, 277
RVN political situation, 140
Nguyen Minh Vy, 84, 157, 158, 184, 233
Nguyen Ngoc An, 208, 240, 250
Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Gen., 91
Nguyen Phu Duc, 144, 170, 228, 270, 273
Nguyen Thi Binh, Madame, 184, 207, 233, 247, 286
Nguyen Tho Chan, 20, 25, 28, 33, 43
Nguyen Van Huong, 11, 230
Nguyen Van Huyen, 235
Nguyen Van Kieu, 148, 163, 178, 223
Nguyen Van Thieu, 4, 9, 12
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 62, 64, 75, 79, 93, 94, 103, 104, 109, 136, 151, 165, 167, 189, 200,
219, 225
Clifford's attitude toward, 195
Johnson's communications with, 142, 151, 160, 175, 276, 277, 279
Military situation in Vietnam, 16, 44, 91, 197, 249, 265
Paris peace talks (see also RVN participation in peace talks below), 144
DRV-RVN contacts, proposed, 208
Johnson's message re start of substantive talks, 142
Procedural arrangements, 85, 270, 273, 276, 277, 279, 283
"Proceeding without RVN" option, 151
Propaganda re, 114
RVN as head of RVN-U.S. delegation, proposed, 203, 208, 222
RVN delay in arrival, 244
RVN delegation membership, 228, 235, 236
RVN domestic situation, impact on, 242
RVN proposal for two-phase approach, 258
RVN-U.S. joint position on negotiating issues, 208, 222, 225, 228
"Status of participants" issue, 87, 89, 90, 94, 114, 136, 170, 178, 179, 200, 208, 225
Popular support for, 200
Republic of Vietnam (RVN):
Coup rumors, 17, 57
Economic situation, 91
Land policy, 44
Lien Minh political front, 11, 230, 251
Minh's return, 44
Paris peace talks' impact on domestic situation, 242
Political developments following peace agreement, 265
Political situation, 91, 140, 263

RVN participation in peace talks:


Nixon's urging Thieu to participate, 202, 209, 210
RVN decision to participate, 219, 222, 225, 228, 235, 236
RVN refusal, 161, 170, 171, 172, 178, 200, 225
Timing concerns of RVN officials, 140, 143, 146, 148
U.S. pressure on RVN, 150, 151, 159, 160, 162, 208
Nguyen Van Tho, 274
Nguyen Xuan Phong, 250, 286
Nitze, Paul H., 4, 15, 35, 63, 94, 161, 167, 180, 191, 215
Nixon, Pat, 207
Nixon, Richard M., 1, 36, 52, 68, 172, 207, 211, 238, 244, 262
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 38, 50, 53, 70, 80, 113, 123, 135, 166
DRV's fear of, 214
Johnson's conversations with, 38, 53, 80, 166, 187, 207, 211
Military situation in Vietnam, brief-ings on, 211, 252
Paris peace talks, 5, 80, 211, 252, 277
Presidential campaign in U.S., 31, 42, 123, 199
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 140, 145, 163, 173, 181, 186, 187, 188, 192, 207
RVN participation in peace talks, 200, 202, 205, 207, 209, 210
Norway. See Ohio channel of communication.
Novak, Robert, 50
Nuclear reactor at Dalat, proposed deactivation of, 215
Nuclear war, 9
Oberemko, Valentin, 2, 26, 34, 60, 88, 99, 101, 119, 218, 280, 281, 284
O'Brien, Lawrence, 50
O'Dwyer, Paul, 255
Ohio channel of communication, 1, 20, 25, 28, 29, 33, 43
Okun, Arthur, 5, 8
Oslo channel. See Ohio channel of communication.
Palmer, Gen. Bruce, 69, 167, 274
Papal peace initiative, 4, 5
Paris peace talks (see also Bombing halt leading to formal talks; Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks), 1, 16, 22,
174, 287
Arms control and, 237
ARVN military activity as threat to, 140
Cessation of offensive actions leading to substantive talks, proposed, 10
"Change of RVN government" issue, 47
CIA support for U.S. delegation,
263
Designated spokesmen. See Procedural arrangements below.
Difficulties for U.S. created by RVN intransigence, 188
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 183, 245, 247
DRV-RVN contacts, proposed, 208
DRV strategy, 66, 214, 247
DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 183, 184, 185, 190, 193, 196, 202, 203, 229
Dual-track approach, 266, 274
First procedural meeting, 286
"Four party" formula. See "Status of participants" issue below.
French influence on, 263
Guidance for Nixon administration negotiators, 266, 287
Harriman and, 246, 263
Harriman's involvement in Humphrey's campaign, 50, 51
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 23, 65, 74, 78, 110, 127, 149, 233
Johnson-Kosygin communications re, 122, 130, 138, 141, 164, 177, 255
Johnson's final comments as President, 286
Johnson's message to Thieu re start of substantive talks, 142
Kissinger-Bo secret contacts, 266
Language and translation. See Procedural arrangements below.

Laos, 247
Military situation in Vietnam and, 66, 214
Name of conference. See Procedural arrangements below.
Nixon's briefing, 252
NLF participation. See "Status of participants" issue below.
Number of people. See Procedural arrangements below.
Order of speaking. See Procedural arrangements below.
"Our side/your side" formula. See "Status of participants" issue below.
Phase One-Phase Two proposal, 2, 133
Postponement of first expanded meeting, 199
Presidential campaign in U.S. and, 45, 51
Press coverage of first meeting. See Procedural arrangements below.
Private meetings, 3, 7, 13, 14, 24, 26, 32, 45, 54, 58, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158, 184, 196, 221, 233,
234, 245, 260, 284, 287
Private meetings, continuation after start of substantive talks, 84, 238, 247
Procedural arrangements, 85, 93, 94, 96, 98, 118, 120, 176, 182, 184, 196, 198, 239, 240, 245, 250,
252, 259, 260, 261, 264, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 278, 279
Agreement on, 282, 283, 284
Soviet compromise proposal, 280, 281, 282
U.S. pressure for RVN acceptance, 275, 276, 277
"Proceeding without RVN" option (see also DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed above), 150,
151, 161, 179, 182, 185, 193, 213, 214, 227, 229
Propaganda re, 114
Rusk's attitude toward, 248
RVN as head of RVN-U.S. delegation, proposed (see also RVN-U.S. joint position on negotiating issues
below), 203, 204, 206, 208, 216, 217, 219, 222
RVN delay in arrival, 240, 244
RVN delegation membership, 228, 235, 236, 241
RVN domestic situation, impact on, 242
RVN-NLF secret talks, proposed, 224
RVN participation (see also "Proceeding without RVN" option above; Republican-RVN conspiracy re
peace talks):
Bombing halt leading to formal talks and, 19, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 32, 34, 38, 42, 43, 45, 46,
50, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 65, 67, 140
Bunker's position, 24
DRV position, 214
DRV-U.S. discussions, 7, 24, 32
Nixon's urging Thieu to participate, 202, 205, 207, 209, 210
NLF participation and. See "Status of participants" issue under Paris peace talks.
Paris peace talks--Continued
RVN participation--Continued
RVN decision, 219, 222, 225, 228, 235, 236
RVN refusal, 149, 161, 170, 171, 172, 178, 180, 188, 200, 225
RVN terms for, 96, 209
Soviet-U.S. discussions re, 2, 34
Timing concerns of RVN officials, 140, 143, 146, 148
Troop contributing countries and, 179
U.S. pressure on RVN (see also Nixon's urging Thieu to participate above), 150, 151,
154, 155, 159, 160, 162, 163, 175, 176, 178, 193, 200, 201, 204, 206, 208, 229
RVN proposal for three-phase approach, 261
RVN proposal for two-phase approach, 258
RVN strategy, 247, 259
RVN-U.S. criticisms of one another, 258
RVN-U.S. delegation meeting, 250
RVN-U.S. joint position on negotiating issues, 90, 206, 208, 210, 222, 225, 226, 228, 264
Seating arrangements. See Procedural arrangements above.
Soviet advice for U.S., 241
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 26, 34, 92, 98, 101, 119, 218, 241
"Status of participants" issue (see also Procedural arrangements above), 4, 21, 87, 89, 90, 92, 94, 96,
98, 101, 104, 110, 114, 119, 123, 136, 170, 178, 179, 200, 208, 217, 225, 226, 241, 250, 261
Swift completion, Rostow's argument for, 122
Thieu's attitude toward, 144

United front by U.S. politicians, 5, 80, 81, 211


Vance's assessment of, 49
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 183, 218, 221, 231, 233, 241, 248
Withdrawal of troops issue, 13, 20, 26, 247
Park Chung-hee, 68, 156, 172
Paul VI, Pope, 4, 5
Peace talks (see also Paris peace talks):
Ohio channel of communication, 1, 20, 25, 28, 29, 33, 43
Papal peace initiative, 4, 5
Pearson, Drew, 123
Percy, Charles, 255
Perry, Jack, 2, 241
Pham Dang Lam, 87, 96, 120, 149, 154, 236, 240, 250, 282, 283
Pham Van Dong, 2
Pham Van Minh, Lt. Col., 258
Phan Quang Dan, 17, 91
Philippines, 220
Philpott, Maj. Gen. Jammie M., 220
Phoenix program, 256
Phong. See Nguyen Xuan Phong.
Presidential campaign in U.S. (see also Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks), 12, 20
Ball's resignation and, 36, 50
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, impact of, 70, 123, 125, 129, 255
DRV interest in, 28
Harriman and, 50, 51, 255
Humphrey's campaign speech on bombing halt, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 50
Humphrey's handling of bombing halt, 168, 173
Johnson's position, 31, 42, 108, 173, 255
Nixon's victory, 199
Paris peace talks and, 45, 51
Prisoners of war, 260, 267
Pursley, Col. Robert, 10, 15, 191, 223
Raborn, Adm. Arthur, 207
Rather, Dan, 146
Read, Benjamin H., 3, 19, 23, 29, 58, 65, 73, 74, 78, 79, 82, 85, 86, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 98, 99, 101, 105, 107, 110, 115,
116, 118, 119, 122, 124, 127, 128, 142, 143, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 165, 167, 174, 175, 176,
193, 196, 203, 206, 226, 245, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284
Rebozo, Bebe, 207
Reconnaissance flights. See under Bombing halt leading to formal talks; under Military situation in Vietnam.
Reid, Ogden, 51
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 140, 143, 145, 146, 148, 161, 163, 168, 173, 181, 186, 187, 188, 191, 192,
194, 195, 207, 212, 213, 232
Republic of Vietnam (RVN) (see also Military situation in Vietnam; Paris peace talks; Republican-RVN conspiracy re
peace talks; RVN participation in peace talks):
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 62, 64, 75, 93
Civil defense program, 91
Communist political program, 16
Corruption, 91
Coup rumors, 17, 57, 140
Economic situation, 91, 243, 285
Election outcomes, possible, 9
Land policy, 44
Lien Minh political front, 11, 91, 230, 251
Minh's return, 44, 91, 140
Movement to Struggle for Peace, 263
Paris peace talks, impact on domestic situation, 242
Political developments following peace agreement, 265
Political situation, 91, 140, 243, 255, 262, 263, 285

U.S., attitudes toward, 91, 242


Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF/ARVN), 44, 91, 140, 285
Resor, Stanley, 167
Reston, James, 180
Ridgway, Rozanne, 25, 28, 33
Rivers, Mendel, 109
Robb, Chuck, 109, 202
Roberts, Chalmers, 264
Roberts, Juanita, 106
Rogers, William, 277
Rostow, Eugene, 140
Rostow, Walt W., 8, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 23, 29, 35, 36, 37, 39, 54, 56, 58, 65, 67, 70, 74, 75, 88, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96,
99, 101, 110, 111, 114, 119, 124, 135, 136, 149, 150, 152, 162, 165, 166, 167, 175, 183, 184, 188, 193, 196, 200, 201,
202, 203, 206, 210, 211, 225, 226, 231, 234, 235, 236, 245, 264, 269, 275, 276
Arms control, 238
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 3, 131, 137, 140, 255
Administration discussions, 68, 69, 72, 73, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140, 148, 161
Announcement, 30, 71, 153, 156
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue, 46, 140
Clifford's defense of administration policy, 213
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 46
DRV-U.S. agreement, 157
DRV-U.S. discussions, 71
Humphrey's campaign speech re, 40
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 76, 84, 97, 102, 103, 104, 116, 117, 122, 129
Johnson's message to military commanders, proposed, 191
Joint secret minute of understanding, 121, 122
Military consequences, 38, 68, 140
"Nuanced language" by DRV, 14
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 66
RVN participation in peace talks and, 45, 46, 59
RVN position, 62
Security breaches re negotiations, 122, 189
Soviet involvement, 18
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 9, 47, 122, 130
Troop contributing countries and, 71, 140
Clifford's views on Rostow's approach to Vietnam, 195
Laos, 59, 202, 262
Military situation in Vietnam, 4, 6, 18, 21, 62, 66, 129, 202, 218, 227, 238, 244, 248, 252, 253, 256
Nixon transition and U.S. policy on Vietnam, 262
Ohio channel of communication, 25
Paris peace talks, 49, 66, 122, 252, 287
Johnson-Kosygin communications re, 122, 130, 138
Procedural arrangements, 252, 268, 272
RVN as head of RVN-U.S. delegation, proposal re, 204
RVN-NLF secret talks, proposed, 224
RVN participation, 45, 46, 59, 148, 163, 204, 209, 213
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 218
"Status of participants" issue, 21, 89
Thieu's attitude toward, 144
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 221
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 140, 145, 163, 181, 192, 194
RVN political situation, 9, 262
Southeast Asian monitors for Vietnam settlement, 262
Rowe, James, 173
Rusk, Dean, 5, 7, 9, 36, 66, 75, 114, 142, 154, 164, 166, 167, 176, 218, 231, 234, 235, 241, 258, 261

Arms control, 237, 238


Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 3, 255
Abrams' position, 135, 140
Administration discussions, 35, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140,
148
Announcement, 72, 93, 110, 135, 153, 156, 169
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue, 19, 23, 67, 68
Bundy's proposal, 68
"Complete and unconditional halt" issue, 107, 135
Congressional leadership, Johnson's consultations with, 135
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 19, 23, 29
Humphrey's campaign speech re, 40, 50
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 78, 79, 82, 85, 86, 94, 98,
100, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 110, 115, 123, 129
JCS position, 108
Joint secret minute of understanding, 110, 121, 123, 125, 126, 155
Military consequences, 68, 105, 140
Political and public reaction in U.S., 188
Postponements, 146, 147, 153, 155
Presidential campaign in U.S., impact on, 70, 123, 129
Presidential candidates informed about, 135, 139
Reconnaissance flights and, 35, 65, 67, 68, 177
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 67, 70, 108
Rusk's position, 69, 70, 140
RVN participation in peace talks and, 19, 23, 27, 29, 50, 65, 67
Security breaches re negotiations, 93, 107, 115, 189
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement of, 50, 51
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 47, 98, 107
Troop contributing countries and, 68, 79, 135, 140
Clifford's relationship with, 274
Harriman's criticism of, 255
Honolulu Conference, proposed, 51, 52
Military situation in Vietnam, 5, 8, 22, 129, 211, 227, 238, 244, 248, 253, 257
Nixon's conversation with, 52
Nixon transition and U.S. policy on Vietnam,, 211
Ohio channel of communication, 29, 43
Paris peace talks, 1, 22, 174, 246, 247, 287
Arms control and, 237
"Change of RVN government" issue, 47
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 183, 245
DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 183, 193, 202, 229
Harriman's recall, possible, 50, 51
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 23, 65, 74, 78, 110, 127
Johnson-Kosygin communications re, 177
Procedural arrangements, 85, 93, 94, 98, 118, 271, 272, 275, 276, 283
"Proceeding without RVN" option, 150, 193, 227, 229
Rusk's attitude toward, 248
RVN as head of RVN-U.S. delegation, proposal re, 206
Rusk, Dean--Continued
Paris peace talks--Continued
RVN intransigence, 188
RVN participation in peace talks, 19, 23, 27, 29, 50, 65, 67, 140, 143, 146, 148, 150, 155,
170, 175, 179, 188, 193, 202, 204, 206, 207, 209, 229
RVN-U.S. joint position on negotiating issues, 90, 206
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 92, 98
"Status of participants" issue, 4, 90, 92, 94, 98, 110, 123, 179
Thieu's attitude toward, 144
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 183, 248
Presidential campaign in U.S., 12, 20, 50, 51, 123, 129, 168
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 143, 146, 181, 188, 192, 194, 212
Republic of Vietnam, coup rumors, 57, 140

Russell, Richard B., 5, 22, 69, 106, 109, 125, 126, 172
Ryan, Gen. John, 140, 167
Sainteny, Jean, 266
Sanders, Harold Barefoot, 8, 166
Schlesinger, Arthur, 173
Schwartz, Lou, 189
Scranton, William, 202
Shriver, R. Sargent, 115
Sihanouk, Prince Norodom, 5, 220
Singapore, 220
Sisco, Joseph, 35, 234
Smathers, George, 70, 72, 186, 187, 188, 192, 232
Smith, Abbot, 16
Smith, Bromley, 4, 35, 69, 150, 167, 209, 234, 241, 258, 272
Smith, Hedrick, 51
Smith, Howard K., 51
Smith, Rick, 72
Southeast Asia after Vietnam (NIE 50-68), 220
Southeast Asian monitors for Vietnam settlement, 262
Souvanna Phouma, 220
Soviet Union, 220, 255
Arms control, 238
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 122, 132
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 82, 86, 88, 98, 99
Joint secret minute of understanding, 99
RVN participation in peace talks and, 60
Soviet-DRV contacts, 41, 101
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement of, 15, 18, 20, 26, 34, 50, 51
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 9, 26, 34, 47, 60, 88, 98, 99, 101, 107, 122, 130, 141, 150
DRV, relations with, 9
Military situation in Vietnam, 218, 241
Ohio channel of communication, 25, 28
Paris peace talks, 47, 92, 241, 280, 281
Johnson-Kosygin communications re, 122, 130, 138, 141, 164, 177, 255
RVN participation, 2, 34, 60
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 26, 34, 92, 98, 101, 119, 218, 241
Spivak, Larry, 187
Stennis, John, 22
Stewart, Michael, 51
Stuart, Richard K., 48
Sung, 25, 28
Symington, Stuart, 22, 223
Taylor, Gen. Maxwell D., 3, 31, 67, 68, 121, 129, 138, 139, 140, 148, 202, 254
Taylor, Vice Adm. Rufus, 256
Tcherniakov, Yuri N., 122
Tet offensive, 285
Thailand, 220, 249
Thanat Khoman, 79
Thanh. See Tran Chanh Thanh.
Thanom Kittikachon, 71
Thant, U, 35
Thien. See Ton That Thien.
Thieu. See Nguyen Van Thieu.
Tho. See Le Duc Tho.
Thompson, Llewellyn E., Jr., 1, 4, 108
Thompson, Sir Robert, 249
303 Committee, 230
Thuy. See Xuan Thuy.

Tibbetts, Margaret Joy, 33


Tito, Josip Broz, 20
Tonkin Gulf Resolution, 5
Ton That Thien, 17, 219, 222, 225
Tower, John, 50, 173, 186, 192, 207
Tran Chanh Thanh, 75, 77, 85, 94, 96, 114, 136, 165, 170, 216, 217, 222, 225, 226, 228, 236, 240, 287
Paris peace talks, 87, 90, 118, 120, 149, 159, 178, 235, 270, 273, 278
Tran Lu-Y, 91
Tran Quoc Buu, 11
Tran Thien Khiem, 17, 57, 91, 219
Tran Van Don, 9, 11, 230
Tran Van Hai, Gen., 91
Tran Van Huong, 9, 12, 17, 91, 200, 285
Tran Van Lam, 228
Tri Quang, Thich, 91
Troung. See Ngo Quang Troung, Gen.
Troung Chinh, 44
Trueheart, William, 48
Truong Dinh Dzu, 9, 17, 91
Twain, Mark, 70
United Nations, 35
Utkin, 241
Vance, Cyrus R., 10, 28, 33, 66, 74, 94, 96, 98, 122, 123, 174, 176, 178, 179, 206, 208, 210, 211, 216, 217, 219, 222,
226, 228, 236, 276, 279
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 255
Announcement of, 152, 158, 184
"Attacks on RVN cities" issue, 55, 132
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 26, 55, 132
DRV-U.S. agreement, 157, 158
DRV-U.S. discussions, 32, 54, 58, 71, 76, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 149, 157, 158
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 76, 84, 88, 95, 99, 101, 110, 115, 116, 119,
124, 128
Joint secret minute of understanding, 95, 99, 116, 119, 124, 128, 132, 149, 157
Postponement, 146, 147, 149, 150
Reciprocity problem, U.S. handling of, 133
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 49, 132
RVN participation in peace talks and, 26, 27, 32, 34, 54, 55, 58, 60
Soviet involvement, U.S. encouragement of, 26, 34
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 26, 34, 60, 88, 99, 101, 150
Kissinger, letter to, 266
Military situation in Vietnam, 233, 241, 244, 245, 260
Ohio channel of communication, 43
Paris peace talks, 49
CIA support for U.S. delegation, 263
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 245
DRV-U.S. meetings, proposed, 183, 184, 185, 193, 196, 203
First procedural meeting, 286
Guidance for Nixon administration negotiators, 266
Instructions for U.S. representatives, 23, 65, 110, 127, 149
Private meetings, 3, 7, 13, 24, 26, 32, 45, 54, 58, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158, 184, 196,
221, 233, 234, 245, 260, 284, 287
Procedural arrangements, 93, 184, 196, 245, 250, 260, 261, 268, 269, 271, 278, 280,
281, 282, 283, 284
"Proceeding without RVN" option, 185
RVN as head of RVN-U.S. delegation, proposal re, 203
RVN delegation membership, 241

RVN intransigence, 188


RVN participation, 2, 26, 27, 32, 34, 54, 55, 58, 60
RVN proposal for three-phase approach, 261
RVN-U.S. delegation meeting, 250
Soviet-U.S. discussions, 2, 26, 34, 101, 119, 241
"Status of participants" issue, 101, 119, 241, 250, 261
Violations of bombing halt agreement and, 221, 233, 241
"Withdrawal of troops" issue, 26
Presidential campaign in U.S., 50, 51
Republican-RVN conspiracy re peace talks, 146
Van Dyke, Theodore, 50
Vien, Gen., 150, 151
Vietnam. See Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV); Republic of Vietnam (RVN).
Vo Nguyen Giap, Gen., 35
Vraalsen, 25, 28, 33
Vuong Van Bac, 250
Vy. See Nguyen Minh Vy.
Wallace, George, 42, 80, 135, 166, 172, 187, 199
Waller, Sir John, 79
Walsh, John P., 57, 221, 271, 276
Walsh, Lawrence, 287
Walske, Carl, 215
Walt, Gen. Lewis, 173, 274
Walters, Maj. Gen. Vernon A., 238
Ware, Maj. Gen. Keith, 21
Warnke, Paul, 10, 15, 161, 195, 215, 223, 238, 244, 248, 258
Watson, Marvin, 168
Westmoreland, Gen. William C., 69, 109, 125, 167, 172
Wheeler, Gen. Earle G., 8, 125, 166, 167, 238
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 69, 234
Abrams' position, 35, 134, 140
Administration discussions, 35, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 103, 104, 112, 121, 129, 139, 140, 148,
161
Announcement of, 72, 139, 153, 156
"DMZ re-establishment" issue, 139
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 71, 72, 103, 104, 129
Military consequences of halt, 35, 68, 103, 140
Postponements of, 153
"Resumption of bombing" issue, 35, 68, 134, 140
Military situation in Vietnam, 3
Attacks on RVN cities, 202
Cambodia, hot pursuit into, 253
Cease-fire option, 4, 129, 140
Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia, 140
Communist third offensive, 4
DMZ activity, 202, 244, 248
Nixon's briefings, 211
Pacification counter-offensive, 234
Reconnaissance flights, attacks on, 234, 238
Status reports on, 22
Withdrawal of troops, 35, 244
Nixon transition and U.S. policy on Vietnam, 211
Paris peace talks, 10, 140, 150
White, William S., 287
Wiggins, James Russell, 140, 161, 234

Withdrawal of troops. See under Military situation in Vietnam; under Paris peace talks.
Xuan Thuy, 7, 32, 58, 152, 184
Bombing halt leading to formal talks, 55, 158
DRV-U.S. agreement, 158
DRV-U.S. discussions, 54, 58, 71, 76, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158
Interval between halt and beginning of talks, 76, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128
Joint secret minute of understanding, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158
RVN participation in peace talks and, 58
Soviet-DRV contacts, 101
Paris peace talks, 3, 13, 24, 45, 54, 58, 84, 95, 116, 124, 128, 158, 287

Zorin, Valerian, 2, 241, 280


Zumwalt, Rear Adm. Elmo, 140
Zwick, Charles, 5, 8, 38

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 1-24

September 1-October 1, 1968: Efforts To Move the Peace Talks Forward;


the Ohio Exercise
1. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Clifford/1/
September 2, 1968, 10:10 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Clifford, September 2, 1968, 10:10 a.m., Tape F68.06, PNO 4. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Clifford, in Washington, called the President at his Texas ranch,
where Johnson was staying August 23 to September 3. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
Clifford: But by the time you got back, say Wednesday,/2/ I think you're coming back--we could then have a
memorandum. If we can't agree, then we can set forth the items where we are in agreement and then others that we
could sit down, maybe just the four of us, and talk out, because I think we are getting to a point where possibly because
of an unsuccessful offensive on their part, possibly because of a concern on their part about the political situation in the
U.S., that they see nothing ahead of them, there may be the possibility still in the next 3 or 4 months where great
progress can be made.
/2/September 4.
President: I agree with all that. I think that's a good plan. My thinking is this, and maybe you can understand, if you have
this little background--I'll try not to be too long--maybe you can weigh this in your drafting. Number one, I think a basic
weakness of this government is that we do not come up with enough of possible outlines and suggestions and proposals
for the other side to look at and evaluate and amend and moderate and so forth. And I think we just say we'll go on
fighting, we'll stop the bombing, if you'll stop everything. But you're not going to stop anything. That's our position,
period.
Now, I happen to be one that never thought this was going to be a short operation over there. And I think it's going to
take time and I think it's very likely to go into a long time in the next administration unless we surrender and pull out. And
then I think it'll in time come back, flame in again, and get hot, much wider territory. I would like for our record to show
that our people are seeking peace so much, yearning for it so much that every month or so that we say, well, if this
wouldn't work, maybe this would. I would naturally like for that to go through our people in Vietnam--uh, in Paris--now
that we have these contacts. It seems to me that we have a great obligation and duty to give them more than we do give
them. They've got to sell real silk socks like I did when I was a kid, and when they just gave me four colors, I couldn't do
much business. But when they expanded the lot, and I had about eighteen, I could really move them. And I think we've
got to give them some more colors to look at.
So I have tried to encourage State as well as our shop to be thinking of anything that we could legitimately give, and we
could give our bombing, and what could we get that they could live with. Of course, if they'd re-establish the DMZ, I think
we could get the JCS and everybody to go along. I don't see how they could do that because that would be a signal that
the South's not going to get any more help, and so on and so forth, and there's two Vietnams. But if we could find out,
and I just plain don't know, this is detail and technicality, we ought to find out if we were in their place what they could
live with that we could live with. Now, I'm not about to run on that platform--run out on it. I don't want to wiggle from it
one goddamn inch. I'm not a McCarthyite at all. I think he's wrong. I think he's unsound. I think that McGovern's
unsound. I think Teddy Kennedy's unsound. Now maybe that that'll be our policy in January and maybe Humphrey will
come to that. But I honestly believe that their views--those in the Pentagon, among your civilians, the Enthovens and
that group, and a bunch over in State too, I just believe they're unsound. Now maybe, maybe they're not. But I would
like, though, on my own to try to have something more than we've got.
Now I was very interested and encouraged by your thought that here was something we could offer, and if they didn't-they'd have to take one of three courses. The thing that I found wrong with it was that I didn't think that you had the
experience in stopping the bombing that I had had, and I think that it was kind of a professorial, idealistic, unrealistic
approach to assume that we could ever stop the damn thing and get back in. And then I thought you were a little fuzzy
on really whether we would get back in or not, whether you'd just come charging and say you damn right we will. That
one had a little more appeal to me. And third, I didn't think we could do any of that before the convention anyway
because it'd be for political purposes. So, my thinking is, A--I want new proposals any damn kind, I'll pay a reward for

them.
Clifford: All right. [chuckle]
President: By God, I'll pay a premium, just like we do on our pole cats down there we sell. If it's got a little white on its
back, I'll give a little extra. We used to ship them up to Funston's in St. Louis where you lived. But anybody that'll get us
something that we can live with that might conceivably perhaps be appealing to them, so A--Averell can present it, B--so
the Pope could have something that's new that he could say, "I believe this could be done," because I'm very anxious to
give him a little something to chew on, because I'm holding him. Otherwise, he'll be against us if we just keep on not
ever finding anything for him. I want someday without hurting anything to do that. Third, at Oslo, I want something
besides just the plain ABCs./3/
/3/Reference is to the indirect channel to the North Vietnamese through the Norwegians; see footnote 5, Document 20.
Clifford: Yes.
President: Now I don't have the staff right under me that can come up with eighteen proposals. Defense has a group
over there that I know want peace. And Rusk has a group of policy planners and so forth, and Rostow. So I have said to
Rusk, please, please, spend the next month on getting us some initiatives here. I'm not really for putting them out in
public. I'm for saying to Kosygin, "Now, you tell us that here on Czechoslovakia this is none of our damn business, and
here's generally about how our people feel about what's going on, and we think it's just as dangerous, more dangerous,
in Eastern Europe than you think it's dangerous in Southeast Asia. So, we feel this very strongly, and this is our view.
Now here's how we feel about Southeast Asia. You say that you think that you "have reason to believe" that something
would come. Well, I have reason to believe we could do this if your reason to believe is any good, and give him
something, I don't know what the hell it is, that he could work on.
Clifford: Yeah.
President: At the same time, I would tell Averell, "Now here, we're going to do this with Kosygin, we're going to do this
with the Pope." I would like when Nixon comes in on January 21, and he says, "Okay, what is it this crowd did? What did
you do last year?" And I would say, "Well, Rusk and Clifford proposed on September the 3d that we go this far, and we
did. And on September the 9th, we said to the Pope this. And on September the 18th, we said to Harriman this." Or
maybe Harriman first, and then the Pope, and then Kosygin.
Clifford: Right.
President: Now that's all I'm saying. That's rather disjointed. But I'm not trying to get a letter off to Kosygin yesterday.
Clifford: That's good.
President: I'm just trying to say to him, "For God's sakes, let's get something that will be sure." Now, I really don't think
it's going to come to much. But I want to be an optimist. Now I said to Humphrey, "What I'd like to do is to be able to say
to Harriman, 'Now I've talked to Humphrey and Nixon, and you can tell the North Vietnamese there's going to be no
division in this country, that we're going to be one man until a new President takes office and they don't need to count on
any divisions among us.'" And Humphrey said, "That's fine by me," and Nixon had in effect said that to me before.
"Well," I said, "let's wait 'til next week and I'll be back up there." Well, goddamnit, he went right to the newspaper and
called a press conference and said that this is what he thought ought to be done. Now you can see Nixon's not likely to
accept Humphrey's proposal. But he just doesn't understand. Now I would hope that next week we could get a couple of
sentences that would say something like that and let Rusk quietly communicate it to Harriman, let Vance tell them some
evening, that here's what we're authorized to say on behalf of Nixon and Humphrey and the President.
Clifford: I've got the picture. That's very helpful. I'll have my notes ready and the three of us'll meet tomorrow. I'd like to
come up with something so we have--in any event, I'll have a paper for you on Wednesday so you can look at it./4/
/4/Not found.
President: All right.
Clifford: And it will have some ideas in it and that may spring other ideas.
President: Well, what we could do, if you want to, Wednesday, before we have our [National] Security Council meeting,

you could come in. I hear a lot better sometimes than I read from you. I think you're the best pleader I ever heard. So I
would like to have you outline for me any thoughts that you have. Now, I had thought seriously of asking you to come
down here over Labor Day and come in and just sit here and talk like in a full day like I've talked in ten minutes here. I
concluded against it. I talked to Rusk on the phone and told him what I thought instead, and I concluded against it for
two reasons. One was, I didn't know how quite to do it without Rusk being in on discussing this kind of proposal. And the
second thing--I don't want to take you away from your golf Labor Day. And third, we had miserable weather anyway, and
it's a long six hours on a jet that can be used absorbing a little rest for the week ahead. I do think, a propos what you
said the other day, that you might say to Jim Jones, "Now let's do this in a quiet period, and give me--I don't want but 15
minutes. My guess is it'll take an hour. Heh, heh. So, let's just set aside an hour and let's be damn sure we set it so
another meeting won't be crowding us. And let me try to explain some things, and let the President ask some questions
and maybe explain his feeling to me." And then I think we might either--the four or five of us--go out on a boat and visit
around some if we still have sunshine or [Camp] David, or something maybe next week, and continue to probe. I'd like
to let Nitze run the Department, and Katzenbach, and Brom Smith, and let you and Rusk and Walt try to figure out things
that A--will give us some hope of success, that B--will at least be treating the American people fair, and C--that we'll
damn sure look good before an investigating committee in February when they say what in the hell did you do.
Clifford: That all makes a lot of sense. What we need is exactly what you have in mind. It's what I need. I mentioned it
before. It's a chance to sit down where we don't have to be careful or cautious for somebody else that's there. But with
this--with the four of us, I can speak completely freely, and I'm sure they can, and I feel that you can. And that's really
what we need. We can take it all apart. And I can make any kind of suggestions, and Dean [Rusk] feels free to knock
them down, and I can knock his down, and out of it can come something. The record is important, but I still feel that out
of it can come something that in my--as I've said all along, it will be the crowning glory of your administration.
President: Well, we just sure don't want to be just the kind of hot-heads and hard-heads and stubborn Dutchmen that
won't consider anything. It's awful hard to consider something when you haven't got something.
Clifford: Yeah.
President: And I have this feeling too. Tommy [Llewellyn] Thompson is going back. Before he goes back, I'm going to
talk to him. Nixon's anxious to talk to him too. I would like very much to give Thompson a pretty good feel of several
things that might perhaps maybe have some appeal where he can have something besides just greetings and the damn
formal stuff when he gets back talking to his people and can kind of have something to try to appeal to them with./5/ So,
I'm going to try to see him Wednesday or Thursday. And maybe out of that, before we get a letter, we can say, now,
here, would you try this on for size with them.
/5/In a meeting with Dobrynin on September 6, Thompson informed him that the President would be willing to overlook
any potential domestic criticism and meet with Kosygin to discuss strategic matters. Thompson's memorandum of
conversation is printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XIV, Document 293.
Clifford: Mm-hmm.
President: Okay.
Clifford: Thank you.

2. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, September 3, 1968, 1807Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)September 1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Plus. Received at 2:53 p.m.
20314/Delto 682. From Harriman and Vance.
1. We saw Zorin at Soviet Embassy morning September 3 for meeting of slightly over an hour./2/ (Bogomolov being on
leave, Oberemko and Perry interpreted and Soviet press attach Baskakov took notes on Soviet side.)
/2/The meeting between Harriman and Zorin took place at 11 a.m. In a memorandum of this conversation drafted the
same day, Perry noted that it was the first meeting since the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. (Library of Congress,

Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Trips and Missions, Paris
Peace Talks, Chronological Files, September-November 1968)
2. It was noticeable that Zorin's attitude was more forthcoming and unargumentative than in any of our previous talks.
He seemed at pains to stress positive aspects of situation regarding Vietnam talks, and to pass up opportunities to start
usual polemics about US position. Zorin commented at outset that he had been occupied elsewhere than with Vietnam,
and Harriman replied that call on him was made in hopes of getting his attention back to the Vietnamese problem.
Otherwise East European situation did not come up except that Harriman mentioned that these events would harden US
opinion.
3. We led off by saying that our visit was to take stock of the situation, and pointed out failure of talks with DRV on his
Phase One-Phase Two proposal. We pointed to the increased attacks in the last two weeks and to the resumption of the
use of Soviet-made rockets in indiscriminate shelling of Saigon and Danang. We gave him the details of the heavy
civilian casualties resulting from the indiscriminate attacks. We also pointed out the heavy and senseless losses being
incurred by NVA in last two weeks.
4. We then referred to the Soviet Government's message to Ho Chi Minh (cited Moscow 5351)/3/ which in spite of the
militant language of the message indicated that the Soviet Union was still interested in a political settlement of the
Vietnam conflict. We stated that Hanoi's continual refusal to give any indication of what would happen after the bombing
stopped was an unreasonable position, and suggested that it was time for the Soviet Govt to use its influence or its
ingenuity to find a way to permit a halt in the bombing and thus the commencement of substantive discussions. We
asked that this be called to the attention of his government. We pointed out that the President as late as August 19 had
indicated that we could not take the next stop until we had reason to believe that Hanoi was prepared seriously to move
with us in deescalating the war and in seeking peace./4/
/3/Dated September 2. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Soviet Union, Vol. XXI)
/4/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 332.
5. After promising to report this to Moscow, Zorin gave his impression of recent talks with North Vietnamese in Paris,
saying their position had not changed and that they would not move until US stopped bombing. Zorin recounted his
conversation with Le Duc Tho at yesterday's North Vietnamese reception, in which Tho pointed out to Zorin Pham Van
Dong's anniversary statement, which Zorin told us contained a sentence in the same vein as Moscow's message which
we had referred to, namely, Dong had stated that stopping the bombing would play a positive role in reaching a political
settlement. He said that Le Duc Tho had stressed that this statement by Pham Van Dong "correctly set forth" Hanoi's
position. Zorin said when he told Le Duc Tho he was seeing the Americans next day, Le Duc Tho referred to Pham Van
Dong's statement and added that "this was the message" he would like delivered to the Americans. When we asked
Zorin if he believed a political settlement was really possible, Zorin said he could not give yes or no answer, but thought
"the possibility existed for moving ahead." Zorin added that Hanoi representatives in Paris did not feel themselves able
to make any step towards us that would be taken as concession, given present mood in Hanoi. We asked if he meant
mood within Politbureau, and Zorin said Le Duc Tho told him Politbureau was unanimous on this point.
6. Zorin added that his belief now was that North Vietnamese no longer considered they could achieve their objectives
by military means, and thought it necessary to move towards a settlement by political means. He stressed that this was
not their original position, and gave impression that USSR had influenced Hanoi in this direction. He said his current
impression was that Hanoi was ready to talk seriously about a political settlement and that "they had their positions
ready."
7. We brought up question of necessity for GVN inclusion at substantive talks. We explained that Hanoi had said it was
ready to enter into serious talks after bombing halted, but at same time said it would not agree to include GVN. We
questioned how serious Hanoi was since there could not be serious talks without inclusion of GVN representatives. We
indicated that there was no obstacle to NLF or alliance being represented, but it was essential that GVN be represented
on our side. Returning to this question later, Zorin asked if we believed Hanoi would sit at same table with GVN
representatives. We replied this was essential. After some discussion, Zorin stated that while the representation
question posed difficulties, he did not believe it constituted an unsurmountable obstacle. He added that if US followed
wise policy, he thought this obstacle could be overcome.
8. In course of discussion Zorin brought up Democratic Convention and said he thought if Democrats hoped to win they
would have to change position on stopping bombing. We attempted to correct some of Zorin's misconceptions about US
opinion, ending up by emphasizing that in our view best time to make progress towards a settlement was right now. We
said that US had seized on Zorin's Phase One-Phase Two proposal, hoping this would be a possible bridge; but this had
not been working out, and we urged USSR to use its influence promptly to find another bridge.

Harriman

3. Notes of Meeting/1/
Washington, September 4, 1968, 1:23-2:23 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Meeting Notes File. Top Secret. Drafted by Christian. The meeting was a regular Tuesday
Luncheon. Attending were the President, Rusk, Clifford, Helms, Wheeler, Taylor, Rostow, and Christian. (Ibid.,
President's Daily Diary) An agenda for this meeting prepared by Read is in the National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164, Presidential Luncheon Memoranda.
The President: Tell us about our meeting in Paris.
Secretary Rusk: It was standard. There was not much progress. North Vietnam blasted American politics. But the tea
break produced an agreement for a Saturday meeting--a private talk./2/ We might press Hanoi for a response on
something, to tell us what parts they can agree to. I believe we are at a real watershed here. If North Vietnam takes the
DMZ, it means the jig is up for them in South Vietnam. The same applies to us if we stop the bombing without reciprocal
action. It is important that we make no public move until Saturday./3/
/2/At the tea break during the formal session on September 4, Tho and Thuy agreed to meet privately with Harriman and
Vance 3 days later. (Telegrams 20340/Delto 668 and 20347/Delto 689 from Paris, both September 4; ibid., A/IM Files:
Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-September 1968) In a telephone conversation with Read that day, Harriman
suggested that Tho had considered the upcoming private meeting as an indication of goodwill on the part of the North
Vietnamese, noting that "there were just little hints around at the tea break conversations that they realized what they
would have to do." (Notes of Telephone Conversation between Read and Harriman, September 4; Library of Congress,
Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Subject File, Read, Benjamin
H.)
/3/For the meeting on September 7, see Document 7.
The President: What is the military situation?
Secretary Clifford: There is more activity, but we don't know whether this is the third offensive. The attacks are not
coming off very well. It may be Abrams spoiling the operations. I heard about a plan to assassinate General Abrams
because he has been so successful.
Their losses are substantial. Their actions don't seem to have much plan or program.
General Wheeler: I asked General Abrams to increase his personal security arrangements--and also that of his staff and
Ambassador Bunker. I agree with General Abrams that the enemy has been trying to mount an offensive, without
success.
[Omitted here is discussion of East Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Pueblo crisis, and Australia.]
Walt Rostow: On the Saturday meeting, it is important that we decide the minimum conditions for a bombing halt. We've
listed many things but kept it flexible. It is conceivable Ambassador Harriman should have it in his pocket.
Secretary Rusk: I'd be inclined not to give this to Harriman Saturday, but find out what Hanoi will propose. Their
willingness to talk to Saigon and the DMZ would be the gut.
[Omitted here is additional discussion of East Asia and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.]
Walt Rostow: A cease-fire format might be the easiest way to reach contact with the Government of North Vietnam
about a willingness to talk about the details of a cease-fire plan.
[Omitted here is discussion of unrelated matters.]

4. Summary Notes of the 590th Meeting of the National Security Council/1/


Washington, September 4, 1968, 5:07-7:29 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 5, Tab 72. Secret; Sensitive; For the President
Only. Attending were the President, Rostow, Humphrey, Rusk, Clifford, Ball, Nitze, Fowler, Helms, Wheeler, Marks,
Thompson, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness Price Daniel, Assistant Secretary of State for European
Affairs John M. Leddy, Ambassador to NATO Harlan Cleveland, Smith, Christian, Edward Fried of the NSC Staff, and
White House aide Nathaniel Davis. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A full transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of
Meetings in the Cabinet Room.
[Omitted here is discussion of the situation in Czechoslovakia. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XVII,
Document 93.]
Vietnam--The President asked Secretary Rusk, Secretary Clifford, and General Wheeler to brief the group on current
Vietnam problems.
Secretary Rusk: In Paris, we have had no response to our insistence on knowing what the North Vietnamese will do if
we halt the bombing. In the talks, the North Vietnamese have attacked the Vietnam policy statements of both U.S.
political parties. We have not presented our minimum position in Paris, because we want to keep the door open to
almost any move which the North Vietnamese may make. So far, the North Vietnamese have been entirely negative but
they may not always continue to be. Hanoi must accept participation of the South Vietnamese Government in the
negotiations. In the United States, much has been made of the National Liberation Front as representing some of the
South Vietnamese people. This is a phony issue. The NLF is not a real government and cannot be compared with the
Saigon government.
In Vietnam, political progress has been substantial. The pacification program is improving. Serious efforts are being
taken to fight corruption. The elected legislature of South Vietnam is working.
The President: We should be outgoing to the South Vietnamese Senators who are now visiting in the United States. We
should spend time with them and be as helpful as possible. Numbers of our Congressmen go to Saigon, are seen by
President Thieu, and are welcomed by the Vietnamese. We should take this opportunity to see that their Senators are
well received here.
Secretary Rusk: President Thieu has grown considerably during the time he has been President. He is wise,
reasonable, and is prepared to go much further than Hanoi in an approach to peace.
The President: If we can stay for a few weeks with our present posture in Vietnam, we can convince the North
Vietnamese that they won't get a better deal if they wait. If we can hold where we are, a break will come from their side.
Some of Hanoi's work is being done for them by people in the United States. Some 1,000 votes at the convention went
to a proposed platform plank which called for a change in our policy. Hanoi is not only affected by military developments
in Vietnam, but also by Congressional debates. But the military situation is basic.
(The President asked that no notes be taken of following comment which he made to the group.)
We have many irons in the fire and not all of them are in the newspapers. There has been an exchange with the Pope
who sent an emissary to make a peace proposal to Ho Chi Minh. Ho turned him down flatly./2/ This reveals the present
attitude of Hanoi very clearly--directly from the ranking Hanoi leader.
/2/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 333 and footnote 4 thereto.
Secretary Clifford: For some weeks we have had reports that Hanoi would launch a third offensive. The North
Vietnamese are impelled to try again despite their heavy losses in the Tet and in the May offensives. Even though the
level of combat is higher, it is difficult to say whether the third offensive has started because General Abrams' spoiling
operations may have kept the North Vietnamese from carrying out their original plan. General Abrams' spoiling
operations have been very effective. Our intelligence is better and is better used with the result that the North
Vietnamese forces have been kept off balance. As an indication of the effectiveness of General Abrams' strategy, we
have received a hard report that the North Vietnamese will try to assassinate him.
The North Vietnamese face a serious problem. They feel they can't go back to guerrilla tactics. Probably they will
continue for awhile with their present efforts. As a result, both South Vietnamese and U.S. casualties will be higher. The
question is whether the North Vietnamese, however, can carry on for very long at the present high rate of their

casualties.
General Wheeler: In the view of General Abrams, the third offensive has started. His most recent assessment (copy
attached) is that the enemy has four courses of action open to him. The first course, and the one the enemy prefers,
would be to continue the war along present lines and at about the current level of intensity. The second course would be
to continue fighting but stretch out present attacks over a longer period of time. The third course would be to fall back to
only guerrilla activity. The last course would be to propose a cease-fire-in-place. (Tab E)/3/
/3/Not identified and not found.
A cease-fire-in-place is a dangerous course of action for us. It would mean that we would be giving up a block of South
Vietnamese territory to the enemy.
The Vice President: Requested General Wheeler to explain in greater detail why a cease-fire would be dangerous to us.
General Wheeler: The North Vietnamese would hold certain areas inside South Vietnam. It is not like the situation in the
Korean War when there was a fixed military line separating North and South. Thus, the North Vietnamese would be in a
position to organize politically the areas they held. Access to these areas by the Saigon government would be in doubt.
There would be no problem with a cease-fire limited to an area where military talks could take place.
Mr. Rostow: Rather than referring to a cease-fire, we should use the language included in the Honolulu Communiqu,
i.e., total cessation of hostilities./4/ Any cease-fire proposal becomes so complicated that it is difficult to see how we
could live with it.
/4/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 303.
General Wheeler: General Abrams is confident that we can handle anything the enemy tries to do to us. We can not
only keep up with the enemy but also get ahead of him. General Abrams is right when he says that South Vietnamese
units have performed well--some with distinction. The improvement in the performance of the ARVN is a very hopeful
sign for the future.
Mr. Rostow: Cited the high North Vietnamese casualty rates (12,000 during the May offensive as compared with 8,500
in August) as proof of the greatly increased intensity of the war, and concluded by summarizing other parts of the
Abrams telegram referred to above.

5. Notes of Meeting/1/
Washington, September 6, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room. No classification marking. The President
discussed the same matters in a telephone call with Muskie at 2:47 p.m. later that day. (Ibid., Transcripts and
Recordings of Telephone Conversations) A full record of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet
Room.
President Johnson's Notes on Meeting in Cabinet Room, Friday, September 6, 1968, With the President, Senator
Dirksen, Senator Mansfield, and Secretary Rusk, 10:15 a.m. They Were Joined at 10:37 by Director Zwick, Art Okun
and Mike Manatos and at 11:35 a.m. by Harold Linder
The President told the group he had three or four subjects he wanted to bring up and discuss in some detail. The
President said he would ask Secretary Rusk to bring you some information on some of the problems also.
The President said we wanted to be careful about how we deal with some of the East European countries--especially
Germany. He said that Senators Mansfield and Dirksen both had been quite interested in our troops in Eastern Europe.
The President reported that it seems that we had both the Vice President and Mr. Nixon on board to the effect that they
are not going to say anything that would indicate to Hanoi that they would get a better deal out of them than they can get
out of us between now and January and the Vice President gave the President assurances as late as the day before

that that was his attitude and it had always been Mr. Nixon's attitude. The President pointed out that sometimes some of
their aides talked for them indicating they might do this or might do that. He reported that Mr. Nixon had assured him
that he would make no statement that would indicate any weakness. He said that he told Mr. Humphrey about it and
suggested to Humphrey and Humphrey made it in a public proposal which Mr. Nixon could not accept. He said he was
stunned--said he had already taken that position so that caused it to get knocked down./2/
/2/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 345.
The President said he thought he would wait a week or two and try to approach it in another form, but that we did have
some hopes. He said, however, that although we had hope, we did not have any assurances. He said there were
conversations going on that you don't read about all the time and they are also making other attempts in other Capitals.
The President said:
"We read Ho Chi Minh's letter. He wrote back. This is very confidential, but he wrote back to the Pope and told him that
he would let the Pope come to Hanoi and we thought the Pope had a very reasonable request, a very earnest one, a
very genuine one./3/
/3/See ibid., Document 333 and footnote 4 thereto.
"I think that if the people of this Country knew that this religious leader was trying to pull us together and really had all
along leaned a little bit because they had been a little soft on our position. They had asked us to do this and do that. And
while at the Ranch he sent his man down there to see me and asked me what he could tell them. And I went just as far
as we dared go and told him we looked upon the trip with favor."
Senator Mansfield asked, both Hanoi and Saigon?
The President reported both Hanoi and Saigon. He then wrote Ho Chi Minh and said that he would like to come to Hanoi
and Ho Chi Minh wrote back and told the Pope there was no use for his coming. The President said if that could be
made public, it would arouse some folks that think we could do business with the communists.
Senator Dirksen asked if that was initiated by the Pope.
The President said yes, but before he proposed it to Hanoi the Pope sent his messenger over and he came to the
Ranch and we did not give any notice of his coming. The President said he outlined to him what he could say and told
him that the bombing would be stopped if they would do almost anything. The President said just give him some tangible
evidence that they would react to it. He said he thought it would make His Holiness very pleased, but His Holiness came
right back to the President and said that he was not very pleased--that he did not communicate with the State
Department, that he was a private individual and did not want anybody to know it. The Pope got in touch with Hanoi and
they turned him down. He then came back to the President through the same source and gave the President the letter
from Ho Chi Minh to the Pope just saying that there was no use coming.
The President said:
"And now we have other meetings going on in addition to Paris that are scheduled that we hope will bring something out
if we don't mislead them. We just photograph the wrong signals. We make them believe that if they just hang on a little
more why I will have to give in or they will force me to do so and so. Now I want you all to know one thing. If I don't have
anybody here except me, I'm not going to give in. And any of you normally know that. So there is no use of any pressure
speeches or anything else that is going to do one damn bit of good until January 20 on advice about doing something
that I believe is wrong. And I am willing to go 60 percent of the way, and lean and stretch, but I am not willing to stop the
bombing unless they make some move. I have already stopped 90% of it and I already stopped it eight times. Now I am
just not going to do it. So all we can do is kill a bunch of men by doing it."
The President reported that General Abrams had told him that if we stop the bombing we will automatically increase,
within ten days, the enemy's capabilities several times, that his men will be fired upon from across the DMZ and will not
be saved, that he will have to withdraw them./4/
/4/See ibid., Document 337.
The President said we were not going to be following the McCarthy line and he thought the Legislative ought to know so
that we just don't have any doubts about that. He said if the new President wants to do it, they can take this position if

they want to--that they did not expect President Johnson to be advising them what to do. The President said:
"I am the only President and we are not going to tell him what he ought to do while he is President. I told Humphrey
that's the position I would take if I were you. That's what Nixon is saying and if Humphrey says the same thing--we are
not going to give you any better deal and then I think that we can save some lives that may bring this thing to an end. If
we don't, then when they get in and get the responsibility they want. That's first.
"Second, if the Congress does not agree to what I am doing, all you have to do is to repeal your Tonkin Gulf Resolution.
Dick Russell put it in there so you could do it by majority vote and if the majority feels that way and wants to withdraw
these troops on their own, they can do that. Now all you have to do is one man make a motion and then move to favor it.
And you could get a vote right quick. And I suspect that you might get a majority, but I don't want it to be my blood. I
want it to be the brave men who advocate it and let them get on record and stay there the rest of their life. So I hope that
we can pull through these 30 or 40 days or whatever time you are going to be here until the new Administration comes
in without unnecessary squabbling.
"Now last, before the convention, they built up and we had a hell of a week. We lost over 400 men and they lost--they
have lost 8800 in ten days. That was really costly. How much of that is false hope that they have I don't know, but we
want to try to not disabuse them. I don't want to make any more hard speeches, but you see we have plenty of
communists without this stuff and it starts out in Hanoi and then it goes to Saigon and then Kosygin writes a letter or
two--then every specialist in town starts speculating Johnson is going to stop the bombing.
"So these poor Hanoi people think I may do it. So then they play their cards accordingly. Now we are willing to do it,
when they show signs that it would not endanger us. Now our platform says that we will stop the bombing when it will
not endanger American lives. Now a man that takes the position that he is going to stop it when it does endanger them
is in a hell of a poor position I think with the American people and he certainly will be with these men. So that's about the
war." [Omitted here is discussion of the Symington Amendment to reduce funding for troops in Germany, the situation in
Czechoslovakia, NATO force posture, and European security.]
Secretary Rusk then gave a rundown on the situation in Vietnam at the present time.
The President reported that Eugene Black was wanting to make a trip to Asia in connection with the Asian Development
Bank and while he was there he would like to see Sihanouk so permission was asked for Black to see Sihanouk and he
responded that he would see Black. The President briefed Black on what he could tell Sihanouk. This dealt mostly with
boundaries which we thought would be acceptable to him, that we had no interest in doing anything but helping him,
what we had in mind was the development of the area and what we thought the communists were doing to his country
and try to show him what we knew they were doing there. He said to tell him we had the pictures and there was no
question but what they are using his country as a base to kill our people every day./5/
/5/Eugene Black was the President's Special Adviser on Asian Economic and Social Development. Johnson had met
with Black on September 5 and announced Black's trip to the Philippines, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and South
Vietnam at a press conference on September 6. "I have asked him to pursue plans for the Mekong Basin program for
development for peaceful purposes," the President noted. See Department of State Bulletin, September 30, 1968, pp.
330-335. Black reported on his trip in a meeting with the President on October 28; see ibid., October 28, 1968, p. 434.
Secretary Rusk said in looking at things that are of key importance to us, both from a diplomatic and military side, we
are inclined to attach great importance to the renewal of the DMZ.
Senator Dirksen asked Secretary Rusk if when he said restore the DMZ he meant respect the DMZ.
Secretary Rusk said that was correct. Let the international observers get back in there, both sides stay out of the DMZ,
don't fire until they cross the DMZ, don't use it for infiltration, don't station troops there or anything of that sort.
[Omitted here is discussion of Supreme Court nominations, the budget, and the economy.]

6. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/


Washington, September 6, 1968, 1:20 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Vietnam, July-December 1968. Secret;

Sensitive.
Mr. President:
Herewith a tentative judgment which, of course, could be overturned by new facts tomorrow./2/
/2/Rostow is referring to a telegram from Abrams setting forth these alternatives. It is printed in Foreign Relations, 19641968, vol. VI, Document 337.
1. The enemy may have opted for the second of Abrams' four alternatives; that is, a stretch-out of military operations at
relatively low casualty rates.
2. The enemy may have decided to shift his weight away from the cities to provincial areas and the countryside.
3. Since the enemy's military operations always have a political purpose, his political situation may be this:
--He failed in his attempt to soften the Democratic convention on Vietnam.
--He is most actively engaged in trying to build up his political organization in the countryside for bargaining purposes
and, possibly, for a cease-fire situation. Rural and provincial military operations could help in this effort.
--He may be planning to conserve military assets for a program of steady, limited pressure, rather than dramatic major
action, as a background to serious negotiations; but we will require some days--or a few weeks--to make this judgment.
--Or he may be planning a program of limited pressure and conservation of assets so he has bargaining strength in the
early months of 1969, as a new President takes stock.
4. A part of the background to these speculations is evidence derived from communications in Vietnam and reports of
special meetings that usually precede or follow major policy decisions in Hanoi which affect military operations in the
South:
--There has been a great deal of unusual activity in high-level communications recently. This began on August 27 with a
series of lengthy, urgent messages from the B-3 Front Headquarters which controls most of the II Corps area to the
High Command in Hanoi. Then on September 2 Hanoi High Command sent an unusual high precedence message to
COSVN.
--During the past several days the Military Affairs Committee of COSVN has been engaged in unusual activity which
included the transmission of a number of "decrypt immediately" messages to its subordinates.
--We have information from scattered points of meetings of political cadre. At least one of these appeared to be rather
urgent in that the unit itself was going into combat without some of its officers who were attending a meeting.
--A COSVN Military Intelligence Conference is scheduled to be held on September 15 and will last 10 to 12 days.
Tactical representatives from various units were directed to be present.
W.W. Rostow/3/
/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

7. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, September 7, 1968, 1555Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)September 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Harvan; Plus. Received at 12:26 p.m.

20522/Delto 699. From Harriman and Vance.


1. We met for three hours this morning September 7 with Le Duc Tho, Xuan Thuy and Ha Van Lau, with their interpreter
and note taker. Habib and Negroponte accompanied us. At their request, meeting took place in same North Vietnamese
house as Vance/Lau talks.
2. Most of the time was taken up by an endless harangue by Le Duc Tho, explaining in great inaccurate detail that we
had lost the war and failed in political field. Tho concluded by saying that he had not yet finished his statement, the
balance of which he would like to make at our next meeting. He was not prepared, he said, to say anything further
today. He said although he would listen to our comments today, we would prefer to complete his full statement before
we did. We decided it was better to hear him out before responding.
3. Our next meeting is set for Thursday September 12 at 3 o'clock, with an outside possibility of meeting Tuesday
September 10. They agreed to establish at our next meeting a calendar of longer and frequent private meetings. We
also agreed at their initiative to keep everything said at these private meetings secret. If we were queried about them,
we would simply state "we never comment on any allegations or rumors about private discussions."
4. At the beginning of the meeting, we stated it seemed to us that it was the responsibility of the negotiators in Paris to
find a way to remove the roadblocks that were preventing progress. Perhaps this could be done by seeking areas of
agreement. We stated there were two principal points we wanted to make. Both sides agreed on the objective of
stopping the bombing, and proceeding to serious talks to reach a peaceful settlement. However, we differed on the
question of the circumstances under which the bombing could be stopped, and what we mean by moving to serious
talks. On the first point, they were familiar with the President's emphasis on his concern in what will happen in the area
of the DMZ. This matter had been discussed between Ambassadors Vance and Lau, and we thought that we might not
be so far apart since Lau had indicated that if we on our side ended military activity in the DMZ, they "would know what
to do." On the second point, we stated that we had continually made it definite that we could not have serious talks
about the political future of South Viet-Nam without the inclusion of representatives of the GVN. This is a must. We were
prepared to have them include the NLF or others on their side. However, we could have bilateral talks on bilateral
subjects such as future relations between our two countries which they had previously raised.
5. We also mentioned the President's statement of August 19, "This administration does not intend to move further until
it has reason to believe that the other side intends seriously to join with us in de-escalating the war and moving seriously
towards peace," and Pham Van Dong's statement of September 2, "Moreover, in Paris we are raising a very just and
well-founded demand which will have a positive effect on the seeking step by step of a political settlement for the
Vietnam problem."/2/ We suggested discussing their significance.
/2/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 332, and The New York Times, September 3, 1968.
6. Le Duc Tho's monologue then followed. Detailed account reported septel,/3/ but we think that INR could probably
write it without our report.
/3/Telegram 20523/Delto 700 from Paris, September 7. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM
Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)-September 1968) In a September 8 covering note transmitting a copy of this
telegram to the President, Rostow wrote: "Nothing new except the full text of Tho's diatribe." (Johnson Library, National
Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Paris Todel-Paris Delto XII, 9/1-13/68)
7. Comment: Le Duc Tho at the close of meeting stated that he agreed in principle to meet privately "many hours a day
and many days a week." We will know more about the significance of this statement when we see the calendar at next
Thursday's meeting. Our impression is that Tho is under instructions to make sure that we understand Hanoi's
contentions and to avoid giving any impression they are negotiating from weakness. Tho's offer to hold frequent private
meetings, coupled with his underscoring of the importance of secrecy of these meetings may indicate they are preparing
for meaningful discussions./4 /
/4/In a September 10 memorandum to Rusk, in which he summarized the individual assessments of delegation
members, Holbrooke noted that "the Delegation believes that Tho is leading up to something new." (Ibid., Harvan Misc.
& Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68)
Harriman

8. Notes of Meeting/1/

Washington, September 9, 1968, 5:45-7:24 p.m.


/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification markings. This was an off-the-record
meeting with the bipartisan Congressional leadership. Attending were the President, Rusk, Clifford, Rostow, Special
Assistant Harold Barefoot Sanders, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Arthur Okun, Director of the Bureau
of the Budget Charles Zwick, Tom Johnson, and Congressmen McCormack, Albert, Ford, Melvin Lair, and Leslie
Arends. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A full transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet
Room.
[Omitted here is discussion of the North Korean seizure of the Pueblo and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.]
Secretary Clifford:
Vietnam
We do not know if this is the beginning of the enemy's third offensive. General Abrams has been conducting spoiling
operations./2/
/2/Abrams reported on the military situation in Vietnam in telegram MAC 12129 to Wheeler, September 8. (National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 407, Westmoreland v. CBS Litigation Collection, MACV Backchannel
Messages to Westmoreland, 1-30 September, 1968 [Folder 1 of 2]) In memorandum CM-3465-68 to Rusk, September
11, Wheeler relayed Abrams' assessment of the likelihood of a unilateral cease-fire by the NVA and Viet Cong. (Ibid.,
RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET)
The first two weeks in August there were 2 bn attacks.
The second two weeks in August there were 11 bn attacks.
First 2 weeks in August, there were 71 small unit attacks.
Second 2 weeks in August, there were 145 small unit attacks.
First two weeks in August there were 4200 enemy killed in action.
Second two weeks in August there were 9700 enemy killed in action.
First two weeks in August the statistics were (5X1 and 6X1 enemy vs. friendly): 801 friendly, 332 U.S.
Second two weeks in August: 1600 friendly, 716 U.S.
There is an increased effectiveness on the part of ARVN which has been noted.
Ambassador Bunker says these attacks differ. They did not start at once.
The enemy command is now trying to hold down casualties.
They need a dramatic victory badly.
General Abrams has been able to blunt the offensive.
[Omitted here is discussion of Latin America, the Korean peninsula, Israel, and NATO.]
Secretary Rusk:
Paris Talks
We have tried to offer Hanoi quite a menu. 1. Troop levels. 2. DMZ. 3. Attacks on cities. 4. Political settlement. 5. Laos.
6. Cambodia.

They won't talk. Hanoi won't talk to Saigon. We have not been able to do any business. If North Vietnam would do
almost anything we might be able to get something going.
Both candidates want peace before January if we can get it. Nobody can tell us what would happen if we stopped the
bombing.
It is hard to say don't hit the enemy while they are seven miles away--that's rude--hit them when they are two miles
away. If there is one shred of interest in peace on the other side, we are ready to talk. Hanoi is rigid in its stance.
The enemy has had 76% of casualties of the May offensive.
The enemy has three options:
1. Increase the tempo of attacks for limited period--all out effort.
2. Curtail offensive--pull back.
3. Maintain offensive posture. Stretch it out.
The military commanders believe he is likely to choose alternative 3. The enemy's major goal is Saigon--to weaken
South Vietnam's people's confidence in their government. They must gain a psychological advantage over the United
States here in the U.S.
They aim to weaken our will here at home.
At no place was there a request for more men or material from our men in Vietnam.
[Omitted here is discussion of European strategic security.]
Secretary Clifford: 1. Some North Vietnamese commanders are getting orders they know they cannot carry out. 2. North
Vietnamese troops are defecting. 3. The number of weapons the enemy is abandoning is going up. 4. The level of troop
training is lower.
Yet they can still conduct a military effort against us.
[Omitted here is discussion of budgetary matters.]

9. Editorial Note
The diplomatic exchange code-named Chlodnick between the United States and the Soviet Union involved the
arrangement of a summit conference between President Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin to discuss arms
control, the Middle East, and Vietnam. Discussions of the summit took place primarily in Washington. On the evening of
September 9, 1968, Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin met with Walt Rostow at the latter's home. The following
discussion on Vietnam is excerpted from Rostow's September 10 memorandum to the President and Secretary of State
Rusk on his meeting with Dobrynin:
"5. Dobrynin then turned to Vietnam and talked at very great length, making, in the end, the following points:
"--He continued to regret that we had not responded more positively to Kosygin's statement that 'he and his colleagues
had reason to believe, etc.'
"To the best of Dobrynin's knowledge, this was a unique message to the United States. He had hoped that if we could
not act immediately upon it we would come back with a proposition which 'Kosygin and his colleagues' might press on
Hanoi.
"--He then raised the subject of the third offensive. With striking candor he said: 'Now that the Democratic Convention is
over, the offensive may subside.' If there was a lull in the level of violence in South Vietnam, would we be willing to stop

the bombing? He then introduced the familiar argument that we were 'a great country dealing with a small country' and
we could afford to be generous. I said the question was not one of generosity, but of the lives of American soldiers and
our allies. There is also the critical matter that if they were not prepared for reciprocity at this stage, I did not see how a
stable peace could be negotiated for Southeast Asia. The negotiation of a peace would have to confront certain hard
facts about the presence of North Vietnamese forces in Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam. If we evaded the question
of reciprocity on the bombing, we might then be confronted with a similar stubbornness and unwillingness to face reality
with respect to the GVN in Saigon; then, the question of North Vietnamese troop withdrawals from the South; etc. We
did not see why, if they were serious, they would not settle down and make peace on the basis of hard realities.
"--This led to a very long series of statements on the minds of the men in Hanoi--and in Peking--as seen from Moscow.
He began with the Chinese Communists. He said that in their dealings with Moscow, the Chinese Communists often
took positions that made absolutely no sense to the Russian mind. For example, in a meeting with Soviet and other
Communists, the Chinese Communists said bluntly they did not mind a nuclear war. This would wipe out most of the
Soviet population and a high proportion of the Chinese population, but would leave them with two or three hundred
million Chinese. (He reported that an Eastern European Communist leader spoke up and asked: 'What about us?') He
said that while the men in Hanoi were not casual about nuclear war, they were filled with ideas which were foreign to
Moscow and--no doubt--to us. They took enormous pride in their capacity to survive and persist in conducting the war
against the world's greatest power. They evoked memories of how they have survived for centuries against the Chinese;
struggled successfully against the French; kept in the battle against the big American forces. They are very stubborn
about their objectives: he cited their satisfaction and pride in forcing us to stop a part of the bombing. (At this point he
came perilously close to suggesting that we should have used more power against them, but veered away quickly.)
"--On the other hand, he said that Hanoi had shared with Moscow some of the negotiating positions they would take
after a bombing cessation. He could not reveal these to me. But he personally concluded that they would negotiate
seriously.
"--In underlining the curious pride and mentality of the men in Hanoi he gave a long circumstantial account of how the
Soviet Union was prepared to make available to them pilots for air defense. He said that the Soviet Union had a number
of experienced pilots who were in retirement at an early age. Their pensions were greater than the salary of an
Ambassador. Some Soviet military men were extremely anxious to get them into Hanoi so that they could acquire
experience in combat with the Americans. The Americans were learning exactly what the capacity of their aircraft and
their pilots was. The Soviet Union could only train their men under non-combat conditions. Therefore, the pressure to
get Hanoi to accept Soviet pilots was considerable. But they flatly refused. He cited this, again, as an example of the
extreme pride of a very small power in dealing with a major power.
"6. I told him that I had no position to report to him on a cessation of bombing other than that with which he was wholly
familiar. We hoped that things would move forward in Paris. If they wish to negotiate with President Johnson, they had
better get moving. I doubted that they would do any better in negotiations with President Johnson's successor, whoever
he might be. Moreover, they had better reckon that the South Vietnamese are as stubborn as the North Vietnamese.
They will soon have a million men under arms of increasing competence and confidence.
"7. Dobrynin then suddenly asked: If there were a free election in the South, how do you think it would come out? I said
that it was my private judgment that the hard core Communists could not attract as much as 10% of the South
Vietnamese vote. On a Popular Front basis they might do better; but, for what it was worth, I did not believe that a
Popular Front in South Vietnam would do as well as the French and Italian Communist parties in their elections. He
asked: How would President Thieu fare in an election? I took him through the election statistics (which I shall send him),
pointing out that between them, Thieu and Huong had gotten 45% of the vote. If you added in former General Don in the
Senate, you were up to something like 56% of the vote. Except for Dzu, who was in effect a Popular Front candidate,
the balance went to anti-Communist Nationalists. I concluded that the problem of the South Vietnamese in an election,
in my judgment, was not with a vast pro-VC majority, but how to avoid running 10 Nationalist candidates, as they did last
time. I concluded by saying that I could be wrong; and if the men in Hanoi believed in the popularity of their cause, let
them adopt the test of a one-man, one-vote election. We were ready. He asked: Is Thieu ready? I said that it was my
impression that he was ready. I cited the statement in the Honolulu Communiqu which he had volunteered despite the
fact that he was under considerable political pressure at home at a time when a major attack on Saigon was
expected." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Rostow Files, Chlodnick File)
The full text of this memorandum is printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XIV, Document 295.
On September 13 Dobrynin delivered orally a note from his government to Rostow addressing the convening of the
proposed summit. The note reads in part:
"We are ready to exchange opinions on Vietnam with the understanding also of the fact that the Soviet Union cannot be
a substitution on this question for the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and for the National Liberation
Front of South Vietnam. We think that such an exchange of opinions can be useful if to proceed from the fact that

continuation of the war in Vietnam benefits nobody but those who would like to bring the United States and the Soviet
Union into collision, and that the solution of the Vietnam problem can be found not on the battlefield. We did already
express to President Johnson our conviction that the current meetings in Paris between representatives of the DRV and
the United States give an opportunity to find a way out from the present situation. We continue to believe--and it is not
without grounds--that if the United States completely stops bombings and other military actions against the DRV it could
create a turning point at the meetings in Paris and would open perspectives for serious negotiations on political
questions of a settlement."
The full text of this note is ibid., Document 296.

10. Paper Prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)/1/
Washington, September 11, 1968.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, VIET 092.2
(September-October 1968). Confidential. A notation on the paper reads: "Dep. Sec. has seen." An attached note dated
September 11 reads: "Clark--Some days ago you asked me to think over an idea of yours relative to a cessation of
bombing north of 17. I have done so. The attached paper, which I wrote personally, sets forth the doubts & problems it
raises for me. Bus." Another attached note to Clifford from his military aide Robert Pursely dated October 17 reads: "Mr.
Clifford: You handed the attached paper to Mr. Warnke some time ago. He now returns it, with the comment that he
feels no action is indicated at this time. REP"
CESSATION OF OFFENSIVE ACTIONS AND NVN
1. It has been proposed that, in the near future, the President would make a nationally-televised speech in which he
would state:
a. Effective one week later, he was directing the cessation of all offensive actions against NVN.
b. He assumed that the DRV would refrain from certain military actions and would, within 2-3 days after the cessation of
US operations against NVN, engage in fruitful discussions leading to a just and honorable peace. (See para 2 below for
a hard-core listing of these actions.)
c. He assumed also that, during the intervening week, if the DRV found his assumptions unacceptable, they would so
state. He would construe silence on their part to indicate consent.
2. The following is a listing of the hard-core items of Phase II of the Phase I-II package which have been mentioned to
the North Vietnamese in Paris:
a. Restore the DMZ. No massing of troops or supplies in or near DMZ.
b. No increase in US or DRV force levels in South Vietnam after cessation of bombing.
c. No attacks on major population centers in South Vietnam, such as Saigon, Hue, and Danang.
d. Substantive discussions, on a "our-side your-side" basis to commence as soon as bombing stops, with either side
free to raise any topics relevant to a peaceful settlement.
Note: Aerial reconnaissance over NVN is implicit in the foregoing.
3. The principal arguments advanced in favor of this procedure are:
a. It removes the element of reciprocity which the North Vietnamese have declared to be not acceptable to them.
b. The North Vietnamese do not have to say anything; they need only to refrain from doing certain things. (Except subparagraph 2d.)

c. Unlike earlier, more simple proposals for unilateral cessation of offensive operations against NVN, the President is
protected; i.e., if the North Vietnamese respond that the proposal is not to their liking, the order to cease US operations
would not be issued.
d. Acceptance (silence) by NVN would lead promptly to substantive discussions. Rejection would coalesce world opinion
against them and in our favor.
4. The foregoing formulation is better in several respects than others put forward earlier. However, there are certain
aspects which deserve further and deeper examination. Among these are:
a. The attitude of the North Vietnamese leaders.
Comment: Ambassador Vance stated during his last visit that, at the outset of the negotiating sessions, the North
Vietnamese were arrogant, obviously expectant that the US representatives had come prepared to negotiate a facesaving turnover of SVN to NVN. They were surprised and apparently shocked that such was not the case. His views are
borne out by frequent statements in NVN propaganda, exhortations to VC/NVA forces, private comments to individuals,
etc., regarding the "stubbornness" of the Americans.
It seems reasonably clear that Hanoi rejects reciprocity in order to get something for nothing rather than any obscure
considerations of "face."
This leads to a question: Would a further unilateral restriction on our offensive actions lead to any move to peace by
NVN leaders, or would it serve to confirm that our "stubbornness" can be broken and further concessions gained if they
stand their ground?
b. The reality of the US construing silence on the part of the NVN delegation as acceptance of our assumptions.
Comment: I am informed that there are ample and sound legal precedents for construing silence as consent. However, it
is not clear to me that this is necessarily true in international law and, even if it is, there is no court to so construe, find,
and take corrective action. Of course, there is world opinion, for what it may be worth, in dealing with NVN. I surmise it
would have little force in Hanoi.
In other words, I conjecture that NVN could, and probably would, remain silent, permit us to cease all combat operations
against NVN, and count upon world opinion (which has more impact in Washington than Hanoi) to inhibit us from
resuming offensive operations north of 17.
Furthermore, arguing legalistically, the North Vietnamese could maintain that (1) these were our assumptions, not theirs;
they had never agreed to reciprocal actions, and our assumptions were reciprocity in another guise; (2) since they had
not agreed to the US assumptions, they were not bound to proceed on any or all of them, e.g., an "our-side your-side"
formula; (3) however, now that the US had ceased offensive operations against NVN, which was the central reason for
negotiators convening, we should now proceed to the next item on their agenda: which is probably the withdrawal of US
forces from SVN.
Question: Could we realistically reverse our course should NVN adopt the above, or a comparable position?
c. Assuming silence from NVN, the soundness of the assumption that prompt and substantive discussions leading to
peace would be forthcoming.
Comment: Three points are pertinent. The North Vietnamese have adamantly rejected the "our-side your-side" formula,
saying that they will not deal with the "puppets" Thieu and Ky. They have stated repeatedly that restoration of the DMZ
would be equivalent to permanent partition of Vietnam. And, like other Communists, they believe in the "talk-fight, fighttalk" tactic.
I think it reasonable to expect that, in the postulated situation, talks might begin promptly. On the other hand, they might
well not be substantive and productive. Free of all military pressure against NVN, they could (and, I believe, would)
settle down for protracted negotiations (with us--not the GVN), fully expectant that US war-weariness would prevent us
from insisting on GVN participation, inevitably produce further concessions, and ultimately give them a Paris-type
victory.
I base the foregoing judgments on these considerations: (1) following the "talk-fight" formula, they could control the
tempo and resultant costs of combat in SVN; (2) they could expect, over time, a deterioration in the RVNAF due to

weariness, losses and knowledge that NVN was not suffering while they and their country were under attack; and (3)
they could expect with high confidence that, so long as the talks continued, we would not resume our offensive against
the North even under circumstances of serious provocation.
Question: Assuming silence from NVN relative to the proposed assumptions, would the resultant situation be
advantageous or disadvantageous to the US?
d. The reality of the implicit assumption that we could and would resume offensive operations against NVN should
negotiations prove to be non-productive.
Comment: Our experience with unilateral cessations of operations against NVN has been illuminating, but not happy.
Since the facts are well-known, no purpose is served by belaboring the point. Moreover, this aspect has been discussed
partially in 4c. above.
However, I am convinced that once we cease our offensive against NVN, the chances of resumption are most remote.
Question: Under what circumstances, assuming that talks following this formulation have been undertaken, would the
US resume offensive operations against NVN?
e. The value of our air and naval campaign against NVN.
Comment: As pointed out earlier, our limited air and naval operations against NVN comprise the only pressure which
self-imposed constraints permit us to apply against NVN. Within the limits we have established for ourselves, we have
the initiative, and we can control the tempo and destructiveness of our attacks regardless of defensive measures taken
by NVN.
The contrary is true in SVN. There--at a cost and within limits--NVN can control the level of combat activity and the
destruction created.
I believe that both proponents and opponents of air and naval operations against NVN have, to varying degrees and far
too often, expressed their differing views in extremes. Certainly, to maintain that the air and naval campaign is the single
most important factor of the war is as illogical as to maintain that the campaign is militarily valueless. In essence, war is
force applied to achieve an end. The more violently and the faster force is applied, the sooner the end is achieved.
I believe the following factors are pertinent to our air and naval campaign against NVN and, moreover, are undeniably
true:
(1) Our limited air and naval campaign is the only means available to us, within self-imposed constraints, to bring
pressure on NVN.
(2) Without attempting to quantify physical results, our operations are disrupting the enemy's war effort and hurting him.
(3) Complete cessation of offensive operations north of 17 will permit the enemy to move with impunity forces, military
matriel and supplies to areas contiguous to the combat zone, thereby increasing the hazard to US and Allied forces
and installations. Under these circumstances, should the enemy so choose, US and Allied casualties will increase to a
level largely determinable by the enemy.
(4) The morale of US and Allied troops, and that of the SVN populace, would suffer.
(5) Friend and enemy alike, military and civilian, would construe the imposition of further unilateral restraint on our forces
as a victory for NVN, supporting the thesis that, if the NVN remain intransigent, they can achieve their full objectives in
SVN.
Question: Would a total cessation of military operations against NVN create a situation, political and military, more
favorable or less favorable for the achievement of US objectives?
5. Of course, people will answer the foregoing questions in different ways. My own answers can be summed up as
follows:
a. I know that it is militarily wrong to make concessions from a position of strength to an enemy showing signs of

increasing strain and weakness; and


b. On balance, I believe such a course to be equally unsound politically.
Wheeler

11. Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence Helms/1/


Washington, September 12, 1968.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/IMS Files, Job 72-207A, AA-3, FE Division, 1968. Secret; Sensitive.
Drafted by Carver. In an attached note to Deputy Director for Plans Thomas Karamessines, Chief of the Far East
Division William E. Nelson, Chief of Vietnam Operations [name not declassified], and Chief of Saigon Station [name not
declassified], September 12, Carver wrote: "Attached is the final version of the briefing memorandum on Lien Minh given
the Director to brace him for the 12 September Presidential lunch. In going over this with him, I reported [name not
declassified] strong conviction (which I share) that although we may have some reservations about the mechanics of the
Ambassador's proposal, we feel the Lien Minh concept is sound and merits U.S. financial support. The Director agreed
and said he would argue for the basic concept at the lunch."
SUBJECT
The Lien Minh
1. The Lien Minh (Vietnamese short title for the National Alliance for Social Revolution) is a political concept that has no
American counterpart. Very roughly, it is something like an alliance of the ADA (under a Democratic administration), the
UAW, the Knights of Columbus, and some elements of the League of Women Voters. The basic purpose of the Lien
Minh is to stimulate the political coalescence of various groups and factions on the non-Communist side--which, in the
aggregate, comprises the majority of politically concerned Vietnamese in South Vietnam but is presently (and
historically) too divided and disorganized to compete politically with its tightly disciplined Communist rivals.
2. The long range objective of the Lien Minh exercise is to stimulate the development of a political party or parties. This,
however, will not be achieved quickly, easily or soon. The more concrete short run objectives of Lien Minh are (1) the
development of a forum for disparate political elements in which they can express common nationalist aspirations and
(2) the creation of a popularly based service organization, national in scope, whose social welfare activities will have
political overtones and redound to the GVN's political benefit. (Social welfare has traditionally been viewed in Vietnam as
a function of government.)
3. The three major components of the Lien Minh are the National Salvation Front (NSF), headed by Senator (and former
General) Tran Van Don; the Democratic Freedom Force (DFF), headed by Nguyen Van Huong; and the Farmer-Worker
Association, headed by trade union (CVT) leader Tran Quoc Buu. The NSF is a loose political coalition of various
political groups that emerged more or less spontaneously in the aftermath of Tet, but was viewed with reservations by
Thieu because of the NSF's ties to the Ky camp. The DFF is another political organization and is, in effect, the Thieu
camp's answer to the NSF. Though many fairly important groups or factions are left out (e.g., Catholic groups, Dai Viets,
the northern VNQDD) the Lien Minh amalgam does include at least some elements of all major religious, regional and
political groups and is the broadest thing going in Vietnam today. (See the Annex for a more detailed break-out of the
Lien Minh's composition.)/2/
/2/Attached but not printed is an annex outlining the organization of the Lien Minh. It noted that the plans for the
expansion of the Lien Minh included the incorporation of religious groups and gaining support from civic associations,
the military, and other GVN components.
4. A total of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] has been passed to Thieu to support Lien Minh: [less than 1
line of source text not declassified] on 29 August and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] on 5 September.
5. On funding mechanics, Thieu has designated Nguyen Van Huong (DFF leader and the leading member of Thieu's
presidential staff) as the point of operational contact with the Lien Minh, Huong's counterpart being CAS officer [name
not declassified]. Thieu has asked, however, that all funds be passed directly to him personally and that no other
Vietnamese (including Huong) be aware of U.S. financial support. The funds already given have been passed to Thieu
by [name not declassified].
6. On accountings, the physical recipient of the U.S. funds is President Thieu, the Chief of State. Thieu of course can

(and should) be expected to explain or report the purposes for which these funds are used and disbursed. He can
certainly be pressed for as much detailed information on these points as the Ambassador wishes to seek. Since Thieu is
the Chief of State, however, diplomatic and protocol considerations will probably mean that we will generally have to
take Thieu at his word and that he cannot be compelled to support his statements with detailed accountings backed by
written records and receipts.
7. General Recommendations: We believe the Lien Minh concept is sound and that activity along the Lien Minh line is
the best politically practical method of encouraging South Vietnamese political cohesion, institutional development and-ultimately--the evolution of real political parties. We thus share the Ambassador's view that the Lien Minh concept merits
U.S. encouragement and financial support. We do have reservations about the mechanics of the Ambassador's specific
proposal, though we recognize he is the man on the scene with ultimate field responsibility.
(1) We would greatly prefer to see the GVN making a financial input of its own from the start. Without a direct GVN input
(and, hence, vested interest) there will always be the risk of the program's being considered, even in Thieu's eyes, an
American scheme the Vietnamese are indulging.
(2) On security grounds, we question Thieu's ability to conceal the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]
unless there is some known Vietnamese fund raising activity of which these U.S. funds could conceivably be a part.
(3) While we agree with the Ambassador that the Lien Minh should be gotten off the ground now, we believe that Thieu
could find some funds of his own if he really supports the program and felt the necessity of giving it personal financial
support. Our experience in last summer's electoral campaign supports this belief.

12. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, September 12, 1968, 1:39-2:37 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the
White House Mansion. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
The President
Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
CIA Director Helms
George Christian
Tom Johnson
Secretary Rusk: We expect a call during lunch on the status of the Paris talks today.
The President: Fine, let's go on.
Walt Rostow: Ambassador Bunker has a good report on Vietnam. It shows action in land reform and other areas.
The President: Huong has a good image with our press. Let's get him before them more.
Should we brief the Congress, Dean? Your briefings with the leadership have been good.
Secretary Rusk: The sessions were more relaxed than I have had before.
The President: Clark (Secretary Clifford), who called whom on the call to the Vice President?
Secretary Clifford: He called me about his statement on troop withdrawal. I told him I had not predicted any U.S. troops
would come home next year. Thieu has. Also, he asked if it were true a Marine unit was coming home now. I said yes,
but it is a rotation.
Secretary Clifford: The Vice President has had three flubs.

1. Withdrawal of troops.
2. Minority plank vs. majority plank.
3. Bringing Marine unit home now./2/
/2/In a speech at Philadelphia on September 9, Humphrey stated that certain military units could be withdrawn from
Vietnam by late 1968 or early 1969. In Denver later that day, Humphrey downplayed the differences between the
majority and minority planks on Vietnam adopted by the Democratic National Convention and noted that he would have
been able to run based upon the minority plank. See The New York Times, September 10, 1968. In a September 10
speech before the American Legion in New Orleans, the President stated: "We yearn for the day when the violence
subsides. We yearn for the day when our men can come home. No man can predict when that day will come, because
we are there to bring an honorable, stable peace to Southeast Asia, and no less will justify the sacrifices that our men
have died for." The full text of this speech is in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson,
1968-69, Book II, pp. 936-943.
He needs a man with him every day we trust and respect to give him correct guidance.
Secretary Rusk: Thinking should be done before rather than after. Tom Hughes would be good.
The President: 1. I want the Vice President to win. 2. I want the Democratic Party to win. They are better. No question of
Humphrey against anybody. 3. I have told the Cabinet not to let the record of its Departments be distorted. I want the
Cabinet to do what is appropriate to help the Vice President.
Where I help depends on where the Vice President wants me to help.
Secretary Rusk: I would like to have a briefing session with Humphrey. Does he want to show a little space between us
and his position.
The President: He wants space. In his heart he is with us, but he thinks it is politically wise to keep space.
[Omitted here is discussion of Nixon's potential personnel selections for the Department of Defense and the Supreme
Court.]
Walt Rostow: There is procedural progress, but no substantive progress. We will meet privately Mondays and Fridays.
Averell and Cy believe other side does not understand Manila Formula./3/
/3/In the Manila Communiqu of October 25, 1966, the United States and Allied nations declared their intention to
withdraw from Vietnam within 6 months of North Vietnamese disengagement. See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol.
IV, Document 281.
[Omitted here is discussion of strategic weapons talks and the Pueblo.]

13. Memorandum From Robert N. Ginsburgh of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special
Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, September 13, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68.
Secret; Nodis; Harvan/Plus.
I was struck by two aspects of yesterday's meeting between Tho and Harriman:/2/
/2/Harriman and Vance met with Tho and Thuy for a second private meeting on September 12. Their report on the
meeting was transmitted in telegram 20779/Delto 724 from Paris, September 12, and telegram 20789/Delto 725 from
Paris, September 13. (Both ibid., Harvan Chronological File, Vol. XXI) This meeting had been set during the tea break at
the 21st formal session on September 11. (Telegrams 20657/Delto 714 and 20662/Delto 715 from Paris, both
September 11; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)September 1968) Jorden's notes of this formal session are in Johnson Library, William Jorden Papers, William J. Jorden
Notes, 21st Meeting.

--Tho's warning about the futility of our intensifying the war. This may have been simply a probe to try to ascertain
whether we were giving any thought to the idea. It may well be that the North Vietnamese fear this possibility in view of
the lack of progress in Paris. This fear could be the main motive behind their agreement on the expanded schedule of
private talks. It remains to be seen whether or not more frequent talks are designed simply to forestall our intensification
of the war or whether they are now ready for substantive talks because of their deteriorating position in the South
combined with a fear that we might intensify the war.
If they are worried about an intensification of the war, a 7-10 day bombing campaign between 19 and 20 degrees might
encourage them to talk faster.
--Tho's emphasis on US troop withdrawal and the unacceptability of the Manila formula. This could result from the fact
that phase 1-phase 2 is a dead issue and they need something new to talk about in order to maintain our interest. It may
also be that they wish to probe in hopes of weakening the US position on the Manila Declaration/3/ and in the process
creating troubles for our relations with the GVN and our other allies. On the other hand, it is at least remotely possible
that they are ready to enter into serious discussions about troop withdrawals as one way of proceeding with substantive
discussions. From their point of view it would be unwise to proceed very far down the line of step-by-step mutual deescalation until they had a better idea of the end of the line in terms of a political settlement in SVN and foreign troops in
SVN.
/3/See footnote 3, Document 12.
With these thoughts in mind, our position ought to be to:
--Probe NVN intentions by trying to start a serious dialogue on troop withdrawals.
--Emphasize that a serious discussion of troop withdrawals is impossible as long as they maintain that there are no
North Vietnamese troops in SVN.
--Reaffirm the flexibility of the Manila Declaration without further weakening of the position.
--Avoid for the time being any hint of token withdrawals.
--Note that an ultimate agreement on troop withdrawal requires agreement--or at least understanding--about the political
future of SVN.
G

14. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson at Camp David/1/
Washington, September 15, 1968, 1517Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68.
Secret; Sensitive; Literally Eyes Only. Received at 11:35 a.m. The notation "ps" on the telegram indicates that the
President saw it. The President was at the Presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, September 14-16. (Ibid.,
President's Daily Diary)
CAP 82396. The telephonic flash report of the Paris private meeting this morning is obscure. They found it hard to
summarize on the phone. Their written report should arrive about noon and will be forwarded./2/
/2/The written report was transmitted in flash telegram 20872/Delto 732 from Paris, September 15. A full report of the
meeting was transmitted in telegram 20873/Delto 733 from Paris, September 15. (Both ibid., National Security File,
Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Paris Todel--Paris Delto XIII [2 of 2])
--Meeting took 2 hours and 40 minutes.
--Harriman presented the points he indicated to us he would make,/3/ and there was discussion.
/3/In telegram 20861/Delto 731 from Paris, September 13, Harriman indicated that he would bring up mutual withdrawal,

the circumstances necessary to stop the bombing completely, and the "our side-your side" formula for participation.
(Ibid.)
--The other side used some "nuanced language" which "interested" our delegation.
--They remain "not discouraged, not encouraged; but interested."
--Firm agreement to meet again on Friday/4/--with probably not much to be expected from Wednesday tea break./5/
/4/September 20; see Document 24.
/5/Nothing substantive was discussed during the tea break at the 22d formal session at the Majestic Hotel on September
18. A report on the session was transmitted in telegram 21015/Delto 745 from Paris, September 18. (National Archives
and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)-September 1968)

15. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, September 16, 1968, 8:30 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, George Elsey Papers, Van De Mark Transcripts [1 of 2]. No classification marking. Drafted
by Elsey. This meeting is the regular 8:30 a.m. staff meeting of Secretary of Defense Clifford, which included, in addition
to Clifford, Nitze, Warnke, Elsey, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Phil G. Goulding, and military
assistant Colonel Robert Pursley. For additional information on the group, see Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke,
Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 491.
CMC [Clifford] tells re week-end at Camp David./2/ He had 2 of best talks on V. Nam since becoming Sec Def 1-1/2 hrs
Sat nite & 2 hrs on Sunday. When Harvan's 3,000 word cable came to Camp David--it shows for 1st time some
movement by NVNams./3/
/2/Clifford spent both September 14 and 15 with the President at Camp David. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
No other record of these conversations has been found.
/3/Reference is to telegram 20873/Delto 733 from Paris, September 15. See footnote 2, Document 14.
Sat, pm
CMC went over his plan again: "we've been on dead center for 5 mos. we have to get something in return for stopping
the bombing & I have a way--a plan--etc. etc."
LBJ had felt, he said, CMC just wanted to quit the bombing, without concession. He was re-assured.
Then came, Sun, the long message. I said, "It proves the NVNams are there, meaning business."
We agreed, if Czech stays quiet for a week, LBJ will send a message to Kosygin to revive a meeting with K. on Strat
[egic] weapons & he'll try for an assurance with K. that we'll stop bombing if the other side will give certain assurances.
Nitze at this pt. explodes! "It's asinine--it's 'pissing' away an advantage we have! It'll undo the N.Atlantic alliance if LBJ
gets into bed with Kosygin."
Warnke sides with Nitze, but much more mildly. He too thinks movement is going on without the Russians.
CMC expresses astonishment at Nitze's objections--"You, Paul, wanted to get the Russians into act."
"Yes," says Nitze, "but that was before Czechoslovakia & before NVNams started to move!!!"
Elsey & Warnke argue that this won't work because timetable won't work; it'll take too long. We'll have an election before

you can get the Russians in!


CMC grows irritated! "I'm for anything that will get the Pres. to stop the bombing!"
Nitze--"No, I'm not!! Not if it means doing things contrary to our national interest! Wrecking NATO by playing footsie with
Kosygin wld do so!"
CMC--"All of you are trying to think logically. You don't realize LBJ's mood. It's: 'I'm God-damned if I'll stop the bombing
without something from the other side!'"
The discussion breaks off at 0925 to prepare for 0930 Staff meeting (Averell Harriman calls in to set date--He is just
coming in from Paris--Max Taylor calls--CMC refuses to take call.)
CMC--"Do not deprecate the concept of finding the means of persuading the Pres to stop the bombing in the N[orth] &
until we get it stopped we can't get anyplace. I'm ready to take risks elsewhere, anywhere!"
Nitze explodes again: "I feel passionately, not to jeopardize U.S. boys, ever, any time, any place & there is no need now
to play into Soviet hands & it would terribly . . . to do so!"

16. Memorandum From the Board of National Estimates to Director of Central Intelligence Helms/1/
Washington, September 16, 1968.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, VIET 092.2
(September-October) 1968. Secret. A notation on the memorandum reads: "Sec Def has seen--8 Oct 1968."
SUBJECT
The Coming Political Struggle for South Vietnam
1. The long awaited and much heralded third Communist offensive has fallen well short of its advance billing. In contrast
to repeated warnings of a massive country-wide attack, approaching or even exceeding the Tet offensive, the current
effort has been a fairly cautious affair. No doubt much of this is due to increasingly effective Allied spoiling operations. In
any event, the bulk of the evidence indicates that the Communists are not now attempting a major military offensive;
most of the action has been sporadic, with considerable emphasis on attacks by fire, and only occasionally followed by
limited ground probes. The present effort is more prolonged but less intense than the Tet or May offensives.
2. The gap between the ominous predictions and the subsequent reality has led to considerable speculation. One view
is that the Communists have suffered a near disastrous defeat and have been forced to postpone if not cancel their
plans for a major offensive. A contrary opinion is that the climax is yet to come, and that we have only witnessed the
preliminaries to a massive assault, ultimately against Saigon.
3. In our view neither of these interpretations is accurate. While there will probably be lulls and new bursts during the
next several months, Communist military action is not likely to rise significantly above the level of the past month. It now
appears that the Communists have made a strategic decision to conserve their forces, while trying to maintain
intermittent pressures sufficient to preoccupy Allied troops in or near the urban areas. Further, this decision, we believe,
rests on Hanoi's reappraisal of certain fundamental Communist strengths and weaknesses--a reappraisal which was
probably conducted at the highest level during Le Duc Tho's absence from Paris in July.
4. In terms of manpower and matriel, the Communist forces are still capable of a formidable effort. But the political and
military leaders must now be acutely aware that such an undertaking involves extremely high costs, cannot be recycled
indefinitely, and would almost certainly not win the war. On the other hand, the Communists are quite capable, without
the expense and risks of an extraordinary military effort, of enduring the next six months or more without seriously
impairing their position in South Vietnam.
5. In these circumstances a massive military move would only be justified if it promised significant psychological and
political dividends in terms of Hanoi's basic objectives: breaking the "aggressive will" of the US and destroying the GVN.
It would be foolish to rule out such a move; Hanoi could well see a high political return not apparent or convincing to
others. In our view, however, the Communists can no longer have very high expectations that their objectives can be
advanced by large scale military attacks. The Tet attacks were unique, and in a sense an aberration. They yielded

important gains for Hanoi, but it is increasingly unlikely that such a situation can be duplicated.
6. Now, Allied forces and the general populace have been fully prepared for further offensives by the Communists. US
opinion to some extent at least has been conditioned to expect an intensification of the fighting. The record of the last
few months should raise doubts in Hanoi whether the Paris talks can be directly influenced by battles--or even lulls--in
South Vietnam. And one important benchmark has been passed--the political conventions--without a significant turn in
US policy.
7. One further consideration must be of growing importance in Hanoi's calculations. Unless the North Vietnamese
surprise everyone by making a rapid settlement in the next three months, Hanoi will have to deal with a new American
administration. The Communists might be tempted to try a political move or even a dramatic military effort in an attempt
to sway the election. But they could have no assurance of the net result; Hanoi is in no better position than anyone else
to guess what policies will prevail after the election. In this context, it would be prudent for the North Vietnamese to
confront a new administration with its forces not seriously weakened, rather than expend its manpower and resources
trying to influence an outgoing administration.
8. In sum, we agree with the remarks, recently attributed to President Thieu, to the effect that the present period is a
transitional one: the military aspects of the struggle will gradually be overshadowed by the political aspects./2/ The
military effort will be supplementary to the political and diplomatic struggle. We believe that Hanoi intends to reach a
negotiated settlement; the optimum period for this settlement opened on 31 March and in Hanoi's view will probably not
last much beyond the first six months of a new administration. Thus, we foresee an intensive political-diplomatic struggle
coming, one which could produce some dramatic surprises.
/2/Thieu offered his analysis during a September 13 meeting with Bunker, who reported on it in telegram 37824 from
Saigon, September 14. Rostow assessed Thieu's analysis in an attached covering note, September 16, transmitting the
telegram to the President. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the
President/Bombing Halt Decision, 9/30-10/22/68, Vol. I [3 of 3]) In a September 15 memorandum to Abrams, Komer
supported Thieu's contention that the enemy would "seek to maintain military pressure for essentially political purposes,
i.e. to convince the U.S. and Vietnamese audiences that the VC are still strong enough to insist on a political settlement
favorable to them." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Komer Files: Lot 69 D 303, Vietnam/Turkey)
In another assessment contained in a memorandum of September 17, Carver and Allen of the CIA Vietnamese Affairs
Staff wrote: "Though Thieu is probably basically right, his analysis is a shade too comfortable. Our adversaries are
waiting for a break and, in keeping up the pressure, are trying to hold down their losses. They are trying to develop a
situation they can exploit, however, and should they find a chink in the Allied position (e.g., be able to slip small units
into Saigon), they will move swiftly and sharply to take advantage of any such opening." (U.S. Army Center for Military
History, Robert Komer Papers, Pacification Files, Nguyen Van Thieu: General File)
9. In Paris we expect the pace to quicken somewhat. Since Hanoi is not certain of the character of the next
administration, its immediate aim will be to commit the US more firmly to the continuation of the talks, so that a new
administration could not easily abandon them. Some concession, if only a cosmetic one, will probably be made behind
the scenes to whet the interest of the US team. Probably Hanoi believes there is still an outside chance that the
bombing will be ended before the American elections and it will work for this in Paris. Hanoi's general objective still is to
move the negotiations onto highly charged substantive issues--the role of the Front, the withdrawal of American troops,
etc.--which unnerve Saigon and create divisions between the US and the GVN. There would also be some advantage in
advancing the talks so that a new administration would be able to dispose of the Vietnam problem by making some
clear-cut decisions. Major concessions to the American position on reciprocal de-escalation, however, seem unlikely
before the elections. If such concessions are intended, they would probably be reserved for a new administration.
10. Within South Vietnam, the Communists intend to go forward with the political preparations for an end to the fighting.
They will develop two new instruments: the urban oriented "Vietnam Alliance for Peace . . ." and the administrative
apparatus in the rural areas known as revolutionary liberation committees. Thus far these two instruments have been
given a public identity separate from the National Liberation Front. Though this calculated ambiguity may be somewhat
confusing to the rank and file, it permits the Communists to keep open several options when serious negotiations over a
political settlement begin. The general aim of a "coalition" government underlies the creation of these new devices, but
how the various pieces fit together is open for bargaining. In any case, the Communists are laying the groundwork for
claiming a share of political power when the fighting stops.
11. Some painful choices, however, confront the Communists as they proceed toward a settlement. One is whether to
press for a cease fire. With their forces intact and in control of large areas in the countryside, a cease fire might seem an
attractive move, especially since the GVN seems to fear it. The Communists would count heavily on the widespread
popular fears that a cease fire could only mean that the Communists would be eventually given some political position in
Saigon. On the other hand, by agreeing to cease fire, the Communists would lose important leverage on the GVN and
the US and would then be in the position of having to deal, sooner rather than later, with the present Saigon authorities.
We simply cannot be sure how they would weigh the prospective gains and losses. But such a move could come at any
time.

12. There is one further problem which Hanoi may have already begun to mull over. What if, despite serious
negotiations, continued military action, and a change in US administrations, Hanoi cannot achieve a settlement which, at
a minimum, provides an opportunity for winning power in political competition. In other words, what if US terms are
simply too harsh and unacceptable. Then North Vietnam must face the prospect of reducing its own minimum terms, or
gearing its military strategy for a much longer war than it now foresees or intends. An awareness of this potentially
agonizing decision may give some greater sense of urgency to Le Duc Tho and his comrades in Paris over the next few
months.
For the Board of National Estimates:
Abbot Smith
Chairman

17. Intelligence Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency/1/


Washington, September 16, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President, Vol. V. Secret;
Sensitive. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting a copy of this report to the President, September 17,
Rostow wrote: "Herewith the matter Dick Helms was going to raise at lunch, but held off at Sect. Rusk's suggestion. It
reveals what Ky's--and in part, Thieu's--frame of mind really is; and their deep anxiety about the U.S. This is absolutely
firm intelligence and suggests our major problem with a bombing cessation. I believe I know how we can deal with it."
Notes of this luncheon meeting are printed as Document 22.
SUBJECT
Discussion Between President Nguyen Van Thieu and Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky to discuss coup rumors and the
general Vietnamese situation
1. On 10 September 1968, Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky and President Nguyen Van Thieu had an hour-long private
meeting, arranged at Ky's request, to discuss the coup rumors of 8 September. The conversation evolved into a
somewhat disjointed and speculative dialogue about possible American interest in promoting a coup to obtain a quick
peace in Vietnam. The Vice President also used the occasion to stress the need for unity in the government, to propose
again that the President delegate to him some special mission as a way of dramatizing their mutual confidence, and to
attack what he called the divisive activities of Prime Minister Tran Van Huong, Interior Minister Tran Thien Khiem, III
Corps Commander General Do Cao Tri, and Information Minister Ton That Thien. The President did not respond to
these latter gambits of Ky's but the two men appeared frank and forthcoming in discussing the matter of a coup.
2. Ky began the meeting by saying that coup rumors had been brought to his attention on 8 September by a phone call
from Ambassador Berger and by the talk of his fellow officers on 9 September; he therefore wished to report these
matters to Thieu and to review the situation with him. After protesting his own innocence of even any prior knowledge of
coup talk against the President, Ky expressed the view that the Americans might resort to a coup to resolve the Vietnam
issue before the election so that Vice President Humphrey might win.
3. Thieu responded that the same thought had occurred to him. He indicated that he had been concerned over two
possible American solutions to the war (1) a coup, or (2) a sudden decision to stop the bombing, accept a cease-fire,
and press for coalition government. He speculated that the Nixon camp might like to foment a coup to create disorder in
Vietnam as a way of attacking the Johnson administration. He also mused that the Communists must help Humphrey in
the elections, "even if they have to assassinate Nixon".
4. Ky suggested that the Americans might be "preparing a solution through some third person--possibly Tran Van Huong
or Duong Van (Big) Minh". Thieu speculated that the U.S. could even be thinking in terms of Phan Quang Dan or Truong
Dinh Dzu.
5. After further similar speculation, Thieu and Ky finally concluded that an American coup against the President would
solve nothing since the nation's anti-Communist forces would quickly mount a counter-coup and that to overthrow the
entire Vietnamese Government, from top to bottom, would be a very difficult and hazardous undertaking for the
Americans. Thieu said that he believed the likeliest dramatic gesture to insure a Humphrey victory would be an
American move for a bombing halt and cease-fire. Ky agreed that the Americans had probably not decided on the
course of a coup--"they only envisage it to make all their preparations".

6. Twice during the conversation Ky referred to the need for unity within the government. He called Prime Minister
Huong a "card of the Southerners" and a creator of factionalism and said he was afraid of the Prime Minister. He
criticized the high turnover of civil, police, and military posts involving friends of Huong and Interior Minister Khiem. He
expressed reservations about the positions of Khiem and III Corps Commander Tri in the event of a coup, saying "I am
afraid of persons like Khiem and Tri, and Tri most of all--he is an avenger". He also criticized the reference of
Information Minister Thien, "that slave of the Americans", to Premier Huong as the Magsaysay of Vietnam. Thieu made
no comment on these accusations nor did he respond to Ky's suggestions that he be given "some task, a special
mission" to prove and dramatize the unity and trust between them. The two men also discussed the return of exiled
General Minh. Thieu indicated his unhappiness that so much discussion of Minh's return had been conducted via the
press medium, but neither Thieu nor Ky expressed opposition to Minh's return.

18. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, September 16, 1968, 9 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Walt Rostow Files, Chlodnick File. Literally Eyes Only for the
President and Secretary Rusk.
Mr. President:
As we consider the possible initiative with the Russians, I believe we should take certain steps and plan others--in the
form of a scenario--to make sure all bases are covered.
1. A military assessment for the next several months, say mid-September to mid-November.
This should cover:
--enemy plans and intentions;
--our capacity to deal with them;
--current and prospective rates of infiltration;
--weather and probable supply movements through the Panhandle and Laos.
We know, in general, that the answers are: a stretched out harassing campaign, with an effort to consolidate politically in
the countryside; we can cope well; low infiltration now, probably due to weather--possibly due to political plans:
infiltration could rise sharply when Laos dries up from mid-October on; weather will deteriorate in Panhandle, improve in
Laos. But we need an authoritative wrap-up from Abrams, for which we can ask at any time.
2. Contingency plans for applying more pressure to North Vietnam if you should judge diplomacy has failed.
Major candidates are:
--bombing Cambodian bases;
--bombing up to 20th parallel;
--bombing Hanoi-Haiphong;
--mining Haiphong;
--ground attacks into northern half of DMZ;
--ground attacks north of the DMZ.

Bus could be asked to work on this on a personal basis now, without staff. You may wish formally to engage Pentagon
staff only if bombing halt is under way.
3. Rules of engagement during a bombing halt.
We had a good talk about this in Nick Katzenbach's Vietnam group ten days ago. All hands agreed we would wish to
strike back in case of DMZ violations promptly, with our response local rather than general, and about three times the
weight of the particular provocation; for example, three shells for every one fired across the DMZ. But we may wish to
start formal contingency planning on this.
4. Political.
A. If we go ahead with another message via Dobrynin, say, late today/2/ and we get a positive reply, you may wish, just
for the record, to check with Thompson and Bohlen before moving--so that Russian experts will have been consulted.
/2/Rostow met with Dobrynin that evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. He transmitted a message from Johnson to the Soviet
leadership that stated that, if the leaders of the Soviet Union were "prepared to advise on the basis of what now is being
said" that accompanying action on the part of the DRV would be assured on a "de facto basis," then the President
"would take their advice with the utmost seriousness" in a decision to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. The full text of
this message is printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XIV, Document 299. In a memorandum to the President,
September 16, 8:10 p.m., Rostow noted Dobrynin's reaction: "He felt it important that, if the Soviet Union gave a positive
reply to the message I had handed to him, that we not take such a reply as committing the Soviet Union to assuring the
role we had envisaged for the GVN in negotiations." See ibid., Document 300.
B. With respect to Averell, the question may be more urgent: should he be told in general terms of the possibility of an
approach via Moscow as a third party in the next several days?/3/
/3/The issue was discussed with Harriman in several conversations on September 17; see Documents 19-21.
C. Not immediately urgent, but to be kept in mind as a checklist, if we move ahead:
--When do we tell Bunker, Thieu, and Abrams and how do we keep South Vietnamese from panicking?
--When do we tell Asian fighting allies?
--When do we tell NATO allies and how do we keep them from turning off efforts to strengthen NATO?
--How do we reassure Israelis that we are not going to sell them out with the Russians, while keeping the heat on them?
--How do we deal with the issue of Czechoslovakia?
--When do we talk to Congressional leadership?
--When do we inform the major candidates?
(The answer to a good many of these questions--in terms of substance--will come to a head in the drafting of a
statement for the President announcing his forthcoming actions. Simultaneous announcement of a NATO meeting in
Brussels, post-Geneva,/4/ and a meeting with fighting allies in Asia would help. The Czechoslovak issue will be difficult,
although it could be helped by a public troop withdrawal schedule before Geneva.)
/4/Reference is to arms control talks being held in Geneva.
5. A final thought. If the bombing halt comes just before Geneva and we wish to hold Hanoi's feet to the fire on
performance in both Paris and on the ground, you may wish to keep the Geneva talks going until they do perform. Much
the most interesting thing said in Paris yesterday was that serious discussions could begin "the next day."/5/
/5/See Document 14.
Walt

19. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, September 17, 1968, 11:30 a.m.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Subject File, Rusk, Dean--1968-69. Top Secret; Nodis. Harriman's summary version of this conversation is ibid.,
Confidential File, July-September--General. Harriman had returned to the United States 2 days before to attend a family
funeral.
Secretary Rusk
W. Averell Harriman
I had a half-hour's talk with Dean before going over to the White House. Nick Katzenbach came in at the end of it./2/
The atmosphere was completely different from last night./3/ It was relaxed and cordial.
/2/Rusk met with Harriman from 11:30 a.m. to 12:07 p.m. Katzenbach joined the meeting at 11:55 a.m. (Johnson
Library, Dean Rusk Appointment Book, 1968-1969)
/3/The previous evening Harriman met over dinner with Rusk, Katzenbach, Bundy, and Read. In his memorandum of the
conversation, September 16, Harriman noted: "Rusk made a hard-line argument with Nick, saying: 'If Hanoi is serious it
would give us the word,' since, from his experience, Eastern 'face' was a farce. They could get around it if they wanted
to. Nick argued well, speaking of North Viet-Nam's ideology rather than face, and U.S. interests." (Library of Congress,
Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Trips & Missions, 1968-69,
Paris Peace Talks, Memoranda of Conversations)
Dean said the President had very much in mind that there were three elements that had to be dealt with, and that in
talking to him I should understand this. One was military activities in the DMZ area. The second was what Dean called
attacks on the cities. I told him it would be better to speak of attacks on Saigon and other principal cities. I explained the
difference between hitting Saigon and a provincial capital like Tay Ninh. He listened without comment. The third point
was the participation of the GVN. I told him Cy and I thought the DRV had a clear understanding on the DMZ and had
told us as much as we would get. We had dealt with shelling of Saigon last June, though there had been some
additional shelling recently. I didn't think there would be so much difficulty establishing the world opinion on that
question.
Dean argued the need for referring to other attacks in our discussions was not conclusive, except Dean stated the
subject was definitely on the President's mind. I maintained reference to Lau/Vance talks had dealt with that and could
only be determined at "serious discussions" after end of bombing on basis of reciprocal deescalation, etc.
On the third point I stated that I thought we had not had a satisfactory answer from Le Duc Tho. He had only agreed to
talk about it at the serious discussions. We had commented that each has a different point of view but we'll discuss it.
I told Dean that I thought Cy and I ought to have more authority to go back on Friday's meeting/4/ indicating that we felt
we'd made real progress and an understanding on the DMZ matter, but that inclusion of GVN was a point which needed
to be clarified. I said we wanted to be able to tell Tho that the President (or the Government) was gratified with the
progress we had made on the DMZ but the question of GVN was holding up any action. I wanted to be able to go as far
as we could in implying that this issue was the one that had to be settled before action could be taken on the cessation
of the bombing.
/4/For the meeting at Paris on September 20, see Document 24.
I gave Dean my opinion about the meeting with Kosygin./5/ If the President arranged to see him before ending the
bombing, little or nothing would result, whereas if the bombing stopped before he saw him, I felt that the talks could be
extremely useful, both as it related to Viet-Nam and the other matters he wished to discuss (Middle East and nuclear).
The Secretary encouraged me to make all these points frankly with the President.
/5/See footnote 2, Document 18.
W. Averell Harriman/6/

/6/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

20. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, September 17, 1968, 12:15 p.m.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Subject File, Johnson, Lyndon--1968. Top Secret; Nodis. The meeting lasted until 12:42 p.m. (Johnson Library,
President's Daily Diary) In a memorandum to the President, September 17, 10:15 a.m., Rostow transmitted guidance for
the meeting in the form of five questions that the President should ask. (Ibid., National Security File, Files of Walt
Rostow, Middle East and Vietnam Negotiations, September 1968) Rostow's notes of this meeting are in his undated
memorandum for the record. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3])
The President
W. Averell Harriman
Walt W. Rostow
I had a brief talk with Walt Rostow before going in to see the President at quarter past 12. Walt came with me. (The
President was most cordial. I thanked him for the telegram and flowers, etc.)
I went over the same ground with the President in some detail as I had with Dean./2/ He did not argue about any aspect
of it. He questioned me in some detail about my judgment of Kosygin's attitude after the cessation of bombing, rather
than before. I explained that Russia had the same commitment to NVN as we had to SVN. They were committed not
only in hardware, but open-ended commitment on military personnel. They could not take any position as long as we
were hitting what they called a Sister Socialist State and there would be a new situation if we stopped bombing NVN.
We had no concern over the future of NVN; similarly, they would have little concern about SVN; but they would feel
committed to support Hanoi in their position on the political settlement. On the other hand, they would be able to use
influence. I underlined the desire of Eastern European countries to get a settlement, particularly Tito,/3/ Romania and
Poland. He listened attentively and appeared to accept my conclusion. (After lunch, in speaking of this to Dean Rusk, he
said, "Averell is more optimistic about our talks with Kosygin if we stop the bombing first." Something to the effect that
he thought "we ought to consider what Averell said".)
/2/See Document 19.
/3/Josip Broz Tito, President of the Republic of Yugoslavia.
The President listened to my statement about the understanding with Tho on the DMZ and my request for more leeway
in discussions of the position of GVN in talks. The President asked whether I thought their intent was to accept the end
of the bombing and then stall as they had for four months until a new President came along, or whether they would want
to reach a settlement. I told him that I thought the latter would be the case, although it might take some time. They would
accept an independent SVN, etc., according to the NLF program. Our major difficulty would be over who steered the
government. We were insisting on Saigon having the lead; they would insist on the NLF. They would fight each item as
long as they felt there was a chance of getting what they wanted. How far they would compromise I could not tell, but in
any event by January 20 we would be well into the talks. The important question was to get the South Vietnamese
talking among themselves in the hope of their working out a solution.
The President did not seem interested in the details but was interested in whether there would be a serious attempt to
come to an understanding in the discussions. I pointed out the difference in the manner in which they were talking about
mutual withdrawal of troops in last Sunday's discussions with Tho/4/ than before, which encouraged me to believe they
were thinking seriously of mutual withdrawal, but I couldn't see now how we could police the withdrawal. I pointed out
Tho's question: why shouldn't our troops be out at the same time theirs are out? I told the President time was rather
short; I hoped he could make a decision within the next couple of weeks on ending the bombing, and I thought a
meeting with Kosygin at the end of October would be too close to November 5th to be feasible and suggested midOctober as latest date.
/4/See Document 14.
(Note: In talking with Dean Rusk later, after the lunch, the President said you have to recognize our schedule is short
and we have to have action (I thought he said late in October) or it would be too late. I commented that I thought before

the end of September for end of bombing. He said "He meant all action including the Kosygin talk".)
The President asked about Ohio./5/ I said that I normally had some sort of a guess. I had none in this case. I explained
the sense of authority that Le Duc Tho gave in talking to him. I couldn't believe that they would want to transfer the talks
to some junior person in Oslo. I said I couldn't guess; we would have to wait and see.
/5/On August 6 DRV Ambassador to Norway Ngo Minh Loan suggested to the Norwegian Government that DRV
Ambassador to the Soviet Union Nguyen Chan travel to Oslo before August 15 in order to reopen the indirect Norwegian
channel of communication code-named Ohio. (Telegram 5963 from Oslo, August 7; National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO) The Department recommended that Davidson be
sent to Oslo to act as the U.S. representative in these contacts. (Telegram 216977 to Oslo, Paris, and Saigon, August 7;
ibid.) On the eve of the meeting, however, it was postponed by the DRV. (Telegram 221207 to Oslo, Paris, and Saigon,
August 14; ibid.) Chan's arrival in Oslo was re-scheduled for September 19, and his first talks with Norwegian Foreign
Ministry officials were to begin on September 20. Davidson arrived the previous day for a briefing by Norwegian officials.
(Telegrams 6605 from Oslo, September 18, and 6634 from Oslo, September 19; both ibid.) For the September 20
meeting, see Document 25.
I emphasized that bombing could begin at once in DMZ and just north if the DRV didn't carry out its part. The President
said that I was as bad as Dean in thinking it easy to start bombing again--he spoke of the 37 day pause/6/ and reaction
when he started again, etc. I explained the difference between the present situation and then.
/6/Reference is to the 37-day bombing pause during the period December 1965-January 1966.
W. Averell Harriman/7/
/7/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
Addendum:
Dean told me that the President had said he had had an interesting talk with me and had covered a lot of ground. Rusk
asked me to meet with him early tomorrow morning and go over the instructions needed. I told Dean I would talk the
situation over this afternoon with Bundy./8/ There were certain points I wanted to make and get a decision. On other
points we might reach an understanding on what we had in mind.
/8/Notes of Harriman's meeting with Bundy have not been found, but he did meet with Rusk during the morning of
September 18. His notes of the conversations read in part: "We discussed problem of inclusion of GVN and I had to
admit things would be difficult if we did not have an agreement. We couldn't start bombing on this issue and we might
have undignified and frustrative delay in Paris. He has Bunker and Saigon much in mind on this question." Harriman
added: "On Hubert and United States political situation, Dean is on another planet." (Library of Congress, Manuscript
Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Subject File, Humphrey, Hubert H.--19631968)
W.A.H./9/
/9/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.

21. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, September 17, 1968.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Confidential File, July-December 1968. Top Secret; Nodis.
Walt Rostow, White House
W. Averell Harriman
After speaking with the President, I went back to Walt's office and we had about a half-hour's talk (the President had to
go to General Ware's funeral)./2/

/2/Major General Keith Ware, Commander of the 1st Infantry Division, was killed September 13 when his helicopter
crashed near the Cambodian border. The funeral was held at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. The President left the
White House at 12:50 p.m. and returned at 1:43 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
We talked a lot about "Your side and our side". Walt wondered if that was as important as the details to get them to
accept the GVN in the negotiations even though it might be on some other basis. He had been impressed with Bunker's
ideas that there might be talks among the Vietnamese in some place other than Paris, or if in Paris without our
participation. Rusk, however, feels strongly that we should stick to "your side and our side" formula as we would have
impossible problem with the GVN if they don't sit in formal talks in Paris. This would not preclude the alternative of our
having private talks elsewhere at our official level. Walt expressed what he called the hopeful view that Hanoi
theologians could claim success in having forced the United States out but they might want to have the NLF conclude a
deal with the GVN which would not be as satisfactory. They might not want to take the onus of this less than satisfactory
deal. I allowed I didn't know, but I said I had no idea what Hanoi had in mind but as far as I was concerned I thought the
GVN should deal with the NLF; they were southerners; they were people. It would be better for them to deal with each
other. I realized this was political problem for GVN but perhaps this problem could be surmounted at a later stage. Walt
Rostow also hopefully suggested that in some of the mass of material he'd been through there were indications that
Hanoi was not as anxious to get us out of SEA as they appeared--even a base in SVN. I said, I disagreed. I couldn't see
SVN but the Russians might be happy with our continuing to have some base facilities in Thailand. They would certainly
like to see us continue to take an interest in SEA just as they had in the South; eventually hoped to come to some sort of
understanding or at least parallel action with regard to China.
Rostow agreed and so did the Secretary that it probably would be better off to inspect and enforce the DMZ than to stick
back an incompetent ICC. Both said that if we had the right kind of overflights we could decide the facts for ourselves.
Walt had some ideas about getting Asia into the ICC or some other supervisory organization.
He did not disagree with my statement we had gone about as far as we could get with military actions in the
demilitarized zone. I told him we had spoken of ending all action in the DMZ simultaneously with the cessation of
bombing. We didn't discuss in any detail either with the President or with Rostow the President's second point on attack
on the cities. I had, however explained what had happened in the middle of June on the shelling of Saigon. World public
opinion had, I believe, induced Hanoi to desist. I said that this question should be dealt with in the statement the
President might make at the time he announced he was going to end the bombing. We went into no detail on the kind of
statement the President should make except that it was implicit that consideration must be given to the manner and
content.
W.A.H./3/
/3/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.

22. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, September 17, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting began at 1:43
p.m. at the White House. Clifford and Wheeler left at 2:40 p.m.; Rusk, Helms, and Harriman left at 2:55 p.m.; and
Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson left at 3:10 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH
THE TUESDAY LUNCHEON GROUP
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
The President
Ambassador Harriman
Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
General Wheeler
Walt Rostow
CIA Director Helms
George Christian
Tom Johnson
Secretary Clifford: We met with the Senate Committee this morning. They spent one and a-half hours on Vietnam./2/

/2/Reference is to hearings on Defense appropriations by the Senate Armed Services Committee.


CIA Director Helms: I had five and a-half hours with the same Committee yesterday, two hours on Vietnam.
Secretary Clifford: Senator Russell, Senator Jackson, Senator Allott, Senator Mundt, Senator Symington and Senator
Kuchel asked questions.
The President: What is Senator Russell asking?
Secretary Clifford: He is asking, "how do we get out of the predicament in Vietnam?" He wants to know which direction
we go to bring the war to an end. Senator Stennis wants to bomb and mine Haiphong. The other direction is Paris. "Do
we go this way?" There was discouragement in the Committee.
Senator Russell says there is increasing impatience in the country.
Senator Stennis said within three months after the election we will get this problem solved. He says we should have
brought military force to bear.
The President: What is the military predicament?
General Wheeler: In South Vietnam we are in "satisfactory" situation. We have the initiative. We have forestalled every
major effort. The ARVN have performed well.
I see no reason for concern. We are on a sound military basis for continuation of talks.
In the North, they are rebuilding LOC's and their facilities. They are moving much matriel south.
The President: Have we lost or gained by the action of March 31?
General Wheeler: We lost something psychologically, nothing militarily at this time.
Secretary Rusk: We only gave up 10% of our sorties because of March 31.
General Wheeler: Senators Stennis, Russell and Allott implied we made a mistake on March 31.
Secretary Clifford: I told the Committee we were there to prevent the subjugation of the South Vietnamese.
General Wheeler: You made a good statement, Clark (Secretary Clifford).
[Omitted here is discussion of defense appropriations, aircraft sales to Israel, the Pueblo crisis; the status of U.S. bases
in Spain, Cambodia, and Czechoslovakia; and the ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.]
Paris Talks
Secretary Rusk: Averell and I have talked. Attacks on cities, willingness to talk with Saigon and the DMZ are three areas
we have to get movement on./3/
/3/In spite of this assurance to the contrary, in a telephone conversation with Rusk on September 23, the President
expressed doubts about the emphasis which Harriman gave to these three points during his discussions with the North
Vietnamese. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson
and Rusk, September 23, 1968, 9:37 a.m., Tape F6809.03, PNO 1-2)
Anything we do must be done before October 20. Otherwise we will have made bad gamble and lost.
Secretary Rusk: We are grateful for how Harriman has done his work. Jorden and Kaplan have done a good job.
Secretary Rusk: We are in disastrous situation on aid.

23. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, September 18, 1968, 2003Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)September-October 1968. Top Secret; Nodis; Harvan/Plus. Drafted by Bundy; cleared by Harriman, Rostow,
Katzenbach, Clifford, and Read; and approved by Rusk.
240579/Todel 1107. Supplemental Instructions for Ambassadors Harriman and Vance.
1. These instructions supplement those contained in State 233437,/2/ which have been the basis of your conduct of the
three conversations with Le Duc Tho.
/2/In telegram 233437/Todel 1045 to Paris, September 5, the Department noted the key negotiating points as being
GVN participation and the cessation of military activity in the DMZ. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country
File, Vietnam, Harvan Paris Todel-Paris Delto XII)
2. As your previous instructions have made clear, the two critical points on which we seek the highest possible degree of
understanding--as the basis for a decision to stop the bombing--are the inclusion of the GVN in subsequent substantive
talks under the "Your side/our side" formula, and military activity in and near the DMZ.
3. With respect to military activity in or near the DMZ, you should indicate that we have noted Tho's apparent
understanding of our views on the subject and the importance we attach to it. It is vital that there be no
misapprehension. You should, therefore, reiterate the understanding you expressed at that time, without their taking
exception, so that it is in effect repeated and made clear what we understand their view to be.
4. You should state, however, that we are not satisfied with the position they have taken on GVN representation. You
should make clear that a further degree of understanding on this subject is required, and you may imply that such a
further degree of understanding could be a major factor in facilitating a decision to stop the bombing. This should be the
main topic on which you focus in your Friday meeting, so that they are left in no possible doubt as to its importance and
our view of it.
5. In expressing our views on the subject of military activity in or near the DMZ, you should find occasion, as you did in
your September 15 meeting,/3/ to make clear that, while this is our foremost specific concern in the area of military
restraint, we continue to have in mind the other items discussed in the Vance/Lau conversations, in which attacks on
major cities were included. We regard attacks on major cities as an action which would have the gravest consequences.
/3/See Document 14.
Rusk

24. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, September 20, 1968, 2033Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)September 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Harvan/Plus. Received at 4:53 p.m.
21178/Delto 751. From Harriman and Vance.
1. We met again with Tho and Thuy for 3-1/2 hours on September 20. The same people were present on both sides./2/
/2/The full report of this meeting was transmitted in telegram 21191/Delto 753 from Paris, September 21. (Ibid.) In
telegram CAP 82431 to the President, September 20, Rostow relayed Vance's immediate telephonic report on the
meeting. Vance noted that "there was no progress and no statement of 'understanding'" and contended that the North
Vietnamese "had no authority from Hanoi to respond in the face of our rather precise statements." (Johnson Library,

National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68) The President vacationed at
his Texas Ranch September 19-24. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
2. We opened by presenting our position precisely in accordance with instructions./3/ Our main emphasis centered on
necessity of GVN representation in "serious discussions following the cessation of bombing."
/3/See Document 23.
3. We cannot report progress from our discussion today. It was clear that they did not have sufficient instructions to
enable a positive response to the proposals we were making on GVN representation. At our suggestion, they agreed to
communicate with their government and seek instructions. Apparently because of the time required for them to have a
turn-around with Hanoi, they did not agree to meeting again on Monday./4/ They suggested we discuss the question of
another meeting on Wednesday at the tea break with the proviso that if either side has anything to say as a result of
communication with its government, an earlier meeting could be held./5/ Tho indicated that although he was prepared to
meet again on our regular schedule, he thought it would be a mistake to meet until further instructions were received
from our governments.
/4/September 23.
/5/See Document 32.
4. The gist of the discussion following on our proposal with respect to GVN participation concerned their claim that this
was a prior condition which did not meet their demand for an unconditional cessation of bombing. We responded time
and again that this was not a condition of cessation of bombing, but it was a question of a definition of serious
negotiations. Without this understanding, we questioned the seriousness of their intent.
5. Further argument centered around two questions put by Tho: first, he wanted to know whether this was the only
"condition" on which he had to come to an understanding before we would stop all bombing; second, whether we would
decide to stop the bombing only when we have come to agreement on this question. We answered the second question
first by saying that the bombing would not be stopped unless we could reach an understanding on this question. We
answered the first question by saying that we could not say this was the only question, but we could inform him that
agreement on this matter could be a major factor in facilitating a decision on the cessation of bombing.
6. Both Tho and Thuy repeatedly remarked that our unwillingness to state that the question of GVN representation was
the only condition on which we should come to an understanding before the cessation of bombing, plus use of the words
"could, repeat could, be a major factor," was an indication that we would have many more factors to raise. They said this
would be an attempt to lead them into endless discussion of other factors before the cessation of bombing--which they
had repeatedly made clear they had no intention of doing./6/
/6/In telegram 38599 from Saigon, September 24, Bunker argued: "It seems to me, therefore, that in stating our
assumptions, we should not just say that the GVN must take part in serious discussions, but that we will bring them into
the negotiations from the start. In effect, if we are unable to get Hanoi's agreement in advance to GVN participation,
then we should unilaterally establish the 'our side, your side' procedure for the 'serious negotiations' by means of
assumption." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Chron., XXII)
7. We went over the ground with them a number of times but they continued to insist that we were asking for prior
agreement on matters which they were not prepared to discuss before the unconditional cessation of bombing. They
repeated again their willingness to meet immediately following a cessation of bombing for discussion of any subject the
other side wished to raise.
Harriman

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 25-43

25. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, September 21, 1968, 1423Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President/Walt Rostow, Vol. 95. Top Secret; Sensitive;
Literally Eyes Only for the President. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 12:36 p.m.
CAP 82446. Following are four cables on the Oslo channel.
Cable 1. The Norwegians debrief the men we sent to Oslo on their first discussions with the North Vietnamese./2/
/2/Telegram 6685 from Oslo, September 20. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 196769, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO) In telegram 38466 from Saigon, September 23, Bunker commented on the Ohio contacts, in
particular expressing the hope that "the Department has in mind making sure that our Norwegian friends leave the North
Vietnamese in no doubt that a bombing halt and serious negotiations depend not only on an understanding with respect
to the DMZ but also about GVN participation in the negotiations." (Ibid.)
Cable 2. Our brief instruction, sent during the night, to Davidson in Oslo./3/
/3/These instructions were noted in telegram CAP 82444 from Rostow to the President, September 21. (Johnson
Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Chronological, Vol. XXII)
Cable 3. Harriman's comment and, quite helpful, elaboration of our instruction./4/
/4/Telegram 21180/Delto 752 from Paris, September 21. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central
Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO)
Cable 4. North Vietnamese plans for today, Saturday./5/
/5/Telegram 6687 from Oslo, September 21. (Ibid.)
WWR Comment:
The heart of the North Vietnamese message (cable 1) is in para. 7 and, perhaps, in para. 10.
Para. 7 states: "Concerning the North Vietnamese forces which were shelling South Vietnam, if the U.S. stops all
bombing of North Vietnam and stops shelling across the DMZ, the North Vietnamese will not shoot at U.S. airplanes
(because they will not be above NVN) and will not shell U.S. positions in South Vietnam across the DMZ. Warships
outside North Vietnamese territorial waters would not be fired upon. Chan summed up by saying that the cessation of
U.S. bombing and shelling of NVN would bring an end to all acts of war by North Vietnam against the U.S. However,
when the U.S. hits at North Vietnam, North Vietnam must give them several blows back."
Para. 10 states that the North Vietnamese told the Norwegians that "they did not want Nixon."
It sounds a little as if Hanoi had taken rather literally two minimal statements made by Secretary Rusk and the
President:
--Secretary Rusk's often repeated statement that "no one has ever been able to tell us what would happen if the
bombing stopped."
--The President's press conference statement that "almost anything" from the other side would be helpful in stopping the
bombing.

In any case, if the Norwegians are accurate reporters--and they have a reputation for being accurate, professional, and
hard-headed--this is the first time that anyone from Hanoi has said that even the shelling across the DMZ would stop if
our bombing stopped.
We must, of course, probe further.
It is interesting that the Soviets have contacted the North Vietnamese in Oslo. It is also interesting that the Soviets had
to take the initiative.
Text of cables follows.
Cable 1. From Oslo to Washington.
"1. This afternoon Algard and Vraalsen met Davidson and Ridgway in Davidson's hotel room and supplied following
information about their conversations with the North Vietnamese through afternoon Sept. 20. (In an attempt to create an
informal atmosphere Vraalsen had jotted down points rather than taking full notes and the North Vietnamese did the
same. When Vraalsen transcribes his notes a copy will be made available to us.)
2. Algard and Vraalsen met and dined North Vietnamese delegation Thursday evening. Conversation was completely
nonsubstantive. Chan, Sung and interpreter Giai, Algard, Boye and Vraalsen met 9:30 a.m. Friday Sept. 20 for first
substantive meeting. After exchange of formalities Chan said the situation had changed considerably both militarily and
diplomatically since Algard's visit to Hanoi in Feb-Mar and asked if he could give a short statement setting forth the
current situation. Speaking generally without notes Chan referred to the great victories won by the South [North]
Vietnamese in their three great offensives, Jan-Feb, May and August. He used the highly exaggerated military statistics
contained in recent NLF communiqu and mentioned the great damage the war was doing to U.S. dignity and honor.
Chan stated that North Vietnam wished to live in peace but that it was entitled to sovereignty, unity, independence and
territorial integrity as agreed in the 1954 Geneva Accords. He said the North Vietnamese wanted to see an early end to
the war and that every country could contribute to this, based on its special potentialities. To solve the problem its root-U.S. aggression--had to be removed. The war was the result of U.S. miscalculation and the U.S. would meet with
defeat. What is needed is the unconditional cessation of bombing and also other acts of war so that the parties could go
on to talk on other matters of interest to both sides. The fighting in South Vietnam must be stopped. (WWR Comment: I
reported to you some time ago that in the preliminaries leading up to Oslo the North Vietnamese in Peking had said, in
February 1968, 'Hanoi presupposed that military operations be stopped while negotiations are conducted.')/6/ Questions
concerning South Vietnam must be discussed with the NLF. U.S. forces must be withdrawn so that South Vietnamese
people can decide their own destiny. Chan concluded his thirty-minute presentation with the usual remarks about the
U.S. responsibility for the impasse in Paris. He then said to Algard 'You've heard all this before.'
/6/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 66.
3. Boye opened discussion by saying that the Norwegian Govt's only interest is to help in bringing the Vietnamese war
to an end, that it was disappointed by the lack of progress in Paris and willing to do anything it could to help. However,
the GON could itself act as a channel and nothing more.
4. Algard said he was also concerned about Paris becoming a blind alley. The Norwegian Govt. stood behind its public
statements favoring a unilateral cessation of bombing but fully understood why the U.S. President needed assurances of
the safety of his troops before he could stop the bombing. Algard told Vietnamese he had the impression that the U.S.
would be satisfied with an indirect message that North Vietnam would not endanger the safety of U.S. troops and that
the U.S. was not requiring assurances in any attempt to trick the North Vietnamese into dropping their principal position.
He said that the GON was sure that the U.S. wants to find a peaceful solution and would like to stop the bombing
providing it receives assurances about the safety of its troops, particularly those in the area of the demilitarized zone. At
this point Chan interrupted to ask whether the U.S. had said so and Algard replied yes.
5. Chan replied that the NLF could not stop defending itself against aggression, that U.S. forces massacring the people
would meet natural resistance from the people and that what the U.S. was actually asking for was reciprocity.
6. Algard said he disagreed. The U.S. was not trying to get North Vietnam to change its position but must have
assurances that security of its own forces would not be jeopardized if it stopped the bombing.
7. Chan then said the U.S. had to talk to the NLF about NLF military actions. Concerning the North Vietnamese forces
which were shelling South Vietnam, if the U.S. stops all bombing of North Vietnam and stops shelling across the DMZ,
the North Vietnamese will not shoot at U.S. airplanes (because they will not be above NVN) and will not shell U.S.
positions in South Vietnam across the DMZ. Warships outside North Vietnamese territorial waters would not be fired
upon. Chan summed up by saying that the cessation of U.S. bombing and shelling of NVN would bring an end to all acts

of war by North Vietnam against the U.S. However, when the U.S. hits at North Vietnam, North Vietnam must give them
several blows back.
8. Chan then stated North Vietnamese believed it was very important to get the Paris talks going. The U.S. must stop all
bombing. The North Vietnamese are seriously fighting and are serious concerning peace. They are honest and serious,
concerning other questions, Chan continued, tell the Americans that 'This will also be good.' 'This' was apparently the
stopping of bombing. (WWR Comment: I believe the reference is to "honest and serious talks"--not to stopping the
bombing.)
9. Algard told the North Vietnamese that neither GON nor U.S. would misuse any statements made to GON.
10. At the conclusion of this morning's talks Algard explained again to the Vietnamese the reasons that the U.S. could
not stop the bombing without adequate assurance of the safety of its troops. He pointed to the recent Harris poll which
showed 61 percent of the U.S. people were against unconditional cessation, mentioned the political problems that
unconditional cessation would cause in the U.S. (noting that both party platforms had rejected it) and remarked that the
course of the Paris talks and of the war in Vietnam could not help affecting the U.S. elections. Chan replied that the
North Vietnamese had a definite opinion as to which candidate they preferred and indicated that they did not want
Nixon.
11. Algard told Davidson that his impression was that the North Vietnamese were trying to convince the Norwegians that
they should tell the U.S. that we could stop bombing without risk to our troops. Algard found it very hard to pin this
impression down to any direct statements they made but cited the North Vietnamese flat statement that they would
cease artillery fire across the DMZ if the U.S. stopped artillery fire across the DMZ and all bombing of North Vietnam
and the North Vietnamese who twice repeated that if Americans only stopped the bombing everything after that would
be easy. Algard did not indicate to Davidson that he accepted Vietnamese line about lack of risk to U.S. troops.
12. Algard found the North Vietnamese decidedly less aggressive and more informed than any North Vietnamese had
previously been with him.
13. Algard will be seeing the North Vietnamese Saturday Sept 21 at 10:30 a.m. He intends to devote most of the
session to trying to elicit more satisfactory response to question of what will happen on the ground if U.S. stops the
bombing. He will point out serious consequences that would arise if U.S. stopped bombing and events showed that this
endangered the security of U.S. troops. He will state that the road ahead after cessation of bombing will not be easy and
may indeed be impossible if North Vietnam does not respond favorably.
14. We were unable to completely debrief Algard and Vraalsen. Vraalsen had to return to take the North Vietnamese
sightseeing and Algard received call to report back to FonOff.
15. Comment: Most interesting aspect of conversation was definite North Vietnamese statement that they would stop
their artillery fire across DMZ if U.S. stopped all bombing of North Vietnam and its artillery fire across DMZ. Hanoi has
thus indicated its readiness to pay a specific military price (although not a very high one) for the stopping of bombing.
16. We would appreciate receiving any comments that Washington or USDel wish passed on to Algard."
Cable 2. From State to Oslo.
"Proposed position outlined paragraph 13 for tomorrow's talks is sound and we have no further comments at this stage
of Oslo talks."
Cable 3. From Harriman to Oslo.
"1. We agree with Department that proposed position para 13 reftel is sound.
2. As an additional refinement you should point out to Norwegians, that as they seek to explore what will happen on
ground, it would be helpful if they would keep in mind U.S. expectation that DRV will cease military activity in, through
and across the DMZ and cease massing troops north of DMZ. In other words they should solicit DRV views on all their
military intention in DMZ area in event U.S. stops all bombardment of DRV."
Cable 4. From Oslo to Washington.
"1. Algard telephoned Davidson 8 a.m. this morning (Saturday, Sept 21) and asked if he could come up to Davidson's

hotel room. When he arrived he informed Davidson that yesterday afternoon the Soviet Embassy had called leading
Oslo hotels to ask whether 'the North Vietnamese delegation' was registered there. Soviets finally contacted North
Vietnamese and met with them later in the day. Soviet Embassy is giving a dinner for North Vietnamese Monday night.
GON hopes that no Norwegians will be invited.
2. Algard mentioned the North Vietnamese had told him they would report his comments to Hanoi. Algard speculated
that North Vietnamese might be using Soviet communications facilities.
3. Algard said in a relieved tone that nothing about North Vietnamese visit appeared in this morning's Oslo newspapers."

26. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, September 21, 1968, 1730Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)September 1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis; Harvan/Plus. Received at 3:54 p.m.
21192/Delto 754. Subj: Meeting with Oberemko.
1. This morning Vance met at Soviet Embassy with Minister Counselor Oberemko, who is charg d'affaires in Zorin's
absence. Negroponte was also present.
2. Vance told Oberemko that we had now had four private meetings with Tho and Thuy. The third meeting, on
September 15, had been an important one./2/ At the meeting we had defined our position on withdrawal of forces
because the DRV seemed to have some misunderstanding on our position in respect to the Manila Declaration. Next we
had gone into the question of the cessation of bombing and the circumstances which would make it possible for such
cessation. We had referred to the Lau/Vance talks and had then said there were two matters we considered of great
importance: one was the question of military activity in the DMZ, the other was the inclusion of GVN representatives in
any discussion of the political future of South Vietnam.
/2/See Document 14.
3. Vance said that we had come away from the third meeting with Tho and Thuy with the impression that they
understood our position on the DMZ but the question of representation had not been satisfactorily resolved.
4. At our fourth meeting on Sept 20,/3/ we concentrated on the matter of GVN representation which we felt had been left
in unsatisfactory condition at our last meeting. The matter was discussed at length, Vance told Oberemko, and the DRV
side's attitude was totally unrealistic. They repeatedly spoke in platitudes about "serious intent" and "good will." It is easy
to talk about serious intent and good will, but what is important and necessary is that it be demonstrated by acts and not
just words.
/3/See Document 24.
5. Vance then gave Oberemko verbatim account of that portion of our Sept 20 statement which dealt with the
representation issue (paragraphs 6-11 of Paris 21191 Delto 753./4/ Vance then explained that DRV side had responded
by saying we were imposing a condition and our position was tantamount to reciprocity. We had replied that it was
inaccurate and improper to characterize our demand as reciprocity. We had made it clear for a long time that we could
not have serious discussions without representatives of the GVN on our side because the political future of South
Vietnam should not be decided by either Washington or Hanoi, but by people of South Vietnam. We had said that the
inclusion of GVN representatives on our side was necessary to permit serious conversations to take place, and that the
DRV could include the NLF or any other they wanted on their side. Thus by insisting on this, we were merely defining
what we meant by serious discussions. We had indicated to DRV side that their opposition to our totally reasonable
request raised grave questions in our mind as to whether they were really serious.
/4/See footnote 2, Document 24.
6. Vance then remarked that Soviet Govt has often expressed its interest in seeing this conflict resolved. We believe that
the time has come for Soviet Govt to weigh in heavily to make DRV realize that they are taking a wholly unreasonable
and unrealistic position which is blocking the way to peaceful settlement. We believe we are now at a critical juncture,

and we feel it is important that the DRV face up to reality. Vance noted that the world thinks we are intransigent on the
NLF, whereas in fact we are willing to see them seated on DRV side. The world would think it totally unreasonable if it
knew that Hanoi would not have anything to do with the GVN in discussions regarding the political future of Vietnam.
The world would then realize that Hanoi simply wants to dictate by force of arms what the political future of South
Vietnam will be.
7. Vance reiterated that we were approaching Oberemko today because we are at a critical juncture and it is important
that the Soviet Govt use its influence at this time to permit us to get around the road block and move forward.
8. Oberemko replied that he would transmit our views to his govt without delay. He said he had a couple of questions.
He noted that our proposal regarding the inclusion of the GVN in future talks could be a major factor in the decision to
stop the bombing. Was the inclusion of the GVN the only US condition being put forward at the moment, or does the US
have anything in mind regarding the DMZ? In other words, Oberemko said, does the US have one or two conditions for
the cessation of bombing?
9. Vance replied that we have stated to the DRV what we would do in the DMZ if the bombing stopped and we have
indicated to the DRV side what we expect them to do in and around the DMZ after the cessation of bombing. We have
drawn our conclusions and we believe that the DRV would know what to do.
10. Oberemko said that it seemed to him that the question of GVN representation had became the major road block to
serious discussions. Vance replied that it was a major road block. Oberemko then noted that Vance had mentioned the
Manila formula and the question of withdrawal. Vance then gave Oberemko the precise wording we had used on this
subject at our Sept 15 meeting with Tho and Thuy.
11. Oberemko said he did not understand the point concerning the withdrawal of US and free world forces remaining in
South Vietnam not later than six months after the complete withdrawal of all North Vietnamese forces. He asked if this
meant that once all of the DRV troops whom we consider to be in SVN have been withdrawn that there would still be
some of US troops in SVN. Vance replied affirmatively, saying that the US had more troops and that they would have a
longer way to go. Vance said the important point is that mutual withdrawals should begin and that they begin
simultaneously. The modalities and timing of mutual withdrawal should be discussed and agreed upon between the US
and the DRV.
12. Oberemko again said that he would communicate our views to his govt. He did not think that it would be appropriate
for him to comment at this time. The US, he said, already knows the comments of the DRV side. He said that he
personally believed that the major obstacle in our talks is the continuation of the bombing and he felt that an
unconditional and definitive bombing cessation could open the way to a political settlement. Vance replied the major
obstacle was whether the DRV was really serious about seeking a political settlement and that the DRV position on
GVN representation casts real doubt on their seriousness.
13. After the meeting Vance discussed the conversation with Gov Harriman and supplemented it by the following letter
which was hand delivered.
"Dear Mr. Minister:
After returning to our Embassy this morning, I discussed our conversation with Governor Harriman.
I wish to add one thought to what I said this morning, to make sure that you have it in mind in reporting to your
government.
As we have said many times, we are firmly committed to the principle that we will not discuss matters pertaining to the
political future of South Vietnam without the inclusion of representatives of the Republic of Vietnam. It is unthinkable for
us to stop the bombing, and then be faced with a continuation of the present situation--months of fruitless debate. This
would be the result if representatives of the Republic of Vietnam were not included on our side. Sincerely yours, Cyrus
Vance."/5/
/5/A copy of this letter is in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service,
Kennedy-Johnson, Trips and Missions, Paris Peace Talks, Chronological Files, September-November 1968.
Harriman

27. Letter From W. Averell Harriman and Cyrus Vance of the Paris Delegation to Secretary of State Rusk/1/
Paris, September 21, 1968.
/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson,
Subject File, Rusk, Dean, 1968-69. Secret; Personal.
Dear Dean:
You undoubtedly have seen from our reporting cables on yesterday's meeting with the North Vietnamese that, as we all
anticipated, the crucial issue is GVN representation./2/ When we told them that "an understanding on this subject could
be a major factor in facilitating a decision to stop the bombing", they immediately asked whether this was the only
"condition". We repeated our instructions, and emphasized that this was a strong statement.
/2/See Document 24.
During a lengthy argument, Tho repeatedly pointed to the fact that we had used the words "'could be', only 'could be'" a
major factor in facilitating a decision to stop the bombing. In addition, he stressed that when we said "a major factor" it
meant that there were other factors as well. He maintained that, in light of the foregoing, if they discussed this question,
the U.S. would lead them into endless discussion of other factors.
In Vance's conversation with Oberemko this morning, Oberemko asked for clarification on these points./3/
/3/See Document 26.
We have thought over the situation very carefully and have concluded that the instructions which Averell requested were
too narrow, and that if we are to have hope of breaking the impasse, it will be necessary to broaden those instructions.
We believe they should be changed to state "an understanding on this subject would be the major factor in facilitating a
decision to stop the bombing".
We feel that it is essential to have this additional authority before next Wednesday's meeting./4/ Although Tho has
asked for instructions, he stated repeatedly that he knew his Government's views on this subject, and we assume that
as a result of his report, Hanoi's instructions will support his position. We believe it would be much more effective to hit
them with new instructions voluntarily, before they get locked into a position from which it will be difficult to move them.
/4/September 25; see Document 32.
We want to emphasize the importance we place on this issue and the manner in which we think it should be dealt with.
We hope you will agree.
With warm regards,
Sincerely,
Averell
Cy/5/
/5/Printed from a copy that indicates Harriman and Vance signed the original.

28. Telegram From the Embassy in Norway to the Department of State/1/


Oslo, September 21, 1968, 1900Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis; Ohio/Plus. Received at 4:54 p.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance.

6688. 1. This morning's (Saturday, Sept 21) meeting between Algard, Vraalsen and North Vietnamese began at 10:30
and ended at 1:00 and Norwegians gave following report to Davidson and Ridgway later this afternoon.
2. Algard began Saturday sessions, picking up North Vietnamese statement yesterday that NLF had right to selfdefense. Algard asked whether it was correct to understand that if US troops did not take offensive action, they would
not be attacked. Chan replied he had not said that yesterday and then said that the us should recognize the NLF and
should talk about above issue directly with the NLF now in Paris. There was more emphasis on talking to NLF than on
recognition. (Although Algard says he clearly recollects the North Vietnamese saying that we should talk to the NLF now
in Paris, Vraalsen, the note taker, does not remember any North Vietnamese reference to Paris in this context and his
notes do not contain any such reference.)
3. Chan said us declares it can't let South Vietnamese regime go. He derided South Vietnamese Govt as bad sons of
Vietnam, saying the Vietnamese people will know how to educate them. Algard used statement as opportunity to raise
question of GVN representation in discussions after the bombing halt. The North Vietnamese said that the question of
GVN presence was a matter that could be discussed after the bombing stopped. Chan also said that the North
Vietnamese delegation in Oslo did not wish to discuss the question of representation.
4. Most of the discussion centered on US politics and its intentions. The North Vietnamese said that after putting the two
party platforms under a "microscope" they had concluded that the Republican plank was general and did not contain any
concrete suggestions on ending war but said that the North Vietnamese know "who (Republicans) are and how they
are," obviously implying disapproval. The North Vietnamese said the Democratic platform did mention how to solve the
Vietnamese problem but was mainly devoted to justifying the President's policy. Two elements in the Democratic
platform were particularly dangerous and had to be rejected firmly. The first was the principle of reciprocity which was
the equivalent of asking a victim to pay ransom. The second dangerous element was continued US support to the
present South Vietnam regime including elaborate plans for strengthening and equipping its forces coupled with ignoring
the fight for freedom of the Vietnamese people whose representative is the NLF. The North Vietnamese appeared to be
afraid of Nixon and pointed out that according to every evaluation, progress in Paris would work to Humphrey's
advantage.
5. Algard told the North Vietnamese that if President Johnson stops the bombing and the North Vietnamese misuse the
cessation it will backfire on the President, on the Presidential candidates and most of all upon the North Vietnamese.
Chan nodded but made no comment. During their discussion the North Vietnamese claimed that the US election
campaign is like a power game between two gamblers and that is why it is dangerous for the North Vietnamese to make
any commitment to the US.
6. At another point in the discussion, Chan said concerning the situation around the DMZ that it was the US that had
violated the zone by sending troops into it and firing across it. The US believed that North Vietnamese would not be able
to shell back. By shelling, the US committed an illegal act and the North Vietnamese have the right to self-defense. In
this connection (apparently meaning self-defense) US representatives had to discuss the matter with the North
Vietnamese in Paris. The North Vietnamese indicated that US shelling of North Vietnam was one part of a package of
attacks on North Vietnam which also included bombing and naval bombardment. Chan said that after the US had
stopped bombing and all other acts of war, North Vietnam would not have any target to fight.
7. The North Vietnamese suggested that either during their stay in Oslo or at the time of their departure, the GON issue
some public statement about the visit in order to avoid possible impression, if visit later reported, that NVN delegation
came to sue for peace. North Vietnamese suggested statement along the lines that because of the concern of the GON
with the Vietnamese conflict and to return Algard's visit to Hanoi, the DRV sent Ambassador Chan to Oslo to give the
GON an expos of the situation in Vietnam. Algard told them that he still believed that serious purpose was best served
by secrecy but since the North Vietnamese had raised the question of a public statement by the GON, he would give
them the GON position after discussing the matter with his Foreign Minister.
8. Algard asked us to give him our thoughts on the desirability of a GON statement by noon on Monday, Sept 23.
Preliminary FonOff view is that GON public statement might end GON usefulness as channel since it would both
decrease possibility of further secret conversations and create internal difficulties on Foreign Minister Lyng's right.
9. Chan told the Norwegians that because of his position as Ambassador to Moscow he had told the Soviets that he was
taking a trip to Oslo and had contacted their Embassy in Oslo. However he emphasized that he was not telling anyone
(including the Soviet Union) the contents of his talks.
10. Algard said that it was his impression that the North Vietnamese were marking time today either because they had
nothing more to say or because they were waiting for their appointment with Foreign Minister Lyng on Tuesday. He still
believes that they are trying to convince GON that if US stopped the bombing the danger to US troops would not be
increased. Algard said that North Vietnamese appeared to want the GON to certify North Vietnamese good intentions to
US.

11. When Davidson asked Algard whether he believed that US troops would not be further jeopardized if the US
stopped the bombing, Algard replied that, realizing full seriousness his words, it is his belief that the North Vietnamese
would not act in a way to increase the danger to US troops after bombing cessation and that they are sincere in their
intentions. Algard believes that the North Vietnamese are aware of the consequences that would follow their taking
advantage of any bombing cessation. Algard recalled that this summer Loan had told him that the North Vietnamese
had the advantage of good public opinion and asked Algard whether he thought North Vietnam would destroy it by
taking advantage of a bombing cessation. Vraalsen said he agreed with Algard's evaluation of North Vietnamese
sincerity.
12. Davidson read operative portions of Paris 21180/2/ and asked if Algard would raise these matters with North
Vietnamese. Algard and Vraalsen promised to do so but indicated that it would have to be done more obliquely and said
that they anticipated great difficulties in asking North Vietnamese how they intended to deploy troops on their own
territory. Davidson also asked GON not to convey any impression that US might be interested in exchanging freedom of
US base camps from attack for commitment not to take offensive action or move freely through countryside (see para 2
above). The Norwegians said they would do so.
/2/Dated September 20. (Ibid., A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-September 1968)
13. The North Vietnamese will be taking sightseeing trip on Sunday and fly to Bergen with Vraalsen on Monday,
returning Monday night for dinner at Soviet Embassy (composition of guest list unknown). On Tuesday morning North
Vietnamese will meet with Algard who will then accompany them for meeting with Foreign Minister. Algard has told
North Vietnamese that his Foreign Minister is preoccupied with the question of bringing about a cessation of the
bombing and would prefer to devote most of the conversation to discussion of modalities which might achieve this
objective. He also asked the North Vietnamese to avoid any long prepared statement.
14. North Vietnamese delegation has asked Vraalsen to make arrangements for North Vietnamese departure
Wednesday via Berlin.
15. Algard and Vraalsen have strong impression that while Chan acts as spokesman for delegation, Sung is really its
boss.
16. Foregoing account (as well as yesterday's) largely episodic because Vraalsen spends only limited amount of time
with us before rushing out to accompany North Vietnamese on sightseeing expeditions. Vraalsen again promised to give
us his notes as soon as they are transcribed but indicated they might not be available until "sometime next week."
Vraalsen said that to preserve secrecy he is not allowed to use a secretary and this plus his duties as shepherd to North
Vietnamese delegation slows process down considerably.
17. We have promised to advise Algard of US views on desirability of press release Monday morning. Would appreciate
any guidance on that issue, bearing in mind that FonOff staff will no doubt need our help in persuading FonMin of
disadvantages of initiating publicity. Also appreciate any points we might make to GON before Algard next meets North
Vietnamese./3/
/3/Telegram 242980 to Oslo, September 22, instructed Davidson to inform Algard that the United States was "strongly
against any public statement." The telegram also contained the following instruction: "You should certainly get Algard
away from his total preoccupation with 'the danger to U.S. troops,' noting that this is necessarily our way of explaining
the problem to the American people, but that what we have in mind relates to specific actions, notably in the DMZ."
Davidson was also instructed to stress the importance of including attacks on cities and the participation of the GVN as
actions requisite to a full halt. (Ibid.) The additional points that Davidson planned to cover with Algard were transmitted
in telegram 6689 from Oslo, September 22. (Ibid.) Davidson conveyed these points in a meeting with Algard on
September 23. (Telegram 6713 from Oslo, September 23; ibid.)
Tibbetts

29. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Norway/1/


Washington, September 21, 1968, 2029Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO. Secret;
Priority; Nodis; Ohio/Plus. Drafted by Bundy; cleared in substance by Rusk, Katzenbach, and Rostow; and approved by
Bundy and Read. Repeated to Paris for the delegation.

242960. Oslo for Davidson.


1. We are of course deeply interested in your 6685./2/ You should express our appreciation to the Norwegians for the
obvious care and persistence they are displaying.
/2/Text in Document 25.
At the same time, you should emphasize that exact detailed language could be of great importance in a serious
exchange of the sort which may be developing here. While not necessarily demurring to the practice of jotting down
points rather than taking full notes, we hope the Norwegians can retain and cross-check exact language used on critical
points and that you will cross-examine to this end. Moreover, we may well wish to suggest their restating what they have
understood DRV reps to say, so that it is nailed down and confirmed.
3. As we have already suggested, we also need full and exact account of what you yourself are telling the Norwegians
on key points, and would appreciate exactly what you have already said in your first briefing on September 19./3/ This
again is for the sake of exactness.
/3/Davidson met with Norwegian Foreign Ministry officials on September 19 to present the U.S. position on stopping the
bombing. (Telegram 6634 from Oslo, September 19; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central
Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO)
4. In conveying to the Norwegians our requirements in relation to the cessation of the bombing, we assume you have
made it clear that it is not necessary to get into such words as "conditions," "reciprocity," or other language that might
run into consideration of face or prestige on either side. It is a simple fact of life that a cessation of bombing could not
continue if the DMZ were not respected, if there were significant attacks on major population centers in South Vietnam
or if North Vietnam refused to sit down in further negotiations which would include the Republic of Vietnam as one of the
participants.
5. As to the DMZ, we get the impression--which may of course depend on your getting the fuller debriefing referred to in
para 14 of your 6685--that the Norwegians may have conveyed the impression that we are concerned solely with the
protection of US forces. Obviously, our concern extends equally to GVN and allied forces in the DMZ (and elsewhere).
6. Secondly, we are of course concerned not merely with firing across the DMZ, but with any movement of forces and
equipment in and through the DMZ, or any massing of forces north of the DMZ. These are aspects that the Norwegians
should already understand, and which we hope they in turn will be making clear. As you have already recognized, the
one definite statement that emerges from your 6685 simply does not cover all the points that concern us.
7. This leads to a statement in your 6685 that we find both interesting and puzzling, namely, the next to last sentence of
para 7. The reference to our stopping "bombing and shelling" has clear implications with regard to reconnaissance,
while the reference to acts of war by NVN "against the US" is a wholly new wrinkle the meaning of which--particularly in
relation to the DMZ--we simply cannot assess. This is another illustration of the vital importance of as nearly verbatim
reporting as you can obtain and convey to us. Moreover, it is the kind of general expression that might serve as a
vehicle for probing and for the Norwegians asking just what acts of war by NVN are meant to be covered by the
statement, and what is NVN now doing that it would not be doing if the bombing stopped.
8. Another point that depends on exactly what was said and perhaps on further probing is the reference in para 2 of your
6685 in which the sentence about stopping the fighting in South Vietnam--as it appears in the sequence--could be taken
to suggest the possibility of a ceasefire during negotiations. A similar suggestion cropped up in the Ohio channel in
February, and the point is certainly worth probing a bit with the Norwegians to see just what was said. (We would not
wish to have them pursue it with the North Vietnamese in any way, at least for the moment.)
9. Turning now to what you might be stressing with the Norwegians, our tentative advice--in the absence of your report
of Saturday's meeting--is that you must get across to them the importance of inclusion of the GVN in political talks
following the cessation of bombing. You should make clear that this is not a condition, but rather a minimum description
of what is required for serious negotiations such as the North Vietnamese appear to envisage. As you know, we are
pressing this point hard in Paris at the moment, and it is important that the Norwegians include it very clearly in their
presentation of our position in order, at a minimum, not to mislead Hanoi about our major effort in Paris to reach an
understanding on the "your side/our side" formula. You should convey to the Norwegians the importance we attach to
real understanding on this point.
Rusk

30. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, September 22, 1968, 1623Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Chlodnick Files. Top Secret; Sensitive; Literally
Eyes Only For the President. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 1:40 p.m. The notation "ps" on the telegram indicates that
the President saw it.
CAP 82463. I now rate the possibilities of a positive response from Moscow and enough from Hanoi to proceed as one
in three or one in four--no higher, but no lower.
On that still highly contingent basis, I thought you might wish to look at a draft statement announcing your decisions and
your movements, to see how certain key sensitive matters might be dealt with:
--The GVN, whose stability and sense of confidence must be preserved;
--The Czech question;
--The NATO issue;
--The nature and limits of our understanding on the bombing cessation, so that your hands would not be tied should you
have to resume.
At some point the Norwegians would have to step before the world and say Hanoi promised them no violation of the
DMZ and prompt, serious, sincere negotiations.
Also, once the bombing stops, we have to push Moscow very hard to press for peace and to take a firm, unambiguous
position to clear up Laos.
I have given thought to Bangkok; first or last?
The advantage of seeing the troop contributors immediately is obvious; but we will not know then:
--The immediate post-bombing state of the Paris talks;
--What the Russians are--and are not--prepared to do post-bombing, towards peace in Southeast Asia.
Therefore, I now lean to: Geneva; Brussels; Bangkok.
The advantage of Geneva first is to hold the Soviet feet to the fire on delivering in Paris, on Laos, etc. They have always
said they could do more if we stopped bombing. We've got to nail it down in the first flush of the event.
I calculate something like this:
--By the end of this week we shall know whether Moscow and Hanoi will give us enough to proceed;
--Once you make a decision, it will take a few days to work out the scenario here, a few further days to get Bunker,
Thieu, and Abrams aboard; get dates set for the Russians; inform Hanoi, if we so decide, so they can get out military
and diplomatic instructions;
--I would guess you would want about three days in Geneva, two in Brussels, perhaps a stop in Paris; two days in
Bangkok. With flying time, etc. perhaps eleven days. If talks opened in Geneva, for example, on October 7, you could be
home for the weekend of October 19-20, I should guess.
Draft contingent text follows, which I have not showed to Sect. Rusk because of its highly tentative status.

Draft Contingency Presidential Statement


In recent weeks there have been intense private contacts, direct and indirect, with the authorities in Hanoi, including
private meetings in Paris. There have also been a series of exchanges with the leaders of the Soviet Union. As a result
of these exchanges, I have reached two conclusions.
First, I now judge that we have reason to believe the cessation of the bombardment of North Vietnam by U.S. forces
could take place under conditions which involve no increase in the risk of casualties to the forces of the United States or
to our allies.
I also have reason to believe that such a cessation of bombardment could lead to serious discussions which would
move the war in Vietnam towards a settlement.
It is extremely important that the President not mislead our own people, our allies, or the world at large about these
conclusions. We have made real progress, but I cannot guarantee at this stage the precise military or diplomatic
behavior of the authorities in Hanoi after a bombing cessation. We shall have to assess that behavior with respect to
military operations and diplomatic performance very carefully in the days ahead. But the other side knows well that our
eyes will be focused on three specific matters:
--First, on whether the demilitarized zone is respected by their side as well as by our side.
--Second, whether there are attacks on the cities of South Vietnam. These could have the gravest consequences for the
environment of diplomatic talks.
--Third, whether, in the light of the diplomatic positions we have already conveyed to the other side at great length, there
are very prompt, serious negotiations looking towards the earliest possible peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. There
can be no political settlement in South Vietnam without the full participation of the Government of Vietnam. We appear
to agree with the authorities in Hanoi that the political settlement in South Vietnam must be reached by the people of
South Vietnam--and that means the elected constitutional government of South Vietnam must play a leading role. There
can be no definitive settlement of the demilitarized zone and other matters relating to the Geneva Accords of 1954 and
1962 without the full participation of the Government of Vietnam.
The bombardment of North Vietnam will cease on --------. We expect the new phase of serious, substantive discussion
to open in Paris the next day, --------.
Let everyone be clear: the objective of what we are doing--the test--is prompt and serious movement towards peace.
The bloodshed in Southeast Asia must end.
[Omitted here is the section of Rostow's proposed statement for the President concerning potential arms control talks,
which is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XIV, Document 305.]

31. Summary of Meeting/1/


Washington, September 24, 1968, 1:15-2 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room. No classification marking. A full transcript of
the meeting is ibid.
SUMMARY OF MEETING BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND
SENATOR DIRKSEN IN CABINET ROOM, SEPTEMBER 24, 1968
Senator Dirksen reported to the President that he had had a call from Richard Nixon and also Bryce Harlow reporting
that they had heard that John McCone and General Taylor were going to try to push the Paris Conference with Vietnam
or North Vietnam--push along for a conclusion that might be regarded as something of a sellout.
The President reported that neither of them had made such a recommendation, and that he considered General Taylor
a "pillar of strength" and he would never make a recommendation that he did not consider reasonably strong. He told
Dirksen that he had not talked with McCone since he left.

The President went on to say:


"I have taken the position that we are not going to stop the bombing so long as it would endanger American lives to do
so. And another way of putting it, which is very offensive to them, and we don't want to use that word to try to get an
agreement. We want to stop the killing the first moment we can without reciprocity."
The President told Dirksen that we have said in effect to that that the bombing will be stopped if we have good reasons
to believe and we have satisfied ourselves that the DMZ matters can be cleared up that won't pour men across it, won't
use this period to shell the cities, and that they get down to substantive discussions.
The President told Dirksen he had told Nixon and Humphrey these things and they were on their own. He said from
Nixon's experience in the Senate and Vice President--and also the same thing to Humphrey--that they ought to know
Lyndon Johnson well enough to know that he is going to do what he thinks he ought to do. That's why he made the
March decision. He didn't think he could do it as a candidate.
The President said:
"Now after January 20th if you are President you'll be in charge and then if you want to sell out or pull out or go in or do
whatever you want to, you can do it. I will work with any President and try to help him and sympathize with him and pray
for him because I think they're being very cruel to their country and to their boys out there by all of these talks back and
forth."
The President told Senator Dirksen:
"Generally speaking, the Republicans have not been a problem on the war. They did quote every morning folks here.
They've been quoting Goldberg here lately every morning. They want to stop the bombing. They do quote every fellow
that says something about stopping the bombing--Mansfield every day. They don't quote Dirksen. They don't quote
Tower. They don't quote Nixon. They just say Nixon's no good. He's just like Johnson. The columnists I'm talking about."
Dirksen said:
"You see, in Nixon's concern that had he stood in your corner that he hasn't relented either, that if the rug was pulled out
from under him he just wouldn't like it."
The President told Dirksen that he had told Nixon he was going to treat him and Humphrey just alike as far as foreign
policy was concerned. He said he would work and vote for Humphrey, but he was not going to do anything to cause one
Republican to be angry with him on foreign policy. He assured Dirksen he wanted to treat Nixon just exactly like
Eisenhower/2/ had treated him, and he wanted to treat Humphrey in the same way.
/2/Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, 1953-1961.
Dirksen told the President that Nixon had told him to assure the President for him that his and the President's
relationship will be just like he has announced and it will continue that way and he can bet all the tea in China on that.
President Johnson said:
"I am getting criticism on not hitting Nixon. Now I don't want to be a hypocrite at all. I want Humphrey to win just like you
want Nixon to win. On the other hand, I want Communism defeated in Southeast Asia and this country more than I want
anybody to win and that's why I took myself out of it March 31st."
The President told Dirksen he disagreed heartily with Nixon on nonproliferation; that that was not for Russia's benefit-that's for our benefit. He felt that when we delay we wind up with Germany and Israel and the rest of them not going
along and that in his judgment history will treat them very badly.
The President assured Dirksen that we were trying very hard with the Russians, with the North Vietnamese, with every
other neutral power we could in order to bring this war to a stop where we could stop killing boys. He said he was not
going to do anything that's political with it and that he was going just as far the other way.
The President said:

"When I go back home I don't want to be active in the Government. What I do want to do is to have the confidence, the
respect, and if I can, the affection of whoever is President because this man needs every help he can get and I will say
this. I have never said a mean word about Eisenhower. I stood up for him.
"I have been paid back with ten percent interest for my investment and patriotism and non-partisanship by your conduct.
"I got a letter from Agnew on July 28th of this year--one month before the Convention--and he said: 'Within the obligation
that I have to my Party, I'm going to cooperate and support you every way I can because you're my President and you
need help and that means foreign policy and domestic.' It couldn't have been better if it had been from my Mother.
You've never seen me say an ugly word about the man because I think he's sincere and genuine. Now I think if I were
both candidates I wouldn't get into the war too much, tactics and strategy. I would just say--well, we want a change. We
are not going to spend too much money and we're going to try to give you better Government. Just like you win your
Senators up there and Congressmen up there. The new type is to do it on issues. And I think Nixon has been doing that
pretty well. Once in a while he says the old man or something like that, but I'm not having anything to do with it."
The President told Dirksen that he was free to tell Nixon and also Ford what had been said in their meeting--that he
hoped he would.

32. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, September 25, 1968.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)September 1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Harvan/Plus. No transmission time is indicated; the telegram was received at
11:29 a.m.
21344/Delto 767. From Harriman and Vance.
1. Tho, Thuy and Lau were present at the tea break./2/ The tea break lasted an hour and 5 minutes and was devoted
entirely to substantive talk.
/2/The full report of the tea break discussions is in telegram 21423/Delto 776 from Paris, September 26. (Ibid.) A
summary of the formal session was transmitted in telegram 21345/Delto 768 from Paris, September 25. (Ibid.) Jorden's
notes of the formal meeting are in the Johnson Library, William Jorden Papers, WJJ Notes.
2. We opened by saying that in our last private talk/3/ we spent a great deal of time discussing the parties who will be
included in the serious negotiations which would follow a cessation of bombing. This subject has become a major
roadblock to progress.
/3/See Document 24.
3. We said we could state today that an understanding on this subject would be a major factor in facilitating a decision to
stop the bombing. We said that they would note that we had used the word "would" rather than "could." We said that we
had taken into consideration their comments at our last meeting on our use of the word "could" as noting uncertainty.
We said that we had consulted with Washington and could now tell them that an understanding on the subject would be
a major factor in facilitating a decision to stop the bombing. We said we trusted that what we had said today would clear
the roadblock.
4. Tho replied that we had different conceptions of what the word "serious" meant. He said they considered talks to be
serious when the United States ceased all bombing and other acts of war against the DRV. Tho said that we had a
different definition. He said that we wanted to force agreement on the inclusion of the representatives of the GVN before
the cessation of bombing and they believed this position to be a demand for reciprocity. Tho said that after the cessation
of bombing discussion of who will participate in subsequent talks could be immediately discussed between us. This, Tho
said, was a positive proposal on the part of the DRV.
5. We argued the point at great length. We said that the necessity of reaching an understanding on the inclusion of
representatives of the GVN was not reciprocity and it did not become reciprocity just because the DRV said it was. We
said we had made it quite clear that we were not willing to stop all the bombing and have another delay such as we have
experienced before we got down to serious talks. We said that if the bombing were to stop and we came in with the

GVN representatives and the DRV refused to join the talks, it would be simply a farce.
6. Tho said he wasn't trying to force us to accept his definition of reciprocity. He said he would not discuss the matter of
GVN participation until after the cessation of bombing and then they would let us know their views.
7. We replied that we were getting a clearer and clearer impression that they were not prepared to let the
representatives of the GVN participate in the determination of the political future of SVN. We said that if they were not
ready to accept the fact that we would be accompanied by the GVN representatives, then we could only conclude that
they were not interested in getting on with serious talks.
8. We said we had consulted with our government and reminded them that we had asked them to consult with theirs.
We said that we wanted them to understand that we will have the GVN representatives present with us and if they did
not object, then we could make progress. If they objected, then there would be no serious talks.
9. Thuy replied that they had reported to their government and that their government had reiterated that there must first
be an unconditional cessation of bombing and then the questions of interest could be discussed.
10. We said that the US had no intention of stopping the bombing and then having another lengthy wrangle. We said we
hoped they would consult their government again. Tho replied that they had already consulted their government, and
then added, that he had not yet expressed himself on whether or not they agreed on the inclusion of the GVN. He said
this would be discussed after the cessation of bombing.
11. We said that we were dissatisfied with their response. We said that it was fundamental with us that neither we nor
they are going to impose a political solution on South Vietnam and they must realize that fact. Therefore, GVN must be
included. We said we had nothing more to say and that we would be prepared to meet with them on Friday/4/ or any
other time during the weekend if they had something to say to us, but there did not seem any point in meeting on Friday
as things now stood. Thuy replied that they were ready to meet if we had something to say on Friday, or any later day if
either side wished. If not, we would meet next Wednesday./5/
/4/September 27. No meeting occurred on that date.
/5/October 2; see Document 45.
Harriman

33. Telegram From the Embassy in Norway to the Department of State/1/


Oslo, September 25, 1968, 1200Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis; Ohio/Plus. Received at 9 a.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman and Vance from Davidson.
6752. 1. This morning (Wednesday, Sept 25) Ridgway and I were given account by Algard and Vraalsen of their dinner
conversation with North Vietnamese last night (Sept 24)./2/
/2/Prior to the meeting with DRV officials, Davidson transmitted to the Norwegian Government a message from Rusk to
Lyng requesting that he attempt to get the North Vietnamese to remain in Oslo for several more days. (Telegram
243111 to Oslo, September 23; ibid.) Reports of meetings between Davidson and Norwegian officials on their
discussions with the North Vietnamese representatives on September 24 are in telegrams 6725, 6737, and 6745 from
Oslo, all September 24. (Ibid.) At these meetings, Chan noted that he was unable to remain in Norway and had to leave
on September 25. A full translation of the Norwegian notes on their September 24 conversations with the North
Vietnamese is in telegram 6808 from Oslo, September 30. (Ibid.)
2. Algard told us that he had made a "final effort" over brandy to pin the North Vietnamese down by summing up his
understanding of the substance of their visit. Algard told the North Vietnamese that the Norwegians had listened to their
presentations with great interest and that he was convinced that the North Vietnamese had a serious approach to the
question of peace negotiations if bombing stopped and that if the bombing were stopped the North Vietnamese would
take no military advantage particularly in the area in and around the DMZ.

3. In reply the North Vietnamese said that their approach was indeed serious. They also observed that North
Vietnamese do not use the words "take advantage" in this context. Algard told us that he thinks the North Vietnamese
were trying to convey the impression that they do not think in terms of taking advantage. Algard indicated to us that he
considered it useless to pursue the matter since it appeared to him that the North Vietnamese were under instructions to
go no further.
4. Summing up his conclusion on the North Vietnamese visit, Algard told us he regarded as most important the facts that
North Vietnam had sent a delegation, including a man who came all the way from Hanoi to Oslo, under specific
conditions as to secrecy and the role of the GON and that "they played the game." The North Vietnamese did not
attempt to propagandize the public or to contact the local Vietnam Solidarity Committee. Algard believes that while the
North Vietnamese "didn't offer much directly in the way of assurances" the serious manner in which they conducted
themselves was, in an "Oriental way" intended to demonstrate that they could play an honest game and that they would
be willing to play an honest game if the bombing were stopped. I said I was very disappointed that the North Vietnamese
delegation had been either unwilling or unable to give any substantive assurances and Algard admitted that he had
hoped for more from them.
5. We now have and are translating the GON notes of their Friday and Saturday meetings with the North Vietnamese./3/
/3/The Norwegian notes of the September 20-21 meetings were transmitted in telegram 6762 from Oslo, September 25.
(Ibid.)
Tibbetts

34. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, September 25, 1968, 1750Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)September 1968. Secret; Nodis; Harvan/Plus. No transmission time is indicated; the telegram was received at 2:26 p.m.
21378/Delto 770. From Vance. Subject: Meeting with Oberemko, Sept. 25.
Ref: A. Paris 21192 (Delto 754); B. Paris 21344 (Delto 767)./2/
/2/Documents 26 and 32.
1. Afternoon of September 25 Vance met at Soviet Embassy with Minister-Counselor Oberemko, who is Charg
d'Affaires in Zorin's absence. Negroponte was also present, and Bogomolov attended on their side.
2. Vance told Oberemko that since their last meeting we had spoken again with Tho and Thuy at today's tea break. The
meeting had been totally unsatisfactory. We had told the North Vietnamese that the subject of which parties will be
included in the serious negotiations that would follow the cessation of bombing had become a major roadblock to
progress. We had told the DRV side today that an understanding on this subject would be a major factor in facilitating a
decision to stop the bombing. We emphasized the word "would" rather than "could" since, at our last meeting, the DRV
side had commented on our use of the word "could" as indicating uncertainty. We told DRV he had taken their
comments into account and had consulted with Washington and could state that an understanding on the subject would
be a major factor in facilitating a decision to stop the bombing. We had said to the DRV that we trusted that what we had
said today would clear the roadblock.
3. Vance said that our discussion with Tho and Thuy at today's tea break had lasted more than an hour and that they
had been totally intransigent. We had gotten absolutely nowhere. We have tried from the beginning to be constructive
and we had hoped that what we said today would clear the roadblock, but the DRV side has not budged one inch.
Vagueness of language is not a problem in view of the change that we had made today. We wondered what Oberemko
could tell us today. Vance asked whether Oberemko had heard from his government, and how they viewed the problem.
4. Oberemko said that he had reported Vance's remarks of September 21 to Moscow and had not yet received a reply.
He said he presumed that the matter was under consideration and expected to hear some word in the next couple of
days. Vance suggested that Oberemko might also wish to transmit our change from "could" to "would." Oberemko
replied, "Yes, this is a clarification," and that he would transmit it without delay. Oberemko said he would refrain from

any further comment since he knew what we wanted was an answer from Moscow. He said that he thought that the
position taken by the DRV remains unchanged, and we have known it for a long time, that is, that the US must
unconditionally cease the bombing and all acts of war against the DRV, and then the DRV will be prepared to discuss
any question either might wish to raise.
5. Vance said that the question of the GVN inclusion is not one of reciprocity, but is a question of the definition of serious
talks. There cannot be serious talks if the GVN representatives are not included in talks regarding the political future of
South Viet-Nam. For our part, we are willing to have seated on the DRV side the NLF, the Alliance, or any other group
they may wish. The DRV's unwillingness to accept GVN representation raises grave questions as to their seriousness
and whether they merely want to string us along. It does no good for them to call our proposal a demand for reciprocity.
6. Oberemko replied that it was still a condition. Vance said that it was a question of defining what serious talks are. We
think the world would be shocked if they knew that the DRV is refusing to include the GVN in talks regarding the political
future of South Viet-Nam. This must mean that Hanoi wants to dictate the political future of South Viet-Nam. Vance said
that the time has come for the Soviet Government to weigh in on this subject.
7. Oberemko replied that he would communicate the clarification from "could" to "would" which he said was clear to him
and to Bogomolov. He said that, it would be useless for him to predict what the reply from Moscow would be, but he
would let us know when he gets a reply.
Harriman

35. Notes of the 591st Meeting of the National Security Council/1/


Washington, September 25, 1968, 12:17-1:40 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the
Cabinet Room. Those attending were the President, Rostow, Rusk, Clifford, Nitze, Ball, Wheeler, Helms, Fowler, Marks,
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Joseph Sisco, Christian, Bromley Smith and Nathaniel
Davis of the NSC Staff, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A full transcript of this meeting is ibid.,
Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room. For Smith's notes of this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol.
XXXIII, Document 432.
[Omitted here is discussion of issues before the United Nations involving Czechoslovakia, the Middle East, and Biafra.]
Secretary Rusk: Major votes on major questions will not take place before the election.
Ambassador Ball: U Thant meddled too much in affairs with the Vietnam statement./2/ All except the Communists see it
that way. I do not expect a vote on this.
/2/On September 24 U Thant stated that if a resolution calling for the end to the bombing of North Vietnam was
introduced into the UN General Assembly, it would pass overwhelmingly. See The New York Times, September 24,
1968.
Assistant Secretary of State Sisco: That is the way most all nations see it.
The President: The President does not know of any plans for a withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. I read Clifford and
Wheeler's testimony./3/ It doesn't say that.
/3/Reference is to their testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Secretary Clifford: A Marine RLT is coming back, but it is being replaced by other troops. Congressman Lipscomb/4/
asked about the decrease in troops. We have no plan to reduce the troops in Vietnam. I cannot predict the return of any
troops.
/4/Representative Glenard Lipscomb.
Secretary Clifford: We are preparing a statement to clarify this. There is no sort of plan to bring the number down.

General Wheeler: The examination of forces in Vietnam by Abrams was of logistic and administrative troops. We won't
pull down--we are able to knock this story down flatly.
Secretary Rusk: The prospects for peace in Paris are still dim.
The President: What does "other acts of war" include in the Hanoi demand?
CIA Director Helms: Overflights.
Secretary Rusk: Reconnaissance.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Spanish base agreement.]
Ambassador Ball: General debate in the U.N. starts October 2.
The President: I would like us to review the following areas precisely:
1. Instructions to U.S. negotiators in Paris.
2. Their position on the bombing halt.
3. Their reaction to our instructions.
Secretary Rusk: The United States is in Paris on the basis of the March 31 speech. There is no agreed agenda. Our
purpose--peace in Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia). We want to determine how the bombing can be stopped
so it can lead us toward peace?--So we want to know what will happen if we stop the bombing.
1. The Liberation Front can sit at the table. North Vietnam won't let South Vietnam sit at the table.
2. An agreement on Laos is important to us.
3. The territorial neutrality of Cambodia also is important.
Hanoi's delegation comes back with:
--stop bombing.
--get out of South Vietnam.
--U.S. is the aggressor, they are the "victim."
There are three important points if the bombing is halted:
1. We could not keep up the halt if North Vietnam flooded across the DMZ.
2. If there were attacks on cities.
3. If talks proceeded without the South Vietnamese at the table.
North Vietnam still refuses to say what will happen if the bombing halts.
Therefore, what would happen if we stopped the bombing?
The President: If we stopped the bombing, nobody knows whether or not:
A. The DMZ would be respected.
B. South Vietnam could come to the table.
C. The attacks on the cities would halt./5/

/5/In a telephone conversation with Rusk on September 23, the President expressed concern that Harriman and Vance
had backed away from a firm insistence on these three points. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording
of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Rusk, September 23, 1968, 9:37 a.m., Tape 6800.24, Side B, PNO
10 and Tape 6800.25, Side A, PNO 2)
The President: What effect would this have on the morale of the men? (Referring to a bombing pause)
General Wheeler: It would have an adverse effect on:
--our troops
--South Vietnamese troops
--South Vietnamese people./6/
/6/In a September 25 memorandum to the President, Wheeler noted that while Abrams regarded GVN participation in
talks as the most important stipulation, he did not recommend proceeding on the basis of mere assumptions or of
dropping the other two preconditions. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN Misc. & Memos,
Vol. VI)
The President: What will the United Nations do on Vietnam?
Ambassador Ball: It will be mentioned. U Thant believes the bombing will be halted. He is intoxicated by microphone.
Secretary Clifford: Of the three items mentioned by Dean (Secretary Rusk), the shelling of cities can be a condition.
Make it a "serious matter."
The DMZ and GVN--presence of the GVN at the table should be an absolute condition.
The demilitarization at the DMZ--proceed on an assumption of if we stop the bombing, they will not take advantage of it.
It goes back to the San Antonio speech./7/ I think the President should assume they will not take advantage of the
pause.
/7/In his San Antonio speech on September 29, 1967, President Johnson pledged to halt the bombing of North Vietnam
provided the cessation would be followed by prompt and productive discussions and the North Vietnamese would not
take military advantage of it. See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. V, Document 340.
(Bombing between 19th and 17th parallels constitutes 5000 men in effort. 95% of our force is preserved.)
I think the President can give up 5% to take whatever risk--to get substantive talks going. We could risk it. I think this is a
minimal risk. I think there is a 65% chance this will pay off. The bombing could restart if it had to.
The morale of the troops could go down if nothing results. The troops want peace, I want peace.
We preserve 95% of our forces. We gamble with 5%. I think it will be successful.
Secretary Rusk: The incentives of North Vietnam would be affected--what it takes to move us. They would move on to
another point.
The President: They would move on to reconnaissance.
Ambassador Ball: I share Clark's (Secretary Clifford) view emphatically.
We are each "dug in" to doctrinal position, like Arabs and Israelis. There always are risks in war and peace. I do not
think the risks are great. You can make assumptions on these points. We have blown the importance of this part of
North Vietnam far out of proportion. We were told earlier that this is not very significant. Only 5% of our assets to
damage the enemy would be at stake. I quarrel with Dean. There is an element of "face."
Secretary Rusk: What about "face" of other Orientals in the area--Koreans, Thais, and others?
Ambassador Ball: We are doing the most in the war. The Communist theory of war is that they are helping out a

revolution in the South. When they are attacked they are outraged. I think the Soviets want to help. They can't until war
is reduced to war in the South.
Time pressures are on them to do something. We will kill a lot of American boys rather needlessly.
Secretary Rusk: Would you restart the bombing?
Ambassador Ball: I would ask for demilitarization at DMZ, bombing of cities. I would stop bombing to test their "good
faith." I would stop it for a couple of weeks. The position of the United States will be infinitely better.
We are in a box. I believe they want a peace. They are scared to hell of Nixon--afraid of his use of nuclear weapons.
Secretary Fowler: What happens if we threaten to stop talk if they don't move?
Ambassador Ball: That would be terrible. I have spoken very indiscreetly here.
Secretary Rusk: There would be a lot of votes for Nixon if we get nothing for the bombing pause.
Ambassador Ball: He'll get them anyway.
The President: I am not hell-bent on agreement. We have done things before on assumptions. We have been
disappointed. When I make an assumption, I want a reason to make it. I doubt if all three things are sufficient to get us
to stop it--shelling, DMZ, South Vietnam.
Ambassador Ball: The situation is changed now. These tests haven't cost us that much. They give us strength in the
eyes of the world.
The President: It will not be done now unless they indicate something.
General Wheeler: 1. We are in a strong position in Vietnam. There is good hard evidence of that. 2. The offensive
operations against the North are far higher than 5%.
Secretary Clifford: I would place it about 5%.
General Wheeler: Naval and air campaigns are the only pressure we put on the North.
Ambassador Ball: The pressure is the men they are losing in the South.
General Wheeler: Giap says they can go on losing men. Our operations are hurting him. The enemy can move forces
and supplies right down to the combat area. War is nothing more than pressure. We can't resume bombing easily once
we stop it. The morale of our forces would suffer.
Friends and enemies would interpret this as victory for Hanoi.
In summary, I cannot agree. 60% of the people think we should get concessions before. It is wrong militarily to stop
pressure on the enemy who is increasingly weak.
I think it unwise politically. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree on what I have said.
Under Secretary Nitze: The alternatives are:
1. Proceed as we do now.
2. Ambassador Ball's alternative, but
--continue reconnaissance
--bring South Vietnamese to table on Day 1.

I don't think they would shoot down reconnaissance planes. I don't think they would appear with the South Vietnamese
on Day 1. They would appear later.
USIA Director Marks: What would be military costs for two weeks if Ball's suggestion is adopted?
General Wheeler: It would take two or three weeks to mount up force. They could move artillery in two weeks.
USIA Director Marks: Reinforcements, but not offensive?
General Wheeler: Not a large attack.
Director Marks: How about casualties?
General Wheeler: There might be a large increase in casualties.
Secretary Rusk: Holding South Vietnam together would be the big problem.
USIA Director Marks: You would not have high costs for two weeks.
The President: If I thought they would do something I would jump at it.
USIA Director Marks: I would take the risk if Harriman and Vance thought it would pay off.
Secretary Clifford: This would be a test. We could raise three points. The Soviets think benefits would follow. Bus' points
are academic.
1. We stop the bombing.
2. We sit down to negotiate.
If they build up, they don't intend to negotiate. We then have done everything. We restart bombing and you can go as far
as you want to.
The President: No, we will debate it as we did before. They will move all the time.
The President: We will not take this course if they don't.
Secretary Clifford: If they agree GVN can come in to the table, I would pursue it.
The President: I want negotiators to pursue all three points.
--cities not attacked.
--DMZ re-established.
--GVN sit at table.
Those present voiced opinions as follows:
For

Against

Clifford

Rusk

Ball

Wheeler

Marks

The President

Nitze

36. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, September 25, 1968, 2:04-2:45 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the second floor
dining room of the White House. It immediately followed an off-the-record meeting between the same men that began at
1:43 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
ATTENDING WERE
The President
Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
Walt Rostow
Tom Johnson
Clark Clifford: George Ball called me. I saw him this morning.
He said he had "reached a decision."/2/
/2/Ball, who had been appointed as Representative to the United Nations on May 14 and had presented his credentials
on June 26, officially resigned on September 25.
I listed the reasons he should continue in the job. Ball also said:
"I cannot permit myself to remain quiet any longer about Nixon. He is a liar, dishonest, and a crook. This is my country.
We would get poor leadership." He said he must be free.
--Speak out myself
--Help Humphrey say what he should
--Bring in people to help
He said he couldn't live with himself if he didn't work to defeat Nixon.
Secretary Rusk: He said the same things to me. He is misestimating the political situation. It would be interpreted as
"break" with the Administration.
Clark Clifford: He said he does not intend to "break" with Administration.
Secretary Rusk: Ball quits 2 months after he takes office.
Clark Clifford: He has an excellent statement.
The President: The time when he should have decided this was when he agreed to serve.
The President: I talked to Dirksen yesterday./3/
/3/See Document 31.
Secretary Rusk: Bus might pass the word to Abrams to slip out these facts about
--The 3rd offensive being blunted.
--SVN strength improved.
Clark Clifford: Better press tone because of
--General Sidle's approach.
--General Abrams doesn't "sell" it.
--Facts are on our side.

Secretary Rusk: Bunker would try to go along with anything, but he puts priority on GVN presence at table.
Secretary Rusk: To replace Ball, Cy Vance would be ideal.
Walt Rostow: I expect within 2 weeks to know what will happen in Paris. They are getting their military dispositions.
Detailed messages on exactly what their strength is in the field.
The President: Ball's going to Humphrey is part of movement to "dove" side--special sale number one. McCarthy is an
admirer of Ball's.
Clark Clifford: This may be a desperation move by HHH. They talked on the phone Monday./4/
/4/September 23. No record of this discussion has been found.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Spanish base agreement.]

37. Intelligence Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency/1/


No. 2040/68
Washington, September 27, 1968.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80-R1580R, Executive Registry Subject Files, 266-Vietnam. Confidential. A
notation on the memorandum reads: "This memorandum was produced solely by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of
Current Intelligence and coordinated with the Office of National Estimates and the Director's Special Assistant for
Vietnamese Affairs." An attached covering note from Helms to Rostow transmitting a copy of the memorandum,
September 27, reads: "You asked for a memorandum on this subject some time ago. Here it is."
1968 AS THE YEAR OF DECISION IN SOUTH VIETNAM
Summary
Extensive evidence that the Vietnamese Communist high command planned to initiate the "decisive" phase of the war in
1968 has been uncovered in documents captured since Tet. This decision was almost certainly taken by the Hanoi
politburo in the summer of 1967. It called for the launching of the so-called "general offensive and general uprising"
often discussed in Vietnamese Communist theoretical literature over the years as the final stage of the war. The
groundwork was laid simultaneously for the start of political negotiations to accompany the military action.
It does not appear that the politburo in Hanoi firmly tied the conclusion of the offensive and the end of the fighting to any
particular time frame, i.e., the year 1968. The enormous effort and cost which the Communists put into the Tet offensive,
however, strongly suggests that they entertained a serious hope, if not a firm belief, that the military pressure would
bring an early and decisive turn in the conflict, hopefully during 1968, even if the fighting was not terminated during the
year. Such a development, in their view, would force major allied concessions and open the way to a negotiated
settlement of the war. There is considerable evidence that Hanoi was prepared to move ahead quickly into wide-ranging
substantive discussions on the conflict once the bombing of North Vietnam had ceased.
In choosing to launch the general offensive during the winter-spring campaign of 1968, it appears that Hanoi was
convinced that its military strategy, even though highly costly in Communist combat casualties, had forced the war into
an indecisive, stalemated stage more deleterious to the allies than to itself. This was the point, enemy theoreticians had
often argued, when massive military pressure should be combined with diplomatic maneuver to break the allied will. At
the same time, the Communists were probably also influenced by a full recognition--long in germination--that they could
not win a complete military victory over the allies. They would, at least initially, have to settle for a compromise in South
Vietnam short of their optimum objectives of earlier years.
Other factors, including the domestic situation in the US and conflicting pressures from the Soviet Union and China,
probably also played some role in Hanoi's decision.
[Omitted here is the 11-page body of the memorandum.]

38. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Republican Presidential Nominee Richard
Nixon/1/
Washington, September 30, 1968, 6:45 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Nixon, September 30, 1968, 6:45 p.m., Tape F68.06, PNO 5-6. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.
President: Hello?
Nixon: Hello?
President: Hello?
Nixon: Hello, Mr. President?
President: Yes.
Nixon: I'm awfully sorry to bother you. This is Dick Nixon.
President: Yes, Dick.
Nixon: And the only reason that I'm bothering you is that I'm going very shortly to be on a television program, and there
just came over the wire this statement by Hubert with regard to--saying that he would have a bombing pause if
elected,/2/ and the only purpose in my call is to determine whether there's any change in our own policy at this time with
regard to what position the administration is taking.
/2/See Document 40.
President: No, there is not. I have not read his speech. It has not been discussed with me. I say this in strict confidence-I'll ask you not to quote me or repeat me; I'll talk clearly.
Nixon: I won't--that's why I called you.
President: I have not read it. I just had the press secretary call me with the flash that he says he'll stop the bombing
pause--he'll stop the bombing--if elected. And then it indicates that he has to have direct or indirect, or deed or act,
assurance that they will respect the DMZ. I don't know really what he is saying. Ball said, 2 or 3 days ago when he
quickly resigned, that the bombing was not--well, he said that the newspapers were pressing that too much as just a part
of a whole big general picture.
Nixon: Right.
President: So I was rather surprised that as his adviser, that Hubert would take this position, because it looks like a little
bit inconsistent with what Ball said.
Nixon: Yeah.
President: I haven't reconciled it because I don't have the text. Our position is this. We are very anxious to stop the
bombing. We went out before we met with the [Congressional] leadership prior to the Chicago [Democratic National]
convention and asked Abrams what effect the bombing operations in Vietnam were having. He came back and said,
"We believe we're destroying or damaging 15 percent of the trucks moving into the South. It is our conviction the air
interdiction program has been the primary agent which has reduced trucks being detected by 80 percent between midJuly and the present time. The third effect is to prevent the enemy from massing artillery and air defense means in the
area to the north of the DMZ from which they can attack our forces."/3/ You see, Mr. Vice President, they have to stop at
the 20th [parallel] now, or really up to the 19th, we haven't gone above that. But if we stopped the bombing, they could
just come day and night, with lights on and lights off, bumper to bumper, right down to the DMZ where they'd be poised
to hit us.

/3/This message was transmitted as telegram MAC 11409 from Abrams to Rostow, August 23; see Foreign Relations,
1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 337.
Nixon: Right.
President: So, in the light of these three things--the trucks that he's stopping, the 80 percent between mid-July and the
present time, and the massing of the artillery at the DMZ, then we said, "Well, what would be the effect of the cessation
of that bombing?" He says, "First, military matriel would be able to reach the DMZ or the borders of Laos unimpeded.
We believe the current attrition from truck destruction alone, not to mention truck parts, is running several hundred tons
per day. The truck flow could be expected to return to the mid-July level--the high--within as little as a week. We're
talking about an increase--repeat increase--in southwest movements--southward movement--which could amount to as
much as 1,500 tons per day or more. Next, the enemy would mass artillery, air defense means, and ground units north
of the DMZ for use against our troops. Finally, freed from interdiction north of the seventeenth degree, the enemy could
move reinforcements to the DMZ by truck or rail, thus drastically shortening transit time."
Then we said, "Is there any possibility of your providing even an approximate estimate of the additional casualties we
would take if we stop the bombing of North Vietnam?" He said, "We would have to expect a several-fold increase in U.S.
and allied casualties in I Corps." Now for that reason, our people took the position in the [Democratic Party's campaign]
platform that we would stop the bombing when we were assured that it would not cost us men by doing so.
Nixon: Right.
President: Now we don't have that assurance as of now--at least I do not have it. Then he goes on, I'm quoting Abrams
now, "With the bombing authority now in effect, I am able with the forces available to limit the enemy's capability in
South Vietnam by interdicting his roads and destroying a substantial amount of his munitions before they reach South
Vietnam. In addition, I am able to suppress his artillery and air defense north of Ben Thuy so that our positions south of
the DMZ are secured." Now this is the key question. "If the bombing in North Vietnam now authorized were to be
suspended, the enemy in 10 days to 2 weeks could develop a capability"--be careful of that word "capability"--"in the
DMZ area in terms of scale, intensity, and duration of combat on the order of five times what he now has." In 10 days
he'd increase his capability five times.
Nixon: Yeah.
President: "I cannot agree to place our forces at the risk which the enemy's capability would then pose." Now that was
reviewed with the joint leadership. They know that. That has not been made public because we don't want to notify our
enemy that is our estimate.
Nixon: Sure.
President: Now, our position--which I've been very careful with you and very careful with Humphrey, and I've told both of
you the same thing, and you, both of you, have the same information--our position has been this: we are anxious to stop
the bombing, we'd be glad to stop the bombing, if we can have any assurance that A--they would respect the DMZ,
thereby not endangering these four divisions, the three of ours and one allied, or stop shelling the cities, or, and most
important of all, talk to the GVN, talk to the Government of Vietnam. Now, we do not think that we ought to cause that
government to fall and immobilize a million men that are going to be under arms this year by meeting in Paris and
dividing up their country or deciding what they're going to do without their being present. So our first condition all along
has been to say that they have got to be present. They have consistently refused to agree to do that. We have said you
can bring the NLF if you want to. But we can't decide the future of South Vietnam--it now has an elected government--in
their absence and without their presence. So in effect, we have said we are interested in what you have to say on these
three subjects: DMZ, GVN presence, shelling the cities.
Nixon: Yeah. But you don't insist on all three, just the-President: Well, we'd like to have all three.
Nixon: Yeah, yeah.
President: But we ask them to make their commitment to us--tell us what they would do.
Nixon: On any one of these things.

President: Now, we don't say--we don't say that you've got to sign in blood beforehand. But we do say this. What would
happen if we stopped the bombing Sunday and we walked in Monday morning with the GVN? Would you walk out?
They have not responded, and we don't know what they would do. Now until we do know, and that is very important to
us, we don't want to gamble American lives. And when we do know, then we will have to make that decision.
Nixon: Yeah.
President: But they're making it now, and we don't know what they're going to do about it. They may decide that they'll
try to hang on until January. They're taking a terrible--they're paying a terrible price. Now, the message and information I
gave you came in before the convention and we met with the joint leadership, Republican and Democrat. I have today a
wire that came in yesterday from him--let me find it--from Abrams,/4/ the nut of which he says that he thinks he is
destroying between five and ten thousand military per--is it--destroying between five and ten thousand military per
month in Vietnam by his bombing alone. We are losing, oh, seven, eight hundred a month, our people, all told, a couple
hundred a week, a hundred, two hundred a week, maybe two fifty sometimes. Now we have two hundred million, we're
losing seven or eight hundred a month, and he's losing five to ten thousand just from the bombing. Now if we stop that,
he says that they have now a hundred odd thousand--[covers phone and speaks to Rostow]--I've got his wire on the
bottom, but I've just found it, and I just answered your call out of a meeting./5/
/4/Abrams' message was transmitted in telegram MAC 13145 from Saigon, September 28, which was excerpted and
analyzed in a memorandum from Rostow to the President, September 28. (Johnson Library, National Security File,
Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 96) In a memorandum to the President the day before, Rostow reported that
he had sent a back-channel message to Abrams requesting his assessment. (Ibid.)
/5/Following a meeting with Special Assistant Joseph Califano and Director of the Bureau of the Budget Charles Zwick
from 6:20 p.m. to 6:40 p.m., the President made two brief telephone calls to Rostow and Christian before taking Nixon's
call. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
Nixon: Yeah.
President: But he says very much that he's very much opposed to the bombing [halt] as of last night--to stopping the
bombing-Nixon: Yeah.
President: Unless we get some of these things. Now our negotiators have been unable to get them up to now. We have
a meeting Wednesday./6/ I thought after Wednesday I might have other talks with Cy Vance and Harriman and see what
they had to say there. But-/6/October 2.
Nixon: The way this--the way was just seeing the AP dispatch here, and of course papers always tend to make a bigger
difference than real, he says that this was a dramatic--they say a dramatic move away from the Johnson administration
foreign policy. But when you read further down, it says that Humphrey said that "in weighing the risk, he would place
importance on evidence--direct or indirect, by word or deed--of Communist willingness to restore the demilitarized
zone." So that would indicate that he wasn't just going to do it unilaterally, but-President: I thought the safest position for anyone to take--he takes it part of the way in his position, but he does not-[Johnson speaks to Rostow].
Nixon: I can't quite hear you. Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? I can't quite hear you.
President: Dick, I want to put Walt Rostow on for just a second. [To Rostow:] Summarize for him Abrams' latest wire just
as if you could read it.
Rostow: Mr. Nixon? This is Walt Rostow, sir.
Nixon: Yeah, sure.
Rostow: Uh, we went out again to General Abrams, and put the same questions we put a month ago. His response was
that the weather was changing and there--he'd had some successful operations, but essentially, he would make the
same answers as a month ago, that unless we got some assurance on the DMZ, we would take a very heavy military

consequence from a cessation of the bombing at this time.


Nixon: Well, to an extent, you know, of course, I think Humphrey leaves that possibility where he talks about, that he
said, the press always tends to play the biggest part of the story. But in weighing the risk, he said, he would place
importance on evidence, direct or indirect, by either word of Communist willingness to restore the demilitarized zone.
Rostow: Yes, I noticed that on the ticker, Mr. Nixon.
Nixon: But, on the other hand, this will be interpreted, as I'm sure you know, as a dramatic move away from the
administration. It's my intention not to move in that direction, I think, for this fundamental reason. As long as the
administration is still negotiating, I think we've got--I think that my position has to be in good conscience that unless and
until there is some evidence of a reciprocal step, we could not stop the bombing.
President: Yes.
Nixon: That's the administration's position?
President: Yes, except reciprocal, Dick, is a bad word with them.
Nixon: Right.
President: I'd say unless they give us some assurance that it wouldn't--unless we had some indication that it would not
cost the lives of our men. I found this memo, if you want me to read it to you very quickly. "What is the effect of our
current bombing operations in Vietnam?" This is September 28th from Abrams to Johnson. "Deterrence is the first
effect. Our air presence is keeping the enemy from moving his air forces, rail system, and logistical bases southward
toward the DMZ. After better than 70 days of effort, it is now clear that our concentrated efforts to choke traffic at four
prime areas, at six road points, and at six critical water points of North Vietnam have reduced the enemy's detected flow
of troops from the mid-July high of 1,000 per day to less than 150 since that time. Southbound truck detections the past
few weeks have numbered fewer than a hundred per day. If the bombing in North Vietnam ceases, a return to the level
of a thousand per day would have to be expected. These efforts have also prevented the enemy from massing artillery,
supplies, and air defense means for sudden attack against the DMZ. Possibly of greater consequence is the combined
Navy and 7th Air Force interdiction efforts in North Vietnam which have effectively impeded the transshipment
southward of a significant stock of supplies which continue to move into Thanh Hoa and Vinh by rail, road, and boat.
Question number two. What would be the military effect of a cessation of the bombing? Answer: A--The major result of
the bombing halt would be the enemy's increased capability to position and maintain large ground forces north of the
DMZ in close proximity to our U.S. and ARVN forces deployed to defend the I Corps. He could concentrate his artillery,
armor, air forces, and air defense forces in direct support of his ground forces and place them in a position to initiate a
large-scale invasion of South Vietnam with minimum warning time. B--We can expect the enemy to develop forward
logistic complexes. C--The enemy will devote a maximum initial effort to reconstruct of his lines of communication south
of the 19th parallel. D--Airfields south of the 19th will return to service. A bombing pause will permit the North
Vietnamese Army to make fuller use of land lines in communication. Country-wide, the North Vietnamese Army
presently devotes an estimated 80,000 troops to its air defense mission." And these are two good figures: North
Vietnamese Army devotes an estimated 80,000 troops to its air defense mission. "Plus, perhaps 110-200,000 laborers.
Complete bombing cessation would allow the North Vietnamese Army several options, any of which would increase the
threat to American forces in or near South Vietnam.
Question number three: Since March 31st--that was my speech--what is the average number of trucks destroyed and
trucks damaged per week? What is the average number of trucks sighted in the panhandle per week? What is your best
estimate of the total number of trucks sighted and unsighted that flow through the panhandle each week and the portion
of this total that we are not getting? Answer: The enemy's day movement of trucks has been virtually halted. As a
consequence of night attacks against the above areas, the enemy has ceased moving in convoys and has been
unwilling to allow his trucks to wait behind crossing points. As a result, most of his trucks have been kept north of Route
Package 1, moving out singly under the cover of darkness. Consequently, fewer kills have been possible. In the week of
July 14-20, an average of 508 trucks per day were sighted from all sources. After that period, there was a steady
decrease in truck traffic as the enemy felt the full weight of our interdiction bombing campaign concentrated at key traffic
choke points. In the week prior to Typhoon Bess on September the 4th, the sightings had decreased from 508 trucks per
day to 151 per day. Since September the 4th, truck kills and damages have averaged 32 per week as a consequence of
nearly complete blockage of his wide choke point.
Question four--What is the estimate of military casualties we inflict on the enemy each week in the bombing of North
Vietnam? We believe the military casualties resulting from intensive air strikes since mid-July 1968 have increased
significantly. As in our previous submission, casualties on the order of five to ten thousand per month do not seem

unreasonable.
Question number five: Is there any possibility of your providing for the President even an approximate estimate of the
additional casualties America would take if we stopped the bombing in North Vietnam? Answer: I have reviewed the
factors considered in my response to this question. Further examination of the results of the air interdiction campaign
convinces me that my estimate at that time remains valid. In summary, a cessation of offensive action north of the DMZ
would enable the enemy to amass personnel and equipment along the DMZ. It would facilitate his infiltration and logistic
support across and around the DMZ. It would increase the air, artillery, and ground threat to our forces located in
northern I Corps. I must emphasize the adverse effect of a cessation without reciprocity on the morale of the officers and
men of my command, as well as those of the Republic of Vietnam armed forces, who would be exposed to increased
enemy pressure from a newly created sanctuary. Conversely, a complete bombing cessation would raise the enemy's
confidence and his aggressiveness. It would validate his doctrine of the insurgency war. It will confirm his unrealistic
view of the military, political, and psychological postures of the warring parties. It will portray to him increased strength
on his part and growing weakness on ours. It will demonstrate to him that he is winning. Above all, it will convince him
that he must continue or increase the current tempo of the war to gain the ultimate victory. Militarily and psychologically,
a complete bombing cessation will shift the balance significantly toward the enemy." Unquote. Now that's today.
Nixon: That's just today.
President: That's today. Now, we have not given that to the Vice President--he has not asked for it. We will give it to him
if he does ask for it. I didn't call him because I don't want to be coaching him on his campaign. I'm trying to run the war.
Nixon: Yeah.
President: On the other hand, I think what's safe-Nixon: Yeah, what is it?
President: Is the position that the President, and there's just one President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of
Defense, the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ambassador Bunker, and General Abrams are
responsible for that situation in Vietnam. They're going to be responsible until a new President is elected. Therefore,
you're not going to try to look over their shoulders without all the information and tell them what is best. You have to
have some confidence in the professional army, and the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense, and you
believe that every American wants peace, but you're not, in order to win a campaign, not going to be in a position of
trying to overrule all these men without any information that would justify you're doing it.
Nixon: That's what I've been trying to say. Of course, I think on this too, I can just say what I have said previously, that
as I understand it, it is the position that if there is any evidence that there would be--that a bombing pause could take
place without endangering our men, we will go ahead and do it. Isn't that really our position?
President: Well, not necessarily. We have said we favor the stopping of bombing if it doesn't endanger our men. And of
course, we--then we want them to close that DMZ. We don't want them to take advantage of it.
Nixon: Right.
President: That's San Antonio./7/ We said we don't want them taking advantage if they'll assure us. We said don't shell
the cities. The most important thing though, Dick-/7/See footnote 7, Document 35.
Nixon: Is the recognition of the government [of South Vietnam].
President: We've got to--well, not necessarily--yes, just letting them hear, just let them sit in.
Nixon: Right.
President: We've got a million men there. Now, if they pull out, we're in one hell of a shape. We've lost everything.
Nixon: We're done. That's right. Well, I hesitate to bother you, but--

President: No, I think that-Nixon: I just want to be sure that I was up-to-date on everything.
President: I think that--I think that the least you can get into tactics and strategy, the better any candidate is. And I say
that to American Party, Republican Party, and Democratic Party. And I put that responsibility on somebody else until I
had to assume it myself and was elected. And then I would just say to them that you believe the Joint Chiefs, the
Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense have made our position clear in Paris that you are not going to
overrule that position unless you have more information than you have.
Nixon: Right.
President: Okay.
Nixon: That's what I'm going to continue to say.
President: Thank you, Dick.
Nixon: Appreciate your time. Bye./8/
/8/In a telephone call to Dirksen on October 1, the President commented on Nixon's reaction to Humphrey's speech: "As
a matter of fact, he didn't want anybody to know it, but he called me last night and asked me my evaluation. I told him
we'd just have to see what--that we just didn't know anything about it and we'd just have to see for ourselves what this
fellow meant by it. And I think that's a pretty good position for everybody. You don't have to say anything--just say, well,
what does he mean? Can you tell me? Does it mean that he's willing to pull out and stop bombing without--if it's a
condition, that's okay. If it's not, why then we put those boys in pretty bad shape there." (Johnson Library, Recordings
and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Dirksen, October 1, 1968, 11:22 a.m.,
Tape F6810.01, PNO 12)

39. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Vice President Humphrey/1/
September 30, 1968, 7:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Humphrey, September 30, 1968, 7:30 p.m., Tape F6810.01, PNO 4. No classification marking. This transcript was
prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Humphrey called from Salt Lake City, Utah. Rostow
was with the President in the Oval Office during the conversation. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
President: Hello?
Vice President: Mr. President?
President: Hi.
Vice President: How are you this evening?
President: Fine.
Vice President: Say, I'm going to be on your TV in about 5 minutes./2/
/2/See Document 40.
President: All right, I'll turn it on.
Vice President: On NBC, and I thought I should have called you a little earlier, but they had me taping here all day and
I've been about half-dead.

President: Is it taped?
Vice President: Yeah, it's taped.
President: Good. Well, I'll turn it on.
Vice President: And it points out the things that we've done here on Vietnam. And it's about the arms control as well as
the non-proliferation treaty and it says, for example, that we've given the time for Asian nations to strengthen
themselves and work together and so we see a stronger Southeast Asia--a stronger South Vietnam--contrasted with a
few months ago when peace negotiations were started. And there are new circumstances which will face the new
President, in light of these circumstances, and assuming no marked changes in the present situation, how would I
proceed. And let me make clear first what I would not do. I would not undertake a unilateral withdrawal. Peace would not
be served by weakness or withdrawal and I make that very clear. Nor would I escalate the level of violence in either the
South or the North. We seek to de-escalate. The platform of the Democratic Party says the President should take
reasonable risks to find peace. North Vietnam, according to its own statement, has said it will proceed to prompt and
good faith negotiations if we stop present limited bombing. But we must always think of the protection of our troops. As
President, I would be willing to stop the bombing of the North as an acceptable risk for peace because I believe it could
lead to success in the negotiations and a shorter war.
President: Now does that mean without any-Vice President: No. Wait a minute. This would be the best protection of our troops. [Quoting from his speech:] "But in
weighing that risk and before taking action, I would place key importance on evidence--direct or indirect, by deed or
word--of the Communists' willingness to restore the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam."
President: Now would you just want evidence on that one point? You know our negotiating position. We have three. The
South Vietnamese--Bunker tells us that that government and those million men they have would really go into chaos if
we divided up in Paris their future without their having a chance to appear.
Vice President: Yes.
President: We would be willing to have the NLF appear, but about the most important condition we think we've got to
have is not that we decide their fate without their presence, as Hitler and Chamberlain did to Czechoslovakia. Now-Vice President: Yeah, well, we say that they must proceed with good faith negotiations, and if they-President: Now, would that include--well, you see, there are these three points. This is one of them. I gather from what
you're saying that you would require evidence--direct or indirect, deed or word--of their willingness to restore the DMZ.
Now that would give us some protection for our men if you would-Vice President: Yes, sir.
President: If that is a condition.
Vice President: That's right.
President: Now there are two other things that we say they ought to do if we stop the bombing. One is--not shell the
cities. And two--to let the GVN come in and we'd let the NLF come in. Now they have not agreed to any of these three
up to now. Would this be your only condition?
Vice President: That would be my only specific, except that I'd say that they'd have to have good faith in negotiations.
They'd have to show good faith. I said here, "North Vietnam has said it would proceed to prompt and good faith
negotiations if we would stop the present limited bombing of the North." And then I say, "If the Government of North
Vietnam were to show bad faith we would, of course, reserve the right to resume the bombing. And in weighing that risk
and before taking any action, I would place key importance on evidence--direct or indirect, by deed or word--of the
Communists' willingness to restore the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam." I don't say that's
exclusive, but I say that's one thing above all that they must do.
President: Well, there's two other things that you want to remember. Number one, we've got 500,000 men. They've got
a million.

Vice President: Yeah.


President: Now we don't want to divide up North or South Vietnam without both of them being present, so that ought to
be understood before we give up our whole card that if we bring them in they wouldn't walk out. Negotiate in good faith
with whom? With both of us, you see. The second thing is we couldn't very well keep the bombing stopped very long, I
think, from a practical standpoint if they shell the cities.
Vice President: Yeah. Well, that's what we would mean by "good faith negotiations."
President: Okay.
Vice President: I'll tell you what. I want you to look at this and I've got a lot of stuff in there that we've done. I've built up
the record so that we have a complete statement about the Constitution and the elections and the improvement of the
economy and the fact that's what happened to the other nations of Southeast Asia and their regional development, and
then we come down on the non-proliferation treaty at the end and Mr. Nixon's point of view on it. I would just like to hear
from you afterwards what you think. I had to stake out some positions, as you know, and I think I've done it carefully
here without jeopardizing what you're trying to do.
President: You do require evidence of direct or indirect, or deed or word, on the restoration of the DMZ?
Vice President: Absolutely.
President: Before you stop it?
Vice President: That's absolutely right. I say just exactly, "in weighing that risk and before taking any action, I would
place key importance on the evidence--direct or indirect, by deed or word--of the Communists' willingness to restore" it.
President: I'll turn it on. Thank you.
Vice President: God bless you. Thank you.

40. Editorial Note


In a speech at Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 30, 1968, Vice President Humphrey pledged to halt the bombing of
North Vietnam. He would undertake such an action, he noted, "as an acceptable risk for peace" since "it could lead to
success in the negotiations and thereby shorten the war." However, he added that prior to a cessation, he "would place
key importance on evidence--direct or indirect, by word or deed--of Communist willingness to restore the demilitarized
zone between South and North Vietnam." He further stated that he would support the resumption of bombing if the
North Vietnamese "were to show bad faith." The text of the speech, which was taped and then broadcast nationally that
evening, is in The New York Times, October 1, 1968.
In a memorandum to President Johnson at 8 p.m., September 30, Walt Rostow advised the President to make no
comment on Humphrey's plan and noted that "our general attitude towards the speech should be, in backgrounding, that
we don't see a great deal of difference between the Vice President's position and the President's." Rostow also
described comments he had received from Rusk: "His judgment is that it need not give us trouble. He would not have
expressed the matter in precisely the Vice President's terms, but we should not go looking for marginal
differences." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. 1 [2 of 3])

41. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and George Ball/1/


Washington, September 30, 1968, 8:15 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Ball, September 30, 1968, 8:15 p.m., Tape F6810.01, PNO 6. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.

President: He [Vice President Humphrey] said to me that he would stop the bombing. And I said, "Without any
conditions?", as I did to you the other day. And he said, "No, they would have to give me direct or indirect, word or deed
or act that they'd restore the DMZ." And I said, "Okay, now what would you do about the shelling of the cities and
bringing in the Government of Vietnam?" "Well," he said, "you couldn't have discussions in good faith unless you talked
to both the NLF and the Government of Vietnam too." And I said, "Well, that's all right. Is that what you mean by good
faith?" And he said, "Yes." And I said, "Well, how long do you think we could go if they were shelling the cities?" And he
said, "I made clear that if they didn't negotiate in good faith we would go back." And I told him "all right" [and] that I
would get his speech./2/ I haven't got it. They have a copy here but Walt [Rostow] has it and he is analyzing it. I haven't
talked to Dean [Rusk]. I have just talked to the Vice President and placed a call./3/ I had a meeting going on. We've got
the damn longshoremen out tonight and I had to issue a Taft-Hartley/4/ and we mean mess on that. And I just got in in
time to hear him. I thought that--I think we'll--I guess you are keeping up with these cables. We got a three-page cable
from Abrams./5/ Abrams thinks he and Bunker--that the one thing we have got to do is not let these folks out there fall
out from under us and have another con deal or two and that we've got to keep saying to them that we are not going to
make any agreement that they're not involved because we will lose their million men that we're going to rely on if we
ever try to phase out.
/2/See Document 40.
/3/See Document 39.
/4/A 1946 Congressional act that authorized the United States to impose a cooling-off period during labor disputes.
/5/See footnote 4, Document 38.
Ball: Let me say that I talked to some of the press today, Mr. President, and I told them that implied in all of this was
obviously the fact that both the South Vietnamese and the other side--the Communists--would want to bring the other
side, but we couldn't make a decision for anybody.
President: That's exactly right. Well, your television appearances and your press conference have made it very clear,
and I wish that we could get them out of talking about Vietnam if they would tell the papers--if Nixon and Humphrey
would tell the papers what you said on television. I saw you the other morning. I thought it was superb. I don't know why
in the hell a fellow that can handle himself that way can't work for me but I guess he did that long enough. But anyway, I
hope they can get away with it. You know now, I guess, that the Foreign Minister of Hanoi is in Moscow. He's there now.
We think he's there now trying to decide this thing. We got that from the most sensitive source you can imagine. I don't
think the V.P. knows it or anybody else, but there are just three or four here, but he is there. We have made some steps
that nobody knows about, not even the highest officials, that we are kind of hoping that Russia would help us and Hanoi
would agree. What we'd like to do is show up some morning with the GVN and just the day before stop the bombing and
then have some indication that they wouldn't walk out of the room--it'd be bad if they did--and have some indication that
they wouldn't take advantage of us there at the DMZ. Now we are trying our best to get them on board on that. They
have not said yes and they have not said no. They said, "What are you requiring? What do you insist on?" We said, "We
don't insist on any guarantee, any promise, any assurance. We want to know, though, what would happen if we did so
and so. Would you walk out?" Well, they said they have to talk to their country. When they get ready to talk to their
country we find them in Hanoi--I mean Moscow. Now don't say that around any of those sources, but I will talk to you
from time to time. Abrams says that the most important thing of everything we can do is not to let that government feel
that we sell them out because he is using them and using them effectively and he is going to use them more effectively
every day.
Ball: He is doing a terrific job.
President: Gene Black is back today./6/ Gene Black says he has been there three times and he says that Huong and
what they are doing to try to clean up the mess is having a hell of a good effect. He thinks that Tet did a good job on this
crowd and scared them and they're doing better than they have ever done. I don't know--I have heard so many reports I
can't tell, but we will see. And I just hope we can get away from--the best line that has been said in the campaign was
your line that Johnson is not running against Humphrey. Johnson got out of the race. He is just going to be President
until January 20. Now the whole question is let's look at Nixon and let's look at Humphrey and let's see which one of
these we want and let's don't get down any rabbit trails. You just keep that up.
/6/Black, the President's Special Adviser on Asian Economic and Social Development, had just returned from a trip to
seven Asian nations including Vietnam. He reported on his trip in a meeting with the President at 12:47 p.m. on
September 28. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No other record of the meeting has been found.
Ball: Right, Mr. President. Well, I'd like to keep in touch with you.

President: Well, you can any day. You call me any time you want to, any hour, and I'll give you any information that we
have--that I have.
Ball: That's wonderful.
President: Okay.
Ball: Thanks.

42. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Senator Everett Dirksen/1/
Washington, October 1, 1968, 10:31 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Dirksen, October 1, 1968, 10:31 a.m., Tape F6810.01, PNO 7. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Johnson telephoned McCormack immediately after this
conversation at 10:45 a.m. and discussed the same topics. (Ibid., Recording of Telephone Conversation Between
Johnson and McCormack, October 1, 1968, 10:45 a.m., Tape 6810.01, PNO 8-9)
President: Hello?
Dirksen: Are you at liberty to make some comment on Hubert's speech last night?/2/
/2/See Document 40.
President: Except in the greatest confidence, I would just say that it depends a lot on the interpretation of it. He did not
discuss it with our people, Rusk or Rostow, or anybody that we're aware of. The first I knew about it was when the press
called me and pointed up that it was on the ticker. So, it was prepared without our knowledge and without our advice. It
interpreted, I think--a literal interpretation would show there's no great difference in our present policy. I think his
intention is to try to do that without and still leave the impression that there is--get what I mean?
Dirksen: Yeah.
President: Well, so here is our present policy--that we're ready, anxious, willing, eager to stop the bombing just as we
are eager to stop the war. But we just can't stop one side of it. The other side has got to stop something too. We found
that when we stop and they don't stop, it kills more men. So we've said to them, "If we did stop the bombing, what would
you do?" They're now considering that. They have not given us a firm answer.
Now one of the things we've said to them, "If we stop the bombing, would you de-militarize, would you reinstitute the
DMZ?" Up to now they've said "No." Now, Hubert's speech, the way I read it, and I emphasize I, the way I read it says
that before taking any action, he would have to have direct or indirect deed or word that they were reinstituting the DMZ.
Now if that is a fact, that's all right, that's what's important.
Now the second thing we feel we ought to have--we think that we can't go to this, can't make a peace for that area like
Hitler and Chamberlain did without Czechoslovakia being present--we don't think you could make a peace for that area
without the elected government having its voice heard anyway. We don't object to their bringing whoever they want to-NLF, anybody. We've always said their voice could be heard. But they refuse to have anything to do with this
government that is elected and has a million-man army that's doing a lot of the fighting. We don't ever report it and don't
give them credit for it, but they're losing more everyday than we lose, and they're just 14 million and we're 200.
So that's the second consideration. They must talk to the GVN. Now if they don't, and this group walked out from under
us, we'd really be left--we'd stand to lose a lot. The thing that both Bunker and Abrams, the two best men we have, are
more concerned about than anything else is something that would make them wobbly and make them distrust us and
make them think we'd sell them out. Now, Hubert's speech says that they'd have to negotiate in "good faith." If he
means by "good faith" talking to the GVN, which he could, that's what we think ought to be done. He doesn't say that,
though, spell it out. He just says they'd have to negotiate in good faith.
The third thing--if I stop the bombing, and they shelled Saigon tomorrow and Danang tomorrow and kill thousands as

they did during Tet, everybody in this country and all the soldiers there would certainly demand that I do something
about it. So, I would have to reinstitute the bombing. Now if you're going to reinstitute, there's no use stopping it. So we
ought to know that they wouldn't shell the cities. Now the only way he would know it is to have some understanding with
them that they "act in good faith"--that's the phrase that is used.
Now both Ball and Goldberg think that you ought to stop the bombing, just quit bombing. Clifford thinks you've got to
have conditions to it. Bunker and Abrams think you've got to have conditions to it. Now Bunker is a liberal, progressive
fellow and a hell of a good diplomat, best in the service. But he's an old Republican businessman before he ever got into
the service, although he's progressive, and he just says, "You'll lose everything if you don't have this government
present." Rusk feels very strongly about it, and needless to say, I do. Now, up to now, the Vice President has pretty
generally agreed with us. I can't interpret his speeches any more than I can interpret Nixon. But if he means by his
statement that "direct or indirect" that they give him before he takes action assurances on the DMZ, well, that would be
very appealing. But of course Rusk thinks that Hanoi will knock it down today. They've never been able to tell us that.
We don't know why they'll tell him that next January. Do you follow me there?
Dirksen: Yes, I follow you.
President: So, I would think that Nixon's position that he would take would be, with these conferences going on, that he
add all the information, that he's not in touch with them, that he's not responsible, that he doesn't want to do anything
that would appear to divide this country, and therefore it is the Democrats' responsibility, period, and not to get into the
war thing any more than he has to. I would think that would be the best thing for Hubert, but apparently he's trying to get
the McCarthy vote. Now, the way I see the thing, there are 43 percent of the people for Nixon, 28 percent for Hubert, 21
percent for Wallace. So when you take 43 and 21 on Wallace and Nixon that's 64 percent. Now there's only 8 percent
undecided--let's assume all of those are McCarthy people. That doesn't do him any good. If he puts 8 percent with his
28, he's just got 36. So he's got to do something to get at some of the Nixon [supporters] back or some of the Wallace
people back. And I wouldn't think that this kind of a speech would get either of them--I may be wrong. I believe he's
been losing because they have been doubtful on Vietnam and a lot of the Democrats, particularly in our section of the
country, have been going to Wallace. That's my judgment.
Dirksen: Yes, well, that's the way I size it up.
President: So, I have said all along, and Nixon has said all along, that we've just got one government and we've got to
stop at the water's edge and we can't play politics with the war and we just cannot ignore Bunker and ignore Abrams,
our commander in the field, we cannot ignore all of our Joint Chiefs--there are four of them, we can't ignore our
Secretary--we can't ignore our Secretary of State, we can't ignore the President, who have all the information involved.
So that's the way we see it.
Dirksen: Well, thanks much.
[Omitted here is general discussion of ambassadorial and judicial nominations.]

43. Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State
Rusk/1/
Washington, October 1, 1968.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET/OHIO. Secret;
Nodis; Ohio/Plus.
SUBJECT
Hanoi's Purpose in the Oslo Talks
Hanoi's recent decision to send several officials to Oslo for conversations with the Norwegian Government appears
intended to persuade us to agree to a bombing halt in exchange for some tacit--and limited-- Hanoi restraint in the DMZ
area. It is also designed to gain Norwegian support for the North Vietnamese position. It does not, however, appear
designed to open a new channel for negotiations. In fact, it appears intended to reinforce the Hanoi position in Paris,
and to move the Paris negotiations forward. It thus underlines the importance Hanoi attaches to the Paris talks.
Chan Indicates Readiness to Stop Cross-DMZ Shelling. The most interesting element in the North Vietnamese position
as presented in Oslo by Ambassador Nguyen Tho Chan was a statement to the effect that Hanoi would be prepared to

stop shelling across the DMZ if we stop the bombing of North Vietnam and "other acts of war," including our own
shelling across the DMZ. This line is not, strictly speaking, new; Hanoi had earlier said that the status of the DMZ could
be restored if we would stop our violations of it. The noteworthy aspect of its presentation in Oslo is that it has now been
included in an official Hanoi presentation.
Because of the circumstances surrounding the North Vietnamese statement, and because of Norwegian imprecision, it
is not completely clear whether the Hanoi officials had intended from the start to make a special point of the DMZ. Nor is
it completely clear whether their remarks were nothing more than the standard line that "we will stop firing at you if you
stop firing at us." From the unusual nature of the contact, however, it appears reasonable to conclude that the Hanoi
officials were given definite instructions to present their line on the DMZ. It is also clear that they were under instructions
not to discuss their position further but were merely to state it and depart.
Hanoi knows that the Norwegians would report the Oslo conversations to us. It may have calculated that the
Norwegians would use the North Vietnamese statement to urge us to accept Hanoi's proposal on the DMZ as evidence
of military restraint and to undertake a complete bombing halt on that basis. It may hope that we will do so.
But Hanoi Still Rejects Responsibility for Southern Matters. Chan's remarks were made in a way which suggests that
Hanoi still wishes to reject responsibility for any involvement in the war South of the 17th Parallel. He consistently
rejected any implication that Hanoi had troops in the South, and he attempted to convey the impression that Hanoi's role
in the war would be completely ended once US "aggression" against the North had ceased and Hanoi had in
consequence stopped shelling across the DMZ. He also consistently pushed the NLF forward as the party with which
Southern matters had to be discussed, e.g., in dealing with the question of the safety of US forces in the South after the
bombing had been stopped. On the role of the GVN, Chan appears to have deliberately misconstrued Foreign Minister
Lyng's direct question on this subject by replying with a lengthy statement that Hanoi would not engage in reprisals. The
implication was therefore left that Hanoi would not deal with the GVN or accord it any degree of legitimacy.
Nevertheless, Chan did not specifically rule out GVN participation in talks, but even said that this could be a matter for
discussion after a bombing halt.
Knows That Statement Does Not Meet Full US Demand. Hanoi knows that Chan's statement about the DMZ does not
meet the full range of US demands on a bombing halt. However, Hanoi has on several occasions in recent months
made statements which it knew did not fully meet our position, in the hope that we would respond affirmatively (e.g., its
series of statements justifying but not admitting Northern troop presence in the South, and Colonel Ha Van Lau's
circumspect reference to the "lull" in an interview with an American journalist).
Hanoi may not now want to make any specific statement in Paris on its readiness to stop shelling across the DMZ. It
knows that such a statement would not fully meet the US desiderata and it may not want to give us the opportunity to
respond by pressing it for some move on other elements in that position. It has thus chosen to address the issue
through Oslo, where, as already noted, it might expect to gain additional leverage on the US via the Norwegians.
We May Wish to Raise in Paris. However, since Chan indicated at one point that the matter should be discussed in
Paris, our delegation could raise it discreetly at some convenient opportunity. We could indicate that we find Chan's
remarks promising and that we would like to explore North Vietnamese intentions around the DMZ area further. This
would indicate our particular interest in the area, while pointing up that we take indirect messages seriously but prefer
ultimately to resolve such complicated questions directly and with at least some measure of precision. We could, of
course, also want to indicate that we reserve our stand on other issues.
It is possible that Hanoi may respond to such an overture by withdrawing or at least failing to reiterate its statement as
soon as we indicate that we want to pursue it and might ask for more. However, as INR has pointed out before, we
believe that one area in which Hanoi may be prepared to exercise some restraint is the DMZ. Hanoi's position with
regard to this issue is thus particularly worth exploring. This would be especially true now, since Chan's remarks
suggest that Hanoi is thinking seriously about this problem and may thus be prepared to shift its stand further, and since
his remarks also point up in general terms that Hanoi wishes to make some progress in the negotiations and sees them
as an important element in its strategy./2/
/2/The Norwegians deemed as a positive development the seriousness placed upon the Ohio channel by the DRV.
(Telegram 6838 from Oslo, October 1; ibid.) In telegram 22112 from Paris, October 9 (retransmitted as telegram 253256
to Oslo, October 10), Harriman and Vance suggested sending a message to the Government of Norway thanking it for
its assistance and noting that "the conversations also assisted the USG in assessing North Vietnamese thinking." (Both
ibid.) Lyng later said of the Ohio channel: "It is quite difficult to evaluate what this Norwegian contact has meant. But I
can imagine in the first phase when this was going on that perhaps it had some significance." (Telegram 7231 from
Oslo, November 4; ibid.)

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 44-62

October 2-15, 1968: The Breakthrough in Paris


44. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/
Saigon, October 2, 1968, 1200Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 9:25 a.m. Repeated to Paris for the Vietnam Mission. This telegram is printed in full in
Pike (ed.), The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 588-593.
39276. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my sixty-ninth weekly message.
A. General
1. For some weeks we have been developing our concept of a "counter-offensive," with emphasis on pacification,
moving from the improved allied military position and the growing political strength of the GVN to more extensive and
more secure control of the countryside./2/ At our October 1 joint meeting with President Thieu and his principal advisors
on military and pacification matters, it was most encouraging to have confirmation that they have been working along
generally similar lines toward these objectives./3/
/2/Komer outlined the principles of the pacification "counter-offensive" in a September 22 memorandum to Abrams. He
noted: "the idea of an all-out counter-offensive is a natural. We are apparently largely pre-empting Hanoi's 'third-phase'
offensive, which lays the enemy open for a counter-stroke. Moreover the political need for increased momentum makes
it imperative that we seize the opportunity. We may have until a new administration takes over next January to prove
that this war is no longer stalemated. If we can, we may have bought the time to achieve a favorable settlement. If we
don't, we may be up the creek without a paddle. If we start at the top (the only way to get things started quickly in this
country), it will be easy to sell Thieu and Huong on a general counter-offensive. They will surely go so far as to say the
right words. But this solves less than half the problem! Unless we also sign them on to a quite systematic plan and
program with time-phased goals and deadlines, we will end up like the VC/NVA--long on words but short on
performance." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Komer Files: Lot 69 D 303, Vietnam/Turkey)
/3/Bunker transmitted detailed notes of this meeting in telegram 39342 from Saigon, October 3. (Ibid., Central Files
1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)
2. Thieu not only has the keenest interest in pacification but the most thorough knowledge of the problems involved of
any of the GVN officials. He has demonstrated his personal leadership in the seminars he has held for top officials in
each of the corps areas in the past few weeks, the final one to be held in II Corps today. He is determined to launch a
broad pacification offensive that should move substantial numbers of hamlets from the "contested" to the "relatively
secure" category. The extent of GVN homework on the new planning concepts was evident in our October 1 meeting.
3. The concept targets primarily the some 3800 contested hamlets where approximately 3 million people live rather than
the VC held areas with the remaining 3 million of a total population of 17-1/2 million. As Thieu points out, adding these
3800 hamlets to the 5,000-odd already relatively secure would bring over 82 percent of South Viet Nam's population
under reasonable GVN control. It would forestall any VC effort to partition the country or justify any claim to coalition
government. It would involve a shift of regional forces, and the creation of new local defense forces in the areas to be
secured plus a concerted attack of the VC infrastructure as an intensified Chieu Hoi program. The plan would also
stress strengthening hamlet and village administration to compete with VC "Liberation Committees." We are all agreed
here that the concept is basically sound. Thieu and his advisors have been thinking in terms of a year-long campaign to
begin in December. At our suggestion, however, Thieu agreed to a two-phase approach, the first phase with a goal of
1,000 hamlets to start hopefully within one month and to be completed by Tet, in order to take advantage of the
opportunities that now exist to expand the GVN's control in the countryside, for the enemy is clearly faltering in his
efforts to keep the initiative.
4. Friendly forces continued to forestall the enemy's efforts at mounting offensive operations. In I Corps, the 3rd Marine
Division continued to seize large caches of ammunition, weapons, food and supplies which had been prepositioned to
sustain multi-regimental size attacks by the enemy against our position south of the DMZ. In III Corps a series of

unglamorous operations northwest of Saigon in Hau Nghia Province discovered similar caches, and also uncovered
dispensaries which had been set up to care for thousands of wounded, complete with generators, operating tables, and
refrigeration equipment. In the same area our forces have destroyed over a thousand bunkers and over 2500 more have
been identified. These are all indications of the magnitude of the enemy's preparation for large scale attacks. He was
clearly preparing to support sustained offensive action against Saigon.
5. The level of fighting did not change greatly with enemy killed increasing slightly to 3,782 (47 percent by RVNAF, 48
percent by US) and friendly killed down slightly to 501 (67 percent RVNAF and 30 percent US). I have tried in my recent
messages to highlight the growing number of examples of fine ARVN performance. I think nothing better illustrates the
full ARVN participation in the successful blunting of Communist offensive action than these figures, especially when one
recalls that the ARVN fights without the same firepower in their battalions, without the same lavish artillery and air
support that our forces have. As General Abrams has put it, "They are in the fight and they are doing well. They are
paying the price and they are exacting the toll." There are of course still weaknesses in ARVN to be overcome. But not
only are these weaknesses being corrected, the ARVN in its present state has turned in a truly fine performance in
recent weeks. As General Abrams has said, in some cases "heroic."
6. Enemy strategy continues unchanged. Although he made battalion-sized attacks only against Special Forces camps
and RF/PF posts in I Corps and III Corps during the week, it is clear that he wanted and intended to do much more with
the vast stores we have seized from him, but he was unable to bring it off. He was undoubtedly trying, without success,
to clear the way to Saigon and other cities.
7. There is one view that sees the enemy bound to continue this same course, largely by his doctrinal approach which to
a large degree determines his long-term goals and which tends also to shape his view of the situation. There are some
striking parallels between the strategy pronounced in the COSVN 6th resolution, the principal current statement of
strategy, and the pronouncements of Truong Chinh prior to the shift to the "general offensive" in 1954. The Communists
apparently see us in the same position that the French were just before Geneva. The emphasis on loss of morale of US
and GVN forces, on the adverse effects of the war on the US economy, its divisive effect in the United States, and the
movement of world opinion against the United States all find parallels in the earlier documents relating to the French war
against the Viet Minh.
8. Other doctrinal points which might incline the enemy towards continuing the offensive are the belief that the
negotiations will only ratify what he must win on the battlefield; and the belief that the "balance of forces" shifts in his
favor continually as the fighting goes on. His determination to bring about the "popular uprising" might lead to
increasingly reckless--and costly--attacks spearheaded at the "puppet forces" in the belief that this will lead to the
destruction of the GVN.
9. Great claims are made by Hanoi for the progress this strategy has brought about since Tet, while, as I have pointed
out previously, his cadre who are doing the fighting on the ground are increasingly questioning whether the effort has
been worth the cost. It is claimed that we have been forced to adopt a defensive posture, concerned only with the
protection of major urban centers. At the same time fantastically exaggerated claims are made about the defeats which
are allegedly being inflicted upon us. I suppose it is possible that someone in Hanoi may be persuaded by these claims.
10. However while support for this view abounds in the enemy's current strategic pronouncements, it may well
exaggerate the rigidity of the enemy's strategic thinking. For example, while the COSVN resolution parallels Truong
Chinh's language, it seems likely that Truong Chinh, who reportedly adheres more closely than some others to the
classic Maoist line, probably feels that the attempt to move to the general offensive was made prematurely, and that it
may be necessary to return to the second stage offensive and the concept of "protracted war." Further, there may well
be those in the Hanoi hierarchy who believe that gains can be made at the negotiating table without further heavy
battlefield sacrifices. In other words, I think it possible that the use of rhetoric traceable to Truong Chinh's 1954 writings
and in some cases to Mao Tse-tung's work serves in part to conceal a considerable range of differences among the
leaders in Hanoi, and I believe that it is quite possible that the advocates of continuing the present strategy may be
under considerable pressure.
11. In my last message I reported on the likely return from exile of General Duong Van Minh. Thieu told me yesterday
that he will return on Saturday, October 5. Thieu sent his Interior Minister to Bangkok to discuss "Big" Minh's future role
which may be that of advisor to the President. Most knowledgeable Vietnamese consider Minh's return as a positive
factor making for greater nationalist unity and I am inclined to agree, although working out a proper role for him will not
be easy. The same beneficial results are not likely to be obtained, however, from the return of some of the other exiled
Generals and I am planning to make some remarks along these lines to Thieu at the next appropriate occasion. I think
he already shares these views./4/
/4/In telegram 37862 from Saigon, September 14, the Embassy noted while Minh could play a constructive role in the
South Vietnamese political scene, he also could become a "liability" if he threw his support behind dissident Buddhist
groups. The Embassy also noted that Minh's return to Vietnam was imminent: "President Thieu has told us that he is in

touch with Big Minh and has asked a friend to explain the 'facts of life' to him. Presumably this means that Thieu is
seeking some kind of understanding with Minh before agreeing to his return. While clearly worried by Minh's reputation
for naivete, Thieu likes him personally and is well aware of the possible benefits of his return. If Big Minh supports the
government in one way or another, he can contribute to popular backing for the Thieu regime in the critical days ahead.
This is worth a gamble, and Thieu is clearly thinking about taking it." (Ibid., POL 30 VIET S) In telegram 246778 to
Saigon, September 28, the Department assessed the risks associated with Minh's return as minimal: "We are inclined to
view that, despite obvious risks, his return is not likely to be particularly disruptive and may actually add to nationalist
unity and strength at this time." (Ibid.)
12. In our joint meeting yesterday I referred to the problem of land tenure as it applied to farmers who had been
cultivating lands under Viet Cong control. In response to a question I had raised during Thieu's visit to Ba Tri in Kien
Hoa Province, he had described a three point GVN policy: A) that landlords would not be permitted to collect back rents
from such tenants; B) that farmers given land by the Viet Cong would not be expected to pay taxes for several years; C)
that farmers given land by the Viet Cong would be allowed to keep the land they are farming and would be given titles to
regularize possession of it. I pointed out that the third point differed from the provisions of the ordinances now in effect
but that I thought that if carried out it would have far reaching consequences in gaining the allegiance and support of
farmers who had been cultivating lands under Viet Cong control. Thieu reaffirmed his statement and said that the
farmers would definitely be allowed to keep these lands and that a government committee was now working out the
details. This I believe can prove to be a highly constructive development and a useful weapon in gaining the adherence
of the peasant.
[Omitted here is discussion of political, military, and economic matters and the pacification effort.]
Bunker

45. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, October 2, 1968, 1410Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Plus. Repeated to USUN for Secretary Rusk.
21737/Delto 788. From Harriman and Vance.
1. Thuy and Lau joined us at the tea break which lasted 42 minutes. Tho was absent from today's meeting./2/
/2/The summary account of the 24th formal session was transmitted in telegram 21742/Delto 789 from Paris, October 2.
(Ibid.)
2. After non-substantive conversation, we asked Thuy whether he had anything new to add to our conversations. He
replied they had nothing new for their part but that they had just heard of statement by Vice President Humphrey./3/
Thuy said as they read the statement it demanded reciprocity.
/3/See Document 40.
3. We asked if they had a copy of the speech and offered to make one available to them. Thuy said they would like a
copy. We said we had not talked to Humphrey about the speech and that Thuy could read the speech and judge it for
himself.
4. We emphasized that until Jan. 20th, President Johnson is responsible for US foreign policy and what candidates say
is not important during this period. What is important from the standpoint of the DRV is what they are prepared to do to
make it possible for us to stop the bombing. We said it was a mystery to us why the DRV wanted to go on fighting.
5. Thuy replied President Johnson has all the power in his hands. Why doesn't he stop the bombing to settle the VietNam problem?
6. We replied that the President has said that we would stop the bombing when we have reason to believe that the DRV
is seriously interested in joining with us in de-escalating the war and is seriously seeking peace. We emphasized that we
had told Thuy and his colleagues what we would do in and around the DMZ if the bombing were stopped and that we

had heard what they had said and had concluded they knew what they would have to do on their part in and around the
DMZ. We said we had also discussed with them the serious consequences which would happen if attacks were to take
place against major cities. We said we had also discussed at length the fact that if there were to be serious talks after
the cessation of bombing, represent-atives of the GVN would have to be included in such negotiations and the DRV
could have whom they wanted on their side. We said this is a reasonable position.
7. Thuy asked for clarification of what we had said about DMZ. We said we had told them what we would do and we had
heard what they had said and that we expected that they will know what to do in and around the DMZ if the bombing
were stopped.
8. We said that they had repeatedly stated that they wanted serious talks, but their refusal to agree to the inclusion of
representatives of the GVN in future negotiations has had an adverse effect on our belief that the DRV is ready for
serious talks. That bothered us very much in our last meeting./4/
/4/See Document 32.
9. Thuy replied that as Tho, Lau and Thuy had said before, they came with a serious attitude and have wanted to have
serious discussions, but it was a matter of principle. They could not accept reciprocity. Accordingly, they had said that
the United States should stop the bombing and then we can discuss many questions. We could even discuss the
question of participation first.
10. We asked whether they had anything new which they wanted to say as Vance was going back to the United States
this afternoon. Thuy replied that they thought their position was clear. They are prepared to talk with us after the
cessation of bombing and, regarding the problems we have raised, to discuss the question of participation right away.
We said as we recalled it, they had said that they would be willing to discuss it the next day, and Thuy replied that was
correct. Thuy said he was convinced there were questions on which we will come to immediate agreement and others
where through discussion we may come to agreement. We asked if the first question on the agenda was one on which
we could reach quick agreement. Thuy replied that it is possible that it will be quick if both sides take into account the
views of the other.
11. We said that Vance's trip was routine but, if they had anything new, this was a good time for them to state it. Thuy
said he would like Vance to tell the US side that the DRV wants peace, but that it wants a negotiated political settlement.
Thuy said it is against the DRV's will to make war, but if it is obliged to make war, it is their duty to do so and they will be
resolute in the struggle. Thuy added that they wanted to end the war and the sooner the better, but on the basis that
both sides take into account the views of the other. He said that their view is that there should be no reciprocity
concerning the cessation of bombing. We then ended the conversation./5/
/5/In a memorandum to the President, which Johnson saw, October 2, 10:15 a.m., Rostow reported: "The classified
telephone to Paris was not very good today, but this is what we have on this morning's talk: during the tea break, Averell
delivered, without the slightest ambiguity, our three points; the Hanoi delegation said it was interested in rapid progress
after a total cessation of the bombing; they said that the question of GVN participation could be 'the first order of
business'; no private meeting was set for Friday." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam,
Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. VI, 8/68-9/68)
Harriman

46. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 2, 1968, 1:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Nixon, Richard--Vietnam. Secret; Sensitive. A
notation on the memorandum by the President reads: "Walt--Call me about last paragraph. L."
Mr. President:
As you were talking to Richard Nixon the other evening/2/--and putting our three points on Vietnam to him--there
seemed to me to be a certain ambiguity which required clarification. You recall he asked you if any one of the three
conditions would satisfy us--or all three. Your answer was purposefully fuzzy. I don't think we've made up our minds
exactly what the "fact of life'' formula you gave Harriman means operationally. And it is conceivable that some
clarification is required in our conversations with the North Vietnamese in Paris.

/2/See Document 38.


In the argument that follows we would deal with all three conditions, but in different ways.
1. GVN Participation
It is absolutely essential that we have prior agreement that the serious talks that would follow a bombing cessation
should include the GVN. I believe you now have unanimous agreement among your advisers that nothing could be more
dangerous than for us to have a bombing cessation and then a prolonged wrangle with Hanoi as to whether the GVN
could participate. For Hanoi to have a veto, under the circumstances of a bombing cessation, over GVN participation
could produce a major political and military crisis in Saigon. Therefore, the participation issue must be nailed down
before the event.
2. On the DMZ, in the Vance-Lau talk of July 16,/3/ Lau said the DRV "will know what to do" about shelling across the
DMZ in the case of a bombing cessation. The point of Oslo was to go further on shelling and say they would not shell
across the DMZ if we stopped bombing. This is obviously insufficient. But it is doubtful that we can negotiate a full
detailed DMZ deal before a bombing cessation, at least at the present time. You have formulated your position--for
example, to Harriman--in the form not of prior agreement but "facts of life." Specifically, Hanoi must be made to
understand that the violation of the DMZ would meet an instant response. And we must mean that. For example, if they
shelled across the DMZ, the post-bombing rules of engagement would have to require that we fire back instantly, at,
say, three times the level of the incoming. And Abrams should have that right, before the event. If they began to mass
major forces at the DMZ, we should be prepared to bomb them with B52's or anything else. If they tried to send across
the DMZ--as they have been doing--substantial military units, we would have to return, in my judgment, to full-scale
bombing of their supply routes through the panhandle.
/3/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 299.
Therefore, on the DMZ, we might live with:
--a "fact of life" statement;
--a very clear definition of the DMZ behavior we would require to maintain a bombing cessation;
--rules of engagement agreed between Saigon and Washington in case of violation.
Personally, I have never ruled out some retaliatory bombing of the North during negotiations if they cheated; and I don't
think they would blow serious talks, if they ever started.
3. With respect to attacks on the cities, Hanoi takes the view that this is a matter for the NLF. With 80% of the main
forces North Vietnamese, this is clearly nonsense. But again, that is an item in which they should know, as a "fact of
life," that substantial attacks on cities, especially Saigon, would meet with prompt response. And we would have to
mean it to maintain our credibility in Moscow as well as Hanoi.
4. Therefore, you may wish to consider with Cy, for the next round in Paris, a formula in which we seek an absolutely
firm assurance of GVN participation before the bombing stops plus "fact of life" statements by us on the DMZ and the
cities, with all preparations made to back our play if they violate.
5. Although I am not enamoured of the device for a one-day bombing cessation, to give them a chance formally to agree
to GVN participation on that day, that device might also be considered in your talks with Vance. (A clear paper will be
coming to you on the two devices later in the day.)/4/
/4/Paper, by Bob Ginsburgh, attached, at Tab A. [Handwritten footnote in the source text by Rostow. In the attached
October 2 memorandum to Rostow, Ginsburgh expressed reservations about the so-called Bundy plan of enacting a
stand-down to gain DRV acceptance of GVN participation, including the necessity to resume bombing if the effort failed
to bring in the GVN and the need to consult with allies beforehand. Ginsburgh expanded upon his assertions in a
memorandum to Rostow of October 3. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. &
Memos, Vol. VI)]
Walt

47. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 2, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Re: Communications to Soviet Union on
Vietnam, 10/2-4/68. Top Secret; Literally Eyes Only.
Mr. President:
1. Here is the critical passage to the Soviet Union:/2/
/2/Reference is to a memorandum that Rostow handed to Ambassador Dobrynin on September 16; see Foreign
Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XIV, Document 300.
"The President has noted with interest and respect the judgment of the Soviet leaders that they continue to believe that
they have grounds for the view that a complete cessation of the bombardment of North Vietnam would create a turning
point at the meetings in Paris and open possibilities for serious negotiations on political aspects of a settlement.
"The leaders of the Soviet Union should know that the President is prepared to try to solve the matter on a de facto
basis. Setting all political arguments aside, the simple fact is that the President could not maintain a cessation of the
bombing of North Vietnam unless it were very promptly evident to him, to the American people, and to our allies, that
such an action was, indeed, a step toward peace. A cessation of bombing which would be followed by abuses of the
DMZ, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacks on cities or such populated areas as provincial capitals, or a refusal of
the authorities in Hanoi to enter promptly into serious political discussions which included the elected government of the
Republic of Vietnam, could simply not be sustained.
"If, after appropriate exploration and consideration by the leaders of the Soviet Union, they are prepared to advise the
President to proceed on the basis of what is now being said, the President would take their advice with the utmost
seriousness.
"The President believes that the leaders of the Soviet Union will understand the elementary requirements which any
man in the President's position would face. The President respects the deep interest of the Soviet Union in its fellow
socialist country, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He believes that the Soviet leaders, in turn, understand the
interests and responsibilities of the United States toward the Republic of Vietnam.
"The President would like to emphasize his readiness to stop the bombardment of North Vietnam just as soon as it can
be done with integrity, as a move toward peace and not as a unilateral concession of military advantage to those who
wish to continue the battle."
2. Here is the reply from the Soviet Union:/3/
/3/Gromyko gave Rusk the message on October 2; for the full text, see ibid., Document 308.
"There is agreement in Moscow that the achievement of progress towards a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam problem
would be highly desirable.
"Our understanding of what is required to secure such progress has already been communicated to the President and
we are forming the impression that our position in this regard has, in general, been correctly understood by the
American side. However an exchange of views during the meeting on this topic as well could, we feel, prove useful."/4/
/4/In an October 4 memorandum to the President, Rostow wrote: "In re-reading the communication which Gromyko
gave to Sec. Rusk on Wednesday night, it appears that they are suggesting a meeting which would be guaranteed
before the event to be modestly fruitful with regard to strategic weapons talks. But they are saying that a Vietnamese
formula probably cannot be established before the meeting and, therefore, the Vietnamese question should be
discussed at the meeting." This memorandum is printed ibid., Document 309.
3. If you wish to get into it (I recommend against at this time), here is Sec. Rusk's account of Gromyko's two questions:
"He said he had two questions to put to me about Viet-Nam. The first was whether the presence of the South
Vietnamese at the conference table was the sole obstacle to stopping the bombing. I told him that this was a most

important issue and, in some respects, might be the most difficult for Hanoi to accept. . . . The President could not
maintain a cessation of the bombing if there were abuses of the DMZ, if there were rockets and mortars slamming into
population centers such as Saigon, Danang and Hue and if North Viet-Nam did not sit down promptly in negotiations at
which the GVN would be present. I emphasized that it was not necessary to talk about 'conditions', 'reciprocity' or 'quid
pro quos'. It was simply an elementary fact that no President of the United States could maintain a cessation of the
bombing under certain circumstances and we had tried to be explicit to the Soviet Union about such circumstances.
"His second question was whether we could eliminate Thieu and Ky as parties to the situation. He said we should not
draw any conclusions from the question--he was merely asking a question. He said that the authorities in Hanoi took a
very strong view toward these individuals and that the character of the regime in the South was a major obstacle. I
replied very firmly that we could not go down this path. President Thieu and Prime Minister Huong together represented
45 percent of the votes cast in the last Presidential election in South Viet-Nam. They, too, had some strong views about
the authorities in Hanoi but they were willing to negotiate with them and were willing to let them have the NLF on their
side of the table. I made it very clear that there was no possibility that we would bring about a change in government in
Saigon to accommodate Hanoi."
4. You may wish to bear in mind this security warning by Sec. Rusk to me: "Under no circumstances must Harriman
know of these exchanges, he would resign." I don't know if his assessment is accurate; but if you bring Cy into this, I
believe it wise that you swear him to secrecy.
4. Thursday/5/ is tennis morning; but I'll be available close to 9:00 a.m.
/5/October 3.
W.W. Rostow/6/
/6/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

48. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Trueheart)
to the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hughes)/1/
Washington, October 2, 1968.
/1/Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, East Asia Country Files, Vietnam 1968. Top Secret. Drafted by
Richard K. Stuart of INR/DDC.
SUBJECT
Covert Diversionary Operations in North Vietnam
The Special Operations Group is now conducting a number of diversionary operations against North Vietnam and
additional operations are under consideration. Objectives of the operations are to divert North Vietnamese military,
security, and intelligence resources and to create opportunities for psychological exploitation by making the North
Vietnamese regime and people believe that there is much more agent activity in the North than in fact exists.
National Teams.
Eighteen notional teams have been created by message traffic since September 1967. Four additional teams are
planned by January 1969. Directives and family messages are sent to the teams by one way voice link or, on occasion,
poorly concealed in black and white radio Sacred Sword Patriotic League broadcasts. Resupply is carried out in the
same manner as with actual teams. The addition of new personnel to the teams is suggested by parachuting ice blocks
into tree tops. The ice melts, leaving a parachute and harness. Occasionally a "pseudo agent," i.e. a North Vietnamese
soldier who wants badly to get back to North Vietnam is recruited from among North Vietnamese army prisoners and
trained a few days. He is dropped as a "reinforcement" to a notional team. Traveling in the aircraft with him are
Vietnamese he assumes to be reinforcements for other teams. The fact that actual in-place teams have been captured
or "doubled" by the North Vietnamese probably gives an aura of credibility to these notional operations.
Use of Ralliers and Prisoners.
While ralliers and prisoners are recruited in the hope that some will be useful intelligence agents, it is recognized that

others will reveal their assigned mission as soon as they are returned to Viet Minh controlled area or to North Vietnam.
Prisoners who are judged to be suitable are collected from detention facilities as soon as possible after capture and
indoctrinated on South Vietnamese prosperity and freedom for two weeks. They are then given one week of agent
training and infiltrated into Viet Minh controlled territory in South Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia, or into North Vietnam./2/
They are charged with collecting intelligence and inducing defection. Those who prove unsuitable during the orientation
or training periods are returned to regular detention facilities to spread purposely revealed false project information to
other detainees for eventual transmission to North Vietnamese intelligence analysts.
/2/In an undated memorandum to Trueheart, Stuart discussed plans by the Special Operations Group to infiltrate
defectors into the North Vietnamese city of Vinh to obtain information on NVA bases, equipment, and personnel
operating there. (Ibid.)
Redemption Coupons.
Leaflets containing a coupon redeemable for cash after hostilities are over are distributed in North Vietnam through
returned junk captives, pinpoint air drops or Strata teams. The leaflet thanks the bearer for supporting the Sacred Sword
Patriotic League, a notional movement which purportedly operates both the black and white radios beamed to North
Vietnam.
Incrimination of NVN Officials.
Although not yet begun, an SOG plan exists to divert North Vietnamese security agency efforts to the detection and
interrogation of North Vietnamese officials suspected of traffic with the South. Letters with easily detected secret writing
and messages which can be deciphered easily will be sent to selected North Vietnamese officials. Uncooperative junk
captives will be put ashore far from home with secret messages concealed in their newly provided clothing.
Rube Goldberg Devices.
Another nascent plan involves the air-dropping of obsolete beacons, weather sensors, electronic devices made of
unrelated parts soldered together, apparent agent equipment, empty crates with appropriate markings, etc. It is
expected that North Vietnamese intelligence agencies will soon conclude that these devices are decoys but will feel that
they cannot be ignored.

49. Memorandum for the Record/1/


Washington, October 3, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Harvan. Prepared by Rostow. In an attached covering memorandum transmitting this
memorandum to the President, October 21, Rostow wrote: "Herewith memoranda for the record on your talks with
Harriman (September 17) and with Vance (October 3). Also attached are the outgoing and incoming cables which
confirm Harriman-Vance support for a bombing resumption if 'our understandings' are violated. You will note that I
included the very sensitive reference to the Dobrynin communication of September 16. This means, of course, that
these memoranda for the record should be handled with the highest security." The notation "ps" on the covering
memorandum indicates that the President saw the attached memoranda.
Meeting with Ambassador Vance, October 3, 1968, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
Ambassador Vance reported to the President in his bedroom on the course of the negotiations in Paris./2/
/2/The President met with Vance over breakfast in his bedroom from 8:30 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. (Ibid., President's Daily
Diary)
The President asked Amb. Vance if he was optimistic. He said he was. The President asked him for his reasons, and
also put the same question to Mr. Rostow. They both suggested to the President that it was possible that Hanoi
regarded itself in a military position and a political position vis--vis the government in Saigon in which its bargaining
power was diminishing. Whatever the advantages might be in waiting for a new Administration on January 20, they
might assess their problem as one in which the military situation was likely to deteriorate over coming months; the
ARVN would expand, improve its equipment, and increase its confidence; and the Thieu government would gain in

stability, acceptability, and legitimacy. Therefore, it was possible they might wish to settle the war sooner rather than
later. The President expressed some skepticism. He then laid out his position under three headings:
--there must be private understanding of GVN participation in the negotiations after a bombing cessation;
--Hanoi must understand that the DMZ must not be violated;
--Hanoi must understand that the cities must not be attacked.
As with Amb. Harriman, the President said to Amb. Vance that it would be essential that the whole government be very
close together and agreed on the resumption of bombing if these understandings were violated. Amb. Vance, without
hesitation, indicated his agreement with this position. (See attached cables for confirmation of Harriman-Vance positions
on resumption of bombing communicated to the President.)/3/
/3/See Document 45. In an undated letter to Ball, Harriman wrote: "Dear George, I am convinced that we can work out a
situation which in my judgement would justify the risk of a San Antonio formula cessation of the bombing before the end
of this month. This could have been done in latter part of July or early August but I believe we are somewhat better off
militarily & psychologically in Vietnam now than then. The third wave attacks have failed & NVA/VC have suffered heavy
losses. This will be our last chance before the election and I feel action now is essential to give Hubert a fighting chance.
I hope you will give Cy enough time to fill you in on things here & get agreement on how we can cooperate. I am greatly
disappointed to have missed you--send me any message through Cy." He added a postscript: "We here all agree that if
NVN 'takes advantage' President would have wide support for bombing again. I would certainly recommend it." (Library
of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Kennedy-Johnson, Trips and
Missions, Paris Peace Talks, 1968, Chronological File, Dec. 1968-Jan. 1969)
The President then suggested that Amb. Vance and Mr. Rostow go to Mr. Rostow's office and make sure the position as
outlined by the President was perfectly clear between them.
W

50. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk/1/
October 3, 1968, 10:15 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Rusk, October 3, 1968, 10:15 a.m., Tape F6810.02, PNO 4-5. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Rusk called from New York, where he was attending the UN
General Assembly. The President was in Washington. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
President: Dean? Dean-Rusk: Yes. Good morning, Mr. President.
President: I'm rather distressed at the papers this morning. I don't guess you've seen the Washington papers?
Rusk: No, I haven't.
President: But Kraft/2/ says that this whole thing was worked out--Ball and Harriman--Ball went over and saw Harriman,
and really that Ball and Harriman wrote the speech for Humphrey/3/ and then that Nixon fell into a trap by saying that
they laid for him--saying it hurt the negotiations. So Averell started commenting on the speech and saying it didn't hurt
the negotiations, and now Nixon has been trapped and Humphrey is really-/2/Joseph Kraft, syndicated columnist.
/3/See Document 40.
Rusk: Did Averell comment publicly on the speech?

President: Yes, yes. He's a damned fool. He's been playing politics, I found out from Cy, he didn't want to tell it, and I
was just shocked to death. And I asked him, I said, "Did anybody discuss this speech with you all?" And he choked and
hung up. And I said, "Were you consulted about this speech?" And he said, "Yes, sir." And I said, "Who consulted you?"
And he said, "George Ball."
Rusk: For heaven's sake.
President: And so that just ruins it for the other side, when that comes out, in my judgment. Then, he's got a new
proposal. I'm sending him back up there to get him away from these columnists and out of this town--so you can talk to
him if you want to.
Rusk: All right.
President: Don't think it's essential but you'll probably want to give him a ring sometime on the weekend, whenever you
can.
Rusk: He's coming to New York?
President: Yes. I don't think it's necessary you come down here until you find out more than you know.
Rusk: All right.
President: But--here's what Kraft said: "The Vietnam speech had a carefully prepared public build-up. A major speech
was announced by the Vice President three days in advance. Leading advisers Under Secretary Ball and Postmaster
General O'Brien were on hand. The text itself, while not altogether clear, was artfully wrought. The Vice President
moved toward a total halt of the bombing of North Vietnam in a way that placed his position far in advance to that laid
down in the most recent statements by the President and Secretary of State Rusk. The speech was hardly over before
Mr. Ball was pointing out to various press people how the Vice President stands different from the current posture of the
administration. At the same time, a halt in the bombing was made conditional in a way that protects the Vice President
against the one man whose public disapproval he fears. That man is the chief Paris negotiator, Averell Harriman, whose
views had been recently sounded by Mr. Ball. As to organizing a reaction, Senator Kennedy's chief aide David Berg was
briefed in advance on the speech by Van Dyke and Ira Kapenstein,/4/ O'Brien's man. Kennedy followed the speech with
an immediate telegrammed approval. Senator McCarthy was given an advance by [Thomas] Finney, a Washington
lawyer, formerly top hand of McCarthy. So the Senator has not said anything because he is committed to remaining
neutral while reporting the World Series, but the way is open to him to express approval of the Vice President's advance
position. Lastly, a trap was prepared for Nixon. It was expected the Republican candidate would reply to the Vice
President by raising the question as to whether Humphrey's advance toward the total cessation of the bombing would
not adversely affect the Paris negotiations. Mr. Nixon did as expected. Arrangements were immediately made for
Ambassador Harriman to deny the Nixon insinuation. All this does not mean, of course, that the Vietnam speech was a
major triumph. On the contrary, the Vice President is still way behind, but he is beginning to show the qualities that could
make the campaign a serious contest. And if he keeps it up, he begins to focus sharply on the issues" and so forth.
/4/Theodore Van Dyke, speechwriter for the Humphrey campaign, and Ira Kapenstein, executive assistant to the
Democratic National Chairman.
Now, Evans and Novak/5/ has got the same Ball briefing apparently. "Ball has complained bitterly to close friends about
what he regards as a stiffening with Johnson on the question of the bombing. He is convinced that this stiffening has
compromised the negotiating team in Paris. Specifically, Ball has said that the President's actions in Honolulu wrecked
the careful diplomatic probe by Harriman, the President's chief agent. Although precise details are confidential, there is
reason to believe that a break in the Paris talks was imminent before Johnson went to Honolulu. These culminated in an
extraordinary hour and a quarter tete--tete between the two heads of state. If there was a memorandum of conversation
of this long and private talk, it is a closely guarded document./6/ In Washington, the details of the long talk are known
only by very few of the President's most intimate advisers. Thus, the agreements made by Johnson in return for
concessions by Thieu are still a state secret. But Ball and other members of the President's official family believe the
conversations contained certain agreements that convinced the Communists in Hanoi that the United States was not
bargaining in good faith. Accordingly, the careful diplomatic initiative nurtured by Harriman and his aides in Paris was
pulled up by the roots. Partly as a result of this, Ball has confided to intimates that Humphrey was placed in an
intolerable political bind. Further, this bind was closed tighter by Johnson's repeated contradictions of Humphrey
whenever the Vice President claimed to see some glimmer of light. That then is the background of Ball's much-criticized
decision to desert the United Nations. Only one day after his confirmation by the Senate, Ball's first job for Humphrey
was to help write his Vietnam speech so as to minimize charges Humphrey is selling out the Paris negotiations. Ball first
talked with Humphrey about this speech two days before he quit the United Nations. He spent much of last weekend
conferring with Humphrey on the West Coast. He then returned with Van Dyke and O'Brien. He was in fact

indispensable as Humphrey spelled out the difference between his position and Johnson's. And while the President
demands specific de-escalation or a quid pro quo from Hanoi as a condition to stopping the bombing, Humphrey is
willing to assume good faith without Hanoi spelling out a quid pro quo. Although the difference is a major one in the
careful diplomatic language of Paris, the immediate political reaction at home to Humphrey's speech raises doubts
whether he went far enough to accomplish its purpose to persuade the McCarthyites to work for Humphrey. As
Humphrey's newest adviser, in short, it is possible Ball may soon yearn for the peace and quiet of the United Nations."
/5/Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, syndicated columnists.
/6/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Documents 303 and 304.
Then Murrey Marder's/7/ got another story, "HHH Parried the Price for the Bombing Halt." And he says that they told him
over there--Harriman and company--how they feel and they're much softer than we are. Now, then, that's very bad.
What's really bad, though, that I just can't justify at all 'cause they're in politics, I wouldn't comment on it, but here's a
headline, "Humphrey Didn't Impair Talks, Harriman Says." "Chief negotiator Harriman sees no basis for thinking
Humphrey's Vietnam speech could jeopardize the peace talks here, a spokesman said today. Harriman authorized the
spokesman to disclose this position and thus appeared to be rebutting indirectly the criticism of Humphrey's speech by
Nixon. Today at the 24th session of the deadlocked talks, Harriman's counterpart said," and they quote him, "with regard
to Mr. Nixon, the warlike presidential candidate." Wait a minute now. "Harriman's comments surfaced when U.S.
delegation spokesman Harold Kaplan was asked at his briefing whether the American negotiators had any feelings
along those lines, referring to remarks by Nixon and sharper criticism by Tower. 'No,' Kaplan replied, 'I don't think there
is,' but then insisted they should not be taken as a comment on Humphrey's speech. Kaplan said he did not 'discuss the
general notion with Governor Harriman and he specifically authorized me to say that he sees no basis for the speech
having any adverse effect on our negotiations.' Harriman, himself a one-time Democratic governor, told a newsman
earlier, 'We're engaged in negotiations and in that capacity I'm taking no part in the campaign.'" So forth and so forth. I
told Cy there's no use saying you're taking part in the campaign and then start interpreting one man's speech and then
answering another man. You'd better just say you're taking no part, period. I also gave him a pretty good lecture about
the leaks and I find out that Ball has been over there and talking to him and they've been being martyrs to Ball. And Ball,
that's when he decided to quit after he'd had conversations over there. So I told Cy that I just didn't think negotiators
ought to be taking such wide latitude. They ought to carry out their President's-/7/Murrey Marder, reporter for the Washington Post.
Rusk: The truth is, Mr. President, that the combination of these stories--I haven't seen them, the ones you've talked
about, I'll get them later in the day--but the combinations of these stories will hurt our negotiations.
President: Of course, it hurts it. It'd be hell. You take it from me. I'm not a diplomat, you've been in on Southeast Asia for
25 years, but they're not going to do anything until after the election. That's period. If Humphrey's elected, they're in
clover. If he's not elected, then they can look and see what they want to do between me and Nixon. So you can just
forget everything until then, in my judgment. Now, and I think it's done that, I think Humphrey's fuzzy speech saying--and
having Ball background everybody--that it did change. And don't I think there's any question but what this agreement
between our negotiators and Ball and the Pentagon--they've been talking behind our back, that's clear from my
discussions here. And now they've all settled on this one Clark Clifford pitch the other day, if you saw it. It's a Ball pitch.
Ball knew about it but Ball just said, well, he thought he'd be a little more peaceful than Clifford, you know, he just said
he wouldn't require anything--Clifford requires the GVN--and then they kind of laugh off the other. That is the HarrimanBall-Pentagon approach now that I called about from down in Texas. They're working that end and the rest goes on
assumptions. So now Cy has got a proposal this morning--he'll be calling you about it in a moment. His proposal is that
you say to your friend--and Rostow made a mistake indicating that your friend had said something to you, and I didn't
acknowledge it, I just didn't say a word, I didn't discuss any of your conversations with Cy with Gromyko because I know
he's got to talk to Harriman, and Harriman is like a hydrant--but Cy is going to say to you that he thinks you ought to say
to Gromyko, and he's doing this with Averell's approval, that the real block to stopping the bombing is the GVN thing,
that if they agree, the GVN, that is the one thing we need. I said, "Okay, what do we do about the DMZ and what do we
do about the cities?" "Well, we assume that, and we tell them that we have to go back if they did that." I said, "Well, I
don't buy that, but you can tell Rusk that and I'd be willing to be guided by his putting those assumptions a little stronger
than you put them. I don't want to have any doubt that in effect they're agreeing to the three if they agree to one." I don't
think they'll do a damn thing until November, but for the purpose of satisfying Cy's vanity, that's something I think you
ought to explore.
Rusk: Yes. Well, I've wondered, Mr. President, I've thought about it, I thought it--the conversation of last night/8/--and
maybe it might be well, if you think well enough for me to say to Gromyko, "Now look, you should be clear in your own
mind that these three things are of fundamental importance. One of them has to be a matter of a political agreement-that's the GVN. The others are facts of life that will be determined by events on the ground. Now we can understand that
you may not yourselves go to Hanoi on these factual points. But if you can get them to move on the GVN, we will take
up directly with them the question of the DMZ and the cities and you yourselves don't have to emphasize that particular
point. But you should be clear in your own minds so that we don't mislead you about what is our view."

/8/See Document 47.


President: That's right. And then I'd further say to him that you just think that you ought to know, tell him the political
system--he's got pretty good intelligence on it--but you think you ought to tell him that no President can survive 48 hours
if they're moving in the DMZ-Rusk: Told him last night, and I also told him-President: Or shelling the cities.
Rusk: He asked me about the election. I said, "One thing you should be aware of is that there is a strong conservative
movement in this country now and that anybody who thinks the ultra-liberals are getting anywhere in this election can
think twice about it because when you put together the Nixon and Wallace vote it means that the American people are
fed up with some of the fooling around here by some of these demonstrators and things like that, and the demonstrators
are not speaking for the American people. Just look at the polls."
President: That's right. Now, the second thing is--Averell's thought is--you've got Cy's clearly, haven't you?
Rusk: Yes, sir.
President: The GVN will do the job. It'll stop the bombing--it is the chief thing. Then we'll assume on the cities and the
DMZ, and we'll retaliate if they violate either, promptly. Now I don't think he would, I think he'd be out of town and not
answer the phone, but any way, that's what they say. Second thing is Averell--Averell thinks that this might be the way
to do it: Tell them Wednesday we're going to stop Sunday. Stop Sunday and meet them Monday. Tell them we want the
GVN in here Tuesday. If they don't come Tuesday, then we can act. That's Averell's point. Now, what I think you ought
to do with Cy, just as insurance, I think you ought to make clear to him that you think the real key is the GVN and you've
got to get locked on tight. Now he agrees with that. Tell him that they ought to quit putting out this stuff, that there's a
difference between us, that this is awfully weak for the country and it helps the Communists. That's the first thing. The
second thing you say, that Cy, I don't want to mislead you, and you've got to know what the position is, what the
government's is. Number one--the President thinks when this speech is made, we're not going to do anything until
November. Now if we can, that's good, but that's his judgment. He thinks that you've got to wait until the election now to
see. If Humphrey is elected, they can move; if he's not elected, they'll decide whether they want to move on the
President's terms or wait for Nixon--probably move on the President's terms, but he thinks that. Now the second thing is,
you might as well know here and now, and you and Averell better be signed on, that you're not talking about one thing-you're talking about three. And if you get an agreement on one--he's got to think, and you've got to make him think that
he's got to believe that your judgment is sound--that the other two are in effect agreed because if they're not agreed in
24 hours, you're going to get some action.
Rusk: Yes.
President: So you ought to know and carry out and anticipate its consequences.
Rusk: Right.
President: Now, Walt will call you, but you'll be prepared and you don't need to tell him I've talked to you.
Rusk: All right.
President: He's over with Cy now. But if I were you, I'd certainly get the three articles--Murrey Marder, Joe Kraft,
Rowland Evans--and I believe that you ought to talk to Ball sometime in the next day or two. Don't tell him what's going
on with Gromyko, but just tell him that you're exploring this thing and just say that you're awfully disturbed that we're
going to get some criticism of the Republicans about Harriman commenting and about Harriman in effect writing the
speech. You know, they're putting it out now that Harriman wrote the second paragraph so that he could defend it.
Rusk: Yes. I think, well, I think that Cy ought to come clean with us in terms of exactly what happened.
President: You'd better. I think you better just be a prosecuting attorney when you sit down with him. Just say, "Now, I'm
Secretary of State here, and I've stayed religiously out of politics, and what I've said to one I've said to the other, but I'm
very concerned that when Dirksen is coming in demanding to see Johnson this morning, I've got to know--when did Ball
come in? What did he say? Who talked to him?" He says he came over, he talked to Averell, he talked to him and he
talked to him about his resignation. He asked for their advice. He counseled them. That's the way to put it. Then I said,

"Well, did he discuss this speech with you?" He didn't say he did on the trip. "No," I said, "was this speech discussed
with you?" And he hesitated and he flushed and he just--he honestly didn't know what to say. He had to make up his
mind whether he was going to lie or not. He decided, of course, he wouldn't. So he came back and said, "Yes, yes, we
knew about the speech." I said, "Who discussed it with you?" He said, "I--I don't remember now."
Rusk: [Laughter]
President: I said, "Now Cy, an important speech like that, and you're telling me you don't remember?" I just kind of
laughed at him [and] said, "You're kidding." And he said, "Well, George Ball."
Rusk: [Laughter]
President: That's pathetic. But I think you'd better go over that with him. Then I think you'd better furthermore say there
are two things; we'd better tighten up our operation; that you're in charge of it. One is our relations with the press
showing the division between them and us--that's number one. Number two--if they're going to be talking to any of these
people, just please refer the ball to the State Department, and just anybody else, Nixon, Humphrey, or Ball, or I don't
know, Ellsworth--I'd guess that if Ball can do it for Humphrey, Ellsworth has a right to do it for Nixon, hasn't he?
Rusk: Yes. Well, I'll call you again as soon as I know when my appointment with Gromyko is.
President: Thank you. But you talk to Cy.
Rusk: Yes, sir.

51. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk/1/
October 6, 1968, 10:49 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Rusk, October 6, 1968, 10:49 p.m., Tape F6810.02, PNO 6-7. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Rusk called from New York, where he was attending the UN
General Assembly. The President was in Washington. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
President: [Reading a statement by Kaplan] "I discussed the general notion with Governor Harriman and he specifically
authorized me to say that he sees no basis"-Rusk: His man called, Ellsworth called, and asked if Mr. Nixon could see me tomorrow, and I said my only chance was
to drop by to see him between a breakfast I have [and the] swearing in of our mission to the General Assembly. So
that'll mean probably about 30 minutes or something like that. What I did not know until just a few moments ago was
that the message was that if he was not able to see me in New York, he would hope very much to have a chance to see
you. So we have it open to transfer this down to you, if you want to.
President: Yes. I think that's what I would do because I think we're in serious trouble. I don't know what we're going to
do about it. I'm worried--I want to talk to you. But our whole outfit is deep in this political thing, and I think if we don't
recall Averell, we've got to find some explanation to give to him. Ball sent a man/2/ over there to counsel with Averell
and Averell was part of this whole ploy. And I don't think we can have people working for us that are writing campaign
speeches and getting themselves involved with private citizens and breaking out to the nation speeches that neither the
Secretary of State nor the President know anything about.
/2/George Fitzgibbon of Lehman Brothers.
Rusk: Yes. I wonder if that doesn't mean we should get Averell to come back out?
President: I rather think so.
Rusk: Yes.
President: Yes, I rather think so. What I'm going to do is to go to Honolulu. I hope we can get out Wednesday/3/ night or

Thursday and spend some time with Abrams and try to figure out with him what his situation is and really what he thinks
about all these proposals and what he thinks the next 3 months hold for him, what he can do about it. Then I want to get
Bunker's judgment too. Then I thought I'd just ask Bunker to go on over there. And while they're two old men, I think he
might be a little bit realistic with Averell by pointing out the problems that they have and what would happen if the GVN
were ignored and how the other two matters are just facts of life--if they start bombing the cities or if they use the DMZ-and see what came out of just 2 or 3 days of bringing them up-to-date on South Vietnam. If at the end of that period if
we have any more static here, I think we just might ask Averell to come back. I think it's just another MacArthur deal. I
think it's terrible that he would do a thing like this. I'm told that he felt he thought he just had such an obligation to the
Democratic Party that nominated him for governor. Well, hell, I've been in the Democratic Party longer than he has, and
I don't feel an obligation to any party above my country and I don't think he ought to be playing politics as a negotiator.
/3/October 9.
Rusk: And certainly not without our knowledge.
President: And certainly not without reporting it. And I think it's a dirty trick that George Ball is not to tell us what he's
done. He was talking to me all the time and was sending his men across the ocean to talk to our people. And it's all
going to turn up. Nixon is going to expose it all and I think we're going to look pretty bad if we're not careful--appearing
to be neutral and saying that we don't want to get political and the Secretary of State is not going to make any political
observations, the President wants him to speak with one voice beyond the water's edge, and all the time we're conniving
around here with a speech trying to trap somebody. And the very day it happens, Joe Kraft tells it all. They've leaked it
to him. Now I don't know, I thought maybe--I'm surprised that they haven't denied either the Murrey Marder story or the
Hedrick Smith/4/ story. I asked about it today and Cy said that he had told State Department yesterday. They said you
were denying it very strong and he had told them again to deny it. But I'm told when they got any of them at Camp David
to deny it, but I'm told that when I got into Camp David tonight, they just blew it up.
/4/Reporters Joseph Kraft of the Chicago Daily News, Murrey Marder of the Washington Post, and Hedrick Smith of The
New York Times.
Rusk: Well, I saw a statement that Cy made--now, I didn't see it on the ticker, have to double-check--but that statement
ought to be available to the press.
President: Well, Cy, according to what I'm told, thought it was outrageous. First, he told Walt Rostow that he was in
terrible shape because he worked for one man and he was loyal to the President and he just didn't think these things
ought to be going on this way. Did he tell you that?
Rusk: He made it very clear. He didn't say that in so many words, but he was very troubled about the whole business.
President: Well I just asked him outright. I said, "Did you know about this speech?" He said, "Yes." I said, "How did you
know about it?" "Well," he said, "I got it from one of Ball's associates." And I said, "Were you consulted?" He said, "Yes."
I said, "By a fellow who lives there in Paris?" "No," he said. "By a fellow they sent over." Now what do you think we
ought to do in a thing like that? I had written this letter and I told them to check it with you because I had a little doubt,
but I thought it might bust up things some. But-Rusk: Yes, I think probably it's a thing that ought to be said direct, personally, rather than in a communication.
President: You see, he was here last week, Averell, and he didn't mention any differences to me or didn't make any new
recommendations.
Rusk: Nor did he to me.
President: And Cy has been here and he hasn't done it. So I don't know what the hell they're doing recommending to
Hedrick Smith and Murrey Marder without talking to us. I told Cy to talk to you after this meeting tonight--talk to you
tomorrow.
Rusk: I'm not sure but that some of this tipping off to people like Murrey Marder might come from the kind of people who
might have given Howard K. Smith/5/ certain papers and withheld others. And I know, I think, some of that stuff could
have come out of Washington.
/5/Howard K. Smith, reporter and commentator for ABC News television.

President: Well, I don't know, though. Its headed "Paris" and-Rusk: That's the Smith story, isn't it?
President: Yes, and I don't know what they know. I haven't been seeing any cables along that line. He wrote you a letter.
Rusk: Yeah, yeah.
President: But I don't believe--have they ever recommended that we just stop bombing per se, do nothing without
anything else?
Rusk: No, no.
President: Doesn't everybody agree the Government of Vietnam ought to be in?
Rusk: I think everybody, including Clark Clifford, Cy Vance, and Averell Harriman, agree that this is utterly fundamental,
and that when Averell left here he also agreed to the other two points as fundamental.
President: Well, you've had more experience than I have with these diplomats. I don't know what to do with them. But I
thought a negotiator followed his instructions and the first instruction I gave him was to stay out of politics.
Rusk: Yeah, yeah. Well, let's see now, Mr. President.
President: You think about it and tell me what you think we ought to do.
Rusk: I think I would just get Averell back here after the next Wednesday meeting or toward the end of the week, get
him back here when you get back from Honolulu.
President: Well, you might tell Cy that tomorrow. I think Cy ought to come down here before he leaves and maybe see
me. And I think he ought to have a press conference. And I think he ought to just flatly say that Harriman has been back
here but he hasn't made any new recommendations. Our position is basically what it has been, and that he's back and
he hasn't brought any recommendations, and that these two stories are just without any foundation, and that he doesn't
want Hanoi to get the conception that they're accurate because if they believed them, it would affect--and nobody can
really--I think we ought to say when they say, "Does this affect the peace negotiations?" I think we ought to say, "God
only knows what affects Hanoi?" I don't know what affects them. I don't know whether it affects them or not. I know if I
were in their place. I think the simple question is this, Dean: if I were Hanoi, I'd say, "Can I get a better deal out of
Humphrey than I can Johnson?"
Rusk: Um-hmm.
President: How would you answer that question?
Rusk: Well, if I were listening to the backgrounding some of the people around Humphrey have been giving, I'd think
maybe I could.
President: Or just anything. I just think it's pretty evident from everything you see, read, hear, who supports him, folks
line up with him. I just think you're bound to. Well now, if they do, that's bound to affect it, isn't it?
Rusk: I think it is.
President: Why would you pay 10 million [dollars] for something you could buy for 5 million 3 weeks from now? And I'm
afraid that's what Nixon wants to do. I'm afraid we're going to get him to demagoguing and both of them will be here
before it's over with. And I think this is just a part of the Kosygin letter he wrote me--he had "reason to believe"--and then
India, then the Mansfield speech, then the Ogden Reid group, then the Javits and Cooper and Curtis./6/ And now, it
culminates in my negotiators saying it, everybody but me and you and Rostow, according to him. Now I think we'd better
find out from our folks if this is true. I understood that Nick Katzenbach felt very strongly that in this little committee he
meets with-/6/Senator Mike Mansfield, Representative Ogden Reid, and Senators Jacob Javits, John Sherman Cooper, and Carl
Curtis.

Rusk: On these three points--he never wavered on these three points.


President: All right. Doesn't Bill Bundy feel the same way?
Rusk: Yes, he does.
President: That's what Walt tells me. Well, then, who in the hell are they talking about?
Rusk: I would be-President: The Joint Chiefs are certainly with us. Bunker is certainly with us. Abrams is with us. I don't know who they're
talking about. Could they be talking about some of the civilians at Defense?
Rusk: It's possible. I don't know. I don't know them. Averell may be trying to make his contribution to the campaign at
this point in his own way. I just don't know the facts about that. But I'd be surprised if he went as far as some of these
stories because, pretty generally, he's been a pretty loyal fellow.
President: Yes. But I gather from both Jorden and Cy that they've been troubled by these conversations with the press.
Rusk: Maybe, maybe Cy has made a contribution to this?
President: I would expect so. All the time. Does he have any cables in on it from time to time?
Rusk: No. He wrote me a little private note here sometime ago enclosing an editorial from The New York Times. And I
wrote him back and said, "Well, just tell me what you think Hanoi ought to do to make peace," and I haven't heard from
him again.
President: What was the editorial from The Times?
Rusk: That was the one-President: Stop bombing?
Rusk: Yes, that was the one. About a month ago. But I haven't heard from him again. Cy tells me he's not taking part in
the action of discussions very much.
President: Pardon me?
Rusk: Cy tells me he isn't taking part in the action of the discussions much.
President: He oughtn't to be. I'd tell Cy that he ought to be very cautious about that because we've got the Bill Moyers
running back and forth, you know.
Rusk: Well now, on two points on this, Mr. President. Suppose I can get ahold of Mr. Nixon and suggest that he transfer
this from me to you-President: That's right. Just tell him you're going to be--just tell him that you've talked to me and I'll be here and I'll be
delighted to see him and talk to him about it, and that if it's necessary, you'll join him anytime later, but to just come on
here anytime he wants to in the early part of the week.
Rusk: All right. Now, secondly, I have a heck of a problem if I myself leave the latter part of next week. I've got Stewart
and Hasluck and Holyoake,/7/ and two other Foreign Ministers that are all landing on me in Washington the end of next
week. How essentially do you think it necessary for me to go to Honolulu with you?
/7/British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, Australian External Affairs Minister Paul Hasluck, and New Zealand Prime
Minister Keith Holyoake.
President: Well, I'd hate not to have you. Can we--I'm getting rid of most of those folks by Wednesday.

Rusk: I know you are, and it's a good idea, but it's another problem for me to do the same.
President: Well, I'll give you my appointments. You just--Holyoake is going to be here, you know, Wednesday, and we're
having the dinner and so forth.
Rusk: He and Hasluck had insisted on a so-called meeting the next day, and Michael Stewart is coming down. Debr is
going to be in town for 3 days./8/
/8/French Foreign Minister Michel Debr.
President: Well, I wouldn't stay here for 3 days with them. I'd just tell them that you'll see them Wednesday or Thursday,
if we want to stay Thursday. I was hoping we'd get out Wednesday. We've got to attempt to. You've got elections on the
5th and I don't think these guys are going to contribute much to it. But I think that what we do is going to be pretty
damned important, and I'd hate to, with Clifford in Europe, to go just alone, although I will, but I'd hate to do it on the
grounds that you're staying here to see Holyoake, and I'd just arrange those appointments where you can spend an
hour with them, four of them for four hours, on Wednesday, if you have to, Wednesday evening or Thursday. I'm going
to try to get rid of Holyoake Wednesday and spend all the time talking about meat imports.
Rusk: If you go to Honolulu, when would you announce it?
President: I thought I'd do it in the morning. I thought we'd start preparing early in the morning.
Rusk: Because as soon as it's announced, then I would have a basis on which I could talk to them about rearranging.
President: I think we ought to tomorrow, and I would say to them along sometime Thursday on, "The reason I want to do
this, I want to see these things that we have and talk to Abrams and see what he really thinks is happening there and
what he can do and how far he can go without any dangers, so if we're confronted with anything, why we can make a
decision based on not killing Americans, period. That's about that simple. I would like for Bunker to go over there
because if we recall Averell, we might want Bunker to spend some more time there.
Rusk: Well, if you make the announcement.
President: And I'm not going to tolerate Averell one more week of these stories, whether they're coming out of him or
they're not, if he doesn't deny them. I'm amazed that he hasn't denied them now, and I think you ought to be sure to tell
Vance in the morning that he ought to come on down here and have a press conference and deny it himself. I don't
know, they say your public affairs people over there stopped him--he said he wanted to yesterday and he wanted to
again today, and they told him no, not to do it.
Rusk: Let me check and see what happened on that.
President: What happened tonight?/9/
/9/Reference is to a discussion between Rusk and Gromyko earlier that evening. The memorandum of this conversation
is printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XIV, Document 310.
Rusk: I urged my man to concentrate on that one point and said that we would concentrate on the other two in direct
contacts in Paris. He didn't give me any answer on it. We agreed that this special channel ought to be kept open, but I
think he was thinking about it. But I left him under no illusion that in some combination we've got to have a legion of
confidence on all three points, and if they were willing to work on the one point, we'd work on the others in our own way.
President: You mean, on the big one, the one that Clifford-Rusk: That's right.
President: Oh, yeah.
Rusk: He didn't give me a categorical answer, but I had the impression he was at least interested in the problem. On the
Middle East, I think we made a little headway on that in terms of supporting Jarring/10/ on a number of points--refugees,
opening of the [Suez] Canal--and things like that. He asked me what the reaction was about a meeting. I said that I
couldn't give him an answer on that, that we'd be in further touch with him through the same channel, but there are

obviously some complications in our situation. And I hit him very directly on Berlin, and he gave me a categorical
assurance on Berlin, for whatever that's worth, so that I think we chopped a little wood but we didn't make peace. Well
now, if you announce this trip to Honolulu, Mr. President, I think that if you could not announce it at the same time that
I'm going with you--that is, on the first announcement--then I'm going to try to touch base with these Foreign Ministers
and we'll rearrange things.
/10/UN Special Representative Gunnar Jarring.
President: All right. Now, what are your dates with them--Thursday, Friday?
Rusk: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. In other words, I'd have to do a good deal of juggling around, so I'll get busy on
that right away.
President: Well now, of course, I'll have to go out to Bunker. What time is it out there now--10 or 11 in the morning?
Rusk: Yes, sir.
President: I'll get Walt to talk to him and see what suits their pleasure. Okay.
Rusk: All right. Fine.

52. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk/1/
October 7, 1968, 10:02 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Rusk, October 7, 1968, 10:02 a.m., Tape F6810.02, PNO 8. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. Rusk called from New York, where he was attending the UN
General Assembly. The President was in Washington. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
Rusk: [Nixon] asked about the Paris talks and in particular these stories, and I knocked him down very hard and told him
that Vance and Harriman had not recommended that we stop the bombing, and I went over again what we expect from
the other side to stop the bombing and how important it was to get the South Vietnamese to the conference table. He
seemed to agree with all of that. He then spoke rather thoroughly about Vietnam. He said that he thought the decision to
make a fight for it was the right decision; that he thought we had had a bad deal on the public support for that basic
decision, which he thought was right. He thought it was very important that we come out of that situation with something
we could live with even if it takes another year or two. He was really quite sober and thoughtful about the discussion of
it./2/ I touched on two or three other things. [Omitted here is brief description of Rusk's discussion with Nixon on
Czechoslovakia and NATO.] But on the whole he did not get into any matters of real suspicion or things of that sort. He
seemed to be kind of relaxed about his relations with you and me on the kind of briefings he's been getting.
/2/Rusk met with Nixon that morning in New York. No other record of the meeting has been found. See also Document
53.
President: That's real comforting. That's comforting. I was real concerned that he might be wobbling like our other
friends had.
Rusk: Well, I saw no evidence of it today. Now, I don't know what he is going to say in his speech in the next 2 weeks.
But today he could not have been more solid and wanted to be helpful on Vietnam and said he thought after the election
the President-elect would want to make himself available to you so that you could do everything that you could to get
this thing over with on a tolerable basis. But we had to have a tolerable basis or the whole situation in the Pacific would
roll up and then we would have a terrible situation. So I think you'll find him reasonably relaxed on it and just wanted to
be informed and wanted to know that there was no trickiness around the corner in connection with these stories he has
been hearing about. And we talked a little about The New York Times. I think he will agree with you on The New York
Times.
President: You didn't say anything about going to Honolulu?

Rusk: No, I didn't. I thought I better not.


President: Now, have you looked at your schedule--what the worst days are for you?
Rusk: Well, now there--I would have great trouble in getting away before Thursday night. What you might consider, Mr.
President, because I don't want to pay too heavy a cost in our relations with these people-President: Sure, sure.
Rusk: If you go out on Thursday and have your military discussions on Thursday/3/ and let me come out on Friday and
let me be there for political discussions, that might be one way to do it.
/3/October 10.
President: All right.
Rusk: That would mean I would have to reschedule Mr. Debr of France in my schedule. But I think that would be
possible, and then I could take care of all of these others and you would have a day of military discussions with Abrams
and then let me join you for the political side of it./4/
/4/The President did not attend the proposed weekend meeting with Abrams, Bunker, and McCain in Honolulu, traveling
instead to his Texas Ranch, where he stayed October 11-13. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
President: You don't think, then, that I'll have any problems with these folks if, say, I leave here Wednesday night or
Thursday?
Rusk: I don't think so. I think that as soon as you announce you're going we'll just say this has completely changed your
schedule and you'll have to cancel other appointments.
President: We haven't, I don't think, firmed up that.
Rusk: I think I can explain that all right.
President: Well, then, we might conclude that you will come out Friday. You don't know when Clark's coming back, do
you?
Rusk: Well, let's see. He might be getting back about that time. We can check that or Walt can check it. I think he might
be getting back about that time.
President: Okay.
Rusk: All right. Thank you.

53. Editorial Note


At 5:11 p.m. on October 7, 1968, President Johnson received a telephone call from Republican Presidential candidate
Richard Nixon. Nixon reported his positive reaction to a personal briefing that morning by Secretary Rusk. Both Nixon
and the President then moved into a wider discussion of the peace negotiations in Paris, including the domestic public
reaction to the conditions for a full bombing cessation. The following is a transcript prepared specifically for this volume
in the Office of the Historian of a portion of this conversation:
President: Now our basis is this, and I will tell you when it is otherwise. Our basis is three-fold. One, they must agree to
recognize the GVN. We cannot take a chance on losing this million-man army. They've got to let them come in on any
talks that we have on subjects that matter. They've not agreed to that yet. They also have got to recognize the facts of
life that we could not, if we stopped the bombing, carry out that stoppage very long if they did either of two things--if they
shelled the cities or if they had mass infiltration. And we have said that to them constantly. Now, we don't know what
they are going to do. They've given us no indication. We've said that to the Russians. It is right at a stalemate now. My

judgment is that it'll stay that way until election unless they're hurting worse than we think they are, and we think they're
hurting pretty bad. I rather think that before long I'll be seeing Bunker and Abrams and will be brought up-to-date and I
will keep you informed.
Nixon: Well, the one thing I want to say is this, Mr. President. My statements will continue to be, I hope, responsible. The
only reason that I--when I was talking to the Secretary this morning--you know, the goddamn New York Times, they had
three dopey stories in there. Rusk told me that they were all fabrications. I don't know what to believe anymore, you
know.
President: Well, the Vance story was, certainly. I don't know what the others are referring to, but-Nixon: Well, the others involved the fact that both Harriman and Vance were pushing for a bombing pause. He said that
that is not true--that Vance had been rushed back here.
President: Well, Dick, I think this is true. I think this is true. I think everybody is pushing for a bombing pause. I think you
are. I think I am. I think everybody is.
Nixon: But for the right deal.
President: That's right. So far as I know, Vance or Harriman or Rusk or Katzenbach or Clifford or Bundy or Johnson or
Wheeler or all the Joint Chiefs or Bunker or Abrams. Now, as far as I am aware, I believe every one of those men would
recommend to me that we not stop bombing unless they would agree to let us take the GVN into the meetings. Now,
they've told us definitely they will not do that. Now, we think that if we did and the GVN quit us, we would just be out of
business. Or if we had a coup out there, we just couldn't physically do it. We also think they've got to understand the
facts of life about these other things--about the DMZ and about shelling the cities. Now, we might, without getting an
agreement from them, without getting reciprocity, if they agreed with the GVN, we would consider that reciprocity. But
we might then say to them that we will stop the bombing on Sunday, but if Tuesday or Wednesday or any other day they
shelled the cities, we would have to respond.
Nixon: Yes. Well, that makes sense. We wish you well. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of
Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Nixon, October 7, 1968, 5:11 p.m., Tape F6810.03, PNO 1) The portion
of the conversation printed here was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.

54. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, October 9, 1968, 1400Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Plus. Received at 11:25 a.m. On a covering note transmitting a copy of this
telegram to the President, October 9, 1:15 p.m., Rostow wrote: "the most forthcoming business yet with Hanoi--but still
utterly inconclusive." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing
Halt Decision, Vol. I, [3 of 3]) In a memorandum to the President, October 9, 10:15 a.m., Rostow summarized Vance's
initial telephonic report on the tea break meeting. (Ibid., Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. VII) Jorden's notes of the formal
session are ibid., William Jorden Papers, William J. Jorden Notes, 25th Meeting. The delegation summarized the formal
session in telegram 22109/Delto 807 from Paris, October 9. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
22106/Delto 805. From Harriman and Vance.
1. Le Duc Tho, Xuan Thuy and Lau joined us during the tea break, which lasted about 30 minutes.
2. After a few minutes of non substantive conversation, they said they would like to hear about Vance's visit to the
United States.
3. We said that Vance had returned directly to Washington where he met with the President and subsequently with
Secretary Rusk./2/
/2/See Document 49.

4. We said Vance had reported on the various matters which have been discussed in our private meetings here in Paris.
5. In accordance with understanding between Vance and Secretary Rusk to hammer first on issue of GVN
representation, we followed the outline Vance had worked out with Secretary Rusk.
6. We said we could confirm as a result of Vance's conversations in the US that the issue of the inclusion of GVN in the
negotiations which would follow a cessation of bombing was utterly indispensable.
7. We said that each of us recognizes that the other has strong views on this matter. But the question is not whether the
two sides like each other, but rather whether they are prepared to sit down together and talk about how to make peace.
8. We said we had already opened the door by agreeing to have the NLF or anyone else the DRV wishes on their side.
We have made it clear that it is indispensable that the GVN participate on our side.
9. We said it was up to the DRV now to understand the realities of the situation. We added that all the crises that we
have known about in recent years have been resolved by contact between the parties. We saw no reason why this
situation should be any different from all the others.
10. We said we would like to know whether they had anything new to say on this subject.
11. Thuy said that we did not have enough time to discuss this subject at the tea break and suggested a private
meeting. Tho then said, "If you want to discuss this matter further we are prepared to do so." He added that speaking in
the Majestic would not be convenient--gesturing toward the walls and ceiling. He suggested we fix a date immediately.
Thuy said in this connection the position of the two sides are clear but since we wished to further discuss the matter, the
DRV is willing to do so. Tho concluded by saying that what is necessary is goodwill and serious intent and that the DRV
has such an attitude.
12. We then fixed the time and place of the meeting for Friday at 9:30 am at our house [1 line of source text not
declassified].
13. We then gave Thuy a memorandum septel concerning Christmas packages for the captured pilots./3/ Thuy said they
would study it and give us their comments later./4/
/3/The text of this memorandum is in telegram 22111/Delto 808, October 9. (National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, IS/OIS Files: Lot 90 D 345, Delto Chron.)
/4/In telegram 252815/Todel 1247 to Paris, October 9, the Department wrote: "It occurs to us that even if Tho is
prepared to talk business on Friday, he may come up with conditions of his own that we have not yet considered,
ranging from demanding some form of U.S. 'recognition' of the NLF as the price for including the GVN as part of our
side, or proposing that the U.S. and GVN negotiate only with the NLF 'but not Hanoi' on matters pertaining to SVN,
down to peculiar seating arrangements. Obviously, some conditions would pose greater difficulties than others, and we
would want a chance to study any arrangement other than 'our side/your side' before indicating any U.S. position." (Ibid.,
A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
Harriman

55. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Katzenbach) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, undated.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan Misc. & Memos, Vol. VII. Secret;
Nodis; Harvan/Plus.
Herewith the summary of the current state of play in the negotiations, which you requested, including this morning's
teabreak discussion,/2/ our position and Hanoi's stands as follows:
/2/See Document 54.

1. DMZ. In the last six private meetings, starting with the first Harriman/Tho session of September 6 [7]/3/ we have
stressed the importance of re-establishment of the DMZ: the stopping of artillery fire from or across the DMZ; no ground
attacks from or across the DMZ; and no massing of troops near the DMZ in a way threatening to the other side.
/3/See Document 7.
The DRV has agreed only to the point on artillery fire--which they conceded in the Oslo talks, but not in the Paris
exchanges. However, they have questioned us closely and repeatedly (going back to the early Vance/Lau meetings)
and while making no commitment, clearly understand our point of view.
Based on their statements and their silences in the crucial moments in their discussions with Tho, Harriman and Vance
stated to Tho that, "we have concluded that, if the bombing of North Viet-Nam were stopped, and the US respected the
DMZ, then the DRV would respect the DMZ."
Therefore, Hanoi has in effect been told on three successive occasions that we would expect them to respect the DMZ if
we stopped the bombing and we respected the DMZ, and they have not demurred.
2. Cities. Our major representations on this point were made in late May and early June when Saigon was being shelled.
At that time Harriman stated publicly and privately that a conclusion of such attacks would have "the most serious
adverse consequences on progress in Paris." At that time also, you made clear in several public statements your deep
concern with these attacks.
Shelling of Saigon stopped on June 20. On July 3, when Harriman asked Thuy if this was significant, Thuy replied "I
think this is understandable to you. The rockets have stopped. What is your attitude?" (The DRV announced the release
of three pilots at the same time, and Thuy also referred to this action during the same conversation.)/4/
/4/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 291.
In the Vance/Lau conversations, Vance asked for agreement on the absence of attacks against major population
centers such as Da Nang, Hue, and Saigon. Lau's answer was to refer Vance to the NLF if he wanted to discuss
matters in the South.
In subsequent meetings, Harriman and Vance have referred to attacks on the cities, varying the intensity of their
remarks in part in relation to communist behavior on the ground in the South. At today's teabreak, Harriman and Vance
repeated our position.
3. GVN Representation. Since the beginning of the Vance/Lau talks, we have been stressing the importance of GVN
representation on our side of the table during any substantive talks concerning political settlement in the South. We
have put forward the "our side/your side" mechanism as our device to meet our own requirement, while allowing the
NLF or the Alliance to sit with Hanoi.
At first, the DRV may not have recognized the primacy of this point in our position. Furthermore, they appeared to have
believed that we were demanding DRV recognition of the GVN. In the latter part of August, Vance and Harriman clarified
our position. They pointed out that this was a question not of recognition but of representation at the conference table.
Then, in the first Harriman/Tho meeting (September 7), Harriman added that GVN participation in plenary sessions
would not rule out continuation of private conversations on matters of mutual concern to the US and the DRV.
In reviewing the North Vietnamese delegation's statements on this matter, I find that throughout July and August the
North Vietnamese invariably reacted to a statement of our position by a lengthy polemic attacking the GVN as puppets.
More recently, however, the North Vietnamese (while still attacking the GVN) have laid greatest stress on an attempt to
defer this question to the post-cessation agenda. They have made explicit that they have not yet expressed their
position on this issue. Today, they said that they would be willing to discuss the question of GVN participation the day
after cessation, and have said that quick agreement could be possible "if both sides take into account the views of the
other." I don't know what this means.
B. Summary/5/
/5/There is no section marked "A" in this memorandum.
In summary, I note that the only item the DRV has so far given us explicit assurances on is artillery fire across the DMZ.
At the same time, they have clearly avoided an outright rejection of any of the US requirements for cessation. They may

have concluded that we are satisfied on the DMZ point; the question of cities has been less emphasized lately (until
today) and it is difficult to judge its importance to Hanoi--their capability for massive attacks is undoubtedly diminished
as a result of our intensified military pressure on them; and, on the question of GVN representation, I conclude that they
have been backing away from this issue, looking for ways around it, and in general softening their rhetoric without yet
giving us what we want.
Nicholas deB Katzenbach

56. Memorandum From the President's Counsel (McPherson) to President Johnson/1/


Washington, October 9, 1968, 12:50 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 3 F, Memos on Bombing in Vietnam, 3/6710/68. No classification marking. The notation "ps" on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it. A separate
notation in an unknown hand reads: "To Rostow for comment."
For the President
The CIA summary for the past few days has reported substantial movements of NVN troops out of forward positions in I
Corps, II Corps, and III Corps. In some cases the disengagement appears to be total, and the NVN forces have moved
back into Laos and Cambodia. I understand current estimates are that between 1/8 and 1/10 of NVN forces formerly in I
Corps have left in recent weeks.
It may well be that these units have decamped only in order to re-fit for further action. Or that Abrams and the monsoons
have harassed them so successfully that they are simply retiring from a bad situation for a while. Nevertheless our
intelligence seems too uncertain for us to make a positive judgment that the North Vietnamese are only preparing for
another round of attacks.
In these circumstances, perhaps we should consider scaling down the number of bombing attacks on North Vietnam.
The daily sortie rate has been in the 420 range for a long time now--with the exception of yesterday, when there were
324. By dropping the number of sorties into the 200's or high 100's, we might give some indication that we are prepared
to scale down as they do. If they continue to move troops out of contact and out of country, we would further reduce the
number of sorties. If they renew heavy activity with troops that have returned to action, we would scale up the number of
sorties again.
Harriman could suggest this to them in Paris, reminding them that stopping the bombing altogether will take some
assurance on the DMZ and participation by the GVN in the next round./2/
/2/In an October 10 memorandum to Rostow commenting on this memorandum, Ginsburgh wrote: "Harry McPherson
suggests that, in view of recent withdrawals of NVN troops, we should consider scaling down the number of bombing
attacks on North Vietnam. I can't think of a worse way to fight a war--or to negotiate a peace. If the North Vietnamese
were to initiate such a suggestion--either directly or indirectly--it would at least be worth considering. Lacking such an
initiative on their part, I can see no basis for thinking that a scaling down of the bombing might open up any new
avenues toward peace. Hanoi already knows by our word and deed that we are prepared to scale down as they
do." (Ibid.)
Harry

57. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam/1/


Washington, October 10, 1968, 0025Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 23-9 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by John Burke of the Vietnam Working Group, cleared by John Walsh of S/S, and approved
by Bundy.

252908. For Ambassador Bunker from Bundy.


1. As you know, the information media have been making as much as possible from the coup rumors that are apparently
circulating in Saigon, and from the red alert which the GVN declared on Oct 8. We have been responding to press
queries by taking the line that we are aware of GVN's declaration of a state of alert, but have avoided comment on such
speculative stories as that carried by AP reporting wholesale arrest of marine officers and the prediction attributed to "a
high government source" that many people will be arrested within the next few days.
2. From certain indicators, notably Minister of Interior Khiem's conversation with Sam Berger (Saigon 39695),/2/ as well
as recent CAS reporting, it does appear that President Thieu is somewhat concerned about political activity against the
government. We would hope that he and his colleagues are on top of this situation. (We do feel, by the way, that Khiem
may have been inclined to accept, without sufficient skepticism, former police chief Doan Cong Lap's version of plotting
in I Corps by RDV cadres and others.)
/2/Dated October 9. (Ibid.)
3. Obviously, it would be most helpful if during the course of Oct 10 GVN were in position and disposed to make an
authoritative, public statement which would put the events and rumors of the last few days in some sort of perspective
and which would indicate to the public at large that the constitutional government remains firmly in control and that there
was never any important threat to its stability. This would seem to us to be the best way of dampening down excessive
speculation and depriving Hanoi and others of the opportunity of embarrassing GVN and ourselves./3/
/3/In telegram 253254 from Saigon, October 10, the Embassy speculated that "Thieu himself may be over-reacting for
our benefit and trying to signal something to us about his position towards peace possibilities or any fresh developments
in Paris" and advised: "It seems to us absolutely essential that another major effort be tried at this time to bring the two
together. If we were to see some sort of break in Paris within the near future, the GVN's position as well as our own
would be seriously weakened if an open and obvious rift existed at the highest levels in Saigon and was apparent to one
and all. By the same token, evidence of a closer collaboration between Thieu and Ky would aid our cause
markedly." (Ibid.)
4. We understand just how difficult it is to piece together all aspects of a situation such as this. At times such as this the
Vietnamese can be at their most Byzantine. We assume that you will let us know if we can be helpful in any way.
Rusk

58. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, October 11, 1968, 1520Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis/Harvan/Plus. Received at noon. In a covering note transmitting this telegram to the
President, October 11, 1:20 p.m., Rostow noted: "Herewith Harriman and Vance's report of their conversation. The
marked para. 12 is, perhaps, the critical statement." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam
Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]) An 11-page memorandum of conversation containing
literal notes of the meeting drafted by Davidson is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG59, S/AH
Files: Lot 71 D 461, Sept. 11-Meeting XXI)
22253/Delto 817. Distribution only as directed by the Secretary. From Harriman and Vance.
Subj: Oct 11 private meeting with Le Duc Tho and Xuan Thuy.
1. We met with Le Duc Tho and Xuan Thuy for one hour and three-quarters morning Oct 11 at location provided [less
than 1 line of source text not declassified] in suburb of Sceaux. Tho and Thuy were accompanied by an interpreter and
two notetakers. Lau was not present. Davidson and Negroponte accompanied us. Formal discussion lasted one hour.
2. Thuy opened meeting by asking Vance to repeat again what he had said at Wednesday's tea break on GVN
representation./2/ We did so using same language as at tea break. Tho then said he wanted to raise two questions.
First, whether we would stop the bombing when we had a clear answer to the question of GVN participation as a party in
the negotiations that would follow a cessation. Second, whether after a clear answer to this question has been given we

will consider the answer to be a condition or reciprocity for stopping of bombing.


/2/See Document 54.
3. We answered the second question first, saying it was not a demand for reciprocity or a condition but, as we had said
many times, was our definition of serious talks. We said that as we had stated, we do not believe there could be serious
negotiations without inclusion of representatives of GVN on our side.
4. Turning to the first question, we said that we could not answer the question and that it would have to be answered in
Washington. We then made the following statement: "In responding to your question, it is very important that there be no
misunderstanding between us. It is important to understand that we are not talking about reciprocity or conditions but the
simple fact that after a cessation of all bombardment the President's ability to maintain that situation would be affected
by certain elemental considerations.
5. "We do not look on them as a condition for stopping the bombing but as a description of the situation which would
permit serious negotiations and thus the cessation to continue. You will understand, therefore, that the circumstances
we have discussed in our various private meetings about military activity in and around the DMZ are essential to the
maintenance of that situation. And, of course, you know from our various discussions that indiscriminate attacks
launched against major cities would create a situation which would not permit serious talks and thus the maintenance of
a cessation." We said that we had said this before, and that it was specifically confirmed when Vance was in
Washington.
6. Le Duc Tho asked whether we had finished. He then said that they took note of our statement that cessation of
bombing and all other acts of war would be unconditional. Tho continued, but suppose that the DRV agrees to
participation of GVN at negotiations after the bombing ceases. You cannot yet assert that bombing will be stopped. You
have to report to Washington. We confirmed that this decision could only be made by the President and asked him why
he could not indicate his own answer now.
7. Tho said suppose the DRV agrees to participation of the Saigon government. The DRV does not know that the US
will stop bombing so how could the DRV agree to GVN participation. Tho said he agreed that there would be no
reciprocity for cessation of bombing and also agreed that the US wanted to have reason to believe, but what, he asked,
is the condition raised by the US? Is it agreement on the representation of the Saigon government? If so, Tho was
prepared to discuss the issue, but first they had to know if US would stop the bombing if the DRV responded
affirmatively./3/
/3/In telegram 22279/Delto 819 from Paris, October 11, the delegation commented on Tho's response: "We believe it is
consistent with Tho's question as to whether we would call agreement on GVN participation a condition [or] reciprocity.
In that case we said it was not reciprocity, but our definition of serious discussions." (National Archives and Records
Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
8. We asked whether if we gave an affirmative answer they would agree to GVN participation. Tho turned the question
around, saying that he wondered whether if they agreed we would stop the bombing. We replied we were not authorized
to answer that question. Thuy said he agreed with what Le Duc Tho had said and wanted to add the following thought: If
the DRV gives us their answer first and we reported that to Washington, the US might merely note that response, raise
other factors and make propaganda of the North Vietnamese acceptance. We said we would not make propaganda if
they answered. We asked Tho and Thuy whether we would be mistaken if we reported to our government that on the
basis of our discussions we believed the North Vietnamese answer would be favorable. Tho replied that he suggested
we report as follows: If North Vietnam accepted the participation of the Saigon government, would the President
immediately stop the bombing?
9. We said we would prefer them to tell us now that they would accept participation of the Saigon government if we
stopped the bombing. Le Duc Tho replied, "It is the same thing." (As what he had said.) We asked what his statement
meant and Tho replied, "The substance is the same."
10. Tho said he would like to repeat once again that regarding a peaceful settlement, North Viet-Nam had a serious
intent and that he hoped we also had a serious intent. He said North Viet-Nam knows how to look at the problem
realistically and so would we. And only in this way could the matter be settled peacefully. He said, suppose we formally
answer what you are now requiring and you don't stop the bombing--then you would have no goodwill and would not
have looked realistically at the matter.
11. Tho said he was convinced that if we both had serious intent and goodwill, a peaceful settlement can be reached.
We said that nothing would be worse than to have the talks start and then break down and that that was the reason why
we have been completely frank with them.

12. Tho said when you give us an answer we will express our view. He said "We should be positive and you should be
positive. If we are positive and you are not, or vice-versa, then no progress will be made."/4/
/4/In a memorandum summarizing a secure telephone call from the Paris delegation, October 11, 9:20 a.m., Read noted
that Vance had reported this part of the meeting as follows: "Tho then said if the U.S. gave a positive response, the DRV
would give a positive response." (Ibid., Top Secret Miscellaneous Documents--1968)
13. We said we would communicate with Washington the substance of today's conversation and would meet with them
on Monday if we had an answer. If we had no answer, we would let them know.
14. This concluded our formal talk. Over tea, Le Duc Tho and Thuy both said that they believed that rapid progress
could be made if we were really determined to move toward peace./5/
/5/In a separate memorandum discussing the delegation's telephone call, October 11, Read noted the following
comments that would not be included in the telegram reporting on the meeting: "Vance: The fewer people who know
about this in Washington the better. Secrecy is essential. Vance is satisfied that the DRV knows what to do regarding
the DMZ and cities. We should give an early affirmative reply to their first question. Harriman got on the line. He said he
endorsed Vance's comments and recommendation fully. There is no doubt that the DRV understands our views. 'There
is nothing to do but to give an affirmative response to the first question. The sooner the better.'" (Ibid.)
Harriman

59. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 11, 1968, 12:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [3 of 3]. Top Secret; Literally Eyes Only. The notation "ps" on the memorandum indicates that the
President saw it.
Mr. President:
I have been in and out of government for 27 years, in the intelligence-foreign policy business.
I have learned this rule: if something unexpected happens, stop in your tracks and ask this question:
What has been wrong in my picture of the situation which led to the unexpected event?
I told you the chances were 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 that we would get the kind of exchange we did in Paris today. I was wrong.
There was an additional element I did not report: Tho said at the end: "with a positive response we can move rapidly to
peace."
We must now face the possibility--even likelihood--that they wish to wind up the war fast. No matter how sugar-coated,
the DMZ and city deals and GVN participation mean, they are probably prepared for a quick settlement on, roughly, our
terms.
Why is this possible?
First, the military situation. It is very bad for them. After their experience with the August offensive (preceded by 60,000
infiltrators) they may have concluded that even another 100,000 warm North Vietnamese bodies brought in during
November-January would not get them anywhere on the ground in the face of Abrams and the expanding, more
confident ARVN. (You should know that a good many North Vietnamese units in South Vietnam are now either:
--outside the country;
--at the border;

--or moving towards the border.)


Second, the political situation. They may have concluded that Thieu-Huong could not be unseated by them; would not
be unseated by us; and that a Ky coup was not enough to count on.
Third, possibly the desire for a settlement with you rather than Nixon played a part.
In short, it is now more likely rather than less likely (but, of course, not sure) that they have decided:
--to accept an unsatisfactory political settlement in the South;
--to negotiate U.S. troops out rapidly;
--to save face, as an intelligence report I sent you this morning/2/ suggests, by claiming they forced the aggressive U.S.
imperialists out of Vietnam;
/2/Not found.
--and then to turn vigorously to trying to win in South Vietnam by political means.
If this is so, we have a monumental job of fast negotiation ahead, in which the most critical job will be to help Thieu keep
his country stable as the new situation unfolds.
Two major caveats:
1. Until the next session, when we put the final proposition loud and clear, we shall not know the full meaning of this
morning's exchange.
2. We must keep our eyes on Laos where the military-political position is dangerous and a cave-in could take away a
high proportion of what we have gained in South Vietnam.
Walt

60. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, October 12, 1968, 1143Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Plus. Received at 8:35 a.m.
22313/Delto 820. Distribution only as directed by the Secretary. From Vance.
1. This morning Minister Oberemko called on me at his request. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes, including five
minutes for a cup of coffee. Oberemko telephoned last night requesting the meeting for 10 am this morning, saying that
he wished to discuss a very urgent matter.
2. Oberemko opened the meeting by saying that as he had indicated in his message last night he had come on a very
urgent matter. He said that what he was about to say was not to be considered a reply from the Soviet Government. He
then said he wished to repeat what I had said to him previously. Oberemko said that I had told him in the last few weeks
that the US attaches great importance to the issue of the participation of the representatives of the Government of South
Viet-Nam in future negotiations and that it is necessary for the US to be sure that serious talks will start and start
promptly. He said that I had said there could not be serious talks without the participation of the representatives of the
GVN. Oberemko said that I had further stated that an agreement or understanding between the DRV and the US on the
issue of GVN representation could be a major factor in facilitating a decision of the cessation of bombardment of the
DRV. Oberemko said I had subsequently told him that the word "could" should be changed to "would."
3. Oberemko said that I had further stated to him that the action of the delegation of the DRV on the issue of GVN

participation was sharply negative, and that it had produced suspicion on our part as to the seriousness of the DRV in
the Paris talks. Oberemko added that I had said that the issue of GVN participation was not a condition but rather a test
of the seriousness of the DRV.
4. Oberemko said that I had further stated to him that we had discussed the matter of military action in and around the
DMZ and the matter of attacks on major cities with representative of the DRV and that we had concluded that they
would know how to act if the bombing were stopped.
5. Oberemko then asked me if this correctly summarized what I had stated to him. I said that it did. Oberemko said "I
would now like to give you a statement and I am sure you will want to take it down verbatim." He then gave me the
following statement:
"I have good reason to believe that if the US stops unconditionally and completely the bombardments and other acts of
war against the DRV, the delegation of North Viet-Nam will agree to the participation of the representative of the Saigon
government in the talks on the problem of political settlement in Viet-Nam. Thus these talks would be held by the
representatives of the DRV, of the United States of America, of the NLF, and the Saigon government." I asked
Oberemko who the "I" was, and he said, "It is I, Oberemko." Oberemko said "The wording is a little awkward but that is
the way I got it from them."
5. Oberemko then said that he hoped that what he had just said would help move the talks off dead center and that this
view was shared by the North Vietnamese. He told me that he had met with the North Vietnamese yesterday afternoon
after our meeting with them. Oberemko then said "We consider now is the right time to act. The situation is most
favorable right now and this opportunity should not be lost." Oberemko then digressed to say that as we undoubtedly
knew, there were factions with different views in Hanoi and that if positive action was not taken now it would be a major
setback for those who wanted peace and that it would then be a very long time before peace could be reached.
Oberemko added that if we advanced any new conditions it might bring many difficulties. Indeed, he said, "it may
provoke reversal of the whole DRV position." Oberemko said, "What I have told you is the rock bottom to which the DRV
can go." Oberemko said, "I have another statement which I would like to give to you verbatim if you would care to take it
down." He then said:
"I can tell you also on good authority that if the question of the unconditional and complete cessation of bombardments
and all other acts of war against North Viet-Nam is resolved positively and promptly, the delegation of the DRV is ready
to discuss seriously and in good faith other questions relating to the political settlement in Viet-Nam, provided of course
that the other side would also act seriously and in good faith."
6. Oberemko said that he understood that we had told the North Vietnamese yesterday that we were communicating
with our government and would be back in touch with them./2/ He asked me whether I knew when we would have an
answer. I told him that I did not know but doubted that we could answer on Monday./3/
/2/See Document 58.
/3/October 14.
7. Oberemko got up to leave and expressed the hope that what he had said would be constructive and would bring
about positive action which would lead to a settlement.
Harriman

61. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, October 12, 1968, 1145Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Bunker Files: Lot 74 D 417, Vietnam Telegram
Chrons--1968, 1969. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Double Plus.
40117. From Ambassador Bunker and General Abrams. Ref: State 254365./2/
/2/In telegram 254365 to Saigon, October 11, the Department transmitted the Paris delegation's report of the October 11
private meeting. (Ibid., A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968) For the report, see Document 58.

1. The stand taken by the Hanoi delegates at the 11th private meeting indicates a clear desire to shift their main effort
from the battlefield to the conference table. This has come as no surprise to us. We were drafting a paper which thought
this was a likely early move by Hanoi, and much of the following is taken from that paper.
2. There has been a steady deterioration in Hanoi's position in South Vietnam ever since the military defeats which
overtook their general offensive at Tet and again in May/June. The August/Sept offensive could not even be got off the
ground and was the weakest of all three attacks. After ten months of enormous effort, Hanoi and the NLF have nothing
to show for the loss of over 150,000 killed, plus the thousand killed by B-52 and other air attacks, or who died of wounds
or disease, or were captured, or defected, or were eliminated by arrest.
3. At the same time Hanoi has seen the emergence in the South of a stronger and more confident government under
Thieu and Huong; a stronger and more effective and aggressive South Vietnamese military and para-military force; a
growing bitterness and hostility toward Communism among the people; and an arming of the people themselves in the
Civilian Self-Defense Corps. There have been no mass defections to the Communists from the nationalist side in the
South--civil or military.
4. We have been gradually accumulating evidence since about April/May that Communist supporters and cadres in
military and civilian ranks were beginning to doubt victory and to lose faith in their leaders. More and more time of the
leaders in recent weeks has been devoted to maintaining faith in victory and to overcoming the argument that the South
Vietnamese and their allies are "too strong to be attacked." Moreover, the NLF has been having more and more trouble
recruiting in the South as people left controlled or threatened areas for govt-controlled areas, and the government
increased its mobilization and deprived the Communists of manpower resources.
5. The loss of Southern-born cadres was particularly worrying, as these cadres were shifted in large numbers from
guerrilla, proselytizing and civil work into the regular forces, where they were chewed up in battle. Others deserted, or
were killed, captured, arrested or defected. The 75/25 ratio of Southern to Northern troops in the regular forces was
reversed within the year, and could not be concealed. As husbands, sons and brothers left their hamlets not to be seen
or heard from again and there were no signs of peace, restiveness and resistance began to be reported in some
Communist controlled areas.
6. Beginning with Khe Sanh, our B-52 strikes became a devastating tactical weapon. These strikes and other air
bombing of the northern panhandle, in new bombing patterns and designs, have significantly constrained the movement
of supplies through the DMZ and into Laos. This, and the wholesale uncovering of caches in the last couple of months-a product of improved intelligence, greater cooperation of the people in the countryside, and information supplied by
POW's and defectors--have created supply difficulties for the enemy.
7. A record number of enemy battalions were withdrawn into North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the last days of Sept
and early October, signifying an end to the "third offensive." We therefore conclude that Hanoi has had to seek a respite
on both military and morale grounds.
8. What else may be motivating Hanoi in this latest move at the eleventh private meeting, we can only speculate about.
It may be that Hanoi assumes that if it can get the bombing stopped and keep it stopped until Jan 20, the next President
will find it very difficult to resume the bombing. Meanwhile it will have time to rest and resupply and prepare for a
renewed struggle in the spring. Gen Abrams believes that [after?] a bombing cessation it will take at least two or three
months for Hanoi to rebuild for another attack.
9. Another possible explanation for the sudden switch by Hanoi is that it sees itself as in the relatively strongest position
it is ever likely to be for purposes of negotiations, and if it waits any longer to negotiate there may be an erosion of its
support in the South or a further weakening of its relative position as the Thieu government moves into more offensive
operations on the several fronts--military, Chieu Hoi, anti-VC infrastructure, revolutionary development and pacification.
10. A third possibility is Hanoi's fear of a Nixon victory and what that might portend.
11. Finally, it may well be that Hanoi has drawn the conclusion that the US will not disengage in Vietnam no matter who
is elected, and that it must now make the best possible bargain while it is still in a comparatively strong position to
negotiate.
12. We personally feel that some or all these factors have played a part, but what is significant is that each of these
factors put Hanoi in a defensive position. Hanoi did not take the stand they did at the 11th meeting because victory was
in their grasp, but because victory has eluded them and they must now seek the best possible terms. For this reason we
venture to predict that Hanoi will soon propose a cease-fire.
13. A complete cessation of bombing will cause some apprehension here, but I do not think it need worry us

excessively. We shall maintain a military offensive in the South, the stepped up pacification campaign to extend control
over more contested hamlets will be announced on Oct 21, and the intensified Chieu Hoi and Phoenix program
attacking the VC infrastructure will be pressed simultaneously.
14. We expect that the NVA/VC will try to intensify the fighting as the serious negotiations start, but we do not think they
have a capability for sustained action during the next two or three months and will need that time to repair their supply
base.
15. We do not want to leave the impression that we think the war is over or that the North Vietnamese or VC forces are
about to collapse. Their fanatical faith in the rightness of their cause, the fear of reprisal and retribution in both the South
and the North in the event of defeat, the professionalism of men who have made revolution their life and career, the
extraordinary investment of lives and hope over so many years, the tradition of discipline, and the Asian, coupled with
Communist, indifference to lives, all suggest that Hanoi and the NLF will continue to fight with undiminished fervor.
16. Up to now Hanoi's political effort has been secondary to its military effort as Hanoi sought a military breakthrough.
What we now expect is that the major effort will shift to the political front, with the military in a secondary and supporting
role. We believe that there will be very heavy fighting up to the time a cease-fire is arranged or other steps are agreed to
diminish the conflict.
Bunker

62. Telegram From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas/1/
Washington, October 12, 1968, 1410Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan/Double Plus, Vol. I. Secret; Sensitive;
Literally Eyes Only. Received at 1438Z at the LBJ Ranch, where Johnson stayed October 11-13.
CAP 82546. Herewith the lucid, firm Bunker-Abrams response./2/
/2/In telegram 254364 to Saigon, October 11, the Department requested comment from Bunker and Abrams on
proposed instructions to Harriman and Vance. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93
D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968) For the instruction as sent, see Document 65.
1. General Abrams and I interpret the exchange with Hanoi at the eleventh private meeting as a fairly clear indication
that Hanoi is ready for a tactical shift from the battlefield to the conference table.
2. We concur in the instruction to Harriman and Vance, and believe Hanoi will give indications that it finds para one
"acceptable," and paras two and three "understandable." We would regard such a response as meeting our essential
requirements for a cessation of the bombing.
3. We welcome the assurance that Thieu and other key allies will be consulted.
4. I believe that Thieu will find the instructions acceptable, despite the fact that he has been under some pressure from
the hardliners to toughen his stand on negotiations. His main concern, I think, will be that he will see this as the
precursor to an early cease-fire, which he would prefer to put off as long as possible./3/
/3/See Document 64.
5. We believe that Thieu must be given time to inform VP Ky, PriMin Huong, MinDefense and possibly one or two
others, shortly before our action becomes known, so that their full cooperation will be enlisted. If they first hear news
from public sources it would arouse suspicion, certainly in Ky and others.
6. Our further comments on significance of Hanoi's position at October 11 private meeting, and why it looks from here as
though Hanoi is at last ready to move to the conference table, are in a separate message./4/
/4/See Document 66.

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 63-74

63. Editorial Note


In a speech in Indiana on October 12, 1968, the President's former Presidential Special Assistant McGeorge Bundy
proposed an unconditional halt to the bombing and withdrawal beginning in 1969 of substantial numbers of U.S. forces.
For an extract of his remarks, see The New York Times, October 13, 1968. In a memorandum to Clifford and Nitze,
November 8, Under Secretary of the Air Force Townsend Hoopes commented: "The principal conclusions that brought
Bundy to this formulation can only be guessed at; the answer may lie in any one of several possibilities: (A) His
proposals are a sugar-coated, half-veiled prescription for slow but inevitable defeat, and he understands this. (B) Having
been an architect of escalation, he still believes we have a vital interest at stake in Vietnam and thus require, if not
victory, then at least clear-cut 'prevention of defeat.' (C) He is fundamentally a 'process man' who, aware of the
unforeseeable ways in which events not yet born will impinge upon any later pre-selected courses of action, believes
that what is important is to get started in the desired direction and then play it by ear. Someone else can mop up the
consequences if the scheme goes awry. I would guess that all of these considerations were present in his
mind." (Washington National Records Center, Department of Defense, OSD Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, VIET 092.2
(November) 1968)
In telegram 254930 to Saigon, October 14, Assistant Secretary of State William Bundy wrote: "I called Bui Diem this
morning to tell him in light-hearted key that my brother's remarks reflected no prior discussion with me whatever, had not
been known to me in any way before delivery, and did not reflect in any way the point of view of the Administration, or
for what it might be worth my own personal point of view." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S)

64. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, October 13, 1968, 1230Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Harvan/Double Plus, Vol. I. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Double Plus. Received at 9:35 a.m.
40178. Subject: Meeting with Thieu.
1. Thieu concurs in instructions to be given Harriman-Vance.
2. General Abrams, Amb Berger and I had hour and a half meeting with him tonight. We went over developments of last
four days starting with October 9 tea break, and gave him orally paraphrased version of instructions and how we
intended to proceed on all fronts.
3. Abrams outlined military situation and implications of a bombing cessation on military position, and we exchanged
views as to what military or other reasons prompted Hanoi to shift to negotiations. Thieu asked whether we intended to
make reference to infiltration, and we said no and Abrams and I persuaded him that we can handle whatever they send
down. Thieu thought that if Hanoi is serious in these negotiations they will soon propose cease-fire.
4. We then together sketched out the sequence of next moves:
A. Thieu agrees to instructions.
B. We notify other contributors.
C. Harriman-Vance put proposals to Hanoi at Paris.
D. If Hanoi accepts them, Washington and Saigon work out timing for cessation, and date of meeting which GVN will
join.

E. Joint Johnson-Thieu announcement made that attacks on North stopped in effort to find basis for peaceful settlement.
Thieu understands fully that we will not use words like reciprocal actions, agreement of Hanoi, etc., and need for
secrecy.
5. Thieu will inform a few key colleagues tomorrow of latest developments and his decision.
6. Foregoing are bare-bones. Will send fuller report tomorrow./2/
/2/The full report of the conversation was transmitted in telegram 40220 from Saigon, October 14. (Ibid.)
Bunker

65. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, October 14, 1968, 1711Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis/Harvan/Double Plus. Drafted by Katzenbach and Bundy, cleared by Rostow and Read, and
approved by Rusk.
254715/Todel 1262. Literally eyes only for Ambassadors Harriman and Vance.
1. We would like your views on an urgent basis on the following proposed guidelines for your next private meeting.
2. Following further word from us, we would request you seek private meeting soonest with Thuy to deliver verbatim
following oral message:
Begin Message
(1) Repeatedly in these conversations we have stated our view that the unconditional cessation of bombing could take
place and be maintained only if serious talks take place and if circumstances are maintained consistent with serious
talks.
(2) At the last meeting you asked a question./2/ Our response is: We are prepared, depending on your response to this
representation as a whole, to order the cessation of bombing and all other acts involving the use of force against the
territory of the DRV if you agree to begin serious talks the next day in which representatives of the Government of the
Republic of Vietnam will participate on our side.
/2/See Document 58.
(3) As we said on October 11, it is also absolutely essential that there be no misunderstanding on the following two
points, which describe the situation following a cessation of all bombardment in which the President's ability to maintain
that situation would be affected by certain facts of life.
(4) The simple fact is that military activities in and certain military activities near the DMZ would not be consistent with
serious talks, such as firing of artillery, rockets and mortars from, across and within the DMZ; movements of armed
forces from, across and within the DMZ; and the massing or movement of forces near the DMZ in a manner threatening
to the other side. These restraints would, of course, be observed by both sides.
(5) The other simple fact is that indiscriminate armed attacks against major cities in South Vietnam would not be
consistent with such talks. End Message.
3. We have used the phrase that would permit reconnaissance, which they may question. We believe it important that
they have a clear understanding that we will in fact continue a limited program of unarmed reconnaissance after the
bombing stops. Our own research into the record here indicates that we have repeatedly used the general terms
"bombing" or "bombardment," and that starting with the Vance/Lau conversation of July (Paris 18012, paragraph 4)/3/
we spelled out repeatedly the longer and more exact term "bombing and all other acts involving the use of force". In an
earlier conversation, Lau had asked about "other acts of war" and Vance had said that we would have to discuss what

this involved at a later point. So far as we can tell, the issue has not come up in any of the private talks since September
7. Thus, as we see it, we could be faced with the possibility of misunderstanding or purported misunderstanding with the
North Vietnamese. Thus, if we were to get into a script of a formal session at which the inclusion of the GVN was
agreed, while reconnaissance continued then or thereafter, Hanoi might claim a breach of faith. Therefore, we think that
you should emphasize the longer formula in the message "and other acts involving the use of force." Beyond this point,
there are several alternatives:
/3/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 299.
a. You could volunteer a listing of examples of such "other acts." This would include naval, air, and artillery
bombardment and also such acts as commando raids, which have been included in past Hanoi listings. It would omit,
but without initially calling attention to it, unarmed reconnaissance. If the North Vietnamese then specifically raise the
question of unarmed reconnaissance, you would state that both sides would be expected to take necessary measures to
verify the state of affairs, and that in practice we could not possibly be satisfied that we knew the facts unless we
conducted limited and discreet unarmed reconnaissance. (FYI. SecDef and JCS will require some low level flights End
FYI) Such reconnaissance clearly does not involve the use of force, and in the circumstances it could not possibly be
regarded as an act of war. Hence, we would expect that it would continue.
b. Without volunteering a list of examples, you would be prepared to respond to any North Vietnamese probing of the
phrase along the same lines as in a. above. In the absence of a probe, we would rely on repetition of the phrase as
establishing the point.
c. As a supplement to b., we might go concurrently to the Soviets in order both to list the acts we expected to stop, and
expressly to indicate that we would not stop unarmed reconnaissance.
We would appreciate your judgment among these possibilities.
4. We would also appreciate your views on the time schedule that we envisage. The GVN is now on board and we may
be going out today to the TCCs whenever we have your comments on these draft instructions. Hopefully they will be on
board by early this week. If it turns out that we can nail down our agreements and understandings with the DRV in one
private session, the cessation of bombing could follow soon thereafter. We would appreciate your judgment as to the
possible need for more than one meeting to wrap up the arrangements. The maintenance of total security, to mention
but one factor, argues for moving as rapidly as possible, and we see no need to aim at one day of the week rather than
another, since we could always hold a special plenary session the day after the cessation in order to formalize and
make public the inclusion of the GVN.
5. Obviously requirements of secrecy would preclude special GVN delegation from Saigon at first plenary meeting
following cessation but there could be token representation drawn from Vietnamese observer delegation. This seems to
us desirable since it publicly nails down GVN presence./4/
/4/In telegram 22390 from Paris, October 14, the delegation approved the instructions with only semantic modifications.
(National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
Rusk

66. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, October 14, 1968, 1735Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Text as received from the White House and approved by Read.
254719/Todel 1263. 1. Your comments are requested urgently on the following exchange with Bunker and Abrams:
A. Literally eyes only for Amb Bunker and Gen Abrams from Walt Rostow./2/
/2/Telegram CAP 82572 from Rostow to Abrams and Bunker via the CIA Saigon Station, October 14, 0248Z.

You should know that one of the major concerns of the President at the moment is that we examine with utmost care the
loop-holes and contingencies in the deal we are considering to make sure it is as copper-plated as we can make it.
For example, he wishes you to examine the possibility that Hanoi is simply seeking a respite to prepare for a later
offensive, creating ad interim an atmosphere of hopeful expectations and euphoria which would make it difficult for us to
resume bombing of the North and otherwise maintain the remarkable momentum on the ground you have achieved and
which explains so much of what may now be hopeful in the current situation.
Specifically:
1. Taking into account the enemy's weather and supply situation and prospects and taking into account the complexity
of the diplomatic problems that may lie ahead, what would be a reasonable and secure interval in which to assess
whether Hanoi is seriously interested in making peace, once "serious" negotiations start?
For example, it took only a month to wind up the 1954 Geneva negotiation once it became serious about June 20.
Would thirty days now be a reasonable interval before we seriously considered a bombing resumption? Please give us
your joint assessment.
2. Are you confident you can maintain the morale, fighting spirit, and momentum of the ARVN and our own forces once
serious negotiations start?
3. You may wish to consider on a contingency basis the standing rules of engagement you would recommend required
to protect the security and morale of our forces and those of our allies in the face of minor DMZ violations, to which the
field commander would have the authority to respond without recourse to Washington and the level of infraction,
involving more substantial violation and retaliation, which would require and justify recourse to Washington.
4. In view of your judgment that the enemy may move promptly after a bombing cessation for a cease-fire, we trust you
are designing and preparing to recommend a cease-fire proposal highly advantageous to our side which we would put
into negotiation if such a proposition were put to us.
B. Fm: Ambassador Bunker and General Abrams 284./3/
/3/Telegram CAS 284 from Bunker and Abrams to Rostow via the CIA Saigon Station, October 14, 1425Z.
To: The White House, eyes only Walt Rostow.
Ref: CAP 82572.
1. We have, of course, been examining this latest move of Hanoi and the Soviets from every conceivable point of view,
including the four question areas posed in your message. Some of our views are in Saigon's 40117,/4/ but we have
taken another close look as a result of your telegram.
/4/Document 61.
Hanoi's intentions
2. It is impossible to say in advance whether Hanoi wants seriously to negotiate a compromise, or is using this latest
move only as a means of getting the bombing stopped knowing that it will be difficult to resume later, either by the
President or his successor. One can argue that Hanoi may have both these objectives in mind, and they will move in
whichever direction they think holds out the greatest hope of gain for them.
3. We think Hanoi's decision to agree to the GVN entering the discussions is of the greatest significance. It suggests
that Hanoi has abandoned all hope of a military victory or of a unilateral US withdrawal by the next administration. If this
is so, Hanoi's alternatives are to try to negotiate a settlement on a basis most favorable to them, or to return to
protracted guerrilla warfare. On balance we think that at the outset at least Hanoi will enter these negotiations with
serious purpose.
4. We think their negotiating objectives will be:
A. Cease-fire in place;

B. Mutual withdrawal of forces; and


C. Coalition government.
5. We think they will put these forward early in the negotiations. All three are simple conceptions with strong propaganda
features from their point of view, and each is designed to give us trouble. Since we are not going to agree on simple
conceptions such as these, we must expect extended negotiations while we hammer out solutions which are acceptable
to us and the GVN. We will be working up proposals to handle each of these, and assume Washington and Paris are
doing likewise.
6. Our relative bargaining positions, assuming the wider talks start in a week or so, will be important. Both our short and
long term bargaining positions are strong. The VC/NVA can do little damage with their regular forces during the next two
or three months which they need for rest and resupply. As for the long term Hanoi threw everything they could into this
year's offensives, and failed. We do not see how they can make a greater effort or even a comparable one again.
7. On the other hand they are strongly entrenched in the VC controlled areas, where they control about 3700 hamlets,
and another 3900 hamlets are contested. We will have to pay a price to extend our power into these areas, for the VC
are good at guerrilla and irregular force fighting on their home grounds. However it is what we must now do. Fighting
defensively, they will try to make any extension of our control as costly as possible for us. This is where they will
concentrate their military effort as the wider negotiations start. As we push against them in these areas, which we mean
to do, they will resist and there will be heavy fighting of the ambush and guerrilla type. We must also expect sabotage
and guerrilla type activity in the cities.
8. Meantime they will be negotiating in all seriousness for as much as possible of the three objectives listed in para 4.
9. We do not think it possible to fix in advance, even in rough terms, the length of the interval that should be allowed
before we consider whether Hanoi is serious or whether a bombing resumption is called for. We think we should have a
pretty clear picture of Hanoi's intentions in a month or two, particularly if the negotiating meetings are frequent. By the
end of the year, we should also have a pretty good idea of the morale of VC/NVA forces as well as our ability to move
into and establish ourselves in the contested areas.
10. Our main problems as we see them will be to justify to the Congress and the American people our unwillingness to
agree to a cease-fire in place and our opposition to a coalition, or, to put it in another way, justifying to the American
public further casualties while we negotiate for a successful outcome of our enormous effort here.
11. We believe here that 1968--however difficult it was for us--has been a disaster for Hanoi. We must convince the
American people that the tide has turned in our favor, and we can only do this if we can show progress in moving into
contested areas, rising defections from the Communist ranks, heavy Communist casualties, comparatively light
casualties on our side, withdrawal of some American units, the takeover of more and more of the war by ARVN, etc.
That will also be convincing to Hanoi, and will determine their negotiating tactics.
12. When the GVN joins the talks, we must insist on closed sessions, or closed along with open sessions, otherwise we
cannot regard the talks as serious. Given the complexity of the problems and the strong bargaining cards that each side
holds, with the best will in the world, we think it is likely to take some months to produce solutions and agreements, and
indeed we may be in negotiations for a very long time.
13. Following is our reply to your question 2.
A. Maintaining the morale, fighting spirit and momentum of US and ARVN forces is absolutely essential. Directives have
gone out on the US and GVN side to intensify our offensive operations against infrastructure, guerrillas and local forces
in order to extend government control, at the same time maintaining unrelenting pressure against his main forces. It is
an offensive against the enemy "system."
B. We are planning now the form and shape of a message to the troops if an announcement is made. This message will
be critically important to establishing a positive atmosphere. It will be tied to the results of our operations so far and the
offensive described above. We will disseminate it in a massive effort.
C. We are completely confident that the morale, fighting spirit and momentum can be sustained.
14. Following is General Abrams' reply to your third question on the contingency of enemy violation of the DMZ. The
basic rules of engagement should include the following:

A. Every commander will retain the inherent right and responsibility to conduct operations for the self-defense of his
forces.
B. In case of attack by fire or ground attacks by small units (up to a battalion in size) across the demarcation line,
COMUSMACV should have the authority to conduct a timely and adequate response against the attacking force, to
include destruction of enemy forces penetrating across the line. No US ground forces would cross the line without
specific orders from the highest authority. (Comment: It is envisaged that small ground probes would be counteracted by
response in kind, but of decisive superiority.)
C. Enemy artillery fire would be responded to with heavy counter-battery fire and air attack until enemy weapons are
silenced. In case SAM's are fired at our aircraft we would destroy his SAM installations and immediate supporting
facilities.
D. In case of substantial or general attacks across the demarcation line by ground (including artillery) or air action
requiring response going beyond local action, authorization of highest authority would be sought immediately for such
action, including resumption of the bombardment of NVN.
2. Request also your best estimate, already given us preliminarily by phone, of meaning of the Tho departure for
Hanoi?/5/
/5/In telegram 22391/Delto 825 from Paris, October 14, 2115Z, Harriman and Vance wrote: "We are in general
agreement with the constructive and thoughtful comments of Ambassador Bunker and General Abrams. We have no
information on which to base a meaningful estimate as to the reasons for Tho's departure for Hanoi. Our best present
guess is that (A) He had given us the DRV rock bottom position on cessation of the bombing and he could contribute
nothing further to this phase of the negotiations; (B) He is needed in Hanoi to participate in formulation of positions to be
taken in negotiations which would follow cessation of bombing." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File,
Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [3 of 3]) In an attached covering note transmitting a
copy of telegram 22391 to the President, October 14, 6:30 p.m., Rostow wrote: "Herewith Paris: Agree with Bunker and
Abrams' message and, therefore, his proposed rules of engagement. Present their best guess as to the reason for Tho's
departure."
Rusk

67. Draft Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 14, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only for the President. Christian and Tom
Johnson joined the meeting at 10 a.m., and it concluded at 12:07 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) These notes,
drafted by Rostow on October 16, cover only the part of the meeting prior to 10 a.m. For the rest of the meeting, see
Document 68. A complete transcript is in the Johnson Library, Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.
Meeting with the President, Monday, October 14, 9:40 a.m., in the Cabinet Room.
PRESENT
Secretary Rusk, Secretary Clifford, General Wheeler, Mr. Helms, General Taylor, Mr. Rostow (later joined by Mr.
Christian and Mr. T. Johnson)
Secretary Rusk informed the President that all present had now been briefed on events since Friday./2/ The President
might wish to get their reactions and then consider next steps.
/2/October 11.
The President, noting a question raised by Thieu, asked why infiltration was not involved in our formula.
General Wheeler explained that it was difficult to monitor infiltration performance unilaterally and that it was better to
keep our bombing of Laos going. Secretary Rusk underlined the critical importance of the apparent acceptance by
Hanoi of GVN participation. This was a real turning point and would so be understood in Asia and the world, as well as
by the VC in the South.

The President asked: Why is participation of the NLF being accepted? Secretary Rusk responded that this would not be
a three-cornered confrontation; that is, with Saigon and the NLF together confronting Hanoi on the one side and
Washington on the other. The arrangement would be our side-your side.
But the real importance was that Hanoi, which had vowed never to talk to the "Thieu-Ky clique," was now prepared to
acknowledge the reality of the GVN. This means that there can be no settlement in Vietnam without the assent of the
GVN. We have always said that there would be no problem in having the views of the NLF heard.
GVN participation could have a major effect on the political and psychological situation inside South Vietnam; the Chieu
Hoi rates should go up; there should be more defectors; etc. Vance had told Secretary Rusk that the acceptance of the
GVN was the most difficult of all our conditions. Vance, in fact, believed that they would never accept. Acceptance of the
GVN will be fully understood by our Asian friends. Critical issues of face and prestige are involved for Hanoi, as well as
favorable factors for Saigon.
The President then asked: Suppose they do accept the GVN and nothing happens in a month or for several weeks?
What if we have a stalemate in the talks? What do we do then?
Secretary Rusk replied that if there are no attacks across the DMZ or on population centers, we could go a month or so
in a stalemate. But if there is a buildup for later large military operations, that would be a different matter. We should
give them until about December 1st before we resume bombing, to see if the talks in fact become serious. If they attack
across the DMZ or attack the cities, then we could resume at any time according to the conditions we have put to them.
On the other hand, Secretary Rusk pointed out there would be costs in resuming the bombing too soon; for example, in
10 days. Before we resume we must be in a position to demonstrate that we tested their good faith. Then we could
publish our record.
Mr. Helms said that the CIA had been brainstorming the situation developing in Paris over recent weeks. They saw the
one great danger in the situation--the one hole--the one great vulnerability--in our position was the question of GVN
participation. If the GVN did not participate, all his experts believed there was doubt that the GVN could hold steady. It
would probably collapse. Hanoi's concession on the GVN is therefore very important. It is the one thing that fills in the
big hole in our negotiating position. It is very significant. Helms agreed fully with the evaluation of Secretary Rusk.
Secretary Rusk said that it was his impression that the CIA analysts believed that Hanoi would never accept the GVN at
the table. Helms confirmed this as correct.
The President then asked about reconnaissance. Does our formula permit us to continue reconnaissance? Secretary
Rusk said that our instruction, referring to "acts of force" rather than "acts of war," would permit reconnaissance.
Moreover, he had just bluntly made the point to Dobrynin, who did not react negatively.
The President then asked: Do they understand the "facts of life" about the DMZ and the cities?
Secretary Rusk said that if the other side accepted in silence our statement of the "facts of life", we should be prepared
to move on that "assumption."
The President asked: What if we stop bombing and they hit the cities?
Secretary Rusk said that we would have to resume bombing. What they do will determine our behavior. If they violate
the "facts of life," we would be back with "business as usual."
Secretary Rusk noted that we had just pulled back the New Jersey from around the Vinh area to a point closer to the
DMZ.
The President pressed on. He said he did not wish our understanding to be "fuzzy." It was necessary that there be
clarity among us. If they take advantage and violate the "facts of life" as we have stated them, what do we do?
Secretary Rusk said we would resume bombing and disclose the full record. Life magazine had referred to the President
and the Secretary of State as the "two lonely men." They would still be here./3/
/3/A notation at the end of these notes reads: "At this point, note-taking was picked up by Tom Johnson."
[Omitted here is discussion of European security issues.]

68. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 14, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Eyes Only for the President. These notes, taken by Tom
Johnson, cover only the portion of the meeting after 10 a.m.; for the earlier part of the meeting, see Document 67. The
President temporarily left the meeting at 11:21 a.m. and returned at 11:30 a.m. The meeting concluded at 12:07 p.m.
(Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) A complete transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the
Cabinet Room.
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
The President
Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
General Wheeler
General Taylor
CIA Director Helms
Walt Rostow
George Christian
Tom Johnson
[Omitted here is discussion of European security issues.]
The President: What do you think of Abrams' views?/2/
/2/See Document 66.
General Wheeler: I agree with Abrams' views.
The President: Do you anticipate problems if we stop bombing if they include the Government of South Vietnam at the
Conference Table, assuming we believe they will A. stop shelling of cities and B. not take advantage of the DMZ.
General Wheeler: No sir.
The President: Can we restart the bombing easily if they violate the cities or the DMZ?
General Wheeler: Yes, sir.
The President: What would happen militarily
--if the DMZ is not violated,
--if cities are not shelled, and they go "all out" on the ground?
General Wheeler: They couldn't get off the ground if they try to step up attacks. I agree with Abrams that it would take
them two months to get back up to strength.
The President: I hear we are only operating in the cities.
General Wheeler: That's not true. We are out in the countryside.
The ARVN are doing an excellent job. We captured more weapons and killed many enemy last week.
If we get these three conditions it's okay. If they mount an offensive across the DMZ or on cities, we restart.

The President: You've been in this pause before. You're no virgin, Bus. Who will help you get started back?
General Wheeler: You, Sir, and me, and Secretary Rusk and Secretary Clifford.
The President: How will the Joint Chiefs of Staff feel?
General Wheeler: They will not be opposed to it. At least one will favor it. One will be reluctant. Others won't object to it.
I remember 37-day pause well. It was undertaken on the basis of pious hope. This is undertaken on the basis of three
points.
The President: The Soviets said they needed at least 12 days and no more than 20 to get serious talks going.
What about the Soviets?
Secretary Rusk: We should hear soon.
Walt Rostow: The Communists will test us with minor violations. There should be rules of engagement for Abrams. I
doubt that they would start with attacks across the DMZ or on the cities. We should tell the Soviets we have given field
commanders freedom to respond to violations.
The President: I thought we had told Abrams that.
General Wheeler: We have put that in cable./3/
/3/See Document 66.
Walt Rostow: We must have this.
Secretary Rusk: If we get 15 rounds Abrams should be able to plaster the area from which this attack was launched.
Walt Rostow: If they will accept the GVN and are ready for serious talks, they won't break them up over engagements in
the field.
The President: I feel they are hurting as a result of tenacity and endurance of our people. The ARVN has improved, but I
doubt they feel they are going to bring about peace very quickly.
We must have solid answers to back up our taking this action. I won't continue fighting if there is reasonable prospect for
getting terms. But I am not as optimistic as my colleagues.
If we expect they won't hit cities, violate the DMZ, and they will accept the GVN at the table, we can accept this as
"almost anything." This will give us an opportunity for substantive discussions. All we have for taking firepower away is
talks.
General Wheeler: The weather is bad in the DMZ area. There is six inches of rain predicted today. If the integrity of the
DMZ is maintained, this is a military advantage to us. We can use sorties in Laos along the trail that would be used
otherwise along the DMZ.
President: What do we give up?
Wheeler: Some pressure.
The President: But you shift it to Laos.
General Wheeler: That is correct.
Secretary Rusk: Abrams expresses considerable confidence. But if Hanoi demands new government in Saigon it might
appeal to the New York Times. We will reject it. We do not want a "give away" schedule.

George Christian: They will cooperate for a period because they have endorsed the Vice President.
The President: It's hard to sell a house at my price of $40,000 if Lady Bird tells the buyer at the door that she would sell
it for $35,000--or if a Mac Bundy would sell it for $30,000--or another Administration man wants to sell it for $25,000.
We must sell our case on: 1. We don't give up much. 2. We can get back if it doesn't work.
Secretary Rusk: A speech by Bundy at this time was bad./4/ This might throw Hanoi off the track.
/4/See Document 63.
Walt Rostow: I told him that. He said he must decide on the timing for himself.
Secretary Rusk: Hanoi could have come unhooked because of this.
Secretary Rusk: We must go to troop-contributing countries first to consult them.
The President: I do not know what I want to do yet here. This is not an easy decision for me. Many people will call it a
"cheap political trick."
General Taylor: The pitfalls and loopholes are there. We must look at the contingencies and how we deal with them--the
marginal infractions and rocket attacks.
Secretary Rusk: We made it clear to the Russians and to Hanoi.
General Taylor: Abrams and Thieu said they may propose a ceasefire. We can't take off pressure in the South. There
would be another Panmunjom.
Also, air reconnaissance must be part of the deal. We must also determine how the NLF will fit into that.
The President: Does "acts of war" include reconnaissance?
Secretary Rusk: It has been interpreted that way at times. We must and will have reconnaissance, particularly along the
DMZ.
The President: Should we talk to the candidates first?
General Taylor: If elected, I would.
Secretary Rusk: Nixon is aware of all three points. He has great interest in getting this as far down the line as possible.
Nixon wants a little more time if we move.
The President: He made that clear to me.
Secretary Rusk: I am concerned about the troop contributors. Thailand and Korea will understand. Gorton is more of a
problem./5/
/5/Australian Prime Minister John Gorton.
Secretary Rusk: The sequence:
1. Go to troop contributors today.
2. Go to Vance-Harriman on instructions.
The President: Go to Vance-Harriman first.
Secretary Rusk: Go to:

1. Harriman-Vance.
2. Troop contributors.
3. Go to Hanoi.
4. If okay with Hanoi, go to candidates and key leaders. 1. Mansfield, 2. Dirksen, 3. Russell, 4. Albert, 5. Ford, 6.
Speaker.
The President: How many in State know?
Secretary Rusk: Four.
Secretary Clifford: The major equation is elementary. Taking Hanoi at its word and seeing if it really means what it says.
They said if we stop bombing North of the DMZ they will get down to serious talks.
I think they have dropped their Four Points in Paris.
The President: Do you think stopping the bombing will do it? What about "other acts of war?"
Secretary Clifford: I think "stopping bombing" and "acts of war" does not include that. It includes planes dropping bombs
and naval shelling.
The President: I thought other acts of war would include reconnaissance.
Secretary Clifford: I cannot go into it blindfolded. We have--must have--high-level, low-level and drones. We are going to
test their good faith.
You keep three conditions: 1. GVN, 2. Cities, 3. DMZ.
There has been a shift by them on 1. The GVN. It is a condition precedent. And we have made 2. DMZ and 3. Cities
assumptions. (Conditions subsequent).
We must let them know we will not accept mass infiltration across the DMZ or attacks on the cities.
If they do either, we restart the bombing. You can lay firm predicate for resumption.
The President: Would you favor resumption of bombing if they violate any of these three?
Secretary Clifford: Yes, Sir, I would.
The President: If they know what will happen and we know what will happen then that's good.
The President: They have implied they would have the GVN in talks and understand the other two points. Don't we have
more today than ever before?
Secretary Rusk: Yes, we do.
Secretary Clifford: Yes, we do have.
I think there will be a lowering of level of combat when this happens.
Abrams has shown more flexibility and mobility than Westmoreland.
The President: I do not agree. I think Abrams has inherited most of this from Westmoreland.
The President: When Secretary Clifford came in, we made decisions on M16's and other things that have helped.
Secretary Clifford: There will be diminution in level of combat. I would not let up.

The President: What does "respect the DMZ" mean? What does "shelling cities" mean?
Secretary Clifford: The shelling of cities is easy to ascertain.
Secretary Rusk: With the first rocket--we would raise hell with the Hanoi delegation. With 20 rockets--we would do some
bombing.
The President: Abrams lists four rules of engagement. Do you agree with them?
Secretary Rusk: Yes.
Secretary Clifford: Yes. The real threat is staging of 20,000 men or so North of the DMZ. We would warn the delegation
and slug them.
The President: Why does Abrams feel different today than he did in August about the bombing?
1. The DMZ agreement--will respect the deal.
2. The weather is much worse in October than in August.
General Wheeler: That is right, Sir. We are going to test their faith.
Secretary Clifford: Kosygin's letter said if you stopped the bombing substantial benefits would flow./6/ We now are taking
him up. We need to send a letter to Kosygin from the President. It gives them a continuing responsibility.
/6/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 262.
The President: We said to Kosygin a meeting could bring about a start on limitation of offensive and defensive weapons.
We said we would give thought to continuing to pursue these things despite Czechoslovakia.
Secretary Rusk talked to Gromyko and leveled with him on three points. He got no contract on it./7/
/7/See Document 47. According to a memorandum of conversation, October 15, Dobrynin, in discussions with Rusk,
appeared amenable regarding the problems faced by the United States over the DRV's desire for an extended time lag
between cessation and the start of the new round of talks. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt
Rostow, Chlodnick File)
Secretary Clifford: In view of that we need to keep this working with Kosygin.
Secretary Clifford: The timing of it is important.
The desire of people to try this road is overwhelming. We will have much support.
The three candidates should not be notified ahead of time. A leak now would be damaging.
Secretary Rusk: My view of all this will be rather simple if true negotiating starts.
1. We have invested 28,000 dead and $75 billion.
2. I will not accept giving North Vietnam one-half of South Vietnam or a part of South Vietnam or a coalition government.
3. I will insist that the North Vietnamese in South Vietnam go home; that the North Vietnamese in Laos go home. And a
return to the 1962 Geneva Accords.
Electoral tricks we must watch for. Nixon has been honorable on Vietnam. We must give him a chance to roll with this.
We must give him a chance to know about this.
He has actually been more responsible on this than our own candidate.

Secretary Clifford: He must be told a day in advance that this is a decision the President has made.
Secretary Rusk: I would have the President call him and emphasize the need for discretion and gravity of the situation.
Secretary Clifford: As soon as the decision is made don't let the date of the election concern you. The weight of public
opinion is for this. It is too unwise to brief candidates on this much ahead.
I expect Nixon would play it fair with you. The security factor is so important.
Secretary Clifford: Troop contributing countries: We do not have to get commitments from them. We have carried the
whole load. Australians have lost few. The Thais have lost only a few hundred. We could get a leak too easily. We could
notify them about the time of release.
Secretary Rusk: We have had excellent results with Park, New Zealand, and Australia. I do not trust Marcos at all to
hold it./8/
/8/South Korean President Park Chung Hee and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos.
Walt Rostow: The Australian relationship is important.
Secretary Clifford: I recommend the President proceed on this. As soon as possible. There is more benefit than
detriment. It will leave not a single stone unturned in your quest for peace.
General Wheeler: 1. Get comments of Harriman and Vance. 2. Based on that, go ahead and make a decision to stop
bombing on the basis of three points. We must have Hanoi agreement on GVN.
The President: You do not think the military risks are significant?
General Wheeler: Abrams and his people can handle it.
I prefer these conditions to those at the time of the 37-day pause.
General Taylor: I would make sure the GVN are at the Conference Table--that reconnaissance will continue--that cities
and the DMZ are respected.
The President: What will you get today that you won't get three weeks from now?
General Taylor: I do not have the same sense of urgency.
Secretary Clifford: There comes a time in the tide of men's affairs that it is a time to move.
It is away (three weeks) from the election. It will receive commendation of the world and the country. I consider it a very
real point to get the job done now.
CIA Director Helms: Bunker and Abrams point to the stake of North Vietnam in this. Negotiations will be miserable. They
are not down yet. Still, I would take this step.
Secretary Rusk: I agree you should go ahead as soon as possible.
The President: Why, Dean?
Secretary Rusk: There is a major shift on Hanoi's part on role of GVN. There also is a good chance of performance on
cities and the DMZ.
On the negative side if we don't move we will be destroyed by the record now that they have agreed to do this. But,
Hanoi is not buttoned up.
The President: I doubt if Hanoi is serious, but we must test if they are.

The President: Le Duc Tho left Paris this morning for Moscow. What is the significance of it?
CIA Director Helms: There may be disagreement with the Soviets in light of Bundy's speech.
Secretary Rusk: Hanoi may have gotten unhorsed and the Soviets are trying to stay on the horse.
The President: What are the facts on the two times Drew Pearson says we blew peace?
Secretary Rusk: I never heard of it.
Secretary Clifford: Neither have I.
The President: Get the Bunker-Abrams wire to Vance-Harriman./9/ I want them on board.
/9/See Document 66.
The President: Let's meet again this afternoon./10/
/10/See Document 69.

69. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 14, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Eyes Only for the President. The meeting began at 1:38
in the Cabinet Room. Christian joined the meeting at 2:17 p.m., Russell entered at 2:22 p.m., Rusk at 2:45 p.m., and
Westmoreland at 3:15 p.m. The meeting ended at 3:40 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) Bromley Smith's notes of the
meeting are ibid., Meeting Notes File, 7/68-12/68, and a complete transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of
Meetings in the Cabinet Room.
NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH
Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford

Walt Rostow

Secretary of State Dean Rusk

George Christian

General Earle Wheeler

Tom Johnson

Admiral Thomas Moorer


General Leonard Chapman

Joining the Meeting:

General John McConnell

Senator Richard Russell

General Bruce Palmer

General William Westmoreland

Bromley Smith
Walt Rostow: In the course of discussions with the Soviets on missile talks, the question of the Middle East and Vietnam
was raised.
With the Czech crisis, the environment for a Summit with the Soviets diminished. The President raised with the Soviets
the question of Vietnam.
The language to Kosygin read:

"Setting all political arguments aside, the simple fact is that the President could not maintain a cessation of the bombing
of North Vietnam unless it were very promptly evident to him, to the American people, and to our allies, that such an
action was, indeed, a step toward peace. A cessation of bombing which would be followed by abuses of the DMZ, Viet
Cong, and North Vietnamese attacks on cities or such populated areas as provincial capitals, or a refusal of the
authorities in Hanoi to enter promptly into serious political discussions which included the elected government of the
Republic of Vietnam, could simply not be sustained."/2/
/2/See Document 47.
Points included as conditions for a bombing halt:
(1) Inclusion of the GVN at Paris talks
(2) No attacks on the cities
(3) Respect for the DMZ.
The Soviets would not march in with all three points. Secretary Rusk stressed that the Soviets should push on one
essential point--inclusion of South Vietnam at the Paris talks.
Last Friday,/3/ a private meeting was held in Paris./4/
/3/October 11.
/4/See Document 58.
The critical passages from this discussion:
[Omitted here is the text of telegram 22253/Delto 817 from Paris, October 11.]
The President sent a message on cessation of the bombing and rules of engagement. We want your (General Abrams
and Ambassador Bunker) response.
The message was received from Abrams and Bunker that they could live with the cessation if the three points are
included./5/
/5/See Document 66.
Ambassador Bunker said he thought they were moving the conflict from the battlefield to the conference table.
The number two man in the Soviet Embassy in Paris called Ambassador Vance in on Saturday./6/ He said there could
not be a bombing halt without participation of the GVN. Also, Vance stressed DMZ and the attacks on the cities.
/6/See Document 60.
He dictated the following passage:
[Omitted here is the text of Oberemko's message as reported in telegram 22313/Delto 820 from Paris, October 12.]
Walt Rostow: It was similar.
The Soviet representative said there are differing views in Hanoi. He said if bombing were halted serious talks could
begin.
Thieu concurred in instructions given Harriman and Vance.
There is a later cable. He is ready to go along to try to see if they are serious about stopping the war./7/
/7/Document 64.

A message was sent to Bunker to examine loop-holes and contingencies--including the possibility of the enemy needing
rest to get ready to hit us again./8/
/8/See Document 66.
Asked four questions of Bunker/Abrams:
(1) How long should we wait?
(2) Can morale be maintained?
(3) Rules of engagement?
(4) Is a cease-fire proposal to our advantage--one we can arrange?
They responded:
(1) Impossible to tell what the enemy can do.
(2) Hanoi given up militarily; trying to get best negotiations possible.
(3) Hanoi doesn't believe next administration will pull out.
Hanoi failed in this year's major offensives.
They will seek:
(1) Cease-fire
(2) Removal of foreign forces
(3) Coalition government.
They think we should know something within a month.
Bunker says they are against
(a) coalition government and
(b) a cease-fire in place.
They said 1968 has been a devastating year for Hanoi.
He sent rules of engagement.
(1) Continued strong pressure in South
(2) Message to troops
(3) Morale can be sustained.
Rules:
(A) All commanders can conduct self-defense actions.
(B) Response to attacks across DMZ.
(C) Artillery fire will be responded to by destruction of unit firing.
(D) If came across DMZ or struck cities, resumption of bombing would be recommended.
A draft message was sent to Paris this morning. (Attachment A)/9/
/9/Printed as Document 74.
It includes:
(1.) Serious talks must take place.
(2.) If GVN included day after cessation, bombing will be halted.
(3.) After halt, conditions must permit President to continue it.
(4.) Respect for the DMZ.
(5.) Armed attacks against major cities not permitted.

(6.) Reconnaissance will continue, unarmed.


This would include cessation of Naval, air and artillery attacks.
Reconnaissance must include both high and low level flights as well as drones.
We asked for their views on draft instructions. GVN are aboard.
Maintenance for total security is required.
The President: (1) On September 17 Harriman came here./10/
/10/See Document 20.
I told him what we were confronted with. We were interested in
(a) GVN at talks.
(b) No attacks on cities.
(c) Respect for DMZ.
(2) On October 3, Vance came home. I talked with him October 6 and October 7./11/ I told him the same thing.
/11/The President spoke by telephone with Vance at 5:25 p.m. on October 6 and at 11:12 a.m. on October 7. (Johnson
Library, President's Daily Diary) No records of these conversations have been found.
At 2:22, Senator Russell entered the meeting.
The President: I asked them what would happen if bombing stopped.
I told them we could not stop it if:
--GVN were not included.
--They abused the DMZ.
--They attacked the cities.
Soviets were told this. Rusk got impression they would do all they could on GVN--and that we could work on the other
two points.
The President: I met with Secretary Clifford and General Wheeler this morning./12/
/12/See Document 67.
(To Senator Russell:) "Here are three statements."
--San Antonio formula/13/
--August--Detroit/14/
--New Orleans--won't increase U.S. casualties./15/
/13/See footnote 6, Document 35.
/14/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 332.
/15/See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book II, pp. 936-943.
(1) The weather has changed.
(2) Troops are moving out.
Secretary Clifford: For five months Hanoi has said if bombing is halted they will begin "serious" talks. They refused any

conditions. They said they never would sit down with the GVN.
Now the situation has changed.
(1) We say GVN must be at the table.
(2) Hanoi now prepared to accept GVN at table.
(3) Enemy military situation has deteriorated.
(4) We are recommending that there be a shift of emphasis.
If GVN are at table, we can talk but only if DMZ is respected and cities are not attacked.
We are at a point where their good faith must be tested. We are recommending that we stop the bombing to test their
good faith. If they violate it, we will know they are not in good faith and resume without any limitations.
The President has an opportunity to take them at their word. I would recommend starting bombing again if they did not
show good faith.
We would continue bombing in Laos.
At the moment, Laos is where we want to bomb because of monsoon season in North Vietnam.
They have said we must cease all acts of war. I do not consider reconnaissance an act of war. We cannot deal in the
dark.
I always have feared a build-up north of the DMZ. If they did, we would have to destroy the build-up. The time has come
now. They have changed their attitude toward GVN.
They recognize the existence of the government in South Vietnam; the partition of South Vietnam and North Vietnam;
the effect on the Viet Cong would be damaging. To know North Vietnam has recognized the government of South
Vietnam would be quite a psychological blow to the Viet Cong.
I do consider the risk to us as minor. It does not injure us to stop the bombing for awhile. We can go back with bombing
if we need to. The timing is important.
There must be another exchange with Kosygin to say we are taking them up on their offer and getting them to use
whatever leverage that is possible.
We must move on anything that might bring peace.
General Wheeler: After six months of stonewalling, North Vietnam has made a movement which I consider important.
Abrams' assessment is highly favorable. If we haven't already won the war militarily we are well on the way to it.
Thieu readily agreed to the formula. All believe we must continue reconnaissance in and around North Vietnam.
If the enemy violates this, we will resume our operations without limitations.
I recommend you make this approach to North Vietnam. If they accept the presence of GVN at conference table, we
should proceed.
Secretary Rusk: North Vietnam is not clearly on board in this. The acceptance by North Vietnam of South Vietnam at the
conference table is a recognition that the Viet Cong are not sole government in the South.
We must press for flat commitments by them after bombing is halted and talks are started on a new basis.
If there is violation of two points we go back to bombing. The Soviets will no longer be in a position where a sister
Socialist state is being attacked.

The negotiations will be troublesome.


Bombing will restart if
cities are attacked.
DMZ is not respected.
GVN not permitted at table.
Bunker and Abrams met with Thieu./16/ He is entirely in favor of this step.
/16/See Document 64.
Walt Rostow: Bunker-Abrams said:
(1) Hanoi shifting from battlefield to conference table.
(2) Lost 150,000 killed in action and B52 killed in action and captures and injured and desertions. [sic]
(3) Strengthening of ARVN.
(4) Inability to mount offensives in recent months.
Beginning with KheSanh, B-52 attacks became devastating. Record withdrawal signaled end of third offensive.
Abrams believes it will take 2-3 months for NVN-VC to rebuild. Hanoi realizes U.S. will not disengage in Vietnam
regardless of who is elected.
Victory has eluded Hanoi. Hanoi may feel its position never will be better than it is today.
NVN-VC forces have not collapsed.
Up to now, Hanoi's emphasis has been on military and not negotiations.
Abrams and Bunker concur in instructions on cessation of bombing.
Thieu made a decision on the spot to accept this on October 13.
Thieu said he is ready to go along. The problem is not to stop the bombing, but to stop the war.
At 3:15, General Westmoreland joined the meeting./17/
/17/Westmoreland's arrival was delayed due to medical tests he underwent at Walter Reed Army Hospital, followed by a
ceremony for former President Dwight Eisenhower, who was also a patient at the hospital. (Memorandum for the Record
by Westmoreland, March 22, 1971; U.S. Army Military History Institute, William C. Westmoreland Papers, History File,
#34, TS-0106-80, Jul-31 Dec 1968)
The President: Read the San Antonio formula.
I said we would stop bombing when it would lead to
productive discussions
provided they would not take advantage of the cessation.
Their acceptance of the Government of Vietnam is some modification of their position. It does not represent a
breakaway on our part from what we have stated.
Secretary Rusk: Acceptance of GVN is absolute. Other two points are self-policing.
The President: What is the difference between their not signing a contract on two and three?

Secretary Clifford: If they are in good faith, they won't shell cities or not respect the DMZ.
Our risk is limited.
Walt Rostow: Message sent to Harriman-Vance: (Attachment A)
Includes for a bombing halt:
(1) Serious talks take place
(2) GVN participation and
(3) Cities not attacked
(4) DMZ respected.
The President: I want your judgments and your views. I do not know when I will make a decision.
General McConnell: If you agree to unconditional cessation of the bombing, this would pre-empt your resumption of the
bombing.
The President: If cities were attacked, If DMZ abused, we would resume.
Secretary Rusk: We have actually--(interrupted)
General McConnell: If you are to stop bombing, NOW is the time to do it. The weather will be bad in the panhandle.
I do not think they can attack the cities.
We would concentrate air operations in Laos this season anyhow.
I am concerned that they could mass troops and supplies without our knowing. Only two days a month would be good
for reconnaissance.
We must continue reconnaissance.
I recommend going ahead.
Admiral Moorer: I subscribe to General McConnell's views. We must keep up the reconnaissance.
In III Corps area, Viet Cong might feel as though they are being deserted and initiate an action to break the deal.
General McConnell: I do not think the enemy can attack the cities.
Admiral Moorer: I recommend we proceed along the course as outlined.
General Chapman: The DRV are hurting. Bombing is a strong card. They will want to rebuild their strength. We must go
all out in South Vietnam to build South Vietnam army and root out guerrillas.
We must carefully inform the troops and the U.S. public of this.
I support the proposal.
Admiral Moorer: Do we state that bombing will be resumed?
Secretary Rusk: Not at the beginning. It would be provocative.
General McConnell: If we resume, we want to be unrestricted.
Admiral Moorer: I agree to that.

General Palmer: Time has been running against the enemy. Hanoi doesn't have the same support from the Soviets that
he used to have.
I would worry about a form of cease-fire.
Once the bombing is suspended it will be difficult to resume it.
The President: If they do not meet these three conditions, we will respond.
General Palmer: Based on what I know, I would go along with it.
Secretary Rusk: A cease-fire in place won't do. We would have to have free access to province capitals controlled by
the GVN.
General Westmoreland: It would be chaos not to have GVN at the conference table.
The enemy can't seriously attack the cities. They can shell them some.
We must observe the safety of the troops and the morale of the GVN.
We can do this.
The weather is favorable. Northeast monsoon starts out with fury. The weather will improve in Laos for bombing.
Bombing in Laos is not under jeopardy.
The President: It will be increased.
General Westmoreland: Any massing north of the DMZ will be known. A few hours of each day will be O.K. for
reconnaissance.
Communications intelligence will detect it as well.
During January, February and March there is a low fog which hangs over the area. Even helicopters can't fly. In the
DMZ, North and South, this will be covered.
The enemy can be seriously affected in a major way.
This gives the GVN a great opportunity to wage a campaign to bring about defections.
I agree with this proposal with the restrictions placed on it.
With the proper psychological campaign we can get defections./18/
/18/In a memorandum for the record, March 22, 1971, Westmoreland wrote: "When I was called upon to comment, I
stated that I wanted to be the devil's advocate. I expressed the opinion that we were trading off an important military
asset for a questionable political result. I felt that the conditions that the North Vietnamese had presumed to agree to
could be gradually eroded to the point that they would be meaningless. They could violate the agreement to an extent,
but not to the point that we could publicly renege on our part of the assumed bargain and resume the bombing. They
could progressively erode the constraints, and we would find ourselves politically helpless to do anything about it. Also, I
pointed out that the enemy could commit violations of omission rather than commission." He noted that the reaction to
his argument was "that if they did not adhere to the provisions that we outlined, that the bombing would be resumed."
Westmoreland summarized the meeting in the following terms: "No decision was made at the meeting, but it was
obvious to me that the political pressures associated with the forthcoming elections were encouraging concessions to
the enemy without due consideration to future implications. Also, it seemed to me here that President Johnson was
anticipating his role in history and wanted the record to show further that he was a peacemaker." (Ibid.) In a
memorandum for the record, June 30, 1970, Palmer noted that he, McConnell, Moorer, Chapman, and Westmoreland
all concurred in the plan. (Ibid.)

Senator Russell: I can't deal with this with limited amount of knowledge. The Viet Cong may terrorize the cities.
You all mention "good faith." In our relations with the Soviets, we should indicate how long we will stand by and do
nothing.
Secretary Rusk: We should know within four to six weeks.
Secretary Clifford: We should set no limits so long as they do not take advantage of our restraint.
I think we would make a mistake to set a time limit.
Senator Russell: It will be hard to restart the bombing. Soviets need some time in mind as a deadline.
The President: Did we tell the Soviets thirty days?
Walt Rostow: No.
Senator Russell: Do the Soviets and North Vietnam know we expect to continue bombing if this doesn't work?
The President: Yes.
Senator Russell: I hope the suggestion is as our military leaders think it is. It will be hard to resume.
General McConnell: The President assured us we could restart it if we needed to. That's the only reason I went along.
Senator Russell: If that is so, I would hope the program would work.
Secretary Clifford: We are willing to give up bombing for three acts on their part--(1) including the GVN (2) DMZ and (3)
no attacks on the cities.
If they stick to all three, we are not being damaged.
Senator Russell: I would perhaps agree with you if I knew something about the enemy morale problems, supply
problems, and know we can police this.
The President: I want us to be agreed on this before I go.
Senator Russell: This is a most agonizing war. The most agonizing any President or any Secretary of State or any
Secretary of Defense ever faced.
Senator Russell: This is O.K., but the U.S. people won't agree to keep the troops over there when the war is not going
on.
The President: On a 37-day bombing pause, the Soviets told us 12 days probably would be sufficient but no more than
20.
General Wheeler said he would not recommend it, but would support it.
I am not brave just because it's at the end of my term. I will not proceed unless both Secretaries and all JCS support it.
Secretary Clifford: This is different from the 37-day pause. The GVN come into the talks. We have the DMZ and cities as
a test of their good will.
This makes it easier to start.
Secretary Rusk: Most precious asset has been the morale of our forces. Can this be sustained?

General Westmoreland: The Communists have violated prior ceasefires. They may erode this agreement. If that
happens, we will have problems with morale. How far do we go before we resume the bombing? We will have trouble if
erosion occurs.
Abrams' approach is very practical. I see no problem.
The President: I want us to know what we are getting into now.
What is the reaction of the country going to be and reaction of the Senate?
Senator Russell: We are in the midst of the political campaign. Reactions will vary. The press will hail this. You will be
charged with politics.
What everybody wants is an end of the war. It's been a miserable war--worse than Korea.
Secretary Rusk: No decision has been made in relationship to domestic politics.
Senator Russell: I know that.
Admiral Moorer: I think we should make it clear.
Senator Russell: Senate wants to get out of the war--some by exterminating North Vietnam--others by bringing all troops
home on the next convoy.
My committee will give it a chance. There will be some skepticism. Everybody wants to get this to a conclusion.
You've given North Vietnam every chance to show good faith. They haven't.
George Christian: The reaction will be good from the press and media. Political charges of helping Vice President
Humphrey will be made.
Secretary Clifford: The public can be educated to two factors:
(1) North Vietnam has not been doing well in the war.
(2) North Vietnam may have chosen to deal with this administration rather than the next.
The President: I will be charged with doing this to influence the election.
Nixon will be disappointed.
The doves will criticize us for not doing it before now.
If this is not a way of stopping it, I don't think I'll have another opportunity.
I do not have much confidence in the Soviets or North Vietnam.
I don't think they will accept this.
If they accept it, I do not think they will honor it.
General Westmoreland: Militarily, the enemy is BANKRUPT.
We must assume he will accept GVN, honor DMZ, doesn't attack the cities.
Then can you justify resuming the bombing for their foot-dragging on a political act?
The President: We are testing him.

Senator Russell: The U.S. people will take a "wait-and-see" attitude.


Secretary Clifford: The decision to move at this time is not based on our initiative. It is based on Hanoi's initiative. They
said they will bring the GVN into the talks.
Secretary Clifford: By stopping the bombing now, we do not give up much?
General McConnell: We do not give up much, no.
The President: What effect does a "no" decision by me have?
Mac Bundy picked the worst time possible to make his speech./19/
/19/See Document 63.
Senator Russell: There is little else that can be done.
The President: We said to the Soviets on September 17 that they could take the heat off Czechoslovakia by talks on
Mideast./20/
/20/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XIV, Document 300.
Senator Russell: It's worth a try.

70. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 14, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. Eyes Only for the President. Eyes Only for the
President. The meeting lasted from 7:15 until 8 p.m. and was held in the Cabinet Room. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A
full transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.
NOTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PRESIDENT WITH
Secretary of State Rusk
Secretary of Defense Clifford
General Earle Wheeler
Walt Rostow
Tom Johnson
The President: Senator Smathers said the word is out that we are making an effort to throw the election to Humphrey.
He said Nixon had been told of it. Nixon told Smathers he did not want the President to be pulled into this, that wrong
results could flow. Nixon said he is afraid we would be misled.
Senator Smathers said he assured Nixon that the President would move if an opportunity for peace presented itself./2/
/2/The President, along with Jones, met with Smathers from 6:55 to 7:15 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) A full
transcript of the meeting is ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room.
Secretary Clifford: I doubt it would have any effect on the campaign.
The President: Both sides think it would.
Secretary Rusk: George Ball is coming down tomorrow./3/ I will give him nothing.
/3/Rusk met with Ball from 11:25 to 11:55 a.m. at the State Department. (Ibid., Dean Rusk Appointment Book, 19681969) No record of the meeting has been found.

Secretary Clifford: The people have made up their minds on the election already.
Mark Twain said "when in doubt do right."/4/
/4/According to the full transcript, Clifford stated: "I can understand how Mr. Nixon feels. He doesn't want anything that
could possibly rock the boat. He likes the shape that it is in now and any little new development might rock the boat, so
he would be opposed to it. But what's the matter with rocking the boat? Remember what Mark Twain once said that
occasionally is relevant. He said, 'When in doubt, do right.'" (Ibid., Transcripts of Meetings in the Cabinet Room)
The President: That is right. But let's not be pulled in.
When does Paris want it announced?
Secretary Rusk: By midnight tomorrow.
There was a discussion of the draft cable outgoing to ambassadors in troop-contributing countries.
The President: Do the Joint Chiefs of Staff feel we are on solid ground completely? Do all of you think this is the right
course?
General Wheeler: Yes, sir. We have unanimous agreement. Abrams is strong for it.
The President: Do you know this is what we ought to do?
Secretary Rusk: Yes, sir.
Secretary Clifford: I have absolutely no doubt that this is right.
The President: All right, go ahead and execute (7:39 p.m. EDT).
The decision was made to send out the draft cable--attachment A./5/
/5/Attachment A was sent as telegram 255243 to Bangkok, Seoul, and Saigon (repeated to Canberra, Manila, Paris, and
Wellington), October 15. In it the Department discussed the evolution of the breakthrough in Paris and requested allied
concurrence in the understanding to end the bombing and begin substantive negotiations. (Ibid., National Security File,
Country File, Vietnam, Harvan/Double Plus, Vol. I)
Senator Russell said we need to do this.
In San Antonio, we said
In Detroit, we said
In New Orleans, we said
We are in close touch with our negotiators.
We concluded we should stop bombing to test their faith.
Ordering it at a certain time.
Gorton, Holyoake will take it. The Koreans, Thais will give us trouble.
Secretary Rusk: Let's amend the GVN so that South Vietnam are at the table the next day.
The President: Are we all in agreement that we should stop the bombing if the GVN are there?
If the GVN are not there do we resume the bombing?
Secretary Rusk: Yes, if they don't agree to sit down.

Secretary Clifford: I agree.


The President: Do we resume bombing if they hit cities or attack across DMZ?
Secretary Rusk: Yes.
Secretary Clifford: Yes.
The question is, should we place any limitation on the bombing?
Secretary Rusk: No limitation. It will depend on circumstances and the degree of violation as to what we do.
Secretary Clifford: I am aboard.
Secretary Rusk: I am aboard.
General Wheeler: I agree. So do all of the Chiefs.
The President: I do not want to be the one to have it said about that one man died tomorrow who could have been
saved because of this plan.
I do not think it will happen, but there is a chance.
We'll try it. We'll be scared, but let's try it.

71. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 15, 1968, 7:30 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 9/30- 10/22/68, Memos to the
President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [3 of 3]. Secret; Harvan/Double Plus. The notation "ps" on the memorandum
indicates that the President saw it.
Mr. President:
Cy Vance called from Paris to report the following:
Thuy called him personally on the telephone--the first time he has ever done this. He asked: Are you ready for a meeting
this morning? (Paris time.) Cy said no. Thuy then asked, could you be ready for a meeting at 3:00 p.m.? (Paris time.) Cy
said no. Cy then said he would be willing to set up a meeting, tentatively, for 9:00 p.m. (Paris time; 4:00 p.m. our time).
He did so on the assumption that we would then have the TCC replies and an execute order from us in hand on his
instructions, which are now pre-positioned in Paris for a go ahead.
Cy does not know what Thuy has in mind. He and Harriman believe that Thuy has the authority to agree on GVN
participation and express "understanding" on the DMZ and the cities. He does not know how they will make out on
reconnaissance, but is implicitly optimistic.
(Habib, on the other hand, rather doubts that Thuy will have the authority to give a final assent without a check with
Hanoi. In fact, Habib's theory is Tho is going back to Hanoi to help explain to and persuade his colleagues if we should
come through.)
Vance is very much worried about a leak in the wake of our informing the TCC's.
Vance would like to be able to tell Thuy--if he agrees on the GVN, understands on the DMZ, cities and recce--that we
would stop the bombing tomorrow.

Attached is a possible scenario which Bob Ginsburgh and I have worked out this morning, made up before Cy Vance's
telephone call, but roughly consistent with it.
This scenario is based on the notion that we would announce tonight that the bombing will cease tomorrow.
You should know that Bus Wheeler wants 24 hours for two reasons:
--To make sure that everyone gets the word and there are no mistakes;
--To try to get out of North Vietnam (south of the 20th parallel) certain agents we have put in there, to whom we owe
something.
As between waiting 24 hours and announcing the "bombing has stopped" and saying the "bombing will stop tomorrow," I
favor the latter to minimize the possibility of leaks.
All of this is, of course, based on the assumption that Harriman and Vance are right; that is, Thuy has positive prepositioned instructions on all our points. There are ample opportunities in this scenario for a holdup--or worse.
Walt
P.S. We have no TCC responses yet but expect them very soon./2/
/2/Rostow added the following handwritten note: "Correction: Thanom now aboard. W."

Attachment/3/
/3/This attachment was handwritten by Rostow.
Possible Sequence of Events

Saigon

Paris

EDT
Washington

1. DRV agrees to GVN participation.

15 0400

15 2100

15 1600

2. Issue orders to stop bombing. (16 EDT 1700)

16 0500

15 2200

15 1700

3. Tell Paris to inform DRV of time.

16 0500

15 2200

15 1700

4. Inform Marcos.

16 0500

15 2200

15 1700

5. Inform TCCs of timing.

16 0500

15 2200

15 1700

6. Brief candidates.

16 0600

15 2300

15 1800

7. Brief leadership.

16 0700

15 2400

15 1900

8. Joint announcement.

16 0800

16 0100

15 2000

9. Presidential statement.

16 0800+

16 0100+

15 2000+

10. Backgrounder.

16 0900

16 0200

15 2100

11. Bombing stops.

17 0500

16 2200

16 1700

12. Paris meetings--GVN included.

17 1700

17 1000

17 0500

72. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 15, 1968, 1:12-2:24 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. Rusk and Clifford left the
meeting at 1:50 p.m.; Helms, Wheeler, and Rostow departed at 2:20 p.m.; Christian and Tom Johnson remained until
2:35 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES ON THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH THE
TUESDAY LUNCH GROUP
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
The President
Secretary Clifford

Walt Rostow

Secretary Rusk

George Christian

General Wheeler

Tom Johnson

CIA Director Richard Helms


The President: Senator Mansfield said the announcement is "expected." I will be surprised if it is not on evening news.
Secretary Rusk: Bunker says he needs 24 hours.
The President: Smathers called on me. He said Nixon people think a "political trick" is planned./2/
/2/See footnote 2, Document 70.
General Wheeler: 1. We have two teams in North Vietnam of 20 men. It will take 24 hours. 2. I have to get a
reconnaissance program. 3. We must position forces in the DMZ. 4. We must get the rules of engagement. 5. We must
set guidelines for reprisals.
I need the President's authority to draft programs when you give word.
Secretary Clifford: No leak of any kind has ever come from the Joint Staff.
The President: I think the odds are 50-50 they won't do it.
Secretary Clifford: We need to draft initial orders.
General Wheeler: Ten people will be involved.
The President: Only military?
General Wheeler: Yes.
The President: Okay. Which civilians know?
Secretary Clifford: Only me, no others.

George Christian: I doubt if it will hold thru today. The New York Times story by Rick Smith and Marvin Kalb at 8:00 a.m.
today may be put together./3/
/3/This story reported that the United States was putting forth a new proposal to end the bombing. See The New York
Times, October 16, 1968.
The President: Tell Bunker to get Thieu moving on telling his people now.
Thieu must tell Ky, Prime Minister, and Defense Minister and draft a statement.
The President: Making the bombing order not effective for 24 hours is okay. We cannot delay announcement.
The President signed "Futherance" papers at 1:37 p.m.
Walt Rostow: The worst thing is for Ky to learn of this from a press leak or from one of troop-contributing countries.
Rostow called the situation room to arrange secure phone call from Rusk to Bunker (1:40 p.m. EDT).
The President read letter to Kosygin on bombing halt. (Attachment A)/4/
/4/See footnote 2, Document 18.
The following are remarks of the President made previously on reciprocity.
News Conference on February 2, 1967/5/
/5/See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book I, pp. 128-134.
"Q. Mr. President, we have said in the past that we would be willing to suspend the bombing of North Vietnam in
exchange for some suitable step by the other side. Are you prepared at all to tell us what kind of other steps the other
side should take for this suspension of bombing?
The President: Just almost any step. As far as we can see, they have not taken any yet.
And we would be glad to explore any reciprocal action that they or any of their spokesmen would care to suggest.
We have made one proposal after the other. We would like to have a cease-fire. We would be very glad to stop our
bombing, as we have on two previous occasions, if we could have any indication of reciprocal action."
News Conference of March 9, 1967/6/
/6/See ibid., pp. 303-312.
"Q. Mr. President, sir, one point that some of your critics on Vietnam have discussed in the past week is the question of
whether or not what we would ask in return for stopping the bombing has changed in the past year.
They say that a year ago, apparently we would have settled for simply getting talks if we stopped, whereas, now you are
speaking of the need for reciprocal military action. Could you discuss this?
The President: We have talked about reciprocal military action in every pause we have had, Mr. Bailey./7/
/7/Charles W. Bailey, reporter for The Minneapolis Star and Tribune and The Des Moines Register and Tribune.
We have had five pauses now.
On the first pause of 5 days we made it very clear that we were taking this action and we would keep our ear to the
receiver and listen intently for any indication from the enemy that he would take reciprocal action.

Later, we had a 37-day pause. We were told before we went into that pause by some of the same people who are
recommending a pause now, or urging a pause now, that if we would go into it for 12 days or at the most 20 days, we
could get reciprocal action.
We went 37 days. They gave us no indication that they were willing to take any reciprocal action.
We have just finished a pause of six days during the Tet period.
At the beginning of each of these pauses we made it clear that we were going to pause, ask our men to withhold action,
and give them an opportunity to agree to come to conditional discussions, unconditional discussions, any kind of
discussion. We have just completed that 6-day pause.
So I would respond to your question by saying at the beginning of each pause we made it clear that we would take
action, we would listen intently for action on their part. We have. We have heard the same story every time.
"Q. Mr. President, you and Secretary Rusk have both talked of a military quid pro quo and reciprocal action in exchange
for a halt in the bombing. I wonder if you could be specific and say what we would require from the other side as part of
this quid pro quo?
The President: I think a good, general way to express it is what I said at my last press conference--just almost any
reciprocal action on their part. We have said that we would be glad to stop our invasion of North Vietnam, if they would
stop their invasion of South Vietnam.
We would be glad to halt our bombing if they would halt their aggression and their infiltration. We are prepared to
discuss anything that they are willing to discuss. But they are not willing to discuss anything, as of now."
Tennessee Legislature, March 15, 1967/8/
/8/See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book I, pp. 348-354.
"But reciprocity must be the fundamental principle of any reduction in hostilities. The United States cannot and will not
reduce its activities unless and until there is some reduction on the other side."
News Conference of July 18, 1967/9/
/9/See ibid., Book II, pp. 699-705.
"Q. Mr. President, may I follow up Mr. Deakin's question and your answer? Is the United States position that we would
only be willing to stop the bombing if there were reciprocal action on their side?
The President: The United States position is that we are ready to meet with them any time to discuss arrangements for
bringing the war to an end on an equitable and just basis. We have never been able to get them or any of their friends to
bring them to a conference table.
Until we can, we are not able to explore with them what they might be willing to do. We hear from travelers and from
self-appointed spokesmen from time to time this and that. On occasions we have attempted to confirm it, and we have
negotiated directly with them.
I think the last position stated by Mr. Ho Chi Minh is a safe statement of their viewpoint. I refer you--as I did Mr. Deakin-to their position as enumerated in that letter. Our position is that we would be glad to meet tomorrow, next week, or any
time to discuss conditionally or unconditionally, on any basis, to see what they would be willing to do."
San Antonio, September 29, 1967/10/
/10/See footnote 6, Document 35.
"The United States is willing to stop all aerial and naval bombardment of North Vietnam when this will lead promptly to
productive discussions. We, of course, assume that while discussions proceed, North Vietnam would not take
advantage of the bombing cessation or limitation."

News Conference, September 30, 1967/11/


/11/See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book II, pp. 882-886.
"Q. Mr. President, in the past you have mentioned a reciprocal move by North Vietnam as a condition for our either
halting or decreasing the bombing. Last night in your San Antonio speech, you did not mention this reciprocity. Was this
not mentioning it any change in our policy or any softening of our position?
The President: I will let that speech stand for itself. I don't agree, necessarily, with the first part of your statement, that in
the past when I only referred to it I referred to it in a certain way. That is your statement and not mine."
Detroit, August 19, 1968/12/
/12/See ibid., 1968-69, Book II, pp. 896-903.
"This administration does not intend to move further until it has good reason to believe that the other side intends
seriously to join us in de-escalating the war and moving seriously toward peace."
New Orleans, September 10, 1968/13/
/13/See ibid., pp. 936-943.
". . . The Commander in Chief has insisted that the bombing will not stop until we are confident that it will not lead to an
increase in American casualties. That is why we have placed such emphasis on re-establishing the DMZ."
End of remarks of the President made previously on reciprocity.
At 1:52 p.m. Secretary Rusk leaves to talk to Ambassador Bunker on secure phone.
CIA Director Helms: The CIA sent a report today on the situation in Vietnam.
--No enemy military objectives achieved.
--Enemy forces badly mauled.
--There will be a forced "lull" because of it.
--From August 18 to October 1 there were 22,000 enemy killed in action.
--Serious supply deficiencies.
--ARVN improved; suffered most casualties.
The President: Can we stop bombing at midnight Wednesday?/14/
/14/October 16.
General Wheeler: I'll check. If we got orders out tonight we could knock off at midnight, October 16 or 12:00 noon in
Saigon on the 17th.
I would like to send message and get teams out.
CIA Director Helms: That is clandestine.
The President: Okay, go ahead.
General Wheeler: Okay, I'll go ahead.
The President: The New Jersey is doing a good job./15/
/15/Since September 29 the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey had been acting in support of U.S. Marine and ARVN
operations from its position off the coast of Vietnam.

General Wheeler: I need proposed rules of engagement Abe sent.


Walt Rostow: There is equipment trouble in Saigon. We are standing by for repair.
1. On Briefing Candidates
Have all of them on a conference call.
2. Text of Announcement
Approved by Clifford with one deletion.
3. Leadership
Talk to them by phone.
4. Briefing.
A. Start with Kosygin's letter./16/
/16/See Document 9.
B. Mrs. Gandhi letter./17/
/17/Not found.
C. Views of House & Senate.
D. Wouldn't stop unless it leads to stopping war.
E. Rusk talked to Gromyko. Told him three things./18/
/18/See Document 47.
1. Inclusion of GVN.
2. No attacks on cities.
3. No abuse on DMZ.
F. September 17, told Harriman.19
/19/See Documents 19-21.
G. October 5, 6. 7, Vance told./20/
/20/See Document 49.
H. Hanoi said they might permit GVN to sit in.
I. Met with Joint Chiefs of Staff--all signed on.
J. Talked to all troop-contributors. They agreed.
K. No top military or diplomatic leader disagreed.
L. If they shell cities, or abuse DMZ, we'll restart possibly.

M. Offer each man a chance to come. If they take advantage we are prepared.
5. Backgrounders
Wheeler and Clifford--Military
Diplomatic--Rusk
President's--White House
6. Talk to Eisenhower.
Honolulu Communiqu./21/
/21/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 299.
7. Letter to Kosygin
Clifford and Rusk draft it.
8. Letter to Wilson--Rusk.
2:24 p.m. CIA Director Richard Helms looked at the President, shook hands and said "good luck."

73. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 15, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the
Oval Office, where the President and McPherson had been since 7:25 p.m. Rusk, Clifford, and Read arrived at 7:32,
Tom Johnson at 7:33, and Bundy at 7:34. The President called Rostow at 7:55 p.m. Rusk, Read, Tom Johnson, and
Bundy left at 7:50, and Clifford remained until 8:12. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
NOTES ON MEETING WITH FOREIGN POLICY GROUP
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
The President
Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
Walt Rostow
Bill Bundy
Ben Read
Harry McPherson
Ben Read: Hanoi said they could not get the NLF to Paris a day after the bombing stopped if this were done now. Hanoi
said it is impossible to get the NLF representatives to town that soon. They said they are not authorized to speak for the
NLF. They would not agree to seating the NLF press representatives who are in Paris because "We do not speak for the
NLF."
Vance and Harriman say the announcement should state that talks should begin as soon as the NLF and the GVN get
to Paris./2/
/2/In telegram 22466 from Paris, October 15. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Vietnam Memos to the
President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I)

The President: When did they say the bombing should stop?
Ben Read: Vance and Harriman did not say. I did not ask.
Secretary Rusk: We do not know if the NLF will send a delegation.
The President: Does the NLF have to send a delegation?
Secretary Rusk: Yes.
The President: Why don't we say that we will stop the bombing 24 hours after the GVN and the NLF are at the table?
Secretary Rusk: We do not know if we really have this thing buttoned up.
The President: We will not stop the bombing if I do not know that serious talks will start with the GVN at the table.
Secretary Rusk: Why don't we get a certain date?
Ben Read: Vance and Harriman think we should go ahead. Their exact quote was: "Don't hang up on this."
The President: No.
Secretary Rusk: We must flash the Troop Contributors and tell them that we will not move on this until a day is certain
when the talks will begin with the GVN and NLF present.
The President: I think we should do that. Say to them that anytime the NLF can get there and the GVN are seated we
are prepared to stop the bombing 24 hours in advance.
Secretary Rusk: That is good. We will say that the United States Government will stop the bombing 24 hours in advance
of the time the GVN delegates are there, and when Hanoi can get the NLF delegates there.
Bill Bundy: I agree. It is the only way to keep the Armed Services with us.
Secretary Clifford: We must make it clear that we have no intention of stopping the bombing until we know the date of
the meeting at which the GVN will be present.
Walt Rostow: We do not care about the NLF.
Secretary Clifford: We will stop the bombing 24 hours before such a meeting.
For Cy Vance and Averell Harriman, we say that the presence of the GVN there at the first meeting is only symbolic. We
just need a warm body.
Secretary Rusk: They said that too.
The President: Let's do everything possible to make sure that this thing is held tightly. I hope all of you will just close up
the State Department and lock the doors.

74. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, October 15, 1968, 1059Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan/Double Plus. Drafted by Read; cleared by Rostow, Bundy, Katzenbach, and
Read; and approved by Rusk.

255269/Todel 1277. Reference: State 254715, Paris 22390./2/


/2/See Document 65 and footnote 4 thereto.
This message must not be executed and next private meeting must not be requested until you receive go ahead from
Washington, but we thought prepositioning cleared text would help you plan next step.
Begin Message: You should now seek private meeting soonest with Thuy to deliver instruction set forth in State 254715,
with following modifications based in part on your 22390:
1. In paragraph 2 of the oral message strike the phrase "as a whole" and at the end of the complete five paragraph
message add the question "What is your response?"
If the DRV representatives express any objection to our points on the DMZ or the cities you should inform them that this
is a matter which would have the most serious consequences and require basic reappraisal by the USG.
Note: We prefer that you retain language indicating that serious talks should begin the next day as set forth in the oral
message paragraph 2 rather than the alternative which you have suggested, since we attach importance to visible
meeting including GVN the day following cessation.
2. On reconnaissance you should emphasize strongly, by repeating or otherwise calling attention to the phrase "all other
acts involving use of force" in paragraph 2 of the message. If the DRV probes the meaning of this phrase you should
then proceed as set forth in 3a to list examples of such "other acts". End Message./3/
/3/In a situation report, October 15, 1:30 p.m., Read noted: "In accordance with the instructions from the Secretary, I
phoned Cy Vance on the secure line just before he left for the 8:00 p.m. (Paris time) meeting with Thuy. I told him that if
Hanoi's response was favorable in all respects tonight he should tell Thuy Washington would act promptly in a day or
two and that he would let Thuy know as soon as possible when such actions would be taken." (National Archives and
Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968) Thuy's negative response
was reported in telegram 22466/Delto 827 from Paris, October 16. (Ibid.)
Rusk

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 75-96

October 16-25, 1968: Negotiating the Understanding


75. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/
Saigon, October 16, 1968, 0815Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Harvan/Double Plus. Received at 4:57 a.m. In an attached covering
note transmitting a copy of this telegram to the President, October 16, 8:30 a.m., Rostow wrote: "Bunker's full account of
how the leak occurred in Saigon. As you see, the story converges with Le Duc Tho's movements and the surfacing of
the lull." The notation "ps" on the covering note indicates that the President saw it and the attached telegram.
40830. Subject: Security Breach. communiqu
1. I regret to inform you that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, following Thieu's meeting with the National Security Council,
called in the Ambassadors of Korea and Thailand, and then the Chargs of Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines,
at 12:00 and 12:30 respectively, to report to them as troop contributing countries that South Viet-Nam and the United
States are considering a bombing cessation.
2. When Thieu told me of this I expressed shock that this action had been taken at this juncture. When Thieu realized
that this action had been taken prematurely, he said that they were not being told very much, only that there might be
some developments along these lines.
3. I sent Berger immediately to talk to the Foreign Minister, who came out of his meeting with the three Chargs. Thanh
said that he had already revealed the information and Berger asked him to inform the Chargs and then the
Ambassadors, that the information he had imparted was already known, and only known, to their Heads of State. It was
very important that they do not cable this information to their Foreign Ministries or other persons in the governments, but
hold it for the time being in view of the delicacy of the talks. The Foreign Minister said he would do this. He would also
call the two Ambassadors.
I followed up by calls to the Thai and ROK Ambassadors, both of whom gave me their word that they would not send
any message. We are seeing the three Chargs urgently to impress on them the need to refrain from sending
messages. My main concern is the Filipino, Bartolome./2/ Suggest you consider informing Marcos.
/2/Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam.
5. I cannot account for Thieu's instruction to the Foreign Minister to call in the TCC representatives. At my seven o'clock
meeting this morning he said he would at some stage call in the TCC representatives, but I never dreamed that he
would move in this fashion, since I made it clear that we did not have the results of the private meeting, and that the
TCCwould be informed as soon as we did have the results and were taking action. I had impressed on him at each
meeting that only the Heads of State of the TCC countries had been informed of what was going on (I did not mention
our omission of Marcos), and that the whole matter was of the highest sensitivity.
6. Many rumors now circulating here about bomb cessation as a result of lull in the fighting, return from Paris to Hanoi of
Le Duc Tho, editor queries to local correspondents during last two days, and now my seven o'clock and then noon
meeting with Thieu.
All this together with the possibility of a leak, makes me wonder how long we will be able to keep situation quiet. Our
contingency planning for any press questions would be to note that these are only speculative rumors and that we have
no comment./3/
/3/In telegram 257010 to Saigon, October 17, the Department transmitted the following instructions from the President to
Bunker: "The leaks out of Saigon--which continue--are a cause of the greatest concern to the President. They generate
in the United States enormous confusion and pressure. They may very well interfere with the possibility of carrying
forward a successful negotiation at a critical stage. You should, therefore, tell Thieu that we may not be able to give him

as much notice should the negotiating process bring us to a moment of decision, unless better communications security
prevails." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Miscellaneous Top Secret
Cables) Karamessines sent two CIA memoranda to Rostow and Rusk, October 18 and 19, which reported Thieu's
concern over having to deal with the NLF on an equal basis and Ky's recommendations that Thieu extract as many
concessions as possible at this time. (Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-207A, DDO Files, Folder 1)
Bunker

76. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 16, 1968, 9:30 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; Harvan/Double Plus. The notation "ps" on the memorandum indicates that the President
saw it. Harriman and Vance's written report on their meeting with Thuy and Lau was transmitted in telegrams
22486/Delto 830 and 22490/Delto 832 from Paris, both October 16. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG
59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
Mr. President:
Herewith the Vance-Read telephone report of this morning's meeting.
The message was delivered. Thuy said he fully understood the message. He considered that our insistence on the
participation of the GVN the next day after a bombing cessation a "new condition." Thuy had never promised to deliver
the NLF the next day.
Thuy believes that the Politburo in Hanoi will reject this new condition. Nevertheless, he will pass along, in fullest detail,
Harriman and Vance's protestation and argument; namely, that the "serious talks" which are promised for the next day
must, in our view, include the GVN and the NLF.
Thuy said there was an "outside chance" that, in the light of the fully detailed arguments of Harriman and Vance, the
Politburo might accept our linking of "serious talks" with the GVN-NLF presence.
Harriman and Vance pushed hard for the earliest possible reply. Thuy could make no promise.
Lau made a very pointed warning about our not revealing the exist-ence of the private meetings.
Harriman and Vance commented that they had searched the record very fully and that, strictly speaking, Thuy has a
point. We never stated flatly that the GVN must be present the day after the bombing cessation. What we did was to say
that "serious talks" must begin the next day and there could be no "serious talks" without the GVN.
Therefore, in strict diplomatic terms, they do not regard Thuy's observation as necessarily being in bad faith.
Walt

77. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Senator Mike Mansfield/1/
Washington, October 16, 1968, 9:34 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Mansfield, October 16, 1968, 9:34 a.m., Tape F68.07, PNO 1. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.
President: Mike?

Mansfield: Yes sir.


President: This thing I talked to you about yesterday./2/ They do not--they welched on it.
/2/The President met with Mansfield for approximately half an hour beginning at noon the previous day. (Ibid.,
President's Daily Diary)
Mansfield: Oh.
President: So, I thought I ought to tell you because you had more information than anybody else. And I don't want no
other human to know it, so I wouldn't say anything about it, but the facts were these. When we went over the GVN with
them, they said, "Yeah, that's fine." And when we went over the other two things, the cities and the DMZ, why, we
stopped and paused, and went real slow so they would get the full impact and there'd be no misunderstanding, and they
listened to that and nodded, and raised no objection. We went all the way through it, and they said, "This is all fine, but,"
he said, "you say here that you'll meet the next day with us with the Government of Vietnam. We have to have the NLF,
and we don't know how long it will take to get them." Now we said, "Well, that's all right. We'll be glad if you'll go get
them." They said, "No, we think you better stop bombing and then we'll go look for them." Now we said, "No, you said in
your talks that if we would stop bombing that you'd be willing to start discussions the next day. This is your language,
and so we're ready to take this language." Well they said, "We don't know whether Hanoi'd approve this. We have to go
back to Hanoi."/3/
/3/See Document 76.
So, that's a lot of wrangle on that, and our interpretation is that we had a couple of unfortunate speeches, and that
they're trying to see if we're going to get any weaker here. [McGeorge] Bundy went out and made a fool speech about
withdrawing troops and getting them down to a hundred thousand--our pulling out and it costing too much./4/ Just today,
and then while they was--just before they went into the meeting, Hubert came out and said that he was going to stop it
period, no comma, no semi-colon, just plain outright stop it./5/ So of course, that was big flashes to both of them. We
don't know--they said anyway that they've got to go back to Hanoi and talk to them. Our people interpret that as an
indication that something's come up--that they've got some new intelligence--because the three things that we have had
that we kind of understood. It really doesn't represent much change on our part. It doesn't represent much change on
their part, except for the GVN. Now, they're not arguing about that. They're not saying they don't want to. So, we will just
have to take the position that every--that we do have these discussions back and forth. But Vance didn't come over here
for any new instructions. We didn't give him anything at all. I just told him, "For God sakes, to try to get some kind of
peace in my time, that I had given up everything to try to do it, and I wanted it honorable but I wanted it." And I told
Averell the same thing. And I told Thieu that, and Thieu did play ball with us. And Huong played ball with us. And the
son-of-a-bitch out there, the Senate--Foreign Minister, whatever his name is,/6/ he leaked the story when I told him. He
said he's expecting them to sign right away, and of course he looks like an ass today.
/4/See Document 63.
/5/See Document 40.
/6/Tran Chanh Thanh.
But I just thought that in the light of all the background that you ought to know that the ball's in their court. That we are
ready and willing and anxious and eager to sit down with them tomorrow, with the NLF. And they said, "Well, we have to
go and look up the [Central] Committee, it's somewhere in South Vietnam." We said, "Well, you've got a lot of
representatives here. You've got spokesmen. You've got press. And why don't you bring one of them in, and we'll do the
same thing. We'll bring in some South Vietnamese. It's just purely symbolic for both of them." And Vance tried to get
them to do that but they said no.
So our interpretation is that we had two unfortunate speeches and we'll have to ride them out a few days and see what
happens. I can't believe that they'd pay much attention to speeches. But something changed their mind. The Rusk folks-the diplomats--think that they got some, some key here. Nixon has said something. I thought he'd had some effect, but
he kept quiet. He did send Smathers down and wanted to know if we'd stop the bombing, and I didn't tell him anything. I
just said, "Our position is the same as it's always been. We're anxious to stop it. We want to stop it. And if they'll meet
with the GVN, and not bomb the room we're in--not blow us up, why we'll sure do it." But that's been our position all
along. I've said it publicly--at San Antonio--a hundred times, and that's all it is. When and if it gets beyond that, before
we stop the bombing, I'm going to talk to every candidate. You can tell Nixon that, you can tell Humphrey and everybody
else, and I am before I stop it. That doesn't mean, though, before I sign up. But I'm telling you more than I'm telling any
human except Rusk and Clifford, and I just want you to help me and advise me, and--how would you interpret their
pulling out?

Mansfield: Just about the way you did. But I wouldn't give up hope. I would keep pushing them.
President: We are. I told Rusk this morning to tell them that they said, well, that one day--they couldn't get them there.
We said: "Well, we'll take one week."
Mansfield: Sure.
President: "Or if you want, why we'll take one month. You just go on and get them. Lock them and put them in a
goddamn trailer and get an oxcart to bring them if you want to. But the moment you deliver them, whenever you're
ready, we're ready."
Mansfield: Yeah.
President: And tell--they said, well, that they're liable to interpret this one day--we said we'd meet the next day--as a
condition, a new condition of the United States. That's what the North Vietnamese said: "The United States is imposing
a new condition when it says they'll meet the next day." And our people said: "No, that's your language. In our talk, you
said that if we stop the bombing, serious talks can begin the next day. So that's what we're doing." Well, they said,
"That's interesting. But we'll have to go to Hanoi. We don't have the authority." Now this fellow's gone back to Hanoi;
after Bundy made his speech, he just lit out for Hanoi right quick. And I don't know whether George Ball--George is a
good man, but he's not the brightest fellow all the time, and I think he advised Humphrey to make another statement.
And another thing that's real bad is that they were working on Humphrey's speech over in Paris. That's just inexcusable,
don't you think?
Mansfield: I do indeed.
President: Well, I just thought you ought to know it because it may blow on us someday, and I couldn't help it--didn't
know it until after it was over with. Cy Vance came back and I asked him what the hell they were doing listening to this
speech. And he said, "Well, he had his superior, and Averell had been Democratic governor, and he felt very strong."
And I said, "Well, now, your first instruction was to have no politics in this." He said, "Well, they talked to him." I said,
"Who'd you talk to?" He said he couldn't remember. I just look at him and laughed. I said, "Cy, you Wall Street lawyer,
you're telling me a man come from the United States and talked to you about this and you can't remember?" and
laughed and said, "Yeah, George Ball's partner."/7/
/7/George Fitzgibbon.
Mansfield: George Ball's partner?
President: Yeah. Um-hm. So it was messy. And then Averell had been meeting with George Ball the week before. And
Averell's a little bit old. I really wish I had Clifford in those negotiations because, God, he's smart and able and tough on
negotiators.
Mansfield: He can't do it in his position.
President: No. No, he couldn't. He'd be the war-monger, you know. I wouldn't even let him go by there when he went to
Germany this time. I could have Goldberg, but Goldberg just talks all the time. And he wants to be the Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court. He says you've got to be for him, and Dirksen's got to be for him, and everybody up there's going to
be for him if I've just got guts enough to name him.
Mansfield: Well you handled that right. You handled that right.
President: Well, I haven't handled it yet. It's still-Mansfield: Well, that's what I mean, the way you did.
[The President laughs.]
[Omitted here is discussion of the nomination of Special Assistant Harold Barefoot Sanders to a circuit court judicial
appointment in Texas.]
President: Well, you please don't discuss this with anybody. When the newspaper men ask you about it, I think what I'd

say is that you believe the man wants to stop the bombing more than anybody else--that Johnson has got more in it
himself than anybody who's in it everyday. But he has taken his position and he has offered his proposal, and as near
as you can tell, there is not one thing that has been signed on over there. Now that's a true, accurate statement, and all
these rumors to the contrary notwithstanding. And then before anything comes, I will call you first.
Mansfield: OK.
President: Bye.
Mansfield: Thanks. Bye.

78. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, October 16, 1968, 1126Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Harvan/Double Plus. Drafted by Read and Bundy, cleared by Clifford and Read, and
approved by Rusk.
256008/Todel 1284. For Harriman and Vance. Deliver at Opening of Business.
1. At the teabreak tomorrow you should tell Thuy or hand him a note, if you think that preferable for security or other
reasons, indicating: (1) We have no intention of stopping the bombing until the DRV is willing to give us a date on which
we can begin serious talks with GVN representatives present; (2) The DRV has repeatedly indicated that serious talks
could begin the day after cessation and when the DRV advises us of the date on which such talks can start we are
prepared to stop the bombing the day before those talks in accordance with our presentation of October 15;/2/ (3) We
see no reason for further delay and urge proceeding soonest even though it may mean starting with temporary GVN and
NLF representatives who could be made available promptly and then be replaced by other representatives on their
arrival. FYI: From our point of view the presence of "warm bodies" at the table the day following cessation is important
as a symbol and it does not matter if they are soon thereafter replaced by permanent representatives. End FYI.
/2/See Document 71.
2. As we have emphasized in our separate cable to Saigon,/3/ any delay will of course create a really serious hazard of
leak. We know that you will be doing everything possible to handle this at your end, as we shall here.
/3/Document 79.
Rusk

79. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam/1/


Washington, October 16, 1968, 1121Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Harvan/Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Bundy, and cleared by Read. Repeated to
Bangkok, Canberra, Manila, Seoul, and Wellington.
256007. Deliver by hand to Ambassador or Charg.
1. Saigon should promptly inform Thieu that in private session in Paris on Tuesday/2/ night based on telecons only so
far:
/2/October 15.

a. Our basic understandings on military restraints concerning DMZ and major cities were again restated without
challenge.
b. We used form of words that clearly excluded reconnaissance, twice without challenge.
c. However, while expressing agreement in principle to GVN (and NLF) inclusion, Hanoi representatives said that they
could not promise to get authorized NLF representatives to Paris on a date certain, but would do so "as promptly as
possible."
2. Accordingly, we have decided that we cannot adhere to any schedule for announcement or action until we get a firm
date from DRV as to when NLF representatives will appear. We are telling Hanoi at Wednesday tea break that we
cannot set any date for cessation of bombing until we know a firm date at which formal serious talks would get under
way with the GVN present. (On Tuesday night, Hanoi represent-atives rejected having the GVN present without the
NLF.) We are going on to say that, once we know the firm date for serious talks, we would be prepared to have the
bombing stopped 24 hours in advance.
3. You may tell Thieu that we are somewhat at a loss to explain this inability to set a definite date. However, we suppose
it is conceivable that Hanoi and NLF have genuine difficulties and perhaps are troubled about transit through Communist
China.
4. Saigon should thus report fully what has taken place in Paris. However, to avoid getting in the position of reporting
every phase of the play, other addressees should simply pass the word quietly not indicating when or how received that
Hanoi was unable to set a precise date for serious talks with the GVN present, so that we are waiting for them to do so.
You may indicate that rest of information received did indicate likely arrangement along the lines already presented.
5. Above all, Saigon and all addressees should stress in the strongest possible terms the importance of maintaining
security. This is absolutely vital from every standpoint.
6. Wellington should quietly inform Marshall or White, indicating that we were unable to reach Holyoake or Laking, but
will do so tomorrow morning through Corner. Canberra should inform Hewitt or Gorton, and again we will tell Waller in
the morning. Bangkok should know that we have not yet informed Thanat in any way, aid now propose to wait until the
arrangement becomes firm, including the date./3/
/3/Reference is to Prime Minister of New Zealand Keith Holyoake, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand John
Marshall, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States F.A. Corner, Australian Prime Minister John Gorton, Australian
Ambassador to the United States Sir John Waller, and Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Thanat Khoman.
7. We assume Saigon will be letting us know in any event whether proposed joint announcement is satisfactory. We will
try if possible to coordinate this with all TCC before the time comes for its use.
Rusk

80. Telephone Conversation Among President Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, and George
Wallace/1/
October 16, 1968, 11:41 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Among Johnson, Nixon,
Humphrey, and Wallace, October 16, 1968, 11:41 a.m., Tape F6810.04, PNO 2-3. No classification marking. This
transcript was prepared specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. An unknown White House telephone
operator was on the line to arrange the call. Humphrey was the Democratic Presidential candidate, Nixon the
Republican candidate, and Wallace the Independent candidate. From Washington the President reached Humphrey at
St. Louis, Missouri; Nixon at Kansas City, Missouri; and Wallace at Los Angeles, California. The conversation lasted 18
minutes. The entry for this meeting in the Daily Diary reads: "Vietnam Situation--White House Release on Reported
Peace Negotiations." (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
President: Hello?
Operator: Mr. President, I have not told them that this is a conference call. Do you want me to do so?

President: Do what?
Operator: I have not told them that they're all going to be on with you.
President: I'll tell them.
Operator: I'll put them right on.
President: Hello?
Operator: Just a moment. Go ahead please.
President: This is the President. This is a conference call that I have set up. I asked the operator to get the three
Presidential candidates so that I might review for you a matter of the highest national importance and one which I know
concerns you this morning. I will make notes of this--a transcription of it--and you are at liberty to do likewise, if you are
prepared to do it. If not, you can take notes. If not, I will review it with you in more detail at a later date.
Nixon: Sure. Fine.
President: Who was that speaking?
Nixon: Yeah, I'm on.
President: Hubert, are you on?
Humphrey: Yes, sir.
President: George, are you on? George? Hello, George? Hello, George? Tell the operator that Wallace is not on. I think
I will go with you. They told me they had all three connected. This is in absolute confidence because any statement or
any speeches or any comments at this time referring to the substance of these matters will be injurious to your country. I
don't think there's any question about that.
First, I want to say this, that our position, the government position, today is exactly what it was the last time all three of
you were briefed. That position, namely, is this. We are anxious to stop the bombing and would be willing to stop the
bombing if they would sit down with us with the Government of Vietnam present and have productive discussions. We
have told them that we did not think we could have discussions if, while we were talking, they were shelling the cities or
if they were abusing the DMZ. From time to time, beginning back late last Spring, they have nibbled back and forth at
these various items. Each time they do, there is a great flurry of excitement. We have been hopeful one day that they
would understand this. We don't want to call it reciprocity--we don't want to call it conditions--because they object to
using those words, and that just knocks us out of an agreement. But we know that you join us in wanting peace the
earliest day we can and to save lives as quickly as we can and as many as we can. So, one day we're hopeful, and the
next day we're very disillusioned.
Now, as of today, they have not signed on and agreed to the proposition which I have outlined to you, nor have they
indicated that this would be a satisfactory situation to them in its entirety. Our negotiators are back and forth talking to
them, and they have just finished their meeting in Paris this morning. But, yesterday in Saigon, because there are
exchanges constantly going on, there came out a report that there was an agreement that would be announced at a
specific hour./2/ This morning in Paris the same thing happened, and Harriman had to knock that down./3/ We posted a
notice here at the White House that said the same thing.
/2/See Document 75.
/3/See Document 76.
Now, very frankly, we would hope that we could have a minimum of discussion in the newspapers about these
conferences because we are not going to get peace with public speeches and we're not going to get peace through the
newspapers. We can get it only when they understand that our position is a firm one, and we're going to stay by it. And
what y'all's position would be when you get to be President, I hope you could announce it then. Because we have really
this kind of a situation. If I have a house to sell, and I put a rock bottom price of $40,000 on it, and the prospective
purchaser says, "Well, that's a little high, but let me see." And he goes--starts to leave to talk to his wife about it, and

Lady Bird [Johnson] whispers, "I would let you have it for $35,000." And then he gets downstairs, and Lynda Bird
[Johnson] says, "We don't like the old house anyway, you can get it for $30,000." Well, he's not likely to sign up.
Nixon: Yeah.
President: The Bundy speech/4/ didn't do us any good, and there are other speeches that are not helping at all because
these people--when they read one of these speeches and hear them, well, then they take off for Hanoi, or they do
something else.
/4/See Document 63.
The government's position is going to be this. I--we are willing to stop the bombing when it will not cost us men's lives,
when the Government of South Vietnam can be a party to the negotiations, and when they will not abuse the DMZ and
not shell the cities. Now, we do not have to get a firm contract on all these three things. But I do have to have good
reason to believe that it won't be on-again-off-again Flanagan; that I won't have to stop bombing one day and start it the
next. Now, obviously, they can deceive me, and we know that in dealing with the Communists that they frequently do
that. We have had a good many experiences in that right in these negotiations.
But what I called you for was to say in substance this: our position has not changed. I do not plan to see a change. I
have not issued any such orders. I will talk to each of you before I do, and all of you on an equal basis. I know you don't
want to play politics with your country. I'm trying to tell you what my judgment is about how not to play politics with it,
and I know all of you want peace at the earliest possible moment, and I would just express the hope that you be awfully
sure what you are talking about before you get into the intricacies of these negotiations. Over. Now, I'll be glad to have
any comment any of you want to make or answer any questions.
Humphrey: No comment, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
Nixon: Well, as you know, my--this is consistent with what my position has been all along. I made it very clear that I will
make no statement that will undercut the negotiations. So we'll just stay right on there and hope that this thing works
out.
President: George, are you on?
Wallace: Yes, sir, Mr. President, and of course, that's my position all along, too--is the position you stated, yes, sir, and I
agree with you that we shouldn't play any politics in this matter so that it might foul up the negotiations in any manner.
President: Thank you very much. Now, what our policy is going to be I think all of you should know. It's not going to be
an impetuous or hasty policy. I've outlined it to you. I do not want you to speak about it. I do not want you to lay down
these points, because if you do, that causes them to say that they're conditions and it's reciprocity, and they may be
able to take them if they don't think they're going to get something better by just waiting a few weeks or a few days.
Now--so I think it is very important that this be confidential. Do you know whether your talking to me is knowledge to any
of your people?
Nixon: In my case, the phone was picked up by somebody here--I'm at the Union Station in Kansas City--the phone was
picked up by somebody else. It may be known, but I will seal them down. I'll just tell them we got a routine report.
President: Okay. If anybody asks, we will not mention it here, if they ask us, that we stated the facts as we see them.
Namely, that there has been no agreement between us, that we will constantly negotiate, and when there is, well, the
candidates will be among the first informed. Now, I'm not going to agree to anything unless my advisers--the Secretary
of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and all the Joint Chiefs themselves--consider the
matter and give me their best judgment. And I get that from time to time. And it is all of their best judgment now at this
moment that the position I have stated to you is the soundest position for this country. Namely, the Government of
Vietnam must be included, and we could not expect an American President to have good discussions very long if they
were shelling the cities or if they were abusing the DMZ.
Humphrey: Mr. President?
President: Yes?
Humphrey: It's obvious that I am here at a school and I'm all alone. There's nobody with me, and they do not know that
I've got a call from you. But I have been held up at a meeting, and the press is very alert. I'm just simply--is it all right to

just simply say that we've had our regular report?


Nixon: That's good.
President: Well, what I'm fearful of--I'm afraid if they think that we're doing this, it will put a seriousness on it that
wouldn't be justified.
Humphrey: What can we say?
President: I think, if you want to, I will just say that I called the three of you and I read to you the notice that Christian has
posted here this morning-Humphrey: Very good.
President: Which I will read to you now. It, in effect, says that these reports are premature, that there has been no
agreement, and that we're not signed on with them at all.
Nixon: Good.
President: Let me read it to you. "The position of the United States with respect to Vietnam remains as set forth by the
President and Secretary of State. The position"--you can write this down--"The position of the United States with respect
to Vietnam remains as set forth by the President and the Secretary of State. There has been no basic change in the
situation; no breakthrough."
Humphrey: All right.
President: "As you have been advised, when there is anything to report, you will, of course, be informed promptly."
Nixon: Right.
Humphrey: Now, I want to make this point to all of you candidates. First, I think you want to know what the situation is so
you won't jeopardize it. Second, I don't want any one of the three of you to think that I am going to give a preference to
any person. When we know what is happening that is significant to you, I will call each one of you just as quickly as I
can before I would issue any orders. I think I have that obligation to you for your responsibility. So, don't think you are
going to get tricked or deceived.
Now, we will be negotiating. We might sign up in--5 minutes ago. Our judgment is we won't. But this is our position.
They have not accepted it, and I'm going on until January 20 along this line. I don't say there won't be some modification
or moderation. But, in principle, this formula must be our government position as long as I'm here. Over.
Nixon: We got it.
President: Is that clear to all of you?
Nixon: We'll maintain your position. And Mr. Vice President, I'll see you tonight.
Humphrey: Yes, sir. Thank you.
Nixon: At the Al Smith Dinner./5/
/5/For the President's remarks at the annual Al Smith Dinner that evening in New York, at which both Nixon and
Humphrey were present, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon Johnson, 1968-69, Book II,
pp. 1041-1043. Nixon noted that the President reassured him that he was still intent on achieving reciprocal action from
the North Vietnamese before he would assent to a termination of the bombing effort during the dinner. (Ibid.) In his
memoirs, Nixon recalled the conversation: "There was no breakthrough in Paris. The rumors were wrong. He urged us
not to say anything. He said that there had in fact been some movement by Hanoi, but that anything might jeopardize it.
I asked for some assurance that he was still insisting on reciprocity from the Communists for any concessions on our
part, and Johnson replied that he was maintaining that three points had to be met: (1) Prompt and serious talks must
follow any bombing halt; (2) Hanoi must not violate the Demilitarized Zone; and (3) the Vietcong or the North
Vietnamese would not carry out large-scale rocket attacks against South Vietnam's major cities. If these conditions were

fulfilled, of course, I would support whatever arrangements Johnson could work out." See Richard Nixon, RN: The
Memoirs of Richard Nixon (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978), p. 325.
Humphrey: What time are you coming?
Nixon: I'll be there; I'm flying in from Kansas City. I'll be there about 7:30 p.m.
Humphrey: Are you coming in at the beginning of the dinner?
Nixon: Oh, yes. I'll get there. You won't make it that early?
Humphrey: Are you wearing a white tie?
Nixon: Oh, yes.
Humphrey: I gather. Okay.
Nixon: I've got to go home and put the thing on.
Humphrey: Okay.
Nixon: All right. Thank you.
Wallace: Goodbye.
President: Goodbye, George.
Wallace: Mr. President?
President: Yes, George?
Wallace: Now, you asked if anyone knew about this call. Now, the Secret Service did know about the call.
President: That's all right. We won't say anything about it, unless they quiz you. If they quiz you, the reporters, you say
the President read you the memorandum which stated that the government position would remain as set forth by him in
his public speeches, and there had been no change--the rumors to the contrary--there had been no breakthrough, and
that he wanted to inform me of this fact because of the gossip so I wouldn't be up in the dark, and that he would keep
me informed if there is any action taken.
Humphrey: Very good.
Wallace: Well, Mr. President, do you think continued talk about the matter of Vietnam is endangering the peace talks in
any manner?
President: Well, I think it's what you say--what people say--that does. I think that if they think that either Wallace or
Humphrey or Nixon--if they can hold out 3 more weeks and get a little better deal--buy the horse a little cheaper from
you than they can from me, they're going to wait. You know that much.
Wallace: Yes, sir. But as long as we're strong. I've taken a strong position, and I don't want to do anything or say
anything.
President: I know. What I'd do, I'd just give my views on it, but I'd bear in mind constantly that the enemy is looking at
everything that's said in this country. We had a speech made day before yesterday, and a few hours later, they came in
and said, "Well, we've got to go back to Hanoi." And they did. Now, I think if I were in their place and I were negotiating,
and I read that Ho Chi Minh was in a sick bed, and in 3 weeks he would be out, and a better deal's awaiting me, and the
new--and the new President would really do better than he's doing, I just don't think I would dash in. Don't you feel that
way?

Wallace: I agree with you.


President: Anybody that ever bought a cat knows that. And let's just all try to stay together. I suggested to Secretary
Rusk that he get all three of you to sign a statement that would say our government has taken a position; we cannot
change that position until January 20th; therefore, we will stand behind that position until we take office, and then let
Harriman read that to them so they would know it. But before we got around and got the thing written, why it kind of blew
up, and we decided it wasn't wise to do it.
But whatever you can do in the way of peace offers or things of that kind, I would be awfully careful. As a matter of fact, I
never will agree to one sentence until I have gone over it with my Joint Chiefs of Staff and Rusk and Katzenbach and
Clark Clifford and Dick Helms. And if I am afraid to make a statement like that with all of these people advising us
constantly, you can imagine how a fellow is out at a box supper or a school or at a country picnic--he's shooting from the
hip. And I just hope that you'll understand that if you make a statement and it blows these conferences, I think it will hurt
you more than you will gain from talking about the details of a peace offer right now. Wait until you get to January 20th,
and then you can really get into it deep.
Wallace: Mr. President, I'm not even going to say a thing to the newsmen if they ask me. I'm just going to say that I'm
just campaigning. How's that?
President: That's okay. Thank you, gentlemen.
Nixon: Very good.
Wallace: Thank you, Mr. President. Bye-bye.

81. Telephone Conversation Between Senator Everett Dirksen and President Johnson/1/
October 16, 1968, 3:27 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Dirksen, October 16, 1968, 3:27 p.m., Tape F6810.04, PNO 5. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian. From Washington Johnson placed the call to Dirksen, who was
in Champaign, Illinois, in order to inquire about a statement the Senator had made during a speech in Chicago. (Ibid.,
President's Daily Diary) This conversation followed a telephone call Johnson had made to Dirksen earlier that day
regarding his briefing of the Presidential candidates. Dirksen made the following pledge: "You stand your ground and I
stand with you." (Ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Dirksen, October 16, 1968, 1:40 p.m., Tape F6810.04, PNO 4)
President: Everett?
Dirksen: Yeah?
President: Everett, there's two things I wanted to raise with you. First, we're being asked about some statement which
you made in a speech that any peace thing would be politics before the election, or something like that. I-Dirksen: Let me tell you what that was.
President: I'm gonna dodge out of it. But I got out of this race to get out of politics and get into peace and I'm going to
get peace any day I can if it's right up to the night of the election 'cause I got a lot of boys out there and I want to stop
killing them when I can.
Dirksen: 25 reporters were in Chicago there at the lawyers' breakfast. The goddamned UPI said, "So, you think it's a
gimmick?" I said, "I didn't say anything of the kind, and I'm not going to say anything until I find out what the story is."
President: All right, well, that's-Dirksen: "So you think that's a gimmick?" I said, "You put words into my mouth, mister, and don't do it." He wrote that
down. We just caught it down-state here.

President: Well, all of them are calling us and wanting to know what's our response and I just told them that-Dirksen: You're going to tie it up and down for me.
President: We're not going to have any--we're not going to get into a fight with you. Now the second thing is we must not
mention--we must not mention the DMZ and the shelling of the cities because if they think--if they think that this is
reciprocity, their yellow Oriental face--they've got to save it. Now what we're doing there, when and if we ever do get a
peace, we're going to say to them, that we will stop the bombing, but we want you to know that if you shell the cities, it
starts it immediately. We want you to know if you abuse the DMZ, it starts it automatically. Now they can refuse to do
something better than they can agree to it. Do you follow me? So don't spell out those things unless you have to. Now
the main position is I think we've got to take is that the President has taken the position that he would not stop the
bombing as long as it endangered American men. Therefore, you do not see how any man could want to stop killing the
enemy only to start killing our own men. And that's where we're going to stand. And when and if they ever come under,
why the first ones to know it will be you and Mansfield and the candidates, and I'll tell them all. But they have not--they
have not agreed to anything like this, but we don't want to point out what they've got to agree to because if we do they
never will agree to anything. Okay?
Dirksen: All right. Bye.

82. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, October 16, 1968, 1514Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Harvan/Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk, and cleared by Bundy and Read.
256063/Todel 1287. For Ambassador Harriman from the Secretary.
We have been proceeding here on the basis that a cessation of the bombing would be followed immediately by talks in
which the GVN would participate. This is not only a fundamental point of policy but it is the only immediate and visible
sign that Hanoi has moved at any point. This is a fundamental requirement because otherwise we would be in the
position of a unilateral cessation of bombing with nothing in exchange. You have insisted that we not make public points
of the DMZ and attacks on the cities because that would offend Hanoi's attitude toward "conditions." We have accepted,
even though with some misgiving, your view that silence on the part of Hanoi on these two points was an adequate
basis on which to proceed, with the clear understanding that we would resume the bombing immediately if we were
disappointed.
We must have a day certain for the beginning of the talks in which the GVN is present before we can deliver our part of
the arrangement, namely, the cessation of the bombing. A bombing cessation followed by a week or a month's delay in
getting off to serious talks would create an utterly impossible situation both internationally and domestically. Bunker and
Thieu simply could not manage the situation in Saigon under such circumstances.
The North Vietnamese Delegation has, according to your reports, said the talks could "begin the next day." We do not
believe that we can abandon this idea on the grounds that this phrase was used at an earlier stage, before Hanoi
indicated they would agree to the presence of the GVN and that the talks on the next day would be about the question of
representation.
The visibility of the presence of the GVN, again, is the only thing we could point to in connection with the major move by
the United States in stopping the bombing. Since the presence of the GVN is utterly fundamental we cannot take our
step with ambiguity or delays on this most fundamental point of all. We simply cannot take any risk of being in the
position of having to resume the bombing after a few days because we are wrangling about the question of
representation.
You need not adhere rigidly to "the next day" if you can get a date certain within two or three days but we must be able
to point to that date at the time of stopping the bombing if we need to.
I went over with Dobrynin last night your talk yesterday and found he completely understood the importance of this point
to the President and said he would immediately report it to his government./2/ There may be some Russian help behind
the scenes on this one.

/2/The record of this discussion is in a memorandum of conversation between Rusk and Dobrynin, October 15.
(Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol I [2
of 3])
It seems to me that the simple fact is that we have accepted Hanoi's proposition, we are prepared to stop the bombing
today and we want to know when they will deliver what they have promised to deliver. The object of the Paris talks is not
to get the United States to stop the bombing but to move toward peace. The date is now up to Hanoi; we are ready. If
Hanoi cannot deliver an NLF Delegation, then we go back to the drawing boards. When Hanoi can deliver an NLF
Delegation, we can move.
You and Cy have handled these talks with great skill and we are all anxious, as you are, to move the matter forward. I
hope you can overcome this remaining obstacle promptly. Perhaps you should let the Hanoi Delegation know that you
are ready for another private meeting just as soon as they have heard from their government.
Rusk

83. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 17, 1968, 8:30 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, George M. Elsey Papers, Van De Mark Transcripts (1 of 2). No classification marking. This
was a regular daily meeting of the Secretary of Defense's top civilian advisers. The attendees are not indicated but
usually included Clifford, Nitze, Warnke, Goulding, Elsey, and Pursley. Also see Clark M. Clifford with Richard
Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 491.
CMC mutters he had to be back at W.Hse. again last nite (but on another matter unspecified).
0845 CMC: "There have been so many leaks, I think I now have the right to get out from under LBJ order to keep quiet.
Now that it's all leaked all over the world I want you men to have the background.
I've been hearing radio reports--some of them grossly inaccurate--& you men have to know I was called early Mon/2/ am
& told to be at WHse. Rusk, Rostow & Helms were there--we were given docs to read./3/
/2/Monday, October 14.
/3/See Document 67.
Over Sat & Sun, in a private talk between Harriman & Vance, the other side for 1st time had indicated GVN could sit at
the table in Paris. This was a sensational breakthru.
At a previous NSC meeting (when Geo Ball was there)/4/ the discussion had been as to what we could take as a
minimum consideration (for stopping bombing).
/4/See Document 35.
--Presence of GVN
--Demilitarization of DMZ
--Agreement not to shell Saigon & urban centers
--Geo Ball had said he'd waive all three!
--I (CMC) had said I'd settle for #1--GVN at table.
This to be a condition precedent
the other 2 could be conditions subsequent
If they could agree to that one understanding, we could start talks--but we'd break off if they violated grossly the other 2.

This is about how the talks in recent weeks have developed.


Word has come back that this was going to be acceptable to Hanoi.
All day Monday phone to Rusk/Vance in Paris etc etc---discussions of Releases, backgrounders, conferences-All thought out in detail.
All we needed was final word from Harriman & Vance that it was firm & when these talks could start--how soon after a
(theoretical) Mon. p.m. announcement by LBJ of bombing end--we thought it could start in 48 hrs! We shot word out to
Saigon--we even worked out who the GVN's man would be.
It all hinged on our testing Hanoi's good faith--if they shelled the cities etc etc--we'd know they didn't mean it, & we'd
break off & resume bombing. This was the logic I (CMC) got LBJ to go along with.
But Mon. nite, still no firm "O.K." from NVNam's man in Paris.
We talked on Tues/5/--we worked out Press statements. We checked at lunch Tues about LBJ's 16 pt checklist. Had
Bunker talked to Thieu etc etc etc--& system from LBJ to talk to all 3 candidates etc.
/5/See Document 72.
But Tues aft/even a new element was into the act. For the FIRST time in all the Paris talks, Xuan Thuy raised the point
that Hanoi wld have to get NLF permission & consent & there would have to be NLF representation!
He said in effect--"Stop the bombing, & we'll try to get NLF representation to Paris" no assurance as to when, how etc
etc etc.
We said--use your NLF Paris reps!
Xuan Thuy--"No, they're just newspaper men!"
Vance urged--"Go ahead & stop the bombing!"
CMC/Rusk/Rostow threshed around for hours. CMC says "I took the position we couldn't stop the bombing until we
knew when the talks were going to start . . . we couldn't stop with no assurance as to whether we would have to wait for
day after day after day or ever--for other side. So, now, we'll agree to:
--no signed agreement
--we'd stop the bombing if productive talks . . . start promptly we want/insist/GVN man there
we don't care whether NLF man is there or not--it's OK with us--but we won't stop the bombing without knowing for a
certainty there'll be a fast start."
From my seat, this reluctance by Hanoi casts a real suspicion . . .
We were prepared to stop the bombing last Monday nite & they knew it--but then they threw the hooker at us that they
would have to dicker with NLF & this could take weeks!!!
The deal was to have been:
A)--we stop the bombing in return for:
B)--They agree to talks with GVN sitting in
When we were ready to do A, they suddenly put B into a vague never-never future.

CMC argument to LBJ:


For LBJ to stop, now, he'll be unable to show what he got in return! Because he would have gotten nothing. & he'd be
subject to violent political criticism for doing it, all on grounds of LBJ trickery, for dom. pol. reasons.
CMC even angrier at some TV commentators who now say "Thieu vetoed the whole idea"--this will cause endless
trouble.
CMC reveals that at one pt, LBJ had all JCS at WHse. (incl. Westmoreland in from the Hospital!) to be sure he had
support & wouldn't be shot down from the rear!/6/
/6/See Document 69.
CMC says Harriman & Vance keep the Russians informed & Moscow is up on all this.
What we've done is disintegrate/end the NLF & so they have hardly anything left by way of strength.
CMC refers back to Monday--LBJ most of Monday still wanted all-three conditions & it took a lot of arguing to get him
around to accepting anything.
LBJ is absolutely wild at Mac Bundy. He thinks Bundy's speech/7/ screwed it all up! We know from intercepts how Hanoi
was elated by Bundy!
/7/See Document 63.
In the meantime, we're to hit VC as hard as we can with everything--the B[attleship] N. Jersey is South--we hit Laos too.
CMC spoke for 1 hr. & 10 mins. last night with Muskie by phone on "Round the World Tour d'horizon" (this was by
arrangement worked out by GME[lsey] with Muskie's Admin. Ass't.).
(Dean Rusk calls at 10:00 to scream at us to keep quiet on V Nam!)

84. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, October 17, 1968, 1640Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Harvan/Double Plus. Received at 1:06 p.m. In a covering note transmitting a copy of this
telegram to the President, October 17, 2:15 p.m., Rostow wrote: "Herewith Harriman's and Vance's report on their
meeting to get a date set for the quadripartite talks. It is not until para. 11 that they get our basic propositions stated
straight." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]) In a memorandum to the President, October 17, 9:15 a.m., Rostow discussed a telephone
report from Vance on this meeting, describing it in the following manner: "Pursuant to authority granted them, Cy met
this morning with Thuy. He made the point that the concept of meeting 'the next day' was Thuy's--not ours. What was
essential from our point of view was that a date certain be set. If, for example, a date for the meeting was set on
Monday, we were prepared to stop the bombing two or three days before. Vance found the subsequent conversation
interesting. Thuy virtually admitted there was a split in Hanoi. There were some, he said, who argued that this was
'reciprocity.' Thuy indicated that he was arguing in the other sense. Lau joined the conversation and indicated to Vance
how the hardliners make their arguments. It is now Harriman's and Vance's view that the earliest we can get a response
is Saturday, and we will probably not get a response until Monday. Their case is based on day's rest for Tho, upon his
return to Hanoi, plus some debating in the politburo in Hanoi." (Ibid.)
22579/Delto 840. 1. In accordance with authorization contained in State 256063,/2/ we met with Xuan Thuy and Ha Van
Lau for 1-1/4 hours, including tea, morning Oct. 17. National Assembly Deputy Nguyen Minh Vy, two notetakers and an
interpreter were also present on their side; Negroponte on ours.
/2/Document 82.

2. We said that since we had last met we had further confirmed that there had been a real misunderstanding as the
timing of the next meeting after the cessation of bombing. Our government had assumed that the DRV side's suggestion
to meet one day after the cessation of bombing would apply to any meeting, including a meeting at which
representatives of the GVN and the NLF would be present. We said that our government had been reassured by the
DRV side's expression of willingness to meet the day after a bombing cessation. And we had further assumed that the
DRV had already communicated with the NLF and received its agreement to meet at an early date, in fact the day after
the cessation of bombing.
3. We said it therefore came as a real surprise to us when Thuy had not been able to say when we would meet. Having
explained the misunderstanding, we said that the question of meeting the day after the cessation of bombing was not as
rigid as we had originally indicated it would be. But our government must have a fixed date for a meeting after the
cessation and, if the DRV side gives us a fixed day for the meeting, we could assure them that the bombing would stop
two or three days before that date. We said we were going into this detail so that there won't be a misunderstanding in
Hanoi. It would be a tragedy if further misunderstandings should occur in respect to this matter.
4. We said we hoped that Thuy would communicate what we had said to his government in extenso.
5. Thuy said that at the time of our October 15 meeting/3/ the DRV had not known whether the US would stop the
bombing if the DRV agreed to GVN participation and they had not arranged with the NLF a definite schedule for a
meeting. We said that this fact contributed to the misunderstanding.
/3/See Document 74.
6. Thuy said that previously we had told the DRV side that the bombing would stop 24 hours before a fixed date for a
meeting between the four parties. Now we say that it would be two or three days. Therefore, Thuy said, there is not
much difference between the two proposals. We disputed this. We said what our government wants to know is that there
will be a meeting and that it will be held promptly--two or three days after the bombing is stopped. There does not seem
to us to be any reason for delay.
7. Thuy said that on October 16 he had communicated to Hanoi in extenso the memorandum we had handed to him at
the tea break./4/ Thuy said that after receiving our memorandum he was afraid that Hanoi's views might change. What
would be the nature of this change? As Thuy had said yesterday at the tea break, whenever the NLF steps up its attack
against US positions in South Vietnam, the US clamors that the NLF is launching attacks while talks are going on in
Paris; and when there is a "relative lull" the US says the NLF is weak and cannot attack. At these conversations, Thuy
continued, the United States says that the DRV side has no good will, but when the DRV shows good will, then the
United States raises another demand. This, Thuy said, was what he thought might be Hanoi's attitude. That is, the US
will raise more and more conditions. However this morning we had given further explanation and Thuy said he would
report it.
/4/See Document 76.
8. We asked if we had made ourselves plain. We had always assumed that there would be a prompt meeting, whereas
the impression was created that we might have to wait a week for a meeting. This would create an intolerable situation.
A prompt meeting is important as a symbol of progress and good faith on all sides.
9. Lau said he had a few questions. At the tea break yesterday, after receiving our memorandum, Xuan Thuy had
expressed some views and, Lau said, he felt that those views have great importance because they deal with the
substance of the question. The United States request that the DRV fix a date for a meeting before the cessation of
bombing is a conditional one which runs counter to the United States affirmation that it accepts the unconditional
cessation of bombing. Xuan Thuy had said on October 16 that he would report our views to Hanoi, including our
memorandum.
10. Secondly, Lau continued, this morning we had had some additional word about the date of a meeting. We had also
confirmed the existence of misunderstanding. Lau said that the DRV side will report this to Hanoi but personally he
would like to say that the question of substance is the question of reciprocity. This matter had not been changed much
by what we had said today. It is only a difference of a few days, and there is always reciprocity involved in the cessation
of bombing. Lau asked to have our views on what Thuy had said yesterday, because, if there is a misunderstanding, it
has still not been cleared up.
11. We replied we wanted to make clear that the misunderstanding is in Hanoi's mind and not in Washington's. We had
both always accepted the fact that prompt and serious talks would follow the cessation of bombing. Our government had
thought the definition of "prompt" to be one day because the DRV side had said that serious talks could take place one
day after the cessation of bombing. Then we had had long discussions about the meaning of serious talks, and we had

made clear that such talks must include representatives of the GVN. We had come to an agreement on the definition of
"serious," but now there was a misunderstanding on the meaning of "prompt." We said it is very important for all to see
evidence of good will and progress in these talks. We said we wished to repeat that we do not consider the question of
holding a meeting promptly as a condition or reciprocity, but rather an indication of good faith on the part of the parties in
moving to serious talks.
12. Thuy said that he would report our additional views to Hanoi immediately. He then said he had some additional
questions for clarification. First, if the United States stops the bombing, how will the question of arranging for four-sided
talks be dealt with? There are a number of questions in this regard which the US and DRV sides must discuss first. For
example, the US had said that after the four-party negotiations had begun, there would still be matters of a purely
bilateral interest between United States and the DRV. There is also the question of the rank of representation. At the
moment Mr. Harriman and Mr. Vance are the personal appointed representatives of the President. Xuan Thuy is the
representative of his government and holds the rank of a Minister. Will the US representation remain the same, or will its
representation be at the Ministerial level? As for the NLF and the Saigon government, Thuy said, we don't know what
their level of representation will be either. Will they be the same as that of the US and DRV, or will they simply be called
representatives?
13. We replied that we were the personal representatives of the President and we would remain as such when serious
talks began. There would be no change. We said we were already holding talks with Thuy holding the rank of Minister,
and we were acting as personal representatives of the President. We said we didn't think this was an important matter.
We added, of course, that if we did not conclude a settlement before January 20, we could not speak for the new
President.
14. Thuy said then the DRV can take it that Harriman and Vance will represent the U.S. at the four-party conference. We
replied affirmatively. We said we accepted that there will be matters of purely bilateral interest, and we have indicated in
the past that we would be willing to continue private discussions with the DRV side on such questions. The plenary
sessions, however, would include the four parties. The DRV side should recall that during the Laos conference Harriman
had met privately with Pushkin almost every other day and Sullivan used to meet with Lau. Those kinds of meetings
should be held as frequently as needed.
15. We then adjourned for a cup of tea during which they showed considerable interest in miracle rice and other
Western technical developments.
Harriman

85. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam/1/


Washington, October 17, 1968, 2007Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis; Harvan/Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared by Read, and approved by Rusk.
Repeated to Paris as Todel 1301.
256998. Ref: Saigon 40515 (being repeated Paris); and Saigon 40516 (on which Paris was addressee)./2/
/2/In these telegrams, both dated October 17, the Embassy in Saigon described the procedural discussions in which it
was engaged with the GVN. (Ibid.)
1. Referring to points raised in Saigon 40515, highest levels author-ized--and Paris delegation today conveyed--slight
modification of our position to effect that, while we still insisted on fixed date for meeting with GVN present before order
to cease bombing, cessation could go into effect 2 or 3 days prior to fixed date for meeting. As indicated in draft
Presidential remarks, we expect shortly after time of joint announcement of cessation, to make clear that the meeting
would in fact take place on the fixed date and with GVN representatives present.
2. North Vietnamese reaction to modification today in Paris, and tea break conversation yesterday being forwarded to
Saigon septels.
3. We leave it entirely to Bunker's discretion whether this modification should be clarified expressly to Thieu at this
stage. We believe that the really serious point is to establish publicly from the outset that there will be a prompt and
definitely fixed meeting at which the GVN will be present.

4. Related question is of course what we would say in joint announcement. Saigon and Paris comments have been
requested and forwarded.
5. Concerning Thanh's worries on procedural arrangements, we would appreciate Paris comments to us and Saigon.
Our own tentative thinking is that participants should sit on opposite sides of the present table, with GVN and US
equidistant from the center on our side and without name plates or flags (to avoid NLF having them). We would suppose
it much better if GVN had a single authorized spokesman at each session. But these are preliminary comments to the
major points. We tend to share Saigon's apparent feeling that Thanh is worrying the problem a bit harder than it
deserves. But we should try to clarify things in his mind a little, and would therefore welcome Paris comments.
6. The modalities of the meeting should, in the Secretary's judgment be informal in character rather than highly rigid
from a point of view of protocol. The meeting should be looked upon as an extension of the present talks rather than as
the convening of a formal conference. The more formality the more difficulty the United States would have because we
have been there and would be sitting with people whose very existence we do not recognize. It might be worth pointing
out to Thieu that the greater the formality the greater the status of the NLF. The United States and the GVN derive their
own status from their general international position and not from the way in which we have been sitting with the DRV in
Paris. The Secretary believes that Thanh should be relaxed but that Harriman should be careful about these
arrangements; the result might [must] be something we could all live with.
Rusk

86. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk/1/
Washington, October 17, 1968, 4:47 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Rusk, October 17, 1968, 4:47 p.m., Tape F6810.05, PNO 2. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.
President: Dean, well what's your evaluation today?
Rusk: Well. I think there's about one chance in three that we'll hear from them by the end of the week. That's about the
way it sounds to me.
President: Why do you make it so low?
Rusk: Well, the way these fellows turn around. If they have got to go to the NLF and the NLF has got to go to their
Central Committee, that sort of thing, I just think it may take a little time. I think that Averell and Cy are inclined to think
that the answer will be yes, but I am not quite as optimistic as that.
President: You got all of your people to quit talking?
Rusk: I've really buttoned up the fellows here. Vietnam is just a forbidden subject over here. I did try to get NBC
[television] today to come off of this business about we're being hung up by a great debate between us and Saigon. I
just told them very much on a background basis that the allies are in agreement. The problem is Hanoi. Get them
started in that direction instead of our quarreling with Saigon. That's not very good.
President: I don't know why Bunker didn't call them in for a little backgrounder and say this is just a deliberate untruth
and there's not anything here that's holding up anything--that we have kicked the ball and the ball is in their court, and
they can have peace any time they want it. Now we can't make up their minds. We have already taken action. It is up to
them, and quit saying anything here about Saigon. And I just think we oughtn't send Thieu anymore stuff. To hell with
him. I don't care. I am just tired of the son-of-a-bitch making that kind of stuff. It is just awful that his Foreign Minister and
all that stuff just cause us all this damn trouble./2/ I feel about the same way about these little jerks that have got one
battalion over there. I don't think it's necessary for us to stop our bombers because some goddamn fellow is back in the
back woods and this son-of-a-bitch Gorton--I don't like that either./3/
/2/See Document 75.
/3/Gorton stated that he soon expected Johnson to make a statement regarding the complete cessation of the bombing.

See The New York Times, October 17, 1968.


Rusk: Yeah.
President: You are going to have a great problem with me, Mr. Rusk, in getting my consent to go out there and do a
goddamn thing except a simultaneous announcement. I'm getting ready to say something at 4 o'clock--we'll tell them at
3:30--but I am not going to come in here and let them screw up this thing and give us the pain and anguish and misery
that they do for nothing. It serves no purpose.
Rusk: Well, that statement of Gorton's is the worst single thing that has happened, I think.
President: He is an erratic, no good fellow--I knew that the first time I saw him. And I think that Thieu is absolutely
disgraceful, but he's got more control over his people than I guess that you and I have. And I just hope--I don't know
who is reading these reports back from Averell. Does that have pretty general distribution over there?
Rusk: Oh, no. This particular Harvan Double Plus Series is Ben Read, Bill Bundy, and myself, and Habib, who has gone
back to join the delegation in Paris--he's a member of the delegation.
President: That's all right, but you make sure they tell me--they come in everyday and tell me that State says so and so.
You be sure Bill Bundy is not talking to anybody.
Rusk: Oh, I am sure he's not.
President: All right. What about--do you think that they'll report back before this weekend?
Rusk: I think there's a chance they could come back at almost any time because I would be very much surprised if the
Russians were not working on this very hard the way Dobrynin welcomed my telephone call yesterday morning/4/ about
the 2 to 3 days thing. I just illustrate--I said if they will meet on Monday we could stop the bombing on Friday or
Saturday, and he was very glad to have that, and my guess is that the Russians are working on this very hard.
/4/No record of this conversation was found.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Middle East.]

87. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, October 18, 1968, 1250Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Received at 9:35 a.m. In an attached covering
note transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, October 18, 12:00 p.m., Rostow wrote: "Herewith a GVN
problem if we appear to accept the NLF as a 'separate entity'--and not part of 'their side.'" The notation "ps" on the
covering memorandum indicates that the President saw the telegram.
40627. 1. Foreign Minister Thanh called in Political Counselor October 18 to inform him that President Thieu has sent
instructions to Ambassadors Diem in Washington and Lam in Paris to "reaffirm" that if the NLF participates in Paris
negotiations "as a separate entity" the GVN will not participate. The President, Thanh said, considers that participation
of the GVN in negotiations would bring "no advantage" under such circumstances.
2. We asked what the GVN means by "a separate entity." The other side will obviously try to pretend that the NLF is
something separate, which is what they have always said, and one cannot control what the other side says in the course
of negotiations.
3. Thanh replied that the GVN is not moving away from its accept-ance of the "your side, our side" formula. They
understand that the NLF can come as a part of the "other side" but the GVN could not come to the negotiations unless
the status of the NLF was settled beforehand.
4. Pol Counselor said this is the kind of issue that cannot be settled either by agreement or beforehand and is best left

unsettled, with each side holding to its own position.


5. Thanh thereupon said the GVN understands that the other side will "pretend" that the NLF is a separate entity but
they want assurances that the US will not treat them as such. He pointed to the penultimate paragraph of the Honolulu
Communiqu which had said that negotiations should "involve directly North Viet Nam and South Viet Nam."
6. Pol Counselor said that as I had pointed out to President Thieu last night (Saigon 40532)/2/ and as Berger had earlier
emphasized to Thanh himself, these matters cannot be settled before the talks begin. We have always felt that it is
important for the GVN to be present immediately after the bombing cessation and to make its position known./3/
/2/Dated October 17. (Ibid., HARVAN/DOUBLE PLUS, Vol. III)
/3/In telegram 22624/Delto 845 from Paris, October 18, the delegation noted: "We have made a make-or-break issue of
almost immediate talks, and we cannot be in the position of being unable to comply on our side if we get definite date for
meeting from DRV," and urged immediate resolution of the issue. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG
59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
7. The Foreign Minister was cautioned that it was of utmost importance that instructions to Bui Diem and Phan Dang
Lam not leak out to the press, for it would make the GVN appear to be interposing new conditions to a bombing halt and
appear to be involved in a major difference with US.
8. The Department will obviously be hearing from Bui Diem in the near future.
Bunker

88. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/


Paris, October 18, 1968, 1430Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, Harvan-(Incoming)-October
1968. Secret: Nodis/Harvan/Double Plus. Received at 10:53 a.m. In a covering memorandum transmitting a copy of this
telegram to the President, October 18, 11:45 a.m., Rostow described the Vance-Oberemko discussion as a "clarifying
conversation." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]) Vance reported on the meeting by telephone that morning. In a memorandum to the President
at 8:45 a.m., October 18, Rostow wrote: "Cy Vance just called with the following: Oberemko asked to see him to catch
up on the situation. Cy took him very carefully through the whole position. Cy feels it was time well spent. Oberemko
promised to use his 'best influence' to get his government to lead Hanoi over the hump. Oberemko himself had nothing
new to throw into the discussion." (Ibid.)
22619/Delto 844. From Harriman and Vance.
1. This morning Minister Oberemko called on us at his request. The meeting lasted about an hour and nothing of real
substance came out of the meeting. Oberemko was unaccompanied.
2. Oberemko said that he had come to find out what the status of our discussions with the North Vietnamese is. We told
him that we believed his government had been informed through Washington, but that we would be happy to bring him
up-to-date. We thanked him for the constructive part he had been playing in our discussions here.
3. We outlined briefly the current situation, concluding that the ball was now in Hanoi's court. Oberemko said that he had
been in touch with the North Vietnamese and that they felt that we had imposed a new condition at the last moment, i.e.,
that talks must begin within 24 hours. We said that no new condition had been imposed, that the issue was one of
definition of "prompt" and that, assuming good faith on the part of the North Vietnamese, there had been a
misunderstanding as to the definition of "prompt."
4. We said further that in any event we had now told the North Vietnamese that when they give us a date certain for the
beginning of serious talks, the bombing will be stopped two or three days before that day. As he obviously wanted to be
helpful, we explained at length why this is not a new condition but simply a definition of "prompt" talks.

5. Oberemko said that he felt that both the United States and the North Vietnamese were overemphasizing the
importance of this final matter and that there should be a way to find the compromise. We said that we saw no way to
compromise the matter, that we had already agreed to change 24 hours to two or three days, and that the best thing for
both Oberemko and the Soviet Union to do was to use their influence to get the North Vietnamese to give us as soon as
possible the date on which serious talks would begin. Oberemko said he would communicate our conversation to his
government.
Harriman

89. Memorandum of Conversation Between the Vietnamese Ambassador (Bui Diem) and the President's Special
Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, October 18, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [2 of 3]. Secret; Harvan Double Plus. The memorandum was sent to Bunker and the Paris delegation in
telegram 258305/Todel 1327 to Saigon and Paris, October 18. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
A/IM Files: 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October 1968) Bui Diem repeated the same messages in a conversation he
had with Bundy that same day. (Telegram 257720 to Saigon and Paris, October 18; ibid.)
Bui Diem came in today at 4:30, at his request. He said he had two messages from President Thieu.
The first states that disastrous consequences would flow to the morale of the ARVN and South Vietnamese population if
the NLF participates in the conference--especially if this participation is in the form of the NLF being a distinct entity from
the DRV. Bui Diem went on to explain that such eventuality could have very dangerous repercussions on political
stability given the view in the Assembly and in Vietnamese public opinion.
If "the worst" should come and the NLF is included in the North Vietnamese delegation, it will be essential to prevent the
enemy from taking advantage of that position and posturing as a distinct entity.
The second message informed Bui Diem that President Thieu is opposing categorically the presence of the NLF at the
Paris conference, especially with qualification as a "distinct entity." It is his feeling that it would be very difficult for the
GVN to participate in the conference under those circumstances.
I began by saying that I understood the problem posed by Saigon, but it distressed me greatly for a simple reason: the
Government in Saigon appeared to be approaching the possibilities of such a conference in a spirit of anxiety rather
than a spirit of confidence. I said that, of course, the other side would try to blow up the NLF. We would stick firmly to
your side-our side in the spirit of what President Johnson and President Thieu had agreed at Honolulu./2/ This was not a
time to express anxiety and concern. It was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work to see how we handle the
conference to our advantage.
/2/See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 303.
It was a time to organize and be prepared to mount against the VC in the South a psychological warfare campaign that
would break their morale in the face of the GVN appearance in Paris and the closing of the DMZ.
It was a time to begin to draft a message from President Thieu to the ARVN to tell them what they had already
accomplished at the conference table by their performance on the field of battle, and to tell them to stay with it until an
honorable peace was won. I said we had been in the foxholes of Vietnam together; that it would be a great stroke of
good fortune if we were to be able to work together in the foxholes in Paris, and we should work in diplomacy in the
same spirit that we are fighting.
I reminded him that if Hanoi accepts our position, it will be a position that we took from the first day in Paris, and which
President Johnson had assured President Thieu he would take. There was every reason in the world for total trust of
President Johnson by President Thieu.
I summarized at the end by saying that the problem they posed--of how the NLF was handled by the other side--was a
real problem. We should all think about the modalities we would negotiate with the other side before the conference. We
should be prepared to handle their inevitable efforts to blow up the NLF. We should be preparing to make the most

psychologically and politically out of a break-over in Paris against the VC, and to strengthen the confidence of the
people and armed forces of Vietnam. If Hanoi says yes, the whole world will know that Washington and Saigon have
won a great victory. The people of Vietnam and their political leaders should act on this assumption in confidence.
When I finished, Bui Diem said, I know and agree with everything you have said. The problem is that President Thieu
has not listened to the advice I gave him when I was in Saigon before Honolulu. I begged him then to prepare our
political leaders and our people for peace talks. He has made little preparation. And so now they are worried and in
some confusion in Saigon with heavy pressures, especially from the Assembly, on Thieu.
He said he would report what I had told him fully as the words of a great and good friend of South Vietnam.
Walt

90. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam/1/


Washington, October 18, 1968, 2210Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared by Rostow and Read, and approved by
Rusk. Repeated to Paris as Todel 1324 for Harriman and Vance.
258160.
Our Side/Your Side Formula.
1. Saigon 40627/2/ reporting Thanh's remarks on this subject has been followed, predictably, by approaches from Bui
Diem here (septel)/3/ and Lam in Paris (Paris 22652)./4/ Needless to say, we share the grave concern expressed by
Paris in its 22632 and 22624,/5/ and agree that we cannot open up the fundamentals of the formula at this stage or,
above all, be in position of not having the GVN ready to come to the table if we get a definite date for meeting from the
DRV.
/2/Document 87.
/3/See footnote 1, Document 89.
/4/In telegram 22652/Delto 850 from Paris, October 18, the delegation reported that Lam had stated that "he did not
believe that his Foreign Minister understood the our side-your side formulation" and that Lam apparently was
"exercised" about both not being kept informed by and not having received instructions from his government. (National
Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-Outgoing)-October 1968)
/5/Both dated October 18. (Ibid.)
2. Equally obviously, we cannot hope to straighten this out by further conversations with GVN representatives in Paris
and here. We are unable to figure out whether putting Bui Diem and Lam into orbit has been Thanh's personal private
idea (compare his calling in the TCC representatives) or reflects serious concerns held by Thieu himself. In any case,
we believe the only way this matter can be straightened out is through direct and frank talk between Ambassador
Bunker and Thieu, if necessary with Thanh present.
3. Key points to be made at this talk, with supporting argument as you see fit, should be:
a. The arrangement proposed in Paris and apparently accepted in principle by the North Vietnamese does not in any
way provide that the NLF is being recognized as "a separate entity." We believe that, just as the organization of our side
is up to us, so we have to leave it to the other side to determine its own composition.
b. To attempt to define the status of the GVN or the NLF--and especially any attempt to get Hanoi to agree to a higher
status for the GVN than for the NLF--is plainly doomed to failure.
c. This is why we have all along made clear that we did not expect to define the status but simply to agree on the fact of

participation. (Indeed, from a legal standpoint we are not "recognizing" even the DRV by sitting down and talking with it.)
As Ky summed up consensus of his colleagues at 6th consultative meeting, "as practical men we must accept" our
side/your side formula. The fact of participation, with no recognition implied in either direction, has been made
abundantly clear to the Hanoi representatives in the Paris talks.
d. On this record, there can be no question of the GVN failing to appear at substantive talks when and if a date is set.
For them to take this position would be most harmful to US/GVN relations and to the standing of the GVN in the US and
elsewhere. It would only dramatize the NLF and play right into Hanoi's hands. There can be no doubt whatsoever that
GVN participation under "your side/our side" formula is bitter pill for DRV to swallow linked as it is to bombing cessation.
4. This is of course the central point to get across, together with getting the issue back into Thieu's personal hands. At
the same time, we would suppose that Thieu's (or Thanh's) concern rests on political reactions that may have been
received since they started talking about the possible arrangement both among themselves and with Assembly leaders.
To allay these concerns as much as we can without losing the essence of the presently possible arrangement, we
believe Bunker could go forward at this session to express our willingness to discuss the actual physical arrangements
at any time. In our judgment, this had best be done in Paris where the physical layout is familiar. But Bunker could tell
Thieu that we were prepared to pursue this question of detail in either Paris or Saigon, provided of course that it was
clearly understood the discussion would have to be tentative and could not affect the fundamental attendance of the
GVN.
5. Another possibility is that we might be prepared to consult now about subjects on which we would expect the GVN to
take a leading role. We of course continue to reject the idea that there would be any single designated spokesman, but
we do envisage that we would consult extremely closely with the GVN on what each of us would say on any given topic,
and that as a practical matter there might well be a division of labor with one or the other taking the lead on specified
topics.
6. We recognize, at the same time, that for us to get into either physical arrangements or the question of topics may
have just the opposite effect to the one we are seeking. Moreover, we could get painted into a corner, particularly on the
topics. We leave it to Bunker after checking with Paris whether to open up either one, or both, of these "safety valves." If
there were to be a discussion on who would lead on particular topics, we have many thoughts available here and shared
in staff paper being cabled separately to Saigon, but we would need to be very careful indeed, and it might be much
better to wait until they have a first-class delegation in Paris, and can go over the whole thing there.
Rusk

91. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, October 19, 1968, 1045Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 VIET S. Secret;
Immediate; Nodis. Received at 8:50 a.m. Repeated to Paris for the Vietnam Mission. This telegram is printed in full in
Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 600-611.
40697. For the President from Bunker. Herewith my seventy-first weekly message.
A. General
1. In early July, I summarized in my fifty-ninth message the events and trends, the achievements, and shortcomings of
the first half of 1968. I think a similar summation of the third quarter may now be useful. Accordingly, this message is a
review of the situation as it developed in July, August, and September. As in my summary of the first six months of
1968, this message will begin with an overview, followed by more detailed accounts of the salient political, military,
economic and pacification developments. In my next message, I propose to cover the priority areas where we think it
most essential to drive ahead and where we intend to concentrate our maximum efforts between now and Tet, i.e., in
the next four months.
2. The major events of the past three months were: A) the Honolulu conference; B) the enemy's abortive
August/September "third offense"; C) the assumption of the military initiative by friendly forces; D) the rapid build-up of
the Vietnamese armed forces and their continued improvement; E) the gradual but steady drive toward pacification; F)
the step-up in the attack on VC infrastructure, and plans for future intensification; G) the preparation of a pacification
counteroffensive to be carried out November 1-January 31; H) the completion of the recovery program; I) the move

toward political organization with the official launching of the Lien Minh and its new action program; J) the decision to
allow General Duong Van Minh to return to Viet-Nam; and K) the gradual return of the economy toward pre-Tet levels.
The enemy's strategy of "general offensive" continued both costly and unrewarding to him, but as the quarter ended
there was as yet no definitive sign of a change in his strategy.
3. I think several important trends emerged from the events of the past three months. I characterized the major trend of
the first half of 1968 as the movement toward a stronger, more self-confident, more unified Vietnamese people and
government. This trend has continued. The expectation of a renewed enemy drive against the nation's cities served to
maintain pressures for unity, cooperation with the government and maximum mobilization of all military and civilian
resources. The subsequent failure of the enemy's military effort, plus the improved performance of both the government
and the armed forces, further increased Vietnamese confidence in their ability to run their own government, to shoulder
a greater part of the war's burden, and to determine their own future. This increased self-confidence was also reflected
clearly in a marked decline in fears that the United States might impose a settlement which could lead to a Communist
takeover. I should add, however, that these fears could re-emerge if intent underlying apprehensions are stimulated by
new events or rumors.
4. Contributing heavily to the growth in Vietnamese unity and self-confidence was the effectiveness of the working
alliance between President Thieu and Prime Minister Huong. This has been one of the major pluses for the period.
Thieu and Huong have complemented and supported one another in the effort to prepare the people for peace
negotiations and a future political contest with the Communists. Despite some obvious difficulties, Thieu backed Huong
on his anti-corruption campaign and significant progress was made. He allowed Huong to run the government from day
to day with little interference and supported his decisions, while Huong looked to Thieu for policy guidance and threw his
considerable personal influence and prestige behind the Thieu regime. The result has been more effective government,
significantly increased popular support, and continued, though not yet adequate, movement toward national unity.
5. The Vietnamese confidence in the US also improved. In late June and early July, the Assembly and the press were
full of forebodings about American intentions. The lower house called on the US to put a time limit on the Paris talks and
one Deputy called the absence of a Vietnamese representative at the talks "a national disgrace." By the end of
September, these fears and suspicions had subsided to a considerable extent. The Honolulu conference and our firm
stand at Paris were two factors contributing to this change. It also reflected Vietnamese relief at the outcome of our
national party conventions. It sprang significantly from awareness of the fact that the military situation was greatly
improved.
6. Also contributing to the trend toward more national unity was Thieu's efforts to nurture a broad nationalist political
organization. The official launching of the Lien Minh took place on July 4 and some 840 cadre have been since trained
for a high impact self-help social welfare program in Saigon.
7. The second basic trend which I observed in the first half continued; there was further movement toward constitutional
democracy, government based on institutions rather than personal relationships, and civilian control of the military.
Thieu is in fact now close to exercising the full powers vested in him by the Constitution, and the extra-constitutional
power of Vice President Ky and the other Generals has continued to decline.
8. Perhaps the most obvious example of this trend was the removal, without repercussion, of General Khang as III
Corps commander. Khang was not only the principal Ky supporter still holding a position of great power, but he is an
avowed opponent of constitutional democracy. He thoroughly distrusts civilian politicians and the National Assembly,
and he has never concealed the fact. His removal symbolizes the further decline of the power of the military group that
took over the government in 1965.
9. Less dramatic than Khang's removal, but at least equally as important in moving toward constitutional government
and full democracy, was the continued functioning of an independent legislature. While it was by no means all smooth
sailing, the Assembly and executive continue an effective working relationship. Besides serving as a vital sounding
board of public opinion, thus providing both a safety valve and a meaningful check on the executive, the Assembly
hammered out several basic laws. These included the measure establishing the Supreme Court, the law governing the
Inspectorate, war risk insurance, and an electoral law for the by-election in Saigon. Well along toward enactment were
the laws governing the press, the political parties, and setting up the three councils provided for in the Constitution.
10. During this period the GVN continued to carry out its general mobilization program. By September 30, regular forces
alone had a strength of 825,000; including the paramilitary forces, the total was well over a million. Efforts to upgrade
and increase the strength of RF and PF continued, and self-defense forces were enlarged to over 650,000 men and
women. While many weaknesses and shortcomings remain in the effort to effect total mobilization, when one considers
what has been achieved from a manpower pool representing two-thirds of a population of 17 million, the magnitude of
the accomplishment is impressive.
11. On the military side, the trend has been one of steady improvement in the position of allied forces and deteriorating

capability on the part of the enemy. The enemy continued to suffer very heavy casualties; the total enemy KIA this year
is already greater than for 1966 and 1967 combined. Although the August attacks made few headlines because they
were smashed before they really got off the ground, enemy losses were almost as great as those suffered in the more
spectacular May/June offensive. One result of these heavy losses is the growing proportion of regular North Vietnamese
troops, a situation which is causing the enemy increasing difficulties in terms of local support and troop morale.
12. While the May/June enemy drive was markedly less effective than his Tet attacks, the decline in enemy offensive
potential was revealed with far greater force by his almost complete failure to get the long threatened "third wave"
underway. Except for a brief foray into the outskirts of Tae Ninh, the enemy penetrated no urban areas. He was forced
to abandon his intention to attack Ban Me Thuot, and the main target--Saigon--was never seriously threatened. By
defeating the enemy away from population centers, the heavy damage and loss of civilian lives that accompanied the
Tet and May offensives were averted. This enemy failure, unfortunately, had the paradoxical effect that others
elsewhere in the world did not take cognizance of the fact that he had tried, and failed, to launch a third offensive.
13. It is also notable that the withdrawal of friendly forces from the countryside to defend cities and towns did not
reoccur, so the proportion of the population under reasonable government control continued to increase slowly but
steadily despite the August attacks and is now virtually back to the pre-Tet level. At the end of the quarter, the
government was developing plans aimed at increasing further its control of the countryside--the pacification
counteroffensive. This took on new importance in light of the heavy emphasis by the enemy on the formation of
"liberation committees." While these committees could serve a variety of purposes, it seems likely that they are intended
primarily for a cease-fire situation. Given some kind of internationally supervised cease-fire, liberation committees could
lead some credibility of control over wide areas of the countryside. It should be noted, however, that much of this is "old
wine in new bottles"; that many of these committees are simply existing bodies under a new name and that more than
half of them are in VC controlled hamlets and villages. In any case, it is vitally important that this tactic be countered and
the government's plans for this, I believe, are sound. We will support them fully.
14. There is, of course, a debit side of the ledger. While I think it is fair to say that the overall situation has improved
significantly in the past three months, important weaknesses and shortfalls still plague the GVN and its allies.
15. On the political side, it must be said that the progress toward unity which I have cited above still leaves us far short
of the goal. The government needs much more popular support than it has won so far. For it to rally the anti-Communist
majority for a successful political effort against the Communists, the Lien Minh must find a way to draw in other political
groups, such as the militant Catholics, Hoa Hao, and Buddhists. Though the decline in Ky's power makes his
relationship to Thieu less crucial, the continuing distrust between them remains an important political liability.
16. In some areas, the Thieu-Huong government has made important progress toward effective constitutional
democracy; it must also be said that they have often proved less than skillful in handling problems affecting youth and
the press and a few dissidents such as Truong Dinh Dzu. Corruption has been cut back and the attack continues, but it
still remains a deep rooted cancer.
17. On the military side, we must note that despite his failures and defeats, the enemy still has some capability of
building up for further costly offensives, in the hope of wearing down our determination to see the war through. His
ability to withdraw to sanctuaries in Laos, Cambodia, and North Viet Nam gives him a great advantage if this is his
purpose. Nobody could tell us as of the end of September to what extent Hanoi believes its own propaganda about our
losses and how they assess the likelihood of important American concessions in Paris. While we objectively judge their
military situation to be very bad, they may subjectively still judge it to be good enough to hold out for American
concessions.
18. Finally, the basic question is are we making progress, are we gaining or losing ground? In Viet-Nam, an assessment
is doubly difficult because the very nature of the way makes defining victory or defeat so much more complicated than in
most conflicts. I have outlined the progress for the last three months, the trends as I see them, and the remaining
problems. After adding all of the factors, the pluses and minuses together, and making allowances for the
imponderables, I can only say that I feel optimistic about this situation; that the steady, though not spectacular progress I
have previously noted has continued and accelerated. The tide of history now seems to me to be moving with us and
not against us; and I believe that if we persevere, this bitter war will serve to prevent future, broader conflicts.
B. Political
19. When I wrote the summary for the first six months of 1968, the Huong government was still so new in office that it
was difficult to say much about its performance. Now, with only a little over four months to judge by, it is still early to
come to firm conclusions, but I think it may be useful to draw up a tentative balance sheet.
20. Perhaps the first item on the plus side of the ledger is the increase in popular support which Huong brought to the

government. He has a substantial personal following in the South. More important, his image as an incorruptible, tough,
paternal figure has not suffered after four months in power. If anything, his speeches, his travels, and his public acts
have brightened the image.
21. Huong has his detractors and his political opponents, and the Vietnamese public remains perhaps the most skeptical
in the world. At the very outset Huong faced stiff opposition from the Revolutionary Dai Viets, some Northern Catholic
elements, and some of the cliques around Vice President Ky. Ky himself predicted that the Huong government would
not last long.
22. Huong's opponents adopted the tactic to trying to label Huong soft vis--vis the NLF and pro-Communist elements.
Huong cut the ground from under them, not without some political cost, by firing Doctor Phan Quang Dan and by taking
a very tough line with students and the press. The trial of Truong Dinh Dzu and the Alliance leaders was in part this kind
of response to the pressures Huong felt from his political enemies.
23. However regrettable some of these moves from our point of view, they at least proved effective in terms of
Vietnamese domestic politics. Barring unforeseen events, such as a turn in the Paris talks considered unfavorable to the
GVN, there seems no immediate danger that Huong's opponents can generate any significant degree of popular
pressure for a change in government. On the contrary, recognizing that their tactics have been unprofitable, the leaders
of the Revolutionary Dai Viets have recently decided to moderate their opposition stance.
24. Probably the second most important plus for the Huong government is the anti-corruption drive. This effort pre-dates
the Huong government, and it is due at least as much to President Thieu's support as to Huong's determination to clean
up the government. With the sometimes free swinging support of the Assembly and the local press, Huong has given
the fight against corruption new impetus and new prominence.
25. Among Huong's first moves against corruption was the revitalization of the executive Inspectorate system by placing
it under Minister of State Mai Tho Truyen. Truyen's office is charged with investigating charges of corruption and
documenting them. Truyen had told us that his staff cannot keep up with the volume of complaints they receive. A more
recent administrative anti-corruption measure was the creation in August of anti-corruption committees in every province
and municipality. They are specifically charged with inventing and implementing measures that will make corruption
more difficult and less profitable. Also in August, the Huong government directed all civil servants to declare their
property holdings, including the property of their wives, children, and parents.
26. Huong has continued Thieu's earlier efforts to remove corrupt officials, particularly province chiefs, and replace them
with more honest and more able men. Since Tet, 23 of 44 province chiefs have been changed and the government has
made known its intention to replace four more; while many of these were not relieved for corruption, the majority of
those whom we had reason to consider notoriously corrupt were among the men removed. In the past such offenders
were often not prosecuted or otherwise punished even though they were fired for corruption. In September the Huong
government not only announced the removal of three province chiefs "in order to push forward vigorously the anticorruption campaign" but also stated that two of them would be prosecuted for corruption.
27. The replacement of General Loan as Director General of Police by Colonel Tran Van Hai has also been important in
reducing corruption. Petty graft and shake-downs by police have long been among the most visible and annoying forms
of corruption from the point of view of the average citizen. Hai has removed, punished, and disciplined literally hundreds
of police and police officials in an effort to end these practices. We have several reports that indicate he has in fact
made significant inroads on this politically important kind of corruption.
28. The Huong government should also get credit for several meas-ures designed to realize Huong's belief that the
government must make sure that the Constitution is applied and that all citizens are equal under law; in effect, to
reestablish the government's authority. Among the more important of these moves was the effort to liberalize the
processing of civil prisoners. Dismayed by the number of persons being held without charge in jails throughout the
country, Huong ordered the formation of special committees to screen all such prisoners within a minimum time period.
Prisoners were either to be charged and tried or released promptly. Huong himself visited a number of prisons to follow
up his orders. The result is that several thousand illegal detainees have been released, and the police system generally
brought more into line with the guarantees written into the Constitution.
29. The most notable beneficiary of Huong's move to free or try illegal detainees was Thich Tri Quang and several of his
followers. These An Quang leaders had been put under "protective custody" after the Tet attacks. With Thieu's blessing,
Huong acted to release them. This move not only dramatized the government's confidence and determination to support
legal forms, but in Vietnamese eyes it also placed Tri Quang under a public obligation which makes it more difficult for
him to attack the Huong government directly.
30. In line with this policy, Huong has also pressed Thieu to permit General Duong Van Minh to return to Viet Nam. At

the end of the quarter Thieu took the decision, in part I believe also at my encouragement, and Big Minh returned to Viet
Nam October 5. While Minh has so far avoided all efforts to identify him with the government or any opposition group,
his return is widely regarded as a wise and liberal measure. I also hope that in the future Big Minh's considerable
popularity can be brought to bear in support of the GVN and against the Communists.
31. The Huong government should also be given credit for pressing the civil defense program forward vigorously. After
Vice President Ky dropped this project, Huong and his Ministers picked it up. With our encouragement, Huong
designated August self-defense month, and as I noted in the general section, well over 650,000 men and women are
now enrolled in self-defense units.
32. There are other areas in which the Huong government has registered achievements. These include his travels and
speeches aimed at preparing the population for the coming political contest with the Communists. (He has specifically
tied the self-defense organization to this need in a number of his speeches. Along with Thieu, Huong has worked hard to
win a public acceptance of a negotiated settlement and the imperative need for political unity against the Communists in
the peace that is coming.) While not temperamentally inclined to an easy relationship with the Assembly, Huong has
succeeded in working well with Assembly leaders. Huong is also generally credited with increasing the efficiency of the
Cabinet and the Ministries. He has focused bureaucratic attention on the priority problems and applied pressure for
results.
33. On the negative side, despite real progress, the Huong government still has a long way to go in winning positive
popular support, eradicating corruption, reforming the civil service and breathing more vigorous life into the democratic
forms which the Constitution outlines. The major shortfalls as well as the major accomplishments are in those areas; it is
not that Huong has not done well, but that there is so much to do and that time is so short.
34. The Huong government's dealing with the press and students has been mixed. Although one of the first acts of the
Huong government was to lift censorship, it then proceeded to mete out suspensions and fines to some papers for false
reporting and failing to take guidance on some issues. Criticism has not been stifled by any means, but the government
has made clear that the press is not to print any story which may undercut the GVN position on peace, negotiations, or
the prosecution of the war. Similarly, the Huong government has dealt sternly with some left-leaning student leaders
which may have alienated some of the politically minded students who constitute the usual minority of the student body.
35. There were also the trials by a military court of the Alliance leaders and Truong Dinh Dzu. While these trials probably
strengthened the government internally--certainly they caused virtually no expressions of opposition--especially Dzu's
conviction had a most unfortunate effect on the GVN image abroad. I think it is also fair to say in this connection that in
general the Huong government has been preoccupied by its internal problems to the point where very little has been
done to promote its interests in the international sphere.
36. To sum up, I think the Thieu-Huong alliance has resulted in a government that is more popular, more effective, and
more stable than any since the early years of the Diem regime. Nevertheless, the GVN faces monumental tasks; it must
redouble its efforts if it is to succeed in forging the national unity and the strong institutions which are likely to be
essential for success in the future political war with the Communists.
C. Military
36. When the third quarter began, it appeared that the enemy was prepared to launch a series of attacks against
Saigon, Banmethuot, the eastern DMZ area, the Hue-Quang Tri area, and the area southwest of Danang. Allied forces
aggressively disrupted this effort, engaging the enemy wherever possible, penetrating his base areas, and breaking up
his logistics system.
37. Air strikes and artillery contributed significantly to the effort. B-52 strikes proved particularly effective. One Hoi
Chanh who rallied on 22 September near Kontum City stated that air strikes had left only 40 survivors out the 450
assigned personnel in the 4th Battalion of the 24th Regiment. Recent evidence indicates that the B-52 strikes have
caused serious damage to the enemy in all four corps tactical zones, and that the psychological impact on his morale
has hurt his fighting ability.
38. The enemy was kept off balance, and when he finally launched what he termed his "third offensive" on August 18,
he was unable to achieve any of his major objectives. He was defeated in sharp engagements at Tay Ninh, near
Danang, and at the Duc Lap CIDG camp. He was forced to abandon his plans for an attack on Banmethuot, and
although Saigon was rocketed on the night of August 22, the capital was never threatened by a ground attack.
39. Enemy activity peaked near the end of August and declined steadily in September. Our forces continued to pursue
the enemy in September, inflicting further casualties and capturing very large quantities of weapons and supplies. By the
end of the quarter, the threat had been met and defeated by allied counter-offensive actions. Enemy activity, for the

most part, was reduced to attacks by fire against population centers and military installations, an increasing number of
terrorist acts, interdiction of friendly LOC's and attempts to avoid battle with organized friendly forces.
40. The threat has not been eliminated. The enemy's access to sanctuaries across South Viet-Nam's borders is a
tremendous advantage should he decide to rest and regroup for a new offensive thrust. But the capability of the enemy
to achieve his objectives has been reduced. By moving aggressively in the pacification field to take advantage of this
opportunity, we can strike a severe blow at his longer-term capabilities.
41. Enemy losses this quarter were again very heavy. Enemy KIA during what he calls the third phase offensive were
over 23,000--nearly as great as that inflicted during the May-June attacks. Enemy forces lost vast quantities of arms and
supplies as they were driven back and were hence unable to protect their logistics system. During the period JanuarySeptember, we have taken from caches almost 8,500 weapons (over 900 crew-served), and over 700 tons of
ammunition.
42. RVNAF also continued to expand and improve its combat performance during this quarter. On June 30 RVNAF had
approximately 765,000 men under arms. This was an increase of 120,000 over the level of January 1. At the end of this
quarter, the RVNAF strength had increased to about 825,000, a jump of nearly 60,000 men in a period of only three
months. Total armed forces in this country, as I said above, are now well over the million mark. This would be the
equivalent, on our much larger population base, of an American force of 18 million men.
43. The RVNAF is also fighting better. MACV reports that ARVN forces have gained self-confidence through their
victories in recent months, and show encouraging signs of aggressiveness in the conduct of their operations. The
increase in firepower of GVN units resulting from issuance of the M-16 rifle and M-60 machine gun has caused a
substantial change in the soldier's attitude toward closing with the enemy. Now, armed with a weapon better than the
enemy's he has frequently sought contact with enemy main force units and shown less reluctance to accept casualties
in order to decisively engage and defeat the enemy. Large unit leaders have displayed a new aggressiveness, and
junior officer and NCO leadership have shown improvement, although certain units are still plagued by serious problems
of leadership and training.
44. While it is difficult to quantify such matters, I call your attention to the conclusions reached by systems analysis of
the Department of Defense in a study published in the September issue of Southeast Asia Analysis Report. It showed
that since March of this year, ARVN battalions have been 56 percent as effective as US battalions in killing the enemy
versus 48 percent during 1967. It concluded that this better performance by ARVN is equivalent to getting the output of
an additional 16 US battalions against the enemy. The improved performance plus the increased RVNAF size have
added the equivalent of almost 200,000 Americans between 31 December 1967-31 August 1968. This is the more
impressive when one remembers the great difference in artillery and air support which the US forces receive. A separate
study in the same systems analysis publication showed that per man, the US soldier in a maneuver battalion gets more
that ten times the rounds of artillery supporting a Vietnamese in a tactical unit. I don't have a comparable figure for air
support, but we know the Vietnamese get much less.
D. Pacification
45. July-August 1968 saw a stepped up trend in pacification recovery from the post-Tet low. According to the hamlet
evaluation system, the rate of improvement was the sharpest of any three month period since the HES started in
January 1967. September HES figures just available indicate a one percent countrywide increase in relatively secure
population, bringing the total recovery to seven percentage points in six months.
46. Almost 67 percent of SVN's 17.5 million population is now regarded as relatively secure, thus practically erasing the
Tet setback. If we look at rural population only, the same trend is evident. Relatively secure rural population has now
reached 51.3 percent of the countrywide total. Contested rural population declined to 22.8 percent, and VC controlled
rural population to 25.9 percent, by the end of September.
47. While the improvement in pacification prospects is attributable partly to enemy losses and emerging weaknesses,
much must also be ascribed to favorable developments in several pacification areas--particularly improvement in RF/PF
and in the attack on the VC infrastructure.
48. MACV's long-standing efforts to improve the neglected RF/PF are finally beginning to pay off. Their weaponry has
been significantly upgraded, and more is in prospect as we begin the issue of M-16s. By the end of the third quarter
1968, RF/PF strength had reached 386,000, the highest ever. This rapid expansion caused a temporary shortage in
officer and NCO cadre, but in August-September this gap began to be filled. Operational results for August (September
data is not yet available) show that RF unit operations increased by 8,000 over July (16 percent) and contacts with the
enemy increased by 300 (22 percent). PF unit operations increased by 7,600 (9 percent) and contacts by 330 (26
percent). The RF/PF killed 77 percent more enemy in August that in July, while their own KIA increased by 47 percent.

We see no reason why this trend in RF/PF improvement should not accelerate.
49. The second notable development in July-September 1968 has been the coming of age of the attack on the VC
infrastructure. Thieu gave the Phung Hoang program his personal blessing in July and Minister of Interior Khiem has
been energetically pushing it. By the end of September the number of key district intelligence and operations centers
had risen to over 200. We estimate that in 1968 to date between 9,500 and 10,000 VCI have been neutralized--either
killed, captured, or rallied. It has taken a long time to get this program well organized and effectively operating on the
GVN side, but the program has finally reached the point where it should make an increasingly vital contribution to
pacification.
50. The GVN also continues to put in stronger leadership at the key district and province level. What was once the
exception has now become the rule. Most province or district chiefs whom we recommend for relief are removed--if not
always quickly, at least when "conditions" are right--a second province and district chiefs training course will graduate on
19 October. Minister Khiem has asked for our up-to-date list of poor province and district chiefs for his use in placing the
new graduates. Police Chief Hai, the Chieu Hoi Minister and Refugee Minster Lu-Y have also acted rapidly over the past
few months to remove corrupt and/or ineffective chiefs of police and technical serv-ices in the provinces. We count this
upgrading as one the of biggest pluses in pacification.
51. Chieu Hoi returnee rates remained steady during the quarter; during July-September some 4,669 ralliers came in. In
view of the increased enemy activity during August, including seven attacks on Chieu Hoi centers in the last week of
August alone, the rates are considered favorable.
52. Another area of significant improvement is civilian self-defense, which indicates growing popular identification with
the national government. According to GVN figures for end-September, the total number of participants in self-defense
activities of all types was 658,934. Of these, 239,264 had received training, and 58,318 had been issued weapons.
Popular enthusiasm was fostered by designating August as self-defense month. High-level GVN personalities
participated in self-defense ceremonies and it was used to gain popular participation. The traditional reluctance of the
government to put weapons in the hands of the people is gradually changing. Some local defense groups have
performed well against enemy attack and they are an increasingly valuable source of intelligence.
53. As the quarter ends, the most promising development is the across-the-board pacification offensive now laid on for
November-January. It calls for upgrading the security status of 1,000 contested hamlets, a major Phung Hoang
campaign to eliminate 3,000 VCI a month, a special effort to rally 5,000 Chieu Hoi returnees, a campaign to increase
popular self-defense groups to over one million people, and a major psywar campaign. The purpose is to galvanize the
GVN pacification effort, and if we achieve even half of these ambitious goals it will be a powerful shot in the arm. Thieu
is energetically pushing the offensive, and has accepted the proposals of our pacification advisors. Their initiative is
commendable. Despite the many continuing problems in this most difficult of all Vietnam programs, pacification is back
in stride and the outlook more favorable than in months if not years./2/
/2/On October 21 Rostow transmitted to the President a report dated October 16 on the pacification counter-offensive.
(Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, 1C(4), Revolutionary Development Program) The
President indicated his approval for a major land reform program in South Vietnam on an October 18 memorandum from
Rostow. (U.S. Army Center for Military History, DepCORDS/MACV Files, Land Reform-LBJ)
E. Economic
54. The economic situation in the third quarter began to shift slowly away from the pattern of the first half. The rise of
spending, the size of the public deficit, and the monthly increase in money supply all fell off as the impact of mobilization
passed its peak. Heavy import licensing ($42.9 million compared to $31.4 million during the previous quarter) showed
renewed confidence. The increase in prices (about 30 percent so far this year) has not yet reflected the increase in
money supply (up to 50 percent). With confidence slowly but steadily returning, there will almost certainly be further
price increases in the last quarter of the year.
55. The rural economy moves toward pre-Tet levels of activity as transportation routes were generally open and a
plentiful supply of goods available. At the same time, prices of many items bought by farmers rose while farm income
remained below the level of the previous year, largely because of the situation in the rice trade. That situation was
characterized by depression paddy prices paid to the farmer, low retail prices in Saigon, large quantities of paddy stored
in delta rice mills and unsold on farms, and excessive stocks of imported rice in Saigon. On October 11, the Prime
Minster told me that the government had decided to cut the present subsidy on imported rice in half, i.e., that the price of
imported rice should be permitted to rise. Since the price of imported rice tends to set the market price, this will assist
farmers. The impact on urban living costs should not be significant. The Prime Minister said the Cabinet would make a
full report to President Thieu on economic matters in a few days. Announcement of action on the rice subsidy and other
economic matters should follow soon thereafter.

56. During the quarter, USAID continued our efforts to promote economic recovery and growth. More than 21,000
hectares of IR-8 and IR-5 rice during the first crop planting from April through August. Sample average yields are five
tons compared to two tons for local varieties.
57. A new program involving the training and use of village officials was initiated to accelerate the distribution of
government-owned rice land. It appears that the government's goal of distributing 70,000 hectares by December 1968
will not be reached until April 1969; however, the December deadline was generally regarded as overly ambitious. With
respect to land tenure in areas where VC "land reform" has been carried out, I have continued to urge President Thieu
to develop and announce a national policy which would give present occupants title to such land if possible, and exempt
them from back rents and taxation. He spoke favorably of such a policy during a recent trip I made with him to Ba Tri
(where the government has received control of a formerly VC held area), and he has told me he will follow up on it. It
would have to be coordinated with land tenure policy in GVN-controlled areas, and the problem of compensation for
former landlords must be worked out, but these things can be done.
58. Despite a five month work stoppage caused by the Tet and May attacks, the hamlet school program for 1968 is
almost on schedule. Eighty-five to ninety percent of the allocated classrooms (2,495) and 100 percent of the teacher
training (3,238) will have been completed by year's end.
59. USAID also participated in the reconstruction of some 100 industrial plants damaged by the Tet and mini-Tet
attacks. The GVN has provided one billion piasters and USAID $10 million for this purpose. These funds will permit
long-term, low interest loans under the administration of the GVN's industrial development center which is technically
assisted by the USAID industry division. The GVN grant is already over 70 percent obligated while the US Government
grant is approximately 40 percent obligated.
Bunker

92. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in France and Vietnam/1/
Washington, October 19, 1968, 1933Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Priority; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Read. In a covering
note transmitting a copy of the telegram to the President, October 21, 8:30 a.m., Rostow wrote: "You may wish to see
exactly how Sec. Rusk reported his conversation with Dobrynin. He suggested that you have this text
available." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]) The notation "ps" on the covering note indicates that the President saw the telegram.
258563/Todel 1336. From the Secretary.
Ambassador Dobrynin called on me today at his request to transmit informally and orally certain views of his
Government on Viet-Nam. He said that his Government had attached "due importance and seriousness" to the
information which they have had in the last few days from the USG. He stated that the Government of the USSR is
"actively assisting" in the present discussions. He said that it was important not to allow "additional obstacles" to
intervene at the pres-ent stage. He made reference to a "concrete day" for the convening of a meeting and seemed to
accept our view that the specification of a concrete day was related to the day on which we could stop the bombing.
He then turned to the October fifteen discussion in Paris in which he said Ambassador Harriman had seemed to make a
special point of the idea of a two-sided discussion rather than a four-sided discussion./2/ He said this assumed
importance because of the way in which Ambassador Harriman had emphasized the point. He asked for my views.
/2/See Document 73 and footnote 2 thereto.
I told him that it would be most unfortunate if theoretical questions should be allowed to stand as an obstacle to serious
talks for the purpose of making peace. We had said that they can have on their side of the table anyone they wish. We
have said that we would expect to have on our side of the table the GVN. It is entirely possible that each of those at the
table would have a different view as to their status and the underlying theory. We ourselves have been talking with the
DRV since April even though we do not recognize their existence. The DRV looks upon the GVN as "puppets" of the
United States. The NLF pretends to be the spokesman of the South Vietnamese. I said that these theoretical questions
could serve as a prolonged obstacle to the serious business of talking about peace. Such matters could consume as
much time as the Palais Rose talks about an agenda. If the talks are carried out as we have suggested, anyone present

could make any statements he wished to make, ask any questions he wished to ask and submit any proposals he might
wish to submit. We should not let theoretical problems stand in the way of this process. Each would have his own view
on such matters.
I asked Dobrynin whether this point had been raised in Moscow or whether it had been raised by Hanoi. He said he did
not know. My own assumption is that Hanoi has raised it and that Hanoi may be having some of the same problems with
the NLF as we are having with Saigon.
I see no solution to these theological issues other than to let each participant have his own theory.
The President fully concurs in the line which I took with Dobrynin and is deeply concerned about our apparent inability to
conduct delicate business among ourselves and with our allies without the types of leaks, speculation and public
statements which get in the way of either fighting the war or making peace.
For Paris: The Dobrynin visit may be the channel through which Hanoi raises this issue at this point. If the Hanoi
delegation raises it in Paris, the above should give you your guidance for trying to deal with it.
For Saigon: Obviously, we have as much of a problem with Saigon on theology as we have with Hanoi. It is very
important that Saigon not jump the tracks at this late date and move away from the our side-your side formula. Perhaps
they gave their earlier consent partly because they did not really expect the eventuality to occur. Nevertheless, the
United States cannot let such questions determine our ability to grapple with the serious issues of substance although
we know that questions of substance will be difficult to resolve.
We are deeply concerned about the rapid build-up of resistance in Saigon to the course of action we are following in
Paris, which we thought we were taking with the agreement of the GVN. The unfortunate delay resulting from Hanoi's
refusal to set a date for "serious talks" plus President Thieu's most unfortunate recklessness in consulting political
leaders far beyond what has been done in the United States, have permitted the South Vietnamese to stimulate
themselves over these theoretical issues without having in front of them the advantages of practical steps of deescalation. Bunker should do everything possible to slow down or reverse the momentum of this build-up of South
Vietnamese attitudes including an effort to postpone the legislative debate now scheduled for Monday. Given the
present attitude of Hanoi, there is no point in our having a quarrel among ourselves for nothing. Our experience in recent
days in consulting allies has been a most unhappy one and will obviously have to be taken into account in future
consultations. Hopefully Bunker can get Thieu to cut back on public statements, press conferences, parliamentary
debates, at least until we know whether there is anything from Hanoi which even poses a problem. Bundy will be
sending Bunker further suggestions along these lines./3/
/3/Document 93.
Rusk

93. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam/1/


Washington, October 19, 1968, 1935Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN/DOUBLE PLUS, Vol. II. Secret;
Priority; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared in substance by Rusk, and approved by Bundy and
Read. Repeated to Paris as Todel 1337.
258564. Ref: Saigon 40702 and 40703./2/
/2/In telegram 40702 from Saigon, October 19, the Embassy reported on a conversation between Berger and Ky
regarding the Paris talks. In telegram 40703 from Saigon, October 19, Bunker noted concerns about Thieu's public
discussion of differences with the United States. (Both ibid.)
This supplements septel from Secretary/3/ and was written before receipt of reftels.
/3/Document 92. A comment at this point in Rostow's handwriting reads: "and was written before recpt. reftels."

1. We assume Bunker expects to see Thieu soonest to explain 2-3-day time interval possibility, and to nail down GVN
attendance under "your side/our side" formula as previously agreed. On the latter point, we agree with Paris 22673/4/
that exact procedures and how topics will be discussed will be best handled through consultation in Paris. Nonetheless,
Bunker should have discretion on making clear our willingness to go into these matters in timely and appropriate
fashion.
/4/In telegram 22673/Delto 851 from Paris, October 19, Harriman and Vance suggested: "We believe it is not desirable
to pursue questions of details on procedures in Saigon. Procedures are a subject for negotiation and not to be laid down
as conditions for NVN acceptance beforehand, as we fear GVN desires." (Johnson Library, National Security File,
Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN/DOUBLE PLUS, Vol. II)
2. On joint announcement, Bunker is authorized in accordance with para 4 of Saigon 40677/5/ to proceed on the basis
of the text contained in Deptel 258161 dropping clause in para. 2 relating to Honolulu statement for coverage in
backgrounder if this doesn't cause major problems./6/ While we recognize the arguments made by Paris, we agree with
Saigon 40677 that remaining differences should hardly present serious difficulty to Hanoi. (We must of course all
recognize possibility that at some point Hanoi will insist on knowing exactly what we propose to say, but this is implicit in
the whole situation and should not affect our clearing the present text with Thieu.)
/5/Dated October 19. (Ibid.)
/6/In telegram 258161/Todel 1325 to Saigon and Paris, October 18, the Department transmitted the following text of a
proposed joint U.S.-GVN statement: "President Nguyen Van Thieu of the Republic of Viet-Nam and President Lyndon B.
Johnson of the United States of America announce that all air, naval, and artillery bombardment on or within the territory
of (North Viet-Nam) (the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam) will cease as of (time and place). President Thieu and
President Johnson have reached this common decision because they have good reason to believe that North Viet-Nam
intends seriously to join them in de-escalating the war and in entering into serious talks on the substance of a peaceful
settlement. They therefore have concluded that this step would contribute to progress toward an honorable and secure
peace (consistent with the principles expressed in the joint statement of the two Presidents at Honolulu in July 1968).
The two Presidents have issued the order to cease bombardment after consultation with the Governments of Australia,
the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, and Thailand." (Ibid.)
3. All of the above are serious and difficult issues requiring earliest possible clarification with Thieu. In addition, we share
Paris's deep concern over the scheduling of a National Assembly debate for Monday in Saigon. Such a debate
obviously presents grave dangers, first in respect to what GVN official reps may say as to present situation, and second
as to resolutions or expressions from the Assembly that may tie GVN hands or be taken by Hanoi to vitiate positions we
have taken in Paris. Our first choice would of course be postponement of debate on the grounds that the situation
cannot be properly presented at this stage, and Bunker should make maximum effort to achieve this unless, in his
judgment, such action by Thieu would be seriously damaging to over-all position in Saigon.
4. Failing this, Bunker should seek to go over with Thieu, with great precision, exactly what GVN reps will be saying. It
appears that GVN representations to TCC, and possibly Thieu's representations to his own Cabinet and to others, have
depicted the situation in respect to military restraints as one of "hard" agreement by Hanoi--which of course it is not. This
could have grave dangers of Hanoi re-opening the status of the record on these matters. Equally, (and from the GVN's
own standpoint) the more they say that there cannot be a cessation without military "guarantees", the more it will look as
if GVN has made a major concession if a cessation is announced without any mention of such "guarantees." In short, it
is a tremendous problem from any standpoint, and we believe must be played by ear to try to get most restrained GVN
posture possible.
5. We agree fully with line Ambassador Bunker proposes to take with Thieu as set forth in reftel which was received
after this cable and Secretary's septel were drafted.
Rusk

94. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Vietnam and France/1/
Washington, October 20, 1968, 1750Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Drafted by Bundy and approved by Read.

258607/Todel 1346. Paris for Harriman and Vance.


1. Saigon 40710/2/ seems to us a masterful argument, and we await the results of your follow-up meeting on Monday./3/
Neither we nor Paris have heard from Bui Diem or Lam today, which may suggest that Thanh has been cooled off on
use of other channels./4/
/2/Telegram 40710 from Saigon, October 20, transmitted Bunker's report of his meeting with Thieu. (Johnson Library,
National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, HARVAN/DOUBLE PLUS, Vol. II)
/3/October 21.
/4/In telegram 258566 to Wellington, October 19, repeated to Canberra and Saigon, the Department expressed concern
over Thanh's comments to Australian and New Zealand representatives in which he expressed strong GVN objections
to the inclusion of the NLF in the expanded meetings. The telegram noted that Bunker would "be making the strongest
possible representations against such recourse to third nations on a matter already worked out fully between GVN and
USG." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968)
2. If Thieu should remain unwilling to commit himself to GVN attendance in the event of an affirmative reply from Hanoi,
we would have to consider other forms of appeal, and would want Saigon recommendations on next steps.
3. We are not quite clear on one point from Saigon reports, and that is whether Thieu has been told of the 2-3 day
possibility having been presented to Hanoi. Time interval does seem to be his main problem, and it occurs to us that the
interval could be presented as a useful time for him to get his delegation in place and for us to go over the procedural
problems with his first team on the ground. (Indeed, we are inclined to view it in this light ourselves.) In any case,
Thieu's public remarks about not knowing all that we do seem to require extra care (as well as possible mild rebuke).
4. On the procedural points raised in Saigon 40761,/5/ we would like Paris comments soonest. Our own thoughts on a
few points are:
/5/In telegram 40761 from Saigon, October 20, the Embassy transmitted recommendations for dealing with procedural
difficulties. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I)
a. Seating arrangements should certainly keep only two sides to the table. Indeed, one thought would be two separate
rectangular tables facing each other, or a single table consisting of two parts put together on a lengthwise axis.
b. On positions at the table, the most convenient would surely be each of us equidistant from the center on our side, with
staff on either side of each principal. But perhaps it would be better to start with the principals side by side in the center,
minimizing any physical appearance of the GVN "opposite" to the NLF.
c. Name: can we not stick to "Paris Talks" through thick and thin?
5. The question of responses to questions on the status of the NLF is indeed a serious one. We would welcome Paris
comments for further work here tomorrow.
6. One point we do pick up from Thieu's press conference/6/--that if anyone "on the NVN delegation" purported to speak
"as a representative of the NLF", he would be invited to leave. This is, of course, quite unrealistic and would need to be
shot down at some point. We leave it to Bunker whether to raise it at this stage in Saigon. Obviously, the NLF man will
claim to represent the NLF and will probably say a lot about what a fine, upstanding group they are; the point is that we
need not reply or indeed address ourselves to him.
/6/In a televised speech on October 19, Thieu stated that the DRV had made no concessions that would lead to a
bombing halt and noted his opposition to the presence of the NLF at the peace table. See The New York Times,
October 19, 1968. In telegram 40649 from Saigon, October 19, Bunker noted: "While we were annoyed by our first
reports of his press conference, and would have preferred there be no conference at all, our irritation was largely due to
the interpretative paragraphs of the wire services rather than to Thieu's own remarks. They were designed mainly for
local consumption, and were not due to any fundamental differences of principle between us. Obviously what is irritating
is that whole of the subject should be aired at a time when we are trying to keep it very quiet." (Johnson Library,
National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]) In notes
taken during an October 21 meeting with Carver, Nitze recorded: "Why did Thieu over-react? Running up warning flag
showing how quickly he cld. move. Signal to Bunker that he as far forward as tolerable. Thieu lost face. Unfortunate in

timing. Caused Ky to dig in his heels. Might generate threat which didn't previously exist." (Library of Congress,
Manuscript Division, Nitze Papers, Defense Department, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Notes 1968, 6 of 6) A CIA
memorandum to Rostow and Rusk forwarded by the CIA's Deputy Director of Plans, Thomas Karamessines, October
21, cited an intelligence source who suggested that despite the "unfortunate propaganda" of Thieu's statement, "both Ky
and Thieu are willing to settle for an NLF presence at Paris so long as the GVN does not appear to be placed on an
equal footing with the Front." (Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-207A, Deputy Director of Operations, Folder 1)
Rusk

95. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)/1/
Washington, October 21, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis; Harvan Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the
report to the President, October 21, 10:25 a.m., Rostow wrote: "Herewith Read's notes of his secure telephone
conversation with Vance." The notation "ps" on the covering note indicates that the President saw the memorandum.
The full report of this secret meeting between the delegations was transmitted in telegram 22742/Delto 857 from Paris,
October 21. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 VIET) A
summary was transmitted in telegram 22724/Delto 854 from Paris, October 21. (Ibid., A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN(Incoming)-October 1968)
Cy Vance called at 9:30 on the secure phone to make the following points:
1. Harriman and Vance met for four hours with Thuy and Lau this morning, Vance summarized by saying "there was no
agreement" but they had moved towards our position on several points and indicated flexibility on others.
2. Thuy opened by proposing a joint communiqu which would have three paragraphs: -1-A statement about stopping
all bombing without conditions on a date left blank; -2-Reference to a ''four power conference" to be called after
cessation; -3-A statement that the conference would convene "as soon as possible" after cessation.
3. On the first paragraph after discussion the DRV agreed to the adoption of our phrase concerning "acts involving use
of force", and Harriman and Vance interpreted this to mean that they have given up on the reconnaissance issue.
4. On the second paragraph Harriman and Vance made clear that any reference to a "four power conference" was
completely unacceptable to us. Thuy then proposed referring to the four participants by name, and Harriman and Vance
said it would be essential from our point of view to get in the "our side your side" language.
5. On the third paragraph Harriman and Vance said the "as soon as possible" language was totally unacceptable. Thuy
at first spoke of it taking a period of weeks for the NLF to appear in Paris but gave ground rapidly on this issue and left
them finally with the impression that the NLF could be there one week following cessation. Harriman and Vance
indicated one week was too long.
6. Thuy claimed the reason a joint communiqu was necessary was that there be no further misunderstandings and
indicated concern at the statements coming out of Saigon.
7. Harriman and Vance spoke of four options: -1-Letting the actions of cessation and subsequent agreed early meeting
speak for themselves, which we indicated was our preference; -2-separate US & DRV statements about cessation &
subsequent meeting; -3-A joint minute; and -4-The joint communiqu. Summarizing, they repeated our strong
preference for the first but did not rule out the other three options. Thuy said that they would report back to Hanoi and
asked us to report back to Washington.
8. Harriman and Vance believed Thuy expects us to come back to him at the next stage with our further comments on
how to proceed.
Ben Read

96. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State/1/


Saigon, October 21, 1968, 1133Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I. Secret; Immediate; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Received at 8:38 a.m. Repeated to Paris for Harriman
and Vance.
40788. 1. FonMin Thanh afternoon Oct 21 presented me with memorandum, of which text below, which he said he had
been instructed by President to hand to me and which he subsequently discussed in some detail. An account of the
ensuing discussion and comments follow in septel./2/ Thanh also mentioned that he is having trouble with rapid code
transmission to Paris, and I offered to have text of his memorandum transmitted to Amb Lam by our delegation. I would
appreciate if this could be done immediately. (We have renumbered paragraphs for easy reference. This should be
explained to Amb Lam, so that he does not refer to paragraphs by the same numbers in his communications with
Saigon.)
/2/Telegram 40794 from Saigon, October 21. (Ibid.)
2. Begin Text. The position of our government rests on the following basic principles:
a. The Government of the RVN is a legal, elected, constitutional government, recognized by more than 90 countries and
has diplomatic relations with more than 30 countries. The Government of the RVN participates in numerous international
conferences and is full member of most of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. The parliament of the RVN is
member of the International Parliamentary Union.
B. The NLF is only but an organization created, directed and supported by Hanoi. It is a tool of Hanoi in its policy of
aggression against South Vietnam.
3. Consequently, our government will not participate in any conference in which the NLF is represented as a distinct
entity from North Vietnam.
4. In any case, it is to be avoided that even the appearances give credit to the pretension of the NLF to represent
anyone in South Vietnam
5. It is necessary to reach a prior agreement with Hanoi on these details of procedure:
6. Point One. The delegation of the RVN will sit behind a table board, bearing the name "Government of the RVN."
A. The "two-sides" formula does not mean that our delegation has not its own existence and that it is part of the US
delegation.
B. The truth is that on our side, there are 6 allied governments which entertain diplomatic relations with the RVN and are
assisting the RVN repel the North Vietnamese aggression.
C. Of course, we will not object that Hanoi has a board of its own. But, we will not accept a board bearing the name of
the NLF on the other side of the conference table.
7. Point Two. Seating arrangement at the conference table: On our side, the seats of the RVN and US delegation are
distinct and cannot be subject to any confusion or give the interpretation that the RVN delegation is part of the US
delegation.
8. Point Three. Procedure of speech:
A. At the moment, each side speaks first when opening the sessions alternatively.
B. When it will be the turn for our side to open that session, we propose that the RVN delegation speak first on all
military and other matters which will be brought at the conference table.
C. We think that the US delegation should discuss military matters such as: cease fire, regrouping of forces, withdrawal
of forces, military bases, control and supervision, international guarantees, international police forces etc. . . .

D. The problems concerning the 2 zones should be the object of direct negotiations between Hanoi and Saigon-problems of internal politics of South Vietnam cannot be raised in an international conference.
9. Point Four. The RVN delegation proposes that at the first session of the conference in which it will assist, it will clearly
state that its participation in the conference cannot be interpreted as a diplomatic recognition of the Hanoi authorities.
We think it useful that the US delegation make a similar statement.
10. Point Five. Every time that a member of the North Vietnamese delegation claims to represent the NLF or any other
related organization and speak in their name, the delegation of the RVN will reiterate that they are part and parcel of the
North Vietnamese delegation, speak on behalf of North Vietnam, and that we do not consider them as a separate entity
from the North Vietnamese delegation. We propose that the US delegation adopt a similar attitude.
11. Point Six. At the conference table, the rule of courtesy should be duly observed by both sides and on a reciprocal
basis. The name of each delegation should be properly and correctly used during the conference. Of course, our attitude
will depend on that of the other side. End Text./3/
/3/In telegram 22797/Delto 861 from Paris, October 22, Harriman noted emerging discrepancies between the GVN and
its diplomats in Paris: "Lam appears to be receiving rigid instructions from Thanh which do not sufficiently take into
account the points made by the Embassy to the GVN." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM
Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968) In a covering note transmitting this telegram to the President,
October 22, 5:30 p.m., Rostow commented: "I presume Ellsworth will work on this in Saigon, but it is clear that we
haven't got the theology straightened out with Saigon and translated into agreed procedures yet." (Johnson Library,
National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]) A CIA
memorandum to Rostow and Rusk forwarded by Karamessines, October 25, cited a source that noted that in response
to a complaint about being kept uninformed, Thanh instructed Lam that until the commencement of expanded talks,
"substantive discussions between the Americans and the South Vietnamese would take place solely in Saigon and Lam
thus bore no responsibilities in this area." (Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-207A, Folder 1)
Bunker

Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume VII, Vietnam, September 1968-January


1969
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 97-122

97. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 21, 1968, 10:40 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Top Secret; Harvan Double Plus; Literally Eyes Only for the President. The notation "ps" on the
memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
Mr. President:
Herewith a pessimistic analysis of this morning's meeting./2/ I am not sure it is right, but we ought to consider it.
/2/See Document 95.
They ask for three things, any one of which alone could destroy the Saigon government; all three certainly would:
--our acceptance of their theological language about an "unconditional" bombing halt;
--a long delay before the first "serious" negotiating meeting;
--4 powers rather than our-side-your-side.
They may believe that our anxiety for a bombing halt and forward movement for domestic political purposes is so great
we would fall into the trap of opening up this kind of gap between Washington and Saigon. Even the Chinese
Communists are bringing the election into the bombing halt question.
Communists always think in terms of what they call "inner contradictions" in the camp of their enemies.
It is possible that:
--they have no interest in forward progress unless it broke the GVN or greatly strained the U.S.-GVN relation;
--they are taking our temperature on the pre-election question, in which case Sect. Rusk might quickly disabuse
Dobrynin;
--they may be waiting to see if Vice President Humphrey wins, whom they may regard as an easier negotiating partner;
--they may accept our terms, if we hold steady.
Walt

98. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/


Washington, October 22, 1968, 0110Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Outgoing)-October
1968. Secret; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Read. Repeated to Saigon.
259261/Todel 1359. For Harriman and Bunker from the Secretary.

I have just seen Dobrynin to bring him up-to-date on the October 21 meeting in Paris./2/ I reviewed the discussion with
regard to a joint written communiqu, the problem as between a "Four Party Conference" and a "your side-our side
meeting," the question of timing for an initial meeting and the Hanoi suggestion that preparatory meetings should
discuss procedural matters and the agenda.
/2/See Document 95.
To my surprise, I discovered that Dobrynin had reported inaccurately my earlier conversation with him about the
possibility of stopping the bombing two or three days before an established date for a meeting. I had said to him that, for
example, if a meeting is set for a Monday we might be able to stop the bombing on the preceding Friday or Saturday. He
said that he had reported to Moscow that if the bombing were stopped on Monday there could be a meeting on Friday or
Saturday. This may be partly responsible for the retreat by Thuy to "a week." Dobrynin said he would immediately
straighten out that misunderstanding.
I pointed out to Dobrynin that everyone in this situation has many formal or procedural preoccupations on such
questions as status, recognition, for whom individual representatives might speak, etc. I said that, although we ourselves
have a good many formal problems, our approach has been to brush all those aside in order to come to grips with the
substance of making peace. I pointed out that we could spend weeks or months discussing such questions without
touching substance. We have made a good beginning by having actual discussions go on between the USG and the
DRV in which technical questions have been subordinated. We meet regularly without place names or flags and
alternate the privilege of speaking first. These talks have been serious and we see no reason why enlarged serious talks
could not proceed on the same basis. As for an agenda, we hope to avoid months of debate about the adoption of a
formal agenda. Each side has said that any question which anyone wishes to raise can be discussed. When it is our
time to speak first, we can raise any questions on our minds. When the other side speaks first, they can do the same.
There is no need to go through time consuming debates of the types that are all too familiar in diplomatic history. What
is important is that those most directly concerned sit down under informal circumstances and talk about peace, even
though each representative present might have radically different views about the formal and procedural questions.
I strongly underlined the timing factor and told Dobrynin that Thuy began by saying that the NLF had indicated that "as
soon as possible" could mean a few weeks. I repeated Harriman's comment that one week was too long. I repeated the
suggestion that the first meetings might be with temporary representatives who could be replaced by more permanent
representatives at a later stage.
For Harriman:
If I may say so, you handled the meeting on October 21 very well indeed. My own reaction is that it would be a mistake
for us to become embroiled in negotiating such matters as a joint communiqu, the procedures of a "Four Party
Conference" and an agreed complete agenda. The opportunities for delay are unlimited. We are in a much stronger
position to say that we should brush all such questions aside and get down to "serious talks" on the substance of peace
on the basis of forms and procedures already established in the Paris talks.
Further, I don't see how we can very well expect to negotiate what the various parties will say about it. Each has his own
problems and points of view and requirements in managing his own situation. Such agreements would, in any event,
break down promptly because there would be no control over what is said and we would already have taken the major
public step of stopping the bombing. Another cable takes up some of these questions./3/
/3/See Document 107.
We shall be discussing these matters further at the Tuesday lunch-eon/4/ and we expect to have further comments at
that time.
/4/See Document 103.
Hopefully, Thuy was merely trying to see whether he could get a few more drops out of the turnip and is in position to go
further than he indicated in your Monday meeting. Obviously, his effort to establish a formally acknowledged status for
the NLF runs head on into the central question which we have not only with Saigon but with other allies, quite apart from
our own similar views on the matter.
Rusk

99. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)/1/
Washington, October 22, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis; Harvan Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the
report to the President, October 22, 9:30 a.m., Rostow wrote: "Herewith the Soviet proposition." The notation "ps" on the
covering note indicates that the President saw the report. Vance's written report on the meeting was sent in telegram
22750 from Paris, October 22. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82,
HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968)
Cy Vance called on the secure phone at 8:00 a.m.
1. Oberemko phoned Vance last night to ask for a late evening or early morning meeting. They met at 9:30 a.m. this
morning for 2-1/2 hours.
2. Oberemko said he had met with the DRV delegation after their private meeting yesterday with us./2/ Oberemko had
found them "emotional" and "suspicious", and after discussion with them Oberemko had come to the conclusion that
some of their problems came from misunderstandings in the translation process. He said that he had had the same
difficulty in communicating with the DRV himself.
/2/See Document 95.
3. Oberemko said that both sides were showing stubbornness and it was now up to a third party to try to resolve the
situation by putting forward a "common sense solution".
4. Oberemko, "acting under the general instructions given by his government", then put forward the following proposal:
"The United States gives the order to stop bombardment on October 24 or October 25. A meeting with representatives
of the United States, DRV, the NLF, and the GVN is held in Paris on November 1 or November 2."
5. Vance said that he would report to Washington immediately. Oberemko said that he planned to deliver the identical
proposal to the DRV as soon as he left Vance. Oberemko said he hoped we could get back to him today because of the
urgency of the matter and Vance said only that he would report back to Oberemko as soon as possible and before we
communicated with the DRV on the Oberemko proposal.
6. Oberemko referred to the question of a joint communiqu or joint minute and Vance said we were opposed.
Oberemko said it was not the business of his government whether the DRV and U.S. reached an oral or written
understanding. The Soviet Union was trying to get an agreement on principle.
7. Oberemko said it was essential that we take the initiative in calling the next meeting after we had heard from
Washington regarding the Oberemko proposal. Since the DRV had called the last one it was impossible for them to take
the initiative on the next private meeting.
8. It was clear to Vance from the discussion that the language in the first sentence of the proposal is intended to mean
that bombing would stop on the 24th or 25th, not merely that orders to stop would be issued on those dates. It was also
made clear that if the bombing stopped on the 24th the meeting would occur on the 1st; if the bombing stopped on the
25th, the meeting would occur on the 2nd. The time interval was chosen according to Oberemko to split the difference
between our "two or three-day" proposal and the minimum interpretation of the other side's "several weeks" proposal
which the Soviets interpreted as meaning two weeks. Oberemko said the language he had put forward in the second
sentence of the proposal was intended to avoid our insistence on "our side/your-side" language and to avoid the DRV
insistence on "four power" meeting or conference. Oberemko said on the latter point he understood from the
Dobrynin/Rusk conversations that Secretary Rusk had agreed that the nomenclature for the meeting was not essential.
9. Question of unconditional cessation was discussed briefly. Vance said that he was sure Oberemko understood that if,
for example, there was indiscriminate rocketing of cities following cessation no President could maintain cessation.
Oberemko said he understood but we were stating an exaggerated case. We should be content to rest on the statement
that the other side would know what to do and the understandings already reached.
Note:
Vance called back at 8:45 to say that Oberemko had phoned him to say that he had seen the DRV representatives

following his discussion with Vance this morning and Oberemko made an appointment to come to see Vance at 2:30
p.m. Paris time this afternoon./3/
/3/See Document 101.
BHR
Recommendation:
Harriman and Vance recommend accepting the Soviet proposal in principle. They believe that in our answer we should
use the agreed phrase that "the U.S. will stop all air, naval, and artillery bombardment and all other acts involving the
use of force on or within the territory of the DRV" on the date to be specified. They also suggest that we rearrange the
order of the representatives named in the second sentence so that it would refer first to the U.S., second to the GVN,
third to the DRV, and fourth to the NLF. Harriman added the view that the fact the Soviets have become so involved in
the resolution of this issue means that they will have a big stake in seeing that the subsequent negotiations are
successful.

100. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk/1/
Washington, October 22, 1968, 9:50 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and
Rusk, October 22, 1968, 9:50 a.m., Tape F6810.05, PNO 10. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared
specifically for this volume in the Office of the Historian.
President: Hello.
Rusk: Mr. President, I just had a brief word with Cy Vance./2/ Oberemko, the Russian, had just walked into his office for
a second meeting and had gotten simply as far as saying that he was having great trouble with the Hanoi delegation.
And when I called Vance out to the phone, I told Vance that a week was impossible; that he had already taken that view
over there on two occasions; that our real position was one day. In fact, I personally don't see why, if we stop the
bombing, they can't meet the next day, but if 2 to 3 days would make any difference, we could do that. I was hoping if
we do that we could do it over a weekend so that the psychology would be that Saturday and Sunday aren't working
days anyhow, and if we stopped on Friday night and the meeting is on Monday morning, most people would accept that.
He said he would hold to the 2 to 3 days business and report back to us on this present talk that is now going on with
the Russian. I'm very disappointed and really amazed that Dobrynin got this thing fouled up because he just turned it
around--thought if we stopped the bombing on Monday then there would be a meeting on Friday or Saturday, where I
had said that if we had a meeting on Monday, we could stop it on the Saturday preceding. So it may be that the
Russians sort of got bugged in on the idea that a week was possible and they have been pressing Hanoi for a week,
and now a week won't work, so the thing becomes unhooked again.
President: I think there are three things that we have to bear in mind. First, I do not believe the Saigon government, from
the cables I have been reading, with Ky with all his problems and their attitude out there, I don't believe they can stop
the bombing for a week and just sit there and say nothing, and what happens in that week would be very dangerous.
That government has a million men. Second, I know I can't--I just can't sit here and say nothing for a whole damn week
after we stop it with a week before the elections. Now, I wouldn't have any hesitancy, if they want to wait--give them a
week's time and then stop the bombing and meet the next day or wait 10 days. As a matter of fact, I had rather do that
anyway. I am very fearful that while it is unjustified and uncalled for and untrue, I am very fearful that the politicians will
say we are doing this just a week before elections. And I rather think the Communists may be having some of that in
mind, and I don't want to play their game and allow them to use me as a Charlie McCarthy. Therefore, if they're unwilling
to take the position they took, that they could have serious discussions the day after the bombing stopped, then I am
very uninterested in their proposal. I would wait, if they want me to give them a week or 10 days to go get the NLF, that's
all right. But after we stop the bombing, I expect them to be ready to move and have their tennis shoes on.
/2/Rusk received a call from Vance in Paris at 9:40 a.m. (Ibid., Dean Rusk Appointment Books, 1968-1969)
Rusk: Right. I agree.
President: Okay.

Rusk: Fine.

101. Situation Report by the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read)/1/
Washington, October 22, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Nodis/Harvan Double Plus. In an attached covering note transmitting a copy of the
report to the President, October 22, 11:25 a.m., Rostow wrote: "Here is Cy Vance's latest, plus a note of mine printed for
the 12 o'clock meeting. The Russians are obviously trying very hard to pull this off--and in a hurry." The notation "ps" on
the covering note indicates that the President saw the report and the attached memorandum. Vance's written report on
the meeting was sent in telegram 22763 from Paris, October 22. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59,
A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82, HARVAN-(Incoming)-October 1968) Rostow's "note" is Document 102.
Cy Vance called on the secure phone at 10:25 a.m.
1. Oberemko (hereafter "O") had just left. O said it seemed to him that things were moving "step by step" but with great
difficulty towards an understanding.
2. O had just seen Thuy and Lau and recounted to them the O/CV conversation of this morning/2/ and put to the DRV
representatives the proposal he had already given to Vance. O said he would not give CV the whole conversation with
the DRV but its essence. The DRV considered necessary two basic considerations: (1) That we accept the principle of
complete and unconditional cessation of bombardment (and again O said it was up to us and the DRV to agree on the
exact language); (2) if they would agree not to use the "four party" language they would be unwilling to have us use "our
side/your side" language or "two side" language. The DRV agrees to the language suggested by the Soviets of referring
to a meeting with representatives of the U.S., GVN, DRV, and NLF.
/2/See Document 99.
3. If there is agreement on these two principles, the DRV is prepared to meet with us and try to work out a final
agreement on the date of cessation on the 24th or 25th, and the date of the first meeting on the 1st and 2nd.
4. O said he recommended to the DRV against a joint communiqu and they agreed. O said they would insist however
on a secret minute. O said they really did mean to keep it secret.
5. The DRV would like to raise with us in private discussion the question of how to agree to announce these actions to
the press. Vance said this would raise a lot of problems and they could not hope to control what we say to the press and
O did not demur.
6. At the conclusion of O's meeting with the DRV reps, the latter said "a final agreement on this matter is possible now; it
is possible today". O said they were taking "very seriously" the developments of the last 24 hours.
7. O said the DRV was ready to meet with us any time today.
8. Vance told O that he had been in touch with the Department and the period between the 24th and 25th and the 1st
and 2nd was too long. O said if the U.S. has something that is less than that period we should come back with such a
suggestion but he could tell us flatly that if we stuck on the two or three day proposal the DRV answer would "obviously
be no". O said if we wish to go back through him with a shorter time period suggestion he would deliver the message to
the DRV but would not do so unless we wished him to.
9. Vance asked what O meant when he said the DRV would not use the words "four party" if we did not mention the "our
side/your side" or "two side" formula. Vance said it was one thing to assume the possibility of language in a secret
minute which avoided either phrase but the DRV could not hope to control what we said or the GVN said publicly
thereafter. O said the DRV was not suggesting that. O said he did not think the DRV expected us to abandon the public
posture that the meeting was essentially based on the our side your side formula.
BHR

102. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, October 22, 1968, 11:05 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt
Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]. Secret; Harvan Double Plus. Rostow transmitted the memorandum, which is marked "For noon
meeting," to the President; see footnote 1, Document 101.
Mr. President:
For the Vietnamese meeting at 12 o'clock, here are some points on the timing of the first your-side-our-side session:
1. Oberemko's proposition this morning was nothing more or less than the final position taken yesterday by Thuy:
--Thuy fell back from a "four-power conference" to naming the four participants;
--Thuy fell back from a meeting some weeks after the bombing halt to one week.
2. It was the DRV which suggested that "serious talks" could start the next day after a bombing cessation; and they have
now accepted the view that "serious talks" involve the participation of the GVN. On Sept. 15 Le Duc Tho told Harriman
and Vance "the DRV would be willing to meet the next day after a bombing cessation and discuss the agenda items with
'serious intent and good will.'"/2/
/2/See Document 14.
3. A week's bombing halt without visible GVN participation in Paris would put the greatest possible strain on the GVN.
Its participation is the one solid and overt sign of the understanding at which we have arrived.
4. We will, of course, have to background on the DMZ, and we can either point to that or point to Abrams' executing his
standing orders on rules of engagement in case of DMZ violations. But we need the change in the character of the
meetings in Paris to validate the deal in South Vietnam and keep the politicians quiet.
5. Much the same is talk at home where you have emphasized to all three candidates the critical nature of GVN
participation as part of the quid pro quo for a bombing cessation.
6. I have put the question on the military implications to Gen. Wheeler. He will formulate his views. In general, I suspect
that the military effects of political uneasiness will rank higher in Abrams' mind than anything the enemy might do to take
advantage in one week of the bombing cessation; although we should be conscious that there are some reports of an
attack on Saigon scheduled for late October or early November.
7. We told the TCC's, "since whole objective of bombing cessation would be to move on to serious talks, we must have
clear understanding that such talks would get under way at once and would include the GVN on our side of the table. . .
."
Walt

103. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 22, 1968.
/1/Source: Johnson Library. Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the
Oval Office, with the President and Rusk entering at 11:59 a.m.; Clifford, Wheeler, and Rostow at 12:01 p.m.; and
Christian and Tom Johnson at 12:10. Clifford and Rostow left at 12:50 p.m., Wheeler at 12:55, and Rusk at 12:56, while
Christian and Tom Johnson accompanied the President for a walk on the South Lawn. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)

NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEETING WITH


Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
General Wheeler
Walt Rostow
George Christian
Tom Johnson
Walt Rostow: Bill Jorden thinks they will back off for five days./2/
/2/In a memorandum to the President, October 22, 12:00 p.m. Rostow wrote: "Bill Jorden just called and said he wished
to lay before me at this critical moment his views. He believes the other side is in a mood to settle: they have backed off
on recce; they have backed off on a joint communiqu. The issue now is, first, time. He believes that they would accept
five days. He recommends that we be 'adjustable' and not insist on two or three days. He does not believe that it would
be easy to explain a hang-up and failure of negotiation on a question of 48 or 72 hours." Rostow also noted that Jorden
listed the text of a secret minute as the "second hang-up issue." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File,
Vietnam, Memos to the President/Bombing Halt Decision, Vol. I [1 of 3]) In a memorandum to the President, October 22,
5:30 p.m., Rostow wrote: "In a casual classified telephone conversation, I asked Jorden: Why are we insisting on a
week? Is it merely to make political trouble in Saigon? He said: I think it is to preserve the myth that the NLF had to get
from the jungle in Tay Ninh province, to Phnom Penh, Hanoi, Peking, Moscow, and Paris--after the bombing stops. That
would take five days if it were the truth." (Ibid.)
General Wheeler: You could stand it. The problem is related to morale, particularly the Vietnamese morale. The sooner
there is an actual meeting with the GVN present, the better the performance of the ARVN and the U.S. forces will be.
Secretary Rusk: We need to get this in the announcement--the inclusion of the GVN.
The President: Why do they need more than one day?
Secretary Rusk: To get people there.
The President: I'd rather not stop bombing until we get them there.
Secretary Rusk: I guess they understand that this is to get away from the "condition" set by a halt in the bombing.
The President: What is the weather?
General Wheeler: It is terrible. The monsoon season has hit. The roads are practically impassable. The effects on the
ARVN of a long delay could be bad--not in terms of physical damage, but in terms of morale. McConnell said if we were
to stop the bombing, now is the time to do it.
The President: If they used the week badly it could hurt us.
General Wheeler: I'm more concerned about the effect on the ARVN. They have been doing well. They will sit on their
hands if the effect is bad. I am a one-day man.
Secretary Rusk: A week is too long. Two weeks are impossible.
1. There could be a meeting at 3 p.m.
2. We could stop the bombing at midnight Friday, and announce Friday evening here, which is Saturday morning Saigon
time.
The President: We could go Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. On their Monday meeting, it would be held.
General Wheeler: 12 midnight Saigon time is noon here. 1500 hours Paris time is 10 p.m. Saigon time, 10 a.m.
Washington time Monday, the 28th.
Walt Rostow: With the ambiguity in Thieu's statement,/3/ Ambassador Bunker should ask Thieu whether we could live

through it.
/3/In response to comments in an October 20 televised interview of Humphrey which were critical of Thieu's stance on
the negotiations, Thieu noted on October 22 that he was "willing and ready to take any action which can hasten the
establishment of a just and honorable peace" and that he would drop his opposition to the bombing halt when it became
clear that the DRV would join the GVN in de-escalating the war and in direct negotiations. See The New York Times,
October 21 and 22, 1968, and Keesing's Contemporary Archives, November 23-30, 1968, p. 23041.
The President: I worry about the morale.
Secretary Clifford: There is a missing factor here. I don't know what happened since last week.
The President: The implications of the negotiators were that they didn't have an agreement they thought they had.
Secretary Clifford: I thought we had an agreement. Why did we consult with the allies?
Secretary Rusk: Hanoi came up with changes in timing.
The President: We thought they said they would have negotiations the next day.
Secretary Rusk: Hanoi didn't have this buttoned up with the NLF.
The President: I don't think we have an agreement now.
Secretary Clifford: Neither do I.
Prime Minister Gorton had a press conference.
Secretary Rusk: What is your reaction?
Secretary Clifford: The agreement must be solid and firm.
The President: I agree.
Secretary Clifford: We may need to get it in writing.
When I left here Monday,/4/ I thought we had a deal. On Tuesday, I learned we didn't have a deal since the Paris
delegation had to go back to Hanoi.
/4/October 21.
We must have a kind of agreement whereby:
(a) The bombing is stopped as of a certain time.
(b) The time when the meeting is to be held with the NLF and the GVN present is determined. We must get it in writing.
Secretary Rusk: Take it easy on written requirements.
Secretary Clifford: Nobody told me they had gone back on it.
The President: Mac Bundy said we ought to stop it. Vice President Humphrey said the same thing.
Secretary Clifford: There is no need to go back to the troop contributors.
The President: I must get Abrams on board.

Walt Rostow: We must have them honor the DMZ or Abe [Abrams] will respond instantly. He and Thieu must know they
must stand firm.
The President: What is the deal now? Get Cy and Averell to insure we understand each other. Get Bunker and Abe to
please tell us what problems this will cause us. Are they together on times?
Secretary Rusk: If each side can talk, time is the key factor.
Secretary Clifford: Mr. President, your approach is the right one. What is the deal? Write it out.
In three days, send a cable to Cy and Averell to see if they're aboard.
See if Bunker and Abe agree.
See if Hanoi is aboard and the Soviets are aboard.
The President: Get the language.
Secretary Clifford: They can name the participants.
General Wheeler: They must name the GVN.
Secretary Clifford: Get this square with Thieu.
The President: He has worse problems at home than I do with Fulbright. He has problems with his Senate and his
people, too.
Secretary Rusk: It was Thieu who insisted that there not be a mention of NLF in the joint statement. They want to treat
the NLF as non-existent.
The first of the meetings will be for the birds.
We have debacles. That's why we have diplomats. We are the Department of Debacles.
Here are the conditions:
(1) The bombing ceases as of a certain time. Reconnaissance continues.
(2) There is a meeting within three days. A time is announced for the meeting, e.g. midnight Friday Saigon time, 3 p.m.
Paris time, noon, Washington time.
(3) The DMZ is not violated. If so, Abrams responds.
(4) The cities are not attacked. If so, there is a response.
(5) The GVN are present at the negotiating sessions.
The meeting is 3 p.m. Monday Paris time.
They proposed the 24th or 25th.
General Wheeler: This is an example.
Secretary Rusk: I would put this as a hard proposal.
Secretary Clifford: If we have trouble over a date, the whole thing will collapse.

Walt Rostow: Cy is convinced they understand the DMZ and cities part. What we say is important. Can we get Thieu
aboard?
Secretary Rusk: Yes.
Walt Rostow: We cannot treat the NLF as an entity. The delay cannot be too long.
Secretary Rusk: This weekend is the last chance. We cannot do it directly before or afterwards.
Secretary Clifford: Publicity has extracted the sting of politics.
Secretary Rusk: Nixon seems to be comfortable.
Secretary Clifford: We should say we have an agreement; we will stop the bombing; we will do it within three days.
Walt Rostow: This would be to Bunker-Abrams.

104. Notes of Meeting/1/


Washington, October 22, 1968, 1:20-2:24 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson's Notes of Meetings. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the
mansion of the White House. Clifford, Rusk, Wheeler, Helms, and Rostow entered at 1:22 p.m., and lunch began at 1:35
p.m.; Rostow left at 2:22 p.m., Rusk and Helms at 2:24 p.m., and Clifford and Wheeler at 2:33 p.m. (Ibid., President's
Daily Diary)
NOTES ON PRESIDENT'S TUESDAY LUNCHEON
THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE
The President
Secretary Rusk
Secretary Clifford
General Wheeler
CIA Director Helms
Walt Rostow
George Christian
Tom Johnson
Secretary Rusk: We ought to put a medal on George Christian and Bob McCloskey for the way they have handled the
last few days.
The President: (Read proposed cable to Bunker and Abrams). Insert A./2/
/2/The text is the same as that transmitted in Document 105.
I want to know what the military view is of this--the military effects and morale.
I want to know if Abrams thinks we should stop the bombing.
How muc