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Full text of "Pentagon Papers"



Declassified per Executive Order 13526. Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



VI.C Settlement of the Conflict (6 Vols.) 

Histories of Contacts (4 Vols.) 

1. 1965-1966 





Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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UNITED STATES - VIETNAM RELATIONS 



^VIETNAM TASK FORCE 



OF THE S 



ETARY OF DEFENSE 



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vi. c. t. 

SETSLELJEKT OF THE CONFLI CT 

■ ■ ii ■ — i ■ — - - — i i » - 

History of Contacts 



Negotiations, 1965 - 1966 



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NEGOTIATIONS, I965-I966 









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This book includes five negotiating tracks: 

(1) Seaborn Missions (Canadian ICC Delegate Periodic 
Visits to Hanoi), June 196k - June 1965. 

(2) Project Mayflower (the First U.S. Bombing P&use), 
May 12-18, 1965. 

(3) XYZ (U.S. Contacts with Mai Van Bo in Paris), 
May 19, 1965 - May 6, 1966* 

(h) Pinta-Rangoon (the Second U.S. Bombing Pause), 
December 2k, 1965 - January 31, 1966, 

(5) Ronning Missions (Canadian Ambassador Extraordinary 
Visits to Hanoi), March and June, 1966. 

Each section has a summary and analysis followed by a chronology 
(except Project Mayflower, which is told narratively). 



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THE SEABORN MISSION TO HANOI, JUNE 196^-JUME 19&5 



This paper considers US/DKV communications passed via the 
Canadian ICC Delegate, J. Blair Seaborn. It is in three parts: 
(l) a discussion of principal topics; (2) a summary description 
of Seahorn f s main visits to Hanoi; and (3) a m ore detailed 
chronology extracted from cables , reports and memoranda. 
Part 3 contains the references underlying part 1; they are 
keyed in Part 1 "by dates, in brackets. 



Discussion 

The messages carried by Seaborn were unusually substantive 
and dramatic. Possible (but quite different) settlement terms 
were sketched by both sides, but the main subject stressed 
repeatedly by each was its determination to do and endure what- 
ever might be necessary to see the war to a conclusion satis- 
factory to it. 

To the extent they believed each other, the two sides 
were amply forewarned that a painful contest lay ahead. Even 
so, they were not inclined to compromise their way out. They 
held very different estimates of the efficacy of US military 
might. We thought its pressures could accomplish our goals. 
The Communists did not. 

Resolution to Win 

Both sides gave strong warnings as early as June 196k . 
On Seaborn T s first visit to Hanoi, he conveyed U& determination 
"to contain the DRV to the territory allocated it fr at Geneva 
1951-I- and to see the GVN's writ run throughout SVN. US patience 
was running thin. If the conflict should escalate, "the greatest 
devastation would of course result for the DRV itself , ,,a He 
underlined the seriousness of US intentions by reminding his 
principal contact, Fham Van Dong, that the US commitment to SVN 
had implications extending far beyond SE Asia. (6/20/64) 



a As reported in another study, Seaborn f s was not the only warning 
given the DRV that June. , Dillon also told the French Finance 
Minister, on the presumption it would be relayed to Hanoi, that 
we would use military force against the North if necessary to 
attain our objectives in SVN. 



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Pham Van Dong laughed and said lie did indeed appreciate the 
problem, A US defeat in SVN would in all probability start a 
chain reaction extending much further. But the stakes were just 
as high for the HXF and its supporters, hence their determination 
to continue the struggle regardless of sacrifice. (6/20/6k) 

He did not specifically deny that there was DRV intervention 
in the South and said of the war in SVN, "We shall win." (Bnphasis 
added.) But he also said "the DRV will not enter the war . . . 
we shall not provoke the US." (6/l8/6k) Perhaps he drew a distinction 
between existing levels of DRV intenvention and "entering the war." 
He also warned that "if the war were pushed to the North r f nous 
sommes un pays socialiste, un des pays socialistes, vous savez, et 
le peuple se dressera.'" (6/ 18/ 6k) This is quite ambiguous, but 
does threaten further consequences should the DRV itself come under 
attack* 

Although he clearly did not consider the DRV under attack at 
that time, he complained that "US military intervention" in Laos 
in the wake of the April 19614- coup was spilling over the frontier. 
"There are daily incursions of our air space across the Laotian 
border by overflights of military aircraft and by commando units 
bent on sabotage." (6/l8/6k) 

w 

Their positions stiffened after Tonkin . When Seaborn saw 
Pham Van Dong on August 13, he transmitted a blunt US refutation 
of the DRV T s Tonkin Gulf account and an accusation that DRV 
behavior in the Gulf saught to cast the US as a paper tiger or 
to provoke the US* 

Pham Van Dong answered angrily that there had been no DRV 
provocation. Rather, the US had found "it is necessary to 
carry the war to the North in order to find a way out of the 
impasse • . . in the South." He anticipated more attacks in 
the future and warned. "Up to now we have tried to .avoid serious 
trouble; but it becomes more difficult now because the war has 
been carried to our territory ... If var comes to North Vietnam, 
it will come to the whole of SE Asia. . ." (8/13/6*0 

He was thus ambiguous about whether he considered the war 
already carried to the North or yet to come and of course about 
th£.t the consequences would be. As indicated in another study, 
however, it is now believed that the first organized NVA units 
infiltrated into SVN were dispatched from the DRV in August , 196k. 
(These units were being readied as early as April 196^. The date 
of the decision to dispatch them is, of course, unknown.) 
Meanwhile , Seaborn observed the North Vietnamese to be "taking 
various precautionary measures (air raid drills, slit trenches, 
brick bunkers, etc. and, reportedly at least, preparation for 
evacuation of women and children.)" (8/ '17 /6k) 



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The DRV position stiffened further after Pleiku . Seaborn 
returned to Hanoi in December, 1964, but at our request did not 
actively seek appointments with ranking leaders. He was to leave 
the initiative to them, but they did not seek him out either and 
he returned to Saigon without significant contact. 

When he visited again, March 1-4, 1965, he was given a US 
message to convey to Pham Van Dong. The latter was "too busy", 
and he had to settle for Col- Ha Van Lau, NVA liaison to the ICC, 
who received him March 4. (3/5/^5) 

*v From Lau and others, he gathered that Hanoi was not seriously 
concerned by the US air strikes, considering them an attempt to 
improve US bargaining power at a conference the US strenuously 
desired. Hanoi's interpretation, he believed, was that the US 
realized it had lost the war and wanted to extricate itself; 
hence it was in Hanoi f s interest to hold back — a conference 
I - then might, as in 195^, deprive it of total victory. (3/T/65) 

DRV interest in Seaborn as a channel of communication with the 
US seemed to him virtually to have vanished, whereas it had been 
underlined by Pham Van Dong both in June and August . ( 3/5/^5 ) 
On March* 3, Mai Van Bo told the Quai in Paris that "while 
previously the DRV had been ready to consider negotiation of 
some sort, US actions had changed the situation. Negotiations 
(were) no longer a matter for consideration at this time." (3 A/65) 

The May 1964 Bombing Pause brought no softening . The US/DRV 
impasse was again reflected in Seaborn r s May 31-June 6 (1964) 
visit to Hanoi. On the one hand, Embassy Saigon expressed 
reservations about a passage in his instructions because it 
might "lead us towards a commitment to cease bombing simply 
in return for a cessation or reduction in VC armed actions in 
SVN." (5/28/64) On the other, Seaborn returned from Hanoi 
persuaded that the "DRV is not now interested in any negotiations." 

(6/7/610 



Opposing Proposals for Settling the War 

The toughness of the two sides was reflected by large 
differences in their proposals for settling the war. The US 
wanted Hanoi to bring an end to armed resistance to the GVH 
in SVKF. In exchange, it was willing to co-exist peacefully 
with the DRV, extending to it the possibility of economic and 
other beneficial relations enjoyed by Communist countries, such 
as Poland and Yugoslavia. The US sought neither military bases 
in the region nor the overthrow of the regime in Hanoi. (6/l/64) 



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Pham Van Dong replied that a "just solution" in Indochina 
required (l) US withdrawal from Indochina; (2) the affairs of 
SVN to be arranged by the SVN people, with NLF participation; 
(3) "peace and neutrality for SVN, neutrality in the Cambodian 
manner"; and (k) reunification. He said that the idea of 
coalition government was snow-balling in SW and that the Laos 
pattern of 1962 should serve as a guide for SW. 

When Seaborn expressed the fear that the WLF would take 
f I over any coalition in which it participated, Pham Van Dong said 

"there was no reason to have such fears." He also said that, 
neutrality for SW need not be considered only as a first step 
toward reunification. SW would remain neutral as long as the 
"people of SW" wished. (6/18/64) 

' . These opening positions, sketched by the two sides during 

I - Seaborn; s June l$6k visit, were swamped then and subsequently 

by the discussion of military measures and their possible con- 
sequences. The two sides were never close in their proposals, 
though in both cases their initial language was sufficiently 
flexible to peimit subsequent bargaining and compromise. But 
their differing estimates of what would be accomplished in 
battle kept them from focusing the Seaborn exchanges on settle- 
ment terms, and no reduction in their differences over settlement 
occurred after the first visit. 

The Laotian Prob lem 

Seaborn expressed US concern at DRV intervention in Laos 
on his June 196^ visit. Pham Van Dong replied, "We do not send 
units to the Pathet Lao." He leveled charges of US military 
intervention there and demanded a "return to the situation 
which existed prior to the April coup." To restore peace and 
neutrality in Laos, "a new conference of the Ik parties is 
ne.cessary, , . . Only the Ik nation conference is competent 
to deal with the Laos situation." 

The problem of Laos was not pursued in subsequent contacts . 



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Summary 



196k Seaborn Co rive rsat ions 



June 196k . In his (June 18, 196^) meeting with Pham Van Dong 
(which took place with no one else present) Seaborn communicated a 
US message (a) emphasizing US determination to contain the DRV to 
the territory allocated it by the Geneva Agreements (195^), (b) re- 
assuring the DRV that the US did not seek to overthrow the DRV or 
want military bases in SVN, (c) noting that the US was aware of 
Hanoi's control over the Viet Cong, (d) indicating that the US stake 
in resisting a DRV victory in SVN was increased by the relevance of 
this type of struggle to other areas of the Free World, (e) noting 
that US patience was growing thin, and (f) hinting at the benefits 
of "peaceful coexistence" to other Communist regimes* 

• 

Pham Van Dong clearly understood the message but declined "at 
present" to send any formal reply. He emphasized the key points in 
a "just solution" for the DRV were (a) a US withdrawal from SVN, 
(b) the establishment of a neutral "Cambodian- style" regime in SVN, 
in accordance with the NFL program, and (c) NFL participation in the 
determination of the fate of SVN when SVN was ready for negotiations, 
Pham emphasized the DRV's determination to continue with the struggle 
if the US increased its aid to the GVN and that the ultimate success 
of the Viet Cong was not in question, Fnam denied that SVN's neutrality 
was only a first step, stating this was up to the people of the region, 
Pham did not specifically challenge Seaborn f s observation that, 
while the NFL would have to be in a SVN coalition government, it 
did not represent all or even a majority of South Vietnamese. Pham 
added that there was no reason to fear that the NFL would take over 
a coalition government* 

Pham told Seaborn that the DRV would not "force" or "provoke" 
the US. He concluded by stating that he looked forward to further 
talks with Seaborn and that the next time Seaborn could also see 
Ho Chi Minh. 

Seaborn concluded from the conversation that one could not count 
on war weariness, factionalism, or the prospect of material benefits 
to bring the DRV to an accommodation with the US, He emphasized 
Pham T s confidence in ultimate victory and conviction that military 
action could not bring the US success. 



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a 

This paper was drafted for State Department use by P.H.Kreisberg 

November 20, 1965, 



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Comment : My impression is that the general tone of the con- 
versation did appear to offer seme grounds for believing that at a 
subsequent discussion additional progress might be made toward pre- 
liminaries for concrete discussions* It should be noted that neither 
our message nor Pham's remarks raised the question of any direct 
contact or discussions between the US and the DRV. 

August 1964 , The key theme at the next meeting between Seaborn 
and Pham Van Dong on August 13, l$6k (this time in the presence of 
two other DRV observers) was the Tonkin Gulf incident . The US message 
conveyed by Seaborn rejected the DRV version of the incident , charged 
the DRV with deliberately planning the attack, and stated that as a 
result the US was increasing its military forces in SVN. The message 
also once more referred to possible economic and other benefits for 
the DRV if it halted its expansionism. 

Pham's reaction was extremely angry. He said the US was seeking 
a way out by expanding the war to North Viet-Nam and that the US election 
campaign was also responsible for the stronger US line. He stressed the 
"very dangerous 11 nature of the situation, said the US might be led 
to "new acts of aggression" , and warned that the DRV would fight a 
war if it came and that this would spread -to all SEA and possibly 
further. He referred to support from other countries including 
Peking and Moscow. At the same time he said the DRV had tried for 
peace but the US did not want it. He urged the ICC to take a more 
important role and seek a solution "on the basis of the Geneva Agree- 
ments." He emphasized that he found the Seaborn link useful and wanted 
to keep the channel open. 

Seaborn commented on the meeting that Pham Van Dong's reaction 
was not surprising in view of the blunt US rebuttal of the official 
DRV position and that the DRV might actually believe there was a 
chance of new US attacks. He found no evident DRV concern over the 
firmness of the US message, however, and noted that Pham T s reaction 
had been one of anger rathe* than of seeking a way out. Seaborn was 
encouraged by Pham's desire to keep the channel of communication open 
but thought Pham continued to be "genuinely convinced" that things 
were going the DRV's way and there was no need to compromise. 

Comment : The negotiating content of this meeting was totally 
barren as a result of its timing and its complete focus on the events 
immediately preceding it rather than on broader issues as had been 
adumbrated at the June meeting. Pham made no effort to develop his 
remarks in June or to bring Seaborn together with Ho. The participation 
of other DRV observers, including a note taker, in the .meeting may also 
have forced an increased formality, coldness, and rigidity in Pham Van 
Dong's remarks as compared with those in June. There is no question, 

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however, that there was no indication of "give" in Fham's position 
and that the only note of "encouragement" was his continuing desire 
to keep lines of communication open* 

December I96U . On Seaborn f s visit to Hanoi in December he carried 
no US message, it having been agreed that it was now up to Hanoi to 
take some initiative. Seaborn did not actively seek appointments 
with any ranking DRV leaders but did make it clear that he was available 
if anyone he had seen earlier wished to see him again* He saw Pham Van 
Dong informally at a social gathering but Pham did not use the opportunity 
to discuss substantive matters or seek a further appointment with him. 
Seaborn was told other DRV leaders were away or unavailable . Seaborn 
told junior DRV officials of continued US firmness and of the possibility 
that further US counteraction might be taken. 

Comment : The complete aridity of this visit suggests that the 
DRV had changed its mind about using Seaborn as a channel of communica- 
tion, was not prepared to make any new or forward proposals on negotia- 
tions, or — contrary to our own conclusion--believed the initiative to 
make some new offer lay in the US court and that if Seaborn was carrying 
no new message there was no point in carrying on the exchange at that 
time. 

Over- all Comment : I believe that the August and December meetings 
support the tenor of your memorandum to Mr. Ball but that this is less 
certain in the case of the June conversation. I also believe specific 
note should be taken of the fact that Seaborn did not specifically 
request an interview at a high level in December. It might be put 
that Hanoi made no effort in December when Seaborn was there to renew 
its discussions or put forward any new proposal for negotiations or 
meetings . 

The S eaborn Approach to Hanoi 

March I965 : At our request, Blair Seaborn , Chief Canadian 
representative on the International Control Commission in Vietnam, 
gave the Hanoi authorities on March that portion of Ambassador Cabot T s 
February 2^ statement to WANG Kuo-chuan in Warsaw dealing with Vietnam. 
We hoped thus to convince the North Vietnamese that the United States 
has no designs on their territory nor any desire to destroy them. 
Seaborn, at our suggestion, sought an appointment with the Prime 
Minister, but was obliged to settle for a meeting with the chief of 
the North Vietnamese Army's Liaison Section, to whom he read the 



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statement. This officer commented that it contained nothing nev and 
that the North Vietnamese already received a briefing on the Warsaw 
meeting from the Chicoms. The Canadian Government publicly noted in 
April that Seaborn had two important conversations with DRV officials 
in recent months , but did not go into details. 

June 1965 * In May we again asked Seaborn to seek an appointment 
with Phan Van Dong and on our behalf reiterate the March message and 
U.S. determination to persist in the defense of South Vietnam, to regret 
that Hanoi had not responded positively to the various recent initiatives, 
including the bombing pause, and to state that, nevertheless, the 
United States remained ready "to consider the possibility of a solution 
by reciprocal actions on each side." If the Vietnamese brought up Pham 
Van Dong's four points, Seaborn was authorized to endeavor to establish 
whether Hanoi insisted that they be accepted as the condition for 
suspension, that we planned to inform Hanoi separately, and that ve 
expected Hanoi would find easily detectable means of displaying that it 
understood the message. 



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May 1, 196^ 

STATE 1821 (S/EXDXS), Priority, to AnBnbassy Saigon, Sent 1 May 1964 

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FOR THE AMBASSADOR FROM THE SECRETARY 

I flew up to Ottawa yesterday to talk with Mike Pearson and 
Martin concerning the Canadian presence in Hanoi. . • . 



• • 



They readily agreed that Seaborn should plan to spend much more 
time in Hanoi than have his predecessors in this assignment. They 
also accept as part of his mission an effort to establish ready 
access to and close contact with senior authorities in Hanoi, beginning 
with Ho Chi Mirih. . . . 

Following are some of the matters which we roughed out in Ottawa 
and which I will have further developed here. . • . 



1. Seaborn should start out by checking as closely as he can 
what is on Ho Chi Minh's mind. We want to know whether he considers 
himself over-extended and exposed, or whether he feels confident that 
his Chinese allies will back him to the hilt. We want to know whether 
his current zeal is being forced upon him by pro- Chinese elements in 
his own camp j or whether he is impelled by his own ambitions. 

2. Seaborn should get across to Ho and his colleagues the full 
measure of US determination to see this thing through. He should 
draw upon examples in other parts of the world to convince them that 
if it becomes necessary to enlarge the military action, this is the 

most probable course that the US would follow. 

- 

3. Seaborn should spread the word that he is puzzled by Hanoi's 
intentions. The North Vietnamese should understand that the US wants 
no military bases or other footholds in South Viet Nam or Laos. If 
Hanoi would leave its neighbors alone, the US presence in the area 
would diminish sharply. 

k. The North Vietnamese should understand that there are many 
examples in which the Free World has demonstrated its willingness to 
live in peace with communist neighbors and to permit the establishment 
of normal economic relations between these two different systems. We 
recognize North Viet Nam's need for trade, and especially food, and 
consider that such needs could be fulfilled if peaceful conditions 
were to prevail. 



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Pearson also agreed to instruct Seaborn and his people in 
general to work more actively on trying to break the Poles off from 
constant and active espousal of North Vietnamese aggression. He 
felt, however, that the Poles are playing something of a middle 
role in Sino-Soviet matters these days and doubted that there would 
be much profit in this. 



Sullivan/EUSK 



May 15 , 196h 

AmEmb Saigon 2212 (S/Nodis), Rec'd 15 May 6k, J;2 A.M. 

FOR THE PRESIDENT FROM LODGE 



3. If prior to the Canadian's trip to Hanoi there has been a 
terroristic act of the proper magnitude, then I suggest that a 
specific target in North Viet Nam be considered as a prelude to his 
arrival. The Vietnamese Air Force must be made capable of doing 
this, and they should undertake this type of action. 

k. I much prefer a selective use of Vietnamese Air power to 
an over U.S. effort perhaps involving the total annihilation of all 
that has been built in North Viet Nam since 195^ , because this would 
surely bring in the Chinese Communists, and might well bring in the 
Russians. Moreover , if you lay the whole country waste, it is quite 
likely that you will induce a mood of fatalism in the Viet Cong. 
Also, there will be nobody left in North Viet Nam on whom to put 
pressure. Furthermore, South Viet Nam's infrastructure might well 
be destroyed. What we are interested in here is not destroying Ho 
Chi Minh (as his successor would probably be worse than he is), 
but getting him to change his behavior. That is what President 
Kennedy was trying to do in October with Diem and with considerable 
success. 






6. This is a procedure the intensity of which we can constantly 
control and bring up to the point to which we think the Communist 
reaction would cease to be manageable. It should be covert and 
undertaken by the Vietnamese, but, of course, we must be clear in 
our own minds that we are ready and able to take care of whatever 
reaction there may be. 

7* It is easy for us on the one hand to ignore our superiority 

as we did at the time of Berlin in I9WS (when we still had sole 

possession of the atomic bomb). It is also a relatively simple 
concept to go out and destroy North Viet Nam. What is complicated, 



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but really effective , is to bring our power to bear in a precise 
way so as to get specific results. 

8. Another advantage of this procedure is that when, as and 
if the time ever came that our military activities against the North 
became overt, we would be in a strong moral position both with 
regard to U.S. public opinion, the U.S. Congress, and the U.N. I 
say this because we would then have a record to show that we had 
given Ho Chi Minh fair warning to stop his murdrous interference 
in the internal affairs of Viet Nam. Not only would we have given 
him fair warning, but we would have given him honest and valuable 
inducements in the way of some withdrawal of American personnel 
and in the way of economic aid, notably food. . . . 



LODGE 









May 22, 1964 

STATE 20k9 to MEmh SAIGON (TB/NODIS), Priority, Sent 22 May 64, 7:40 P.M 

LITERALLY EYES ONLY FOR AMBASSADOR FROM SECRETARY 



2. ... in light of present Canadian attitudes we tend to 
see real difficulty in approaching the Canadians at this time with 
any message as specific as you suggest, i.e., that Hanoi be told by 
the Canadians "that they will be punished . " But we are keeping 
this in mind and will see whether we can go further when we consult 
them next week than the more general type of message stated in my 
1821. As you can see, the more specific message might lead us 
into a very difficult dialogue with the Canadians as to just what 
our plans really were. 

3. On the othe question, whether initial substantial attacks 
could be left without acknodledgement, it is our present view 
here that this would simply not be feasible. . . . Once such 
publicity occurred, I think you can see that the finger would 
point straight at us and that the President would then be put in 
perhaps a far more difficult position toward the American public 
and the Congress. 

k* Thus, we are using a GVN- or US- acknowledged enterprise 
as part of our main planning track at the present time, although 
we do recognize that something a little stronger than the present 
OPLAN 3^-A might be carried on on the basis you propose. 



BUNDY 



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May 25, 196k 

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AmEmbassy SAIGON 2305 (TS/Nodis), Rec'd 25 May 6k, 5:22 AM, 
LITERALLY EYES ONLY FOR THE SECRETARY FROM LODGE 

1. It is not rpt not at all necessary that the Canadians either 
agree or disagree. What is important is that the Canadian transmit 
the message and be willing to do that and report back accurately what 
is said .... 

2. The Communists have a great advantage over us in that they 
do things and never talk about them. We must not rpt not let them 
continue to have this advantage. 



■ • 



• • * 



LODGE 



May 26, 196k 

* 

AmEmbassy SAIGON 23I8 (TS/Nodis), Rec'd 2.6 May 6k, 3:30 A.M. 
LITERALLY EYES ONLY FOR THE SECRETARY FROM LODGE 



• • 



2. I am coming to the conclusion that we cannot reasonably and 
prudently expect a much better performance out of the GVN than that 
which we are now getting unless something new of this kind is brought 
into the picture. 



• • • 



LODGE 



May 30, 196k 

STATE 2133 to Amembassy SAIGON (TS/Exdis), Priority, Sent 30 May 1964, 
10:^0 A.M. 



FOR THE AMBASSADOR FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY 

President and Mac Bundy met May 28 in New York with Canadian 
Prime Minister Pearson. Simultaneously Sullivan met in Ottawa with 
Foreign Minister Mart in } Deputy Under Secret ary Smith, and ICC 
Commissioner-Designate Seaborn. 

President told Pearson that he wishes Hanoi to know, that while 
he is a man of peace , he does not intend to permit the North Vietnamese 
to take over Southeast Asia. He needs a confidential and responsible 
interlocutor to carry the nessage of US attitudes to Hanoi. In out- 
lining the US position there was some discussions of QTE carrots and 
sticks UNQUOTE. 

* 

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Pearson, after expressing willingness to lend Canadian good 
offices to this endeavor, indicated some concern about this nature 
of the QTE sticks UFQTE. He stipulated that he would have great 
reservations about the use of nuclear "weapons, but indicated that 
the punitive striking of discriminate targets by careful iron bomb 
attacks would be QTE a different thing UTIQTE. He said he would 
personally understand our resort to such measures if the messages 
transmitted through the Canadian channel failed to produce any 
alleviation of Worth Vietnamese aggression, and that Canada would 
transmit messages around this framework. 

In Ottawa Sullivan found much the same disposition among Canadian 
officials. While Foreign Minister Martin seemed a little nervous 
about the prospect of QTE expanding the war UMQTE, External Affairs 
officials readily assented to the use of Seaborn as an interlocutor. 



Seaborn, who struck Sullivan as an alert, intelligent and steady 
officer, readily agreed to these conditions and has made immediate 
plans for an accelerated departure. • . • 



BALL 



June 1, 196k 

Memo To: G - Mr. U. Alexis Johnson, from S/VN - Joseph A. Mendelhall, 
dated June 1, 1964 (TS) 

Subject: Instructions for Canadian Interlocutor with Hanoi. 

I am enclosing a copy of the "Outline of Subjects for Mr. Seaborn" 
which Bill Sullivan prepared prior to departure for Honolulu. He gave 
a copy of this general paper of instructions to Mr. Robinson, Minister- 
Counselor of the Canadian Embassy, on May 30. 

At your request I have prepared and am enclosing a draft of a 
further outline in specific terms of the message which we would expect 
the Canadian interlocutor to get across in Hanoi. This further outline 
is based on the assumptions that (a) a U.S. decision has been taken to 
act against North Viet-Nam and (b) we plan to use "carrots" as well as 
a "stick" on Hanoi, I believe that we would probably not wish to hand 
this further outline to the Canadian Government pending the initial 
soundings of the Canadian interlocutor in Hanoi pursuant to Mr. Sullivan f s 
original set of instructions. 



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Enclosures : 

1. Outline of Subjects for Mr, Seaborn. 
2* Further Outline for Mr. Seaborn. 

OUTLBTE OF SUBJECTS FOR MR, SEABORN 

1. The President wishes Hanoi to understand that he is fundamentally 
a man of peace. However, he does not intend to let the North Vietnamese 
take over all of Southeast Asia. He wishes to have a highly confidential, 
responsible interlocutor who will deliver this message to the authorities 
in Hanoi and report back their reaction. 



• * 



2. The nessages which may be transmitted through this channel 
would involve an indication of the limitations both upon US ambitions 
in Southeast Asia and upon US patience with Communist provocation. The 
interlocutor of his Government need not agree with not associate them- 
selves with the messages that are passed. The only requirement is that 
there be faithful transmittal of the messages in each direction. 

3- Mr* Seaborn should arrive in Hanoi as soon as possible and 
establish his credentials as a political personality who can and will 
deal with senior representatives of the Hanoi regime. 

> 

4. Mr. Seaborn should also, by listening to the arguments and 
observing the attitudes of the North Vietnamese, form an evaluation of 
their mental outlook. He should be particularly alert to (a) differ- 
ences with respect to the Sino-Soviet split, (b) frustration of war 
weariness , (c) indications of North Vietnamese desire for contacts 
with the West, (d) evidences of cliques or factions in the Party or 
Government, and (e) evidence of differences between the political and 
the military. 

5. Mr. Seaborn should explore the nature and the prevalence of 
Chinese Communist influence in North Viet Nam; and perhaps through 
direct discussions with the Soviet representatives, evaluate the 
nature and influence of the Soviets. 

6. Mr, Seaborn should stress to appropriate North Vietnamese 
officials that US policy is to see to it that North Viet Nam contains 
itself and its ambitions within the territory allocated to its adminis- 
tration by the 195^ Geneva Agreements. He should stress that US 
policy in South Viet Nam is to preserve the integrity of that state T s 
territory against guerrilla subversion. 

7- He should state that the US does not seek military bases in 
the area and that, the US is not seeking to overthrow the Communist 
regime in Hanoi. 



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8. He should stipulate that the US Is fully aware of the degree 
to which Hanoi controls and directs the guerrilla action in South Viet 
Nam and that the US holds Hanoi directly responsible for that action. 
He should similarly indicate US awareness of North Vietnamese control 
over the Pathet Lao movement in Laos and the degree of Worth Vietnamese 
involvement in that country. He should specifically indicate US 
awareness of Worth Vietnamese violations of Laotian territory along 
the Infiltration route into South Viet Nam. 

9- Mr. Seaborn should point out that the nature of US commitment 
in South Viet Nam is not confined to the territorial issue in question. 
He should make it clear that the US considers the confrontation with 
North Vietnamese subversive guerrilla action as part of the general 
Free World confrontation with this type of violent subversion in other 
lesser developed countries. Therefore , the US stake in resisting a 
North Vietnamese victory in South Viet Nam has a significance of 

world-wide proportions. 

» 

10. Mr. Seaborn can point to the many examples of US policy In 
tolerance of peaceful coexistence with Communist regimes , such as 
Yugoslavia > Poland, etc. He can hint at the economic and other benefits 
which have accrued to those countries because their policy of Communism 
has confined itself to the development of their own national territories 
and has not sought to expand into other areas. 

U. Mr. Seaborn can couple this statement with the frank acknow- 
ledgement that US public and official patience with North Vietnamese 
aggression is growing extremely thin. 

12- Insofar as Mr. Seaborn considers it might be educational he 
could review the relative military strengths of the US, North Viet Nam, 
and the available resources of Communist China in Southeast Asia. 

13. In sum, the purpose of Mr. Seaborn f s mission in North Viet 
Nam would be as an interlocutor with both active and passive functions. 
On the passive side, lie should report either observations or direct 
communications concerning North Vietnamese attitude toward extrication 
from or escalation of military activities. On the active side, he 
should establish his credentials with the North Vietnamese as an 
authoritative channel of communications with the US. In each of these 
functions it would be hoped that Mir. Seaborn would assume the posture 
that the decision as to the future course of events in S outheast 
Asia rests squarely with Hanoi. 



HJRTHER OUTLINE FOE MB. SEABOBN 

1. The U.S. objective Is to maintain the independence and 
territorial integrity of South Vlet-Nam. This means that the South 
Vietnamese Government In Saigon must be able to exercise its authority 
throughout the territory south of the 17th Parallel without encounter- 
ing armed resistance directed and supported by Hanoi. 



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2. We know that Hanoi can stop the war in South Viet-Nam if 
it will do so- The virtually complete cease-fires which have obtained 
at Tet time for the past two years demonstrate the ability of Hanoi 
to control all Viet Cong operations in South Viet- Nam. if it has the 
will to do so. 

3- In order to stop the war in South Viet-Nam the United States 
is prepared to follow alternative courses of action with respect to 
North Viet-Nam. 

(a) Unless Hanoi stops the war within a specified time period 
(i.e., ceases a ll attacks, acts of terror, sabotage or armed propaganda 
or other armed resistance to government authority by the VC), the 
United States will initiate action by air and naval means against 



North Viet-Nam until Hanoi does agree to stop the war, 

I (b) If Hanoi will agree to stop the war, the United States 

will take the following steps : 

(1) Undertake to obtain the agreement of Saigon to a 
resumption of trade between North Viet-Nam and South Viet-Nam, which 
would be helpful to North Viet-Nam in view of the complementarity of 
the two zones of Viet-Nam and the food difficulties now suffered by 
North Viet-Nam. 

(2) Initiate a program of foodstuffs assistance to North 
Viet-Najn either on a relief grant basis under Title II of Public Law 
k80 or on a sales for local currency basis under Title I PL-W3Q (as 
in Poland and Yugoslavia). 



(3) Bemove U.S. foreign assets controls from the assets 
of North Viet-Nam and reduce controls on U.S. trade with North Viet-Nam 
to the level now applicable to the USSR (i.e., strategic items only). 

(k) Recognize North Viet-Nam diplomatically and, if Hanoi 
is interested, undertake an exchange of diplomatic representatives. 

(5) Remove U.S. forces from South Viet-Nam on a phased 
basis, winding up with a reduction to the level of 350 military 
advisors or trainers as permitted under the Geneva Accords. (This 
was the number of U.S. military personnel in Viet-Nam when the 
Geneva Accords were signed in 195^0 

k m If Hanoi stops resistance in South Viet-Nam, the United 
States and South Vietnamese Governments will permit Hanoi to 
withdraw any Viet Cong personnel whom it may wish from South Viet-Nam. 
The Government of South Viet-Nam will also make a clear public 
announcement of full amnesty for all rebels who discontinue armed 
resistance to the authority of the Government. 



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5. If Hanoi agrees to cease resistance, the order from Hanoi 
to the Viet Cong units and personnel can be issued, if Hanoi prefers, 
either publicly or confidentially through the communications channels 
from Hanoi to the Viet Cong. The test the U.S. will apply will be 
whether or not all armed resistance to the authority of the Government 
at Saigon actually stops. 

6. Timetable for these actions: 

(a) All hostilities must cease within one week of the 
i approach to the authorities at Hanoi. If they have not stopped 

within that time, the U.S. will immediately initiate air and naval 
action against North Viet-Nam. 

(b) If agreement is reached between the U.S. and Worth 
Viet-Nam on the cessation of resistance in South Viet-Nam, the 
cessation of hostilities will be preceded by a general GVN amnesty 

f announcement. 

(c) If the DRV desires to repatriate Viet Cong from 

I ' South Viet-Nam, this can be done over whatever period the DRV desires. 

(d) If the DRV desires to announce an agreement publicly 
with the United States, the entire package, of measures on both sides 
can be announced within three days of the complete cessation of 
hostilities. If the DRV does not desire a public announcement of its 
agreement to have the Viet Cong cease resistance, then the United 
States measures of concession to North Viet-Nam can be announced 

I only over a phased period starting one week from the complete cessation 

of hostilities. Announcement of all steps taken by the U.S. as con- 
cessions to North Viet-Nam would be completed by three months from the 

i cessation of hostilities, 

(e) U.S. forces would be removed from South Viet-Nam on a 
phased basis over a period of one year from the data of cessation of 
resistance to the Government of South Viet-Nam. At the end of one 
year U.S. military personne" would be down to the 350 permitted by 
the Geneva Accords. 

June 6, 196^ I 

STATE 2205 to Anembassy Saigon (T3/Exdis), Priority, Sent Jun J, 6k J: 55 PM 

RSF: Embtel 2^ 

Seaborn has been given condensed outline version May 22 Talking 
Paper drafted by Sullivan. Believe it might be confusing if original 
paper itself also given Seaborn and would suggest you cover substance 
orally in order indicate general concurrence Washington- Saigon views 
this subject. 

RUSK 



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June 18, 196^ 

STATE 115 to Amembassy SAIGON (TS/Exdis), Sent Jul 11, 196^, 5:19 P.M 

Embtel Jh. 

As requested final paragraph reftel, texts first two Seaborn 
messages sent Ottawa follow: 



1. June 20, 196^ message. 

QTE. Initial visit to Hanoi: Call on PM Pham Van Dong* 

PM received me for hour and a half Thurs morning Jun 18 with only 
f Lt Col Mai Lam, number two man of PAVN liaison mission, present, 

I Conversation was entirely in French with no KPT no use of Vietnamese 

and interpretation which had been practice in earlier lower level 
( calls on Vice Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, 



2. After very brief preliminaries , I told PM that I had on 
instructions specially requested interview with him and/or President 
Ho Chi Minh as I had oral msg to convey from PM Pearson. Perhaps 
best explanation was to be found in my TSEC instructions from my PM 
vhich I was authorized to show him. Pham Van Dong read let of May 
30 from PM Pearson to myself carefully once and them quickly again. 
He said he greatly appreciated role Caiada had undertaken to play, 
which he felt was important and desirable, and wished me also personal 
success in task. From tone of conversation thereafter } I believe 
Pham Van Dong has understood and accepted and perhaps welcomed my 
role as intermediary. 

3. I said that I hoped he would let me elaborate on very general 
lines of my instructions from PM and in effect to convey to him first 
general msg from USA Govt. I prefaced msg by citing our close and 
friendly relationship with USA, our good understanding of A merican 
intentions and aspirations , and our constant detailed and intimate 
exchange of views and info with USA which gave us excellent insight 
into American thinking. On this basis, we were convinced that 
President Johnson was man of peace, that he would take pains to 
avoid and avert situations which could lead to confrontation between 
major powers, but that insofar as Southeast Asia was concerned he 

was determined that it would not RPT not fall under Communist control 
as result of subversion and guerrilla warfare. Intentions in Southeast 
Asia were essentially peaceful and USA ambitions -were limited, but USA 
was also determined and its patience before provocation was not RPT not 
limitless, 

k. This said, I went on to convey USA msg, following as closely 
as I could, though not RPT not necessarily in seme order, points made 
in paras 6 through 11 of WASHDC tel 1951 May 30, In course of conver- 
sation, I made all these points explicitly and without circumlocution 

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and in some cases with elaboration and repetition. I shall not RPT 
not therefore repeat them in this tel. I did not EPT not specifically 
make point in para 12 other than to say that if conflict in area should 
escalate j "which I did not RPT not think was in anyone's interest , the 
greatest devastation would of course result for the DRVN itself. 

5- I am convinced from later conversation that Pham Van Dong 
understood importance and context of msg I conveyed and seriousness 
with which USA views situation in Southeast Asia. To that extent, 
initial purpose of first contact has been successfully accomplished, 
he gave me careful hearing with no RPT no attempt to interrupt, 
disagree, contradict or even express displeasure even to assertions 
which were clearly unpalatable or with which he would not RPT not 
agree, e.g. Viet Minh complicity in Pathet Lao activities and SVN 
insurgency and DRVN responsibility for future development of situation 
in area. This is not RPT not of course to say that I convinced him 
of correctness of USA interpretations (which obviously I did not RPT 
not) nor that he fully believes even yet firmness and durability of 
USA determination in area. He could not RPT not however claim that 
he has not EPT not had USA views and intentions conveyed to him most 
explicitly. 

6. I concluded opening statement by saying I was at Prime 
Minister's disposal now or at any later stage to convey to USA via 
Ottawa any msg he wished to give me orally or in writing. He said 
he had no RPR no immediate and specific msg to send at this time, but 
that he would like to expound on DRVN point of view with particular 
ref to points I had raised in my comment. I shall be sending sub- 
sequently detailed report, based on notes made as he talked, of Prime 
Minister's remarks in his main statement and in course of subsequent 
discussion. In his initial tel however I shall merely summarize 
what appears to me to be his main points and give my first impressions. 

J. Pham Van Dong opened remarks by saying we must learn to 
coexist and to find solution to problem which has wracked Indochina 
for 25 years. But just solution is only way to provide stability. 
What just solution means in DRVN is, as President Ho Chi Minh has 
explained (A) USA withdrawal (B) peace and neutrality for SVN in 
Cambodian pattern in accordance with programme of Liveration Front 
which must participate in determination of Vietnam as result of 
negotiation when SVN ready for negotiation. 

8. PM said USA must demonstrate what he would consider good will 
but he realized it will not RPT not be easy for USA to do so. USA can 
increase aid to SVN in all fields, give greater material support to 
SVN army and increase its own army personnel also. If so, war will be 
prolonged and intensified , but QTE our people UNQTE will go on struggling 
and resisting. QTE It is impossible for westerners to understand 






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strength of people T s will to resist, to continue, to struggle. It has 
astonished us too UNQTE. Prospect for USA and friends is QTE sans 
issue UNQTE. SVN mercenaries and USA soldiers do not RPT not have 
heart in fighting whereas support for objective of Liberation Front 
is growing among Buddhists, students, intellectuals. Lippmann sees 
no KPT no light at end of tunnel and others speak of new Dien Bien Phu, 

9- DRW Govt, said PM, did not KPT not yet have concrete sugges- 
tions to put forward 7 but this was general line of their thinking. 

10. In separate tel without "Bacon" restrictions I shall report 
in greater detail PM f s comments on Laos situation. Essence of his 
remarks was (A) only viable solution was return to status quo ante 
April coup d'etat and Govt, of National Coalition as per Geneva 
Accord of I962 (B) necessity of convening 1^ nation conference to 
achieve this result and (C) essentiality of no RPT no American 
interference in Laos. He said DRVN was very worried by step-up of 
USA military activities in Laos and complained of USA overflights of 
DRVN territory and of commando raids across border. He denied that 
PAVN had sent QTE units UNQTE across border to aid Pathet Lao but did 
not RPT not specifically deny my earlier statement that USA was aware 
DRVN wete helping Pathet Lao and Viet Cong with men, arms and material, 

11. Returning to question of SVN, Pham Van Dong said situation 
I could be summed up as choice between QTE que r re a out ranee UNQTE 

which USA cannot KPT not win in any event in the long run or alternatively 
I neutrality for SVN. 



12. I thanked PM for detailed expose of DRVN views which I said I 
would transmit faithfully to my govt. At this he said disarmingly that 
i might not RPT not believe all he had said but he wanted to assure me 

1 he has spoken in all sincerity and frankness. I shall not RPT not be 

so rash as to comment on this other than to say that he took pains 
throughout interview to give impression of quiet sincerity, of 
realization of seriousness of what we were discussing and of lack of 
truculence of belligerency. Certainly in presence and mental stature 
PM is head and shoulders above few other North Vietnamese whom I met 
and undoubtedly an impressive Communist personality by any standards. 

13. At this stage I told PM I had tio KPT no further formal 
message to convey but that I would like to put a few personal comments 
and questions. 

Ik I said I was interested to hear from him that as a condition 
for restoring peace SVN should become neutral as a first step prior 
to reunification. He stopped me and said he had not RPT not referred 
to neutrality as a first step only. Whether SVN would -continue 
neutral would depend upon people of SVN. He did not RPT nor prejudge. 
As for Liberation Front I said I realized it represents a certain 
force in SVN, though not RPT not in my view all people as the pro- 
paganda asserted nor even majority. He did not RPR not demur at 
this downgrading. I said I appreciated that the Front would have to 

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participate should a coalition ever emerge. My fear however was that 
coalition would soon be taken over by Front as had happened in other 
countries and that other rep elements would suffer or be ousted . PM 
merely said there was no RPT no reason to have such fears. 

15. I then asked whether PM appreciated fully that USA r s continued 
acceptance of obligations towards allies in SVN had implications which 
extended far beyond Southeast Asia and related to USA determination 

to resist guerrilla subversion in Asia, Africa and Latin- America? PM 
laughed and said he did indeed appreciate it. A USA defeat in SVN 
would in all probability start a chain reaction which would extend 
much farther , but USA should understand that principles and stakes 
involved were just as high for Liberation Front in SVN and its supporters 
and this helped to explain their determination to continue to struggle 
regardless of sacrifice. 

16. PM said he was glad to hear that USA did not RPT not have 
aggressive intentions against DRW and did not RPT not intend to 
attack it. I corrected him at this point and said USA did not RPT 
not want to carry war to north but might be obliged to do so if pushed 
too far by continuation of Viet Minh-assisted pressures in SVN. I 
repeated that USA patience was not RPT not limitless. PM said if war 
was pushed to north, QTE nous sommes un pays socialists , un des pays 
socialistes, vour savez, et le people se dressera UNQTE. (This was 
the closest he came at any time to hinting that DRVN could or would 
count on outside assistance in event of attack). But, he said, we 
shall not RPT not provoke them, 

17* Conversation had now continued for almost hour and a half 
and PM made move as if to terminate, so I did not RPT not put further 
questions. He asked me to send greetings to PM Pearson and to say 
that if my mission could contribute to this (grp missing) solution 
Canada would have done something very useful. I said I felt it was 
at minimum essential that no RPT no irrevocable steps be taken due to 
misunderstanding of intentions and objectives and that USA felt this 
strongly too. PM agreed, and said he looked forward to further con- 
versation during my nest (grp missing) when I would certainly meet 
Ho Chi Minh. President was on leave at present but- had send greetings. 
I closed by thanking him for time given me and repeating I was at his 
disposal anytime he wished to see me. 

18. In separate msg I shall report first very tentative impressions 
on questions asked in paras four and five of WASHDC tel 1951 May 30. 

19. I expect to be seeing Mr. Lodge shortly after my return to 
Saigon (this tel is being drafted in plane enroute from Hanoi) and 
will show him copy. 

20. I would welcome comments from you and State Department and 
any suggestions for talking points for further conversations on next 
visit to Hanoi. END QUOTE 



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2. June 22, 196^ message. 
QUOTE, DRVN: Attitudes and Outlook, 

To convey specific msg and to report DRVN comment is relatively 
simple. To attempt evaluation suggested paras k and 5 WASHDC tel 
1951 May 30 is extremely difficult on basis of 3 day visit and a 
few conversations especially for someone who has never had previous 
direct experience with Asia let along Vietnam. Following comments, 
to be read in conjunction with my reftel, are therefore highly 
tentative and consist mainly of negative evidence* 

Sino-Soviet split and prevalence of Chinese Communist influence: 

2. No RPT no Vietnamese with whom I spoke made e/en ref by name 
to USSR or China. My enquiry of Vice-Foreign Minister Tien as to DRVN 
views on latest Soviet call for mtg on world CPS drew reply that 
question concerned party only and was not RPT not within competence 

of Foreign Ministry. To direct question he said DRVN had not RPT not 
commented on latest Moscow call but general views could be found in 
press. Eastern Europeans were closed mouthed on this issue. PM made 
only most oblique ref to DRVN's membership in group of socialist 
countries in context of possible results of USA taking war to north. 

3. French Del Gen Debuzon asserts DRW leaders are honestly 
concerned by bad effect of split on fortunes of World Communist 
Movement and have avoided polemics against USSR even when adopting 
Peking line. He thinks they fear definitive rupture which would 
(throw?) them fully under Chinese control } a fate they hope to 
resist as long as possible. They are not RPT not however strong 
enough to play dispute for their own purposes as have Romanians. 

4. In economic field, probes with Vietnamese and Eastern 
Europeans were little more rewarding. Strong Vietnamese emphasis 
at present in official propaganda and in private conversation is 

on lifting up by own boot- straps and near autarchy. During lengthy 
tour of exhibition of ten years of DRVH, guide RPT guide managed 
to describe economic progress for at least half hour without once 
mentioning aid received from other socialist countries, (though?) 
when questioned Director admitted it had been great with lion's 
share by USSR and China. Reps of smaller Eastern European powers 
told me of their relatively modest aid and trade but would not RPT 
not be drawn on relative weight of Soviet and Chinese aid. Soviet 
Charge said that Soviet aid in form of technicians and training of 
students in USSR had diminished as DRVN capacity for training own 
cadres had grown. He admitted Chinese were still very active in 
aid field but would not RPT not be specific. 

5. Foreign rep in Hanoi tell me Chinese technicians ETC are 
not RPT not much in evidence but this proves little. Unskilled eye 
can easily fail to distinguish between North Vietnamese and S outhern 
Chinese. 



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Cliques in Tactions In Party or Govt: 

6. I can add nothing from observation or conversation in Hanoi 
to analysis of commonly accepted line-up of pro- Chinese extremists 
and pro-Soviet moderates other than to draw attention to moderateness 
of Pham Van Dong f s tone during interview of Ho Chi Mirih appears still 
to enjoy tremendous prestige and is venerated as demi-God, perhaps 
above any factional strife , non-Communist reps in Hanoi and Nationalist 
Chinese Ambassador here warn against overemphasis on factionalism as 
(something?) from which West might derive benefit. National pride is 
apparent from Phriam Van Dong's remarks and from call for economic 
self-help . 

Differences between political and military: 

7. I can adduce no RPT no evidence one way or the other. 
Frustration or war weariness: 

8. I can bring forward no KPT no evidence that such (exists?) 
and indeed all Vietnamese emphasized quiet determination to go on 
st niggling as long as necessary to achieve in long run. While some 
discount should perhaps be made for fact they were speaking to me, 
these assertions carried a good deal of conviction as if really 
believed. This applies particularly strongly to Pham Van. 

9. Hanoi itself though austere looked much less run down than 
I expected. Team site officers and others who have been north over 
course of year say supply of consumer goods while still pitifully 
small (has?) increased markedly. I saw some queues but no RPT no 
evidence of malnutrition nor RPT nor did I find people looking 
markedly sadder or more serious than those in south. Team site 
officers have seen no RPT no evidence of over discontent among 
people . 

Desire for contacts with West: 

10. Pham Van Dong seemed genuinely grateful for intermediary 
role Canada was trying to plan and also I think for USA desire to 
get msg through. It will take subsequent visits to decide whether 
this reflects Interest in or desire to emerge from isolation, let 
alone interest in any accommodation or settlement of Laos and SW 
problem. 

Conclusions . 

11. Tentative conclusion is that we would be unwise at this 
stage to count on war weariness or factionalism within leadership 
or possible material advantages to DRVN or kind of Asian Tito- ism 
as of such importance to cause DRVTT to jump at chance of reaching 
accommodation with USA in this area. Certainly on my brief visit 
I detected no RPT no evidence to suggest (as some solumnists have 
been doing) that starvation, war weariness and political discontent 
are bringing regime close to collapse and that they would therefore 
grasp at any straw which might enable them to save something before 
country falls apart. 



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12. Prospect of war being carried to north may give greater 
pause for thought. But I would hesitate to say that DKVN are yet 
convinced j despite USA public statements and moves and private msg 
I have conveyed, that USA really would be prepared to take this 

step , ultimate consequences of which could be start of World War III. 
I am also inclined to think that. DRVN leaders are completely con- 
vinced that military action at any level is not RPT not going to 
bring success for USA and Govt forces in SVN. They are almost as 
completely convinced that Khanh Govt is losing ground on political 
front and are confident that in fullness of time success is assured 
for Liberation Front supported by DRVN. 

13. I would however caution on the extreme difficulty of 
foraiing meaningful judgements on basis of brief or even longer 
period spent in Worth Vietnam, which is a singularly closed society 
even by Communist standards. Press is very uninformative and I 
suspect that most foreign reps including those of Eastern Europe 
know little of what is going on. Soviet and Chinese Ambassadors 

are probably only ones taken at all into DRVN confidence and councils 
and I am not RPT not sanguine about former, who was unfortunately 
absent during my visit, opening up to me at least on first mtg, I 
shall persevere of course with foreign reps and North Vietnamese 
butthe limitations should be fully understood. 

END QUOTE 

■ 

BALL 



Remarks of Prime Minister Pham Van Dong 
to J.B. Seahqrn, Hanoi , June 18, 1964 



President Ho Chi Minh has explained what we mean by a just 
solution. First it requires an American withdrawal from Indochina. 
Secondly it means that the affairs of the South must be arranged 
by the people of the South. It must provide for the participation 
of the Liberation Front. No other group represents the broad wishes 
of the people. The programme of the Front is the best one possible. 
There must be peace and neutrality for South Vietnam, neutrality in 
the Cambodian manner. Thirdly, a just solution means re-unification 
of the country. This is a "drame, national, fondamental". But we 
want peaceful reunification, without military pressures. We want 
peaceful reunification, without military pressures. We want nego- 
tiation r round a table. There must be sincere satisfaction with 
the arrangement for it to be viable. We are in no hurry. We are 
willing to talk but we shall wait till SVN is ready. We are a 
divided people, without even personal links across the dividing 
line. 



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The United States must show good will, but it is not easy for 
the USA to do so. Meanwhile the war intensifies. USA aid may 
increase in all areas, not only for the SVN army hut in terms of 
USA array personnel as well, I suffer to see the war go on, develop, 
intensify. Yet our people are determined to struggle. It is 
impossible, quite impossible (excuse me for saying this) for you 
Westerners to understand the force of the people's will to resist 
and to continue. The struggle of the people exceeds the imagination. 
It has astonished us too. 



Since the fall of the Ngo brothers, it has been a "cascade 11 . 
Hie prospect for the USA and its friends in SVN is "sans issu". 
Reinforcing the Kharih army doesn't count. The people have had 
enough. The SVW mercenaries have sacrificed themselves without 
honour. The Americans are not loves, for they commit atrocities. 
How can the people suffer such exactions and terror? 



Let me stress, insofar as the internal situation in SVN is 
concerned, the realistic nature of the Liberation Front's programme 
It is impossible to have a representative government which excludes 
the Front. The idea of a government of national coalition "fait 
bouie de niege" in the South. The Laos pattern of I962 should 
serve as a guide for SVN. 

As for Laos, we are not reassured by the USA role. We must 
return to the f 62 Geneva Accord. The present government of Laos 
is "fantoche". Souvanna Phouma, who is no better than a prisoner 
of the military, has acted like a coward. His present government 
provides no solution. 

We do not send units to the Pathet Lao. We do not demand 
more than a return to the situation which existed prior to the 
April coup. But there must be no American interference in Laos, 
There are daily incursions of our air space across the Laotian 
border by overflights of military aircraft and by commande units 
bent on sabotage. 



A new conference of the fourteen parties is necessary. 
Restoration of peace and neutrality for Laos are impossible 
otherwise. There is little utility in the Polish proposal. 
Only the 1^-nation conference is competent to deal with the 
Laos situation- 

To return to Vietnam, it is a question of a "guerre a outrance 
which the USA won't win in any event, or neutrality. He had not 
(as I had suggested) referred to neutrality as a first step only. 
Whether SVN would continue neutral would depend upon the people of 
SVN. He did not prejudge the issue. 



11 



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The DRVN realize that the "loss" of SVN for the .Americans would 
set off (what was the atomic expression?) a chain reaction which 
would extend much further. The USA is in a difficult position, 
because Khanh's troops will no longer fight. If the war gets worse, 
we shall suffer greatly but we shall win. If we win in the South, 
the people of the world will turn against the USA. Our people will 
therefore accept the sacrifice, whatever they may be. But the DRVN 
will not enter the war* 

If the war were pushed to the North, "nous sommes un pays 
socialiste, vous savez et le peuple so dressera". But we shall not 
force the USA, we shall not provoke the USA. 

* 
As far as the ICC is concerned, we are very glad to have you 

here. But don r t put too many items on the agenda, don T t give yourself 

too much work to do. 



August 8, 196k 

STATE I69 to Amembassy OTTAWA, STATE 383 to Amembassy SAIGON, Immediate, 
(TS/Exdis), Sent 8 Aug 6k, Into P.M. 

Follwing message was handed directly to Canadian Embassy here for 
transmittal to Seaborn by fastest channel. This is for your information. 
only. 

QUOTE Canadians are urgently asked to have Seaborn during August 10 
visit make following points (as having been conveyed to him by US 
Government since August 6): 

A. Re Tonkin Gulf actions, which almost certainly will cone up: 

1. ... Neither the MADDOX or any other destroyer was in 
any way associated with any attack on the DRV islands. 

2. Regarding the August k attack by the DRV on the two US 
destroyers, the Americans were and are at a complete loss to under- 
stand the DRV motive. . . . About the only reasonable hypothesis was 
that North Viet-Nam was intent either upon making it appear that the 
United States was a INNER QUOTE paper tiger END INNER QUOTE or upon 
provoking the United States. 

3. The American response was directed solely to patrol 
craft and installations acting in direct support of them. As President 
Johnson stated : INNER QUOTE Our response for the present will be 
limited and fitting. END INNER QUOTE 

k* In view of uncertainty aroused by the deliberate and 
unprovoked DRV attacks this character, US has necessarily carried out 
precautionary deployments of additional air power to SVN and Thailand. 



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r* 



B. Be basic American position: 



9* Mr. Seaborn should conclude with the following new points: 

a. That the events of the past few days should add 
credibility to the statement made last time, that INNER QUOTE US public 
and official patience with North Vietnamese aggression is growing 
extremely thin. END HJNER QUOTE 

b. That the US Congressional Resolutions was passed with 
near unanimity, strongly re-affirming the unity and determination of 

the US Government and people not only with respect to any further attacks 
on US military forces but more broadly to continue to oppose firmly, by 
all necessary means, DRV efforts to subvert and conquer South Viet-Nam 
and Laos. 

c. That the US has come to the view that the DRV role 
in South Viet-Nam and Laos is critical. If the DRV persists in its 
present course, it can expect to continue to suffer the consequences. 

d. That the DRV knows what it must do if the peace is 
to be restored. 

e. That the US has ways and means of measuring the DRV's 
participation in, and direction and control of, the war on South Viet- 
Nam and in Laos and will be carefully watching the DRV's response to 
what Mr. Seaborn is telling them. UNQUOTE. 

RUSK 



August 9, 196k 

STATE 389 to Amembassy SAIGON (TS/Exdis) Flash, Sent 9 Aug 6k, 6;k2 A.M 

REF Saigon 362, repeated Info as Saigon 8 to Ottawa 

. . . request you immediately contact Seaborn with view to 
deleting two words QUOTE to continue UNQUOTE from last sentence 
paragraph 9 c » 

RUSK 



August 18, 196^ 

■ 

SAIGON k6j to SecState (TS/Exdis) Priority, Rec'd 18 Aug 6k, 2:07 P.M. 
Deptel 383 

Seaborn called on Sullivan August 17 to show him copies his 
reports (which presumably Dept has seen) concerning his recent 
visit to Hanoi. As Dept probably aware, Seaborn was under instructions 



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emit last two points re ft el in his c is cuss ions with Pham Van Dong, 
but otherwise feels he made all points practically verbatim. 

Principal observation which Seaborn expressed re his conversation 
was sense satisfaction that Phan Van Dong, despite his angry reaction 
to Seaborn presentation, was unhesitating in his statement that 
channel of ccmnunication to US should stay open and that Seaborn 
should continue to bear US messages , no KPT no matter how unpleasant 
they may be. 



TAYLOR 



August 17, ±96h 



Report of Conversation with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong- 
Hanoi, August 13 j 196^ 

^ -m, ■ mm, , , , . ' m " 



(The following is close to a verbatim account of Prime Minister 
Pham Van Dong's remarks.) 



2. 



wish to have the best possible relations with the I.C.C. 



• • * 



3. ... The Government of the U.S.A. is obliged to carry out 
aggression against us. Official circles both political and military 
have decided that it is necessary to carry the war to the north in 
order to find a way out of the impasse in which they find themselves 
in the south. This is their goal and they have been pushed by it 
into attacking us. We see in this fact the essential cause of the 
act of aggression of August 5* • > • 

h* President Johnson worries also of course about the coming 
electoral battle in which it is necessary to outbid the Republican 
candidate. Hence the attempt to internationalize the war. 

5. If we throw light in this way on the real reasons for the 
incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin, it enables us to make seme evaluation 
of what the situation may be in the future. The essential causes, 
that is to say, remain and it is therefore possible that the Government 
of the U.S.A. will be led to new acts of aggression. They have said 

it themselves. 

6. This is a very dangerous situation, I repeat a very dangerous 
situation. . . . There is no way out in the south and they are trying 
to carry the war to the north as a way out. That is the real mis- 
calculation. Up to now we have tried to avoid serious trouble; but 

it becomes more difficult now because the war has been carried to our 
territory. . . . 



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7. . • . We are a socialist country and socialist countries 
■will come to our aid. 



• • 



* 



• 



8. If the U.S.A. is thinking of a new Korean war it should 
realize that conditions are not the same. ... If the war comes 
to Worth Vietnam, it will come to the whole of Southeast Asia, with 
unforeseeable consequences. ... We do not hide the fact that the 
people will have to make many sacrifices, but we are in a state of 
legitimate defence because the war is imposed upon us. 

10. The solution lies in a return to the Geneva Agreement of 
195^. - • • 

11. The I.C.C. is called upon to play a more and more important 
role «... 

-*»•£. . . • • 



August 19 , 196h 

MEMORANDUM FOB; The Secretary 

FROM: S/VN - Michael Y. Forrestal 

■ 

THROUGH : S/S 

Herewith the second installment of the Seaborn talks. 

The verbatim account of the conversation still remains to 
come from Ottawa. 

Attachment 

Em Candel SAIGON TSec Bacon (TS/Eyes Only/No Dis), limned., 

(For Immediate Delivery to Arnold Smith and FarEast Div) 

: 

Ref OurTel kl9, Aug 15 

Pham Van Dong's angry reaction to latest USA msg is not RPT not 
surprising. 



• . 



2. After visit to Hanoi and interview with PM I am still little 
wiser as to DRVTI motivations in launching Aug 2 and Aug' k attacks on 
USA vessels. . . . They may also believe, despite President Johnson's 
reassurances, that there is chance of new USA attack even if they do 



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not KPT not provoke it* Again, they are at least acting as if this 
were their estimate and are taking various precautionary measures 
(air raid drills, slit trenches , brick bunkers , etc. and reportedly 
at least preparation for evacuation of vomen and children). 

3» • * • 

k* Pham Van Dong gave no RPT no indication of being worried 
by firmness of USA msg I delivered and in fact its immediate effect 
was to product anger rather than desire to discuss way out. But I 
find it mildly encouraging that he did calm down as he talked further 
and significant that (he?) should state unequivocally that he wanted 
to keep open DRVN-USA channel "of communication. I do not RPT not 
however as result of this interview see likelihood of his using it 
for some time at least to put forward to USA side proposal or requests 
for discussion. I think he is genuinely convinced that things are 
bound to go his way in Indochina and that there is therefore no RPT 
no need to seek compromises. 



5- 



• * 



SEABORN 



December 3, V$6k 

STATE 1210 to Amembassy SAIGON, STATE 6k5 to Amembassy OTTAWA, ]inmediate, 

(Top S/Exdis), Sent 3 Dec 6^, 6:51 P.M. 

* 

The followirag message has been handed directly to Canadian Embassy 
here for transmittal to Seaborn through fastest channel. This is for 
your information only. 

Quote: Canadians are asked to have Seaborn take following position 
during his next visit to Hanoi which , we understand ; is currently 
scheduled for December 7th or 10th (Embtel l6l8). 

The United States has nothing to add to the points made by Seaborn 
on his last visit to Hanoi in August. All the recent indications from 
Washington, however, point to a continued and increasing determination 
on the part of the US to assist the South Vietnamese in their struggle. 
Although he has no specific message on this trip, Seaborn has noted 
from its public statements increased US concern at DRV role in direct 
support of Viet Cong, and this together with reported high-level 
meetings Washington makes him feel that time is ripe for any new 
message Hanoi may wish to convey. 

Seaborn should convey attitude of real personal concern over 
the growing possibility of direct confrontation between GVN and DRV. 
End quote. 

- 

FYI: Purpose of this approach is to probe for any new DRV 
reactions. 



HARR3K4N 



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Candel SAIGON 773 to Sec Bacon (TS/Nodis), Immediate, 
(For Immediate Delivery to Arnold Smith and FarEast Dov) 
Ref : WashDC Tel 4l89 Dec 5 and your Tel 7833 Dec It- 



• * ■ 



2. In mtg with Havan Lau only Vietnamese personality with whom 
I talked , I developed theme in Wash DC Tel klQS ... He did not 
RPT not pick up directly any of these ideas. Notes were taken 
throughout mtg and I assume higher authorities will be informed. 



3. 

SEABORN 



• • 



SAIGON 77^ to TT External (Confidential), Immediate DE Delhi 
IT IDN EmbParis, Nato Paris, Geneva, Wash DD, Permisny CDS 



3- Foreign Reps with whom I spoke all referred to DRVN concern 
over possibility of USA, air strikes, though there was differing 
interpretation as to how likely DRVN thought this to be. None seemed 
to expect anything of a serious nature to be imminent. To those who 
tended to play down likelihood, I cautioned against complacency and 
said I did not RPT not rule out possibility of air strikes in 
retaliation for growing DRVN" complicity in 3VN insurgency. I 
detected during this visit to Hanoi none of tension (partly officially 
inspired, partly genuine) which was so evident in mid- Aug just after 
Gulf of Tonkin incident. Not, as already reported, is there any 
sign of renewed digging of air-raid shelters or widespread drilling 
of militia. 

8. There was general agreement as to DRVN concern lest UN 
become involved in HidoChina, Some Reps apparently did not RPT 
not think this would be deplorable development but they all agreed 
that DRVN would refuse to allow UN intervention. . . . 

9. By and large, impression gained . . . is no RPT no 
expectation of early and startling developments in Vietnam. To 
employ the DRVN jargon, the situation is not RPT not yet ripe for 
it. 

■ 

SEABORN 



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January 29 , 1965 

AmEmbassy PARIS Ij-295 to SecState (Limdis/Noforn/S), Rec ! d 29 Jan 65, 
2 P.M. 

BnbOff has been shown in strictest secrecy large portions of 
record con versat ions on Viet Nzm held here between ranking officials 
of Quai on one hand and separately with Chinese Charge Sung and 
North Vietnaz-ese delegate Mai Van Bo on other .Conversation with Bo 
took place December 22 and "was renewed again last week. . . . 

In addition to discussion of international conference along 
Geneva lines, conversation with North Vietnamese XH3KXQK,* essentially 
to three questions put by French (1) Would Hanoi accept and join in 
guarantees for neutral and completely independent South Vietnam? 
(2) Would Hanoi agree to knock off political and military subversion 
in SVN? (3) Would Hanoi accept some control mechanism more serious 
and with wider powers than present ICC? Total ineffectiveness of 
latter and paralysis through veto demonstrated, especially in Laos. 

Mai Van Bo showed considerable interest in (l) and (3) and 
spoke of settling on basis 195^ Geneva Accords but was obviously 
embarrassed and evasive on (2), since affirmative response would 
have constituted confession. French told Bo frankly they could 
not accept Vietnamese protestations that there was only American 
intervention and that French were convinced of Hanoi subversive 
role. If Hanoi did not wish to own up, would they at least under- 
take guarantee not to engage in such activities in future? 

At second meeting in January above questions explored further 
and French said that in order to discuss meaningfully. Bo should 
obtain precise answers from Hanoi on above three points. No answer 
yet received. 



*As received^ will service upon request. 

February 27, 1965 

STATE 9I+2 to Amembassy OTTAWA (S/Exdis) linmediate, Sent 27 Feb 65, U:ll P.M 

We have passed to Canadian Embassy here text of that portion of 
Ambassador Cabot's presentation at latest Warsaw talks dealing with 
Viet-Mam situation. Text as follows: QUOTE. I have been instructed 
to restate United States policy in South Viet- Nam, Our constant 
policy has heen to assist South Viet-Nam in its efforts to maintain 
its freedon and independence in the face of Communist aggression 
directed and supported by Hanoi. So long as the Viet Cong, directed 



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and supported by North Viet -Nam and encouraged by your side, 
continues its attacks in South Viet-Nam, the United States will 
find it necessary to affort the Government of Viet-Nam such help 
as it desires and needs to restore peace- The pressures being 
mounted by the North Vietnamese across the frontiers of South 
Viet-Nam are intolerable. We must and will take action to stop 
them. 



* • • It was our hope that the 195^ Geneva arrangements 
would allow the Governments in Indochina to exist in peace. 



We would be satisfied if the Geneva agreements of 195^ were 
observed by all parties. . . . Any evidence of willingness on 
the part of the DEV to return to these accords would be noted and 
welcomed by our side. 

... If there is any doubt in Hanoi as to this U.S. position, 
I hope that you will convey it to them. UNQUOTE. 

We have asked Canadian Babassy here to seek Ottawa's approval 
for having Blair Seaborn convey above quoted passage to appropriate 
Hanoi authorities in course of next visit Hanoi. . . . 



RUSK 



March 5, 1965 

1_ _ 11 

CanDel SAIGON 203 (TopSec Bacon/No Distrib), Earned., 
FOR ARNOLD SMITH and FAR EAST DJV 



2. On afternoon Mar k I paid second call on Ha Van Lau in lieu 
of call on FM. Incidentally Stawicki managed without difficulty to 
see P.M. for farewell call. I explained nature of msg and then 
read him slowly French translation of full text of Cabot's statement 
in Wsaw as given in Wash, D.C. Tel 6k2 Feb 27. 

3- Interpreter took full notes. Ha Van Lau said he would 
pass msg on to FM though his personal opinion was that it contained 
nothing new. They had already had report of latest WSAW mtg from 
Chinese . 



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km Ha Van Lau then made personal comment on msg and general 
situation. It contained no RPT no new elements and is of so little 
interest that I am sending close to verbatim account only by Bag- 

^/ m • • • 

6. My personal opinion is that in present circumstances DRVN 
have very little interest in CDM channel of communication with 
USA. They have never taken initiative to use it and this time were 
not KPT not even sufficiently interested to arrange for me to see PM. 



• • 



7. 



SEABORN 



March K, I9 65 ' . 

Amembassy PARIS 5008 to SecState Wash DC (S/Limdis/Noforn), Priority, 
Bec f d k Mar 65, 2:02 P.M. 

Following from Quai IndoChina Chief Brethes: 

- 

Chief DRV Commercial Delegation Mai Van Bo came to Quai 
yesterday for discussion of unspecified disagreement over French 
Lycee in Hanoi. He took opportunity to remark that while previously 
DRV had been ready to consider negotiation of some sort, US actions 
had changed situation. Negotiations no longer matter for consider- 
ation at this time, and people of Forth and South Viet Nam were going 
to defend themselves* Tone of Bo f s comments was vexy stern and 
French concluded he had probably received instructions avoid any 
discussion with French on possible political settlement. 



BOHLEN 



March 7, 196$ 

AmEmbassy SAIGON 2880 to SecState Wash DC (S/Exdis), Rec'd 7 Mar 65, 2PM 



Seaborn also discussed his general impression on which he drafting 
separate report. Because of his inability to see any senior official 
or have any substantive discussion with any Vietnamese, and discussions 
with Eastern Bloc deplomats primary impression is that Hanoi thus far 
not seriously concerned by strikes, it being Hanoi's interpretation 



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of events that strikes are only a limited attempt by us to improve 
its bargaining position for conference which USG is strenuously 
seeking in order to extricate itself from war in SW which USG now 
recognizes is lost. Thus Hanoi not very concerned by strikes 
which have not seriously hurt it and as USG is one urgently seeking 
conference it is to Hanoi Vs advantage to continue to hold back on 
agreeing to any conference which at this time could only , as in 195^ » 
result in depriving DRV* of that full victory which it sees in sight 
as turmoil in SVN continues and pressures on US for withdrawal 
continue to mount. 

TAYLOR 



March 27, 1965 

STATE 2718 to Amembassy SAIGON (TS/EXDIS), Snmediate, Sent 27 Mar 65, 
3:^8 P.M. 

We are considering asking Canadians to instruct Seaborn to bear 
message to Hanoi, when he leaves May 31, for delivery to senior DRV 
official if and only if his first contacts with his normal liaison 
contact, in which he would inquire about availability senior officials, 
meet with forthcoming response and DRV initiative for appointment. . . 

Proposed presentation Seaborn would make to senior official 
would be as follows : 

1. In my last visit, I conveyed a statement of US views con- 
cerning South Viet-Ham, which followed the lines of what the USG 
had stated to Peiping representatives at Warsaw. . . . 

2. Since nry last visit, the USG has of course further publicly 
stated its position in President Johnson's speech of April 7 and in 
the US reply to the note of the 17 non-aligned nations } in which the 
USG further defined its readiness for unconditional discussions, its 
objectives ; and the sequence of actions that might lead to a peaceful 
solution of the problem. 

3. The USG has been disappointed to note that actions in the 
South supported and directed by Hanoi appear to continue without 
change, and even to be currently intensified. . . . 

k. In addition, the USG informed Hanoi on May 12 that it was 
undertaking a temporary suspension of bombing attacks for a period 
of several days. The USG regrets that this action met with no 
response from Hanoi neither directly not in the form of any sig- 
nificant reductions of armed actions in South Viet-Nam by forces 



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"whose actions, in the view of the USG, can be decisively affected 
from North Viet- Nam. Accordingly, the USG, in coordination with 
the Republic of Viet-Nam, was obliged to resume bombing attacks." 
Nonetheless, the USG continues to consider the possibility of 
working toward a solution "by mutual example. 

5- In making these points, the USG again must make it clear 
that in the absence of action or discussions leading to a political 
solution it must and will take whatever actions may be necessary 
to meet and to counter the offensive actions being carried out by 
North Viet- Nam against South Viet -Nam and against American forces 
acting to assist the Republic of Viet-Nam. 

6. If but only if senior DRV representative gets on to Pham 
Van Dong four points of April 8 , Seaborn would reply that he has 
no message frcm USG on this subject. However, his study of four 
points would indicate that some might be acceptable to USG but 
that others would clearly be unacceptable. It has also not been 
clear whether DRV statements should be taken to mean that the 
recognition of these points was required as, in effect, a condition 
for any discussions. He would say that the USG appears to have 
made its position clear, that it would accept unconditional discussions 
in the full sense, with either side free to bring up any matter, and 
that he would be personally interested in whether the DRV representative 
wished to clarify the question of whether their recognition is 
regarded by the DRV as a condition to any discussions. End proposed 
text. 



RUSK 



May 28, I965 

Amembassy SAIGON 3927 to SecState Wash DC (iS/Exdis), Immediate, 

Rec'd 28 May I965, ^:10 A,M. (Passed White House, DOD, CIA, 5/28/65,^:55 A.M. 

Ref DEPTEL 2718 

We see no objection to Seaborn seeking in manner set forth first 
paragraph Ref Tel to make approach. 

With respect to substance, we offer following comments: 

Last part third sentence of numbered para one appears to be 
worded in somewhat more astringent terms than useful or desirable 
in such private approach, although it is important point be made. 

We are concerned by degree to which numbered para four continues 
to lead us towards commitment to cease bombing simply in return for 
cessation or even reduction of VC armed actions in SVN. Without 
laboring point, believe it is important not at this time at least 
to give away our position on withdrawal of VC 



. * 



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June 6, 1963 

Amembassy SAIGON ^083 to SecState (Confid/Limdis), Rec'd Jun 7, 1965, 
2:06 A.M. 

Canadian ICC Commissioner Blair Seaborn told EmbOff this morning 
results of his latest week-long visit to Hanoi 5 from which he had 
returned yesterday. 

Seaborn said that he is persuaded from his conversations with 
diplomats and DRV officials that DRV is not now interested in any 
negotiations- He said that he was able to see new Foreign Minister 
Trinh but that discussion had revealed nothing new. 

Trinh followed standard line that US offer of unconditional 
discussion was "deceitful" since US continued build-up in South 
Vietnam and bombing of Worth. Seaborn pressed Trinh to elaborate 
on "Four Points , " asking whether points intended to be seen as 
preconditions to talks or as result of talks or as ultimate goals. 
Trinh remained deliberately vague and gave no clear answers. . . . 



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XII. PROJECT I'AYFIO^ER — TiE FIIIST BGMBIUG PAUSE 



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V 



A. The Background 

• ■ * 

Pressure for some form of bombing halt had" mounted steadily 
throughout April and early May. As early as April 2, Canada's Prime 
Minister Lester Pearson, on bis way to meet with President Johnson, 
;• ■ had stopped off to mske a speech in Philadelphia in which he suggested 
that the President should order a "pause* 1 in the bombing of fforth 
Vietnam. 



Pearson's gratuitous advice was particularly galling to the 
"President "because the pause had •- "become the battle slogan of the anti*? 
Vietnam movement. Students had picketed the L3J Ranch in Texas. 

mm * * 

demanding a cessation of bombing, A massive teach-in ha.? been scheduled 
for May 15 in Washington, with academicians who wanted withdrawal of 
American influence from the Asian mainland -, ready to demand as a first 
step an immediate end of the bombing. Pressure for a pause was building 
up, too j -in Congress among liberal Democrats, 116/ The U.K. Secretary 
General was on a continual bombing pause kick, with a proposal for a 
three month suspension of bombing in return for Hanoi's agreement to 
cease infiltration in South Vietnam, U Thant had told Ambassador 
Stevenson on April 2k that he believed such a gesture would facilitate 
renewed non-aligned pressure upon Hanoi to negotiate. 



Evidently , however , the President was not impressed with the wide- 
spread clamor that such a gesture would evoke any response from Hanoi. 
He had responded favorably to the 17~Mation appeal in his April 7th 
speech, only to be answered with blunt rejection by Hanoi and Peking. 
The U.S. had responded favorably to the Idea of a Cambodian Conference 
that would provide co^ortitnities for "corridor contacts" with. Communist 
powers on the Vietnam problem, but Peking had apparently blocked that 
initfr.tive. Encouragement had "been given to a UK approach to the Soviets 
"in* Pel ruary looking toward consultations under Article 19 of the l£o2 
Geneva Accords, but no response from the USSR had been received. The 
Radhakrlshnan proposal for a cease-fire along the 17th parallel, super- 
vised .by an "Afro -Asian Force" was being favorably considered by the 
U.S« only to be denounced as a "plot" by Peking and as an "offense" by 
Hanoi. Publicly, the President was plaintive: 

There are those who frequently tali; of negotiations and 
political settlement and that they believe this is the course 
we should pursue, and so do I. When they talk that way I say, 
welcome to the club. -I want to negotiate. I would much 
rather* talk than fight, and I think everyone would. Bri&5 
in who yol; '.rant us to negotiate with. I have searched high 
tmd. wide, and- 1 am a reasonably good cowboy, and I can't even 
rope anybody and bring them in who is willing to talk -and 






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- settle this by negotiation. We send them messages through 
* allies - one country , two, countries , three countries , four 
or five countries' - all have tried to be helpful. The dis- 
tinguished British citizen, Mr. (Patrick Gordon) Walker, 
has been out there , and they say, we can't even talk to you. 
All our intelligence is unanimous in this one point, that 
they see no need for negotiation. They think they are 
/" winning and they have iron and vhy should they sit down and 
give us something and settle with us. 117/ 

But while- the public clamor persisted and became more and more 
difficult to ignore, the President was receiving intelligence assess- 
ments from Saigon and' from Washington that tended to confirm his reading 
of Hanoi's disinterest in negotiations, but that provided him vith a 
quite differeht argument for a bombing pause at this time* if the con- 
flict was going to ha,ve to "be expanded and bombing intensified before 
Hanoi vould 
palatable to do so 
the enemy's intentions to be more clearly revealed* 



"come to reason," it vould be easier and politically more 

af*fcer a pause, which vould afford an opportunity for 



* 
On May k s in response to an urgent request from Washington, Am- 
bassador Taylor submitted a U.S. Mission "Assessment of DRV/VC Probable 
Courses of Action During the T.ext Three Months." The assessment con- 
firmed the Washington view that Hanoi continued to have a very . favorable 
viev of its prospects for victory: 

m ■ 

* ■■ i 

* i 

.•.Tone of statements emanating from Hanoi since /Febru- 
ary and March/ indicate that the DRV has not veakened in its 
determination to continue directing and supporting Viet Cong 
and seeking further intensification of war in the South'. 

- ■ . • - , . ■" . 
From DRV viewpoint, outlook is probably still favorable 
, , despite air strikes on irorth. Although their general . 

* transportation system in Tlorth has been significantly damaged, 

• .thus sbmevhat reducing their infiltration capability, Hanoi 

may calculate it can accept level of damage being inflicted 
as reasonable price to pay for chance of victory in South. 
Viet Cong forces in south retain capability of taking local 
initiatives on ground, although they must accept cost of 
heavier losses from tactical air support, and their morale 
, possibly has been reduced by recent developments. GW force 
levels v still are not adequate to cope vith these Viet Cong 
capabilities* Despite relative longevity of Quat Govt., 

• vhich marks improvement over urevious "recent Govts., -coliti- 

cal situation is still basically unstable. While military . 
and civilian morale h?,s risen, rumblings among generals con- 
tinue, suspicion among political and religious groups 
persist end are subject to exploitation by eoimauaists; On 
balance, Hanoi probably believes it has considerable basis 



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for expectation that Viet Cong, who were clearly making prog- 

■ \ rcss, as recently as February, can regain .the initiative and, 

by the application of offensive power, can create an atmosphere 
in which negotiations favorable to the ESV can be instituted* 

* 

Given this situation, the report argued, the most, probable course 
of action that Hanoi would pursue is to continue its efforts to expand 
*" its* military action in the Souths "including covert introduction of 
additional E&VR units"" on order of several regiments. This course offers 
•.♦the prospect of achieving major military gains capable of offsetting 
US/gVX application of air power. Such gains would expand Viet Cong areas 
o£ control and might lead to political demoralisation in South Vietnam. " 

118/ •.. ■ ■ 

• 

■ # A similarly unencouraging assessment had been submitted to the 

. President by the Board of National Estimates on April 22. In a "highly 
sensitive, limited distribution" memorandum, the leading personalities 
of the U. S, intelligence community concurred in the prediction that: 

-If present US policies continue without the introduction 
of large additional forces or increased US air effort, the 
Communists are likely to hold to their existing policy of 
seeking victory in the local military struggle in South Viet- 
nam. They will try to intensify that struggle, supporting it 



:S 



with additional wen and equipment. At the same time, DRV 

* mm ±- < 

defenses will be strengthened through Soviet and perhaps - 

'•_' \m* m J- 

Chinese' aid. 



air 






If, however, the U.S. deepens its involvement by increasing its 
combat role and intensifying its air effort, the intelligence officers 
believed: . '.. ■ '* 



.i ...that the Viet Cong, North Vietnam, and China would 
' " * initially. , .try to offset the new enemy strength oy stepping 
♦ up the- insurgency, reinforcing the Viet Cong, with the men and 

equipment necessary. They would likely count on time being 
■■ on their side and try to force the piecemeal engagement of 
US troops under conditions which might beg them down in jungle 
warfare, hoping to present the US with a de facto partition of 
the country. The Soviet Union... would almost certainly 
acguiesce in a decision by Hanoi to intensify the struggle. 119/ 

V * - 

This lack, of any real prospect of "give" on the enemy's part was 
al$o confirmed by Admiral Reborn, shortly after he had succeeded John 
McCojse as Director of Central' Intelligence. On the day of Room's 
swearing-in (April 28), the President had given him a letter frdfo I-lcCone 
(apparently worded along the lines of his manor andum described in 
.Section IX. K, of this study) which JlcCone had handed to the President 
as his last official act. She President had asked 11', born to tsreo&re 



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his own comments on KeC one's views. Reborn's comments, circulated to 
Scpret crips Rusk and McHaaara on "May 6, included the following: 

Our limited bombing of the liorth and our present gjrpund:--- 
force build-up in the South are not likely to -exert sufficient 
pressure on the energy to cause him to meet our present terms 
'in the foreseeable future. I note very recent evidence which 
\ "suggests that o\ir military pressures are becoming somewhat more 
damaging to the '"enemy within South Vietnam, but I am inclined 
to doubt that this damage is increasing at a rate which will 
bring him cuickly to the conference table. 

With particular reference to KcCone's recommendation that the US 
add much heavier air action against the Korth to its planned combat 
force deployment to the South, Raborn indicated his agreement, end 
expressed his belief that Such an action would have the following con- 
sequences; : . : 

'The DRV is j in my view, unlikely to engage in meaningful 
discussions at any tame in coming months until US air attacks ( 
have begun to deiaage or destroy its principal economic and 
Military targets. I thus concur with the USI3 T s judgj&ent of 
18 February 1965* that, given such US punishment, the enemy 
vould be "somewhat more likely" to decide to make some effort 
to secure a respite, rather than to intensify the struggle 
further and accept the consequent risks. 

> 

And then he added the following advice: 

Insofar as possible, we should try to manage any program of 
expanded bombings in ways which .<(l) would leave the_DRY.au oppor- 
tunity to explore negotiations without complete 'loss of face, 
J 3) would not preclude any Soviet pressures on Hanoi to keep the 
war from expanding, and (3) would not suddenly produce extreme 
world pressures against us. In this connection, the tiding and 
circiTinstances in which the bombings were extended northward could 
j , be of critical importance, particularly in light of the fact that 
there have been some indications of differing views between Moscow, 
Peiping, and Hanoi, 7or example, it would probably be advantageous 
to expand bombings after, not before, some major new VC move 
(e.g t , obvious concentration for imminent attack on Da Hang or 
s Kohtum) end after, n ot b efore, a n y current possibilities of serious 
negotiations have been fully tested. And such bombings should noiT 



be so regular as to leave no interval for the Communists to make 




to .test the Coi^uiPist intentions and t o ex pl oit any differ ences 
on the ir s ide. "(Emphasis supplied]" 






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One other consideration may have entered into the President's bouib- 
ing pause calculus at this time. # On April 5> .a TROJ/tf: HORSE photography 
mission had revealed the first"* SA- 2 SAM site under construction fifteen * 
miles SSE of Hanoi > confirming the long-rumored shipment of* Soviet 
surface-to-air missiles to Korth Vietnam. 120/ Moreover ,. the Sftils ' 
were only the most dramatic form of considerably increased quantities 
of JHOdern military equipment beginning to be furnished to the DRV by 
the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was now in the pi-ocess of becoming . 
visibly committed to -assisting IJorth Vietnam in resisting U.S. attacks 
on its territory, and a more direct confrontation of US end USSR military 
force was rapidly approaching. Indeed, the Joint Chiefs had indicated, 
on April lU, their desire to obtain approval for air strikes against the 
sites on short notice as they become operational, had estimated, on 
May 6, that the first site construction could be completed by May 15, 
and had instructed CB.CPAC to commence planning to conduct air strikes 
against that site. 121/ h decision involving a major Soviet rf flashpoint" 
therefore, vould soon have to be faced, and the President may veil have 
wished to provide a prior opportunity for a quiet Hanoi backdown, before 
•proceeding with more forceful military activity. 

T 

B. Se tting the Stage * " - 

On the evening of May 10 the President sent a personal FiASH 
message to Ambassador Taylor, 122/ informing him that he (the President) 
had decided to call a brief halt to air attacks in the Korth and instruct- 
ing him to obtain Premier QaaVs agreement to the plan. The text of the 
message follows: 

I have learned from Bob Kctjamara that nearly all ROLLIlvG 
TIIUKDER operations for this week can be completed by Wednesday 
noon, Washington time* This- fact and the days, of Buddha's 
birthday seem to me to provide an "excellent opportunity for a 
pause in air attacks which might go into next week and which I 
fcould use to good effect with world opinion. 

My plan is not to a; nounce this brief pause but simply to 
. . call it privately to the attention of Moscow and Hanoi as soon 
as possible and tell them that we shall be watching closely to 
see whether they respond in any way, Vy current plan is to 
report publicly after the pause ends on what we have done. 

■ - , ■ : .Could you see Qpat right away on Tuesday and see if you 
con persuade him to concur in this plan. I would like to 
associate him with me. in this decision if possible, but I 
* vould accept a simple concurrence or even willingness not to 

oppose my decision. In general, I think it important th- t he ' ■■ 
and I should act together in such matters, but I have no desire 
to embarrass him if it is politically difficult for him to join 
actively in a pause over Buddha. *s birthday. 



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^— — * * * *" i -— ~ — ■ ■ — p--Fi — •*- - _ n 1 ii urn 

* 

* 
■ 

* 

Yfe have noted your Recent cables/ but do not yet have 
your appreciation of the political effect in Saigon of acting 
ground Buddha's birthday.- From ray point of view it is a 
great advantage to use Buddha's birthday to mask the first 
days of the pause here, if it is at all possible in political 
terms for Quat. I assume we could undertake to enlist the 
'Archbishop and the Euncio in calming the Catholics. 

You should understand that my purpose in this plan is to 
begin to clear a path either toward restoration of peace or 
toward increased military action, depending upon the reaction 
of the CoraaunistSe We have . ajnply demonstrated our determina- 
'. ■ "tion and our commitment in the Mast two months a and I now 
wish to gain some flexibility, 

I know that this is a hard assignment on short notice, but 
' ; there is no one who can bring it off better* 

■ 
+ 

I have keirb this ulan in the tightest possible circle here 
and wish you to inform no one but Alexis Johnson, After I have 
your report of Quat's reaction I will melee a final decision and 
it will be communicated promptly to senior officers concerned. 



Ambassador Taylor promptly relayed the President's plan to Quat, 
whose major objection was to the notion of linking the pause in any way 
with Buddha's birthday. Taylor reported this objection to Vlashington 
i?3/ &nd received the following additional instructions from the 
Department in return. 12U/ 









i ■ t 



* ■ , 



Vfe have decided here to go ahead commencing on Thursday 
/kay 13/ for period of approximate ly 5 - 7 days. Orders through 
military channels will place stand-down on basis "in 'order "to 
observe reaction of DRY rail and road transportation systems" 
and will order increase in photo recce of DUV and boibiftg within 
SVK. You should tell Westmoreland true basis for his personal 
use only so that you and he and Alex Johnson remain the only 
three Americans in Saigon aboard. .We have informed Dobrynin 
tonight and are instructing Kohler to convey message to Hanoi 
through DRY Ambassador in Moscow. I will also be telling 
British and Canadian Foreign Ministers personally tomorrow and 
we will convey message to Menzies through Embassy here. How- 
-ever / each of these being informed only at highest levels and 
their Saigon representatives will not repeat not be witting. 

You should take following actions: #p . 

■ ■ 

1. Inform Quat we are going ahead. You should not specify 
period but let us know if he raises question or still insists 
on as short a period £s h ~ 5 days. Tell hhn we will definitely 



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refrain at all times from associating action with Bu£dha r s 
birthday and thst our initial -plan will "be to refer all press 
queries to Washington end* to hold as long as possible simply' 
to operational, factors as explanation. You should raise with 
him question of what he will tell generals urging in strongest 
terras that he tell them only what ve are saying through mili- 
tary channel and preferably delay even this until question 
arises. If C-uat raises question of what we are saying to 
Communist side, '"yea will have copies tonight's talk with 
'Dobrynin and instructions to Kohler by sept els and may draw 
generally on these for his personal use only* 

2, To deal with any possibility adverse Catholic -reaction 
you should inform Archbishop and /or Kuncio very privately that 
any .variation in actions in forthcoming period will be USG 

: decisions not related in any way to Buddha's birthday or any 
; appeal or issue connected with it. You may of course also 
reiterate that any such variations have no effect whatever 
on our determination as clearly shown in recent months. He 
leave timing this approach to you but believe it should be 
done earliest before any speculation arises. 

3. At appropriate time ydu should instruct Zorthian to 
report simply that no operations other than reconnaissance 
were conducted on each day and to refer press queries , pre- 
ferably by indirection, to Washington* 

■ ■■ ■ 

A few hours later. Secretary McKamara, with the concurrence of 

Secretary Rusk and IicGeorge Bimdy, sent the following FLASH joint 

State/Defense message through military channels to Ambassador Taylor , 

CXKCPAC end COKUSMACV: 125/ 

» ■ ■■■ * .■ #• 

■ 

In order to observe reaction of DRV rail and road trans- 
portation systems , bombing (including armed recce end other 
* strike operations) of targets within DRV will cease for several- 
days effective 2U00 1?. May Saigon time. CIIICPAC should issue 
the necessary instructions to US forces and Ambassador should 
seek to obtain comDliance of VjiAF. 



i % ,_ *s 



During the period in which bombing operations are suspended, 
photo and eyeball reconnaissance flights over DRV, in so far as 
they can be carried out without flak suppression .escorts and 
within currently approved rules relating to altitudes aaad lati- 
tudes, will be increased to the level required to permit a 
thorough study of lines of communication. The bombing sorties 
which would have been directed against the DRV during this 
period, to the extent practical, will be targeted against ap- 
propriate targets in South Vietnam, 



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§ ROLLIKG TBOEBEBi 15 as outlined in JCS 1736 has "been approved. 
It is to be executed uoon receipt of appropriate execution orders 

Press guidance for the period during which bombing operations 
sre suspended will be furnished in a. separate message! 

Acting on these instructions , Taylor saw Quat in Saigon on the 
•morning of Kay 12 > and reported back as follows: 126/ 

Along with Alex Johnson^ I called this morning to convey 
to Quat the information contained in Department f s instructions. 
I told him that his views with regard to linking the pause with 
Buddha's birthday had been accented and that this element had 
been removed from the plan, I explained that the pause begins 
* m tomorrow ( Saigon time) and will continue for several days* As 
he did not raise any question with regard to. the precise dura- 
* tionj I did not elaborate. He liked the military justification 
for the pause as explained in REPTEL and undertook to remain * 
within this language in dealing with his generals," I assured 
' him that General We stmor eland woulci do the ssaae in his military 
contacts. 



explained to Quat how the message was being conveyed to 
the USSR and Hanoi, He had no comment exceot to express doubt 
that any detectable change in DRV conduct will take place dur- 
ing the suspension of attacks. m 

m " ■ 

As for comment to the press > he repeated his intention to 
ward off queries by references to "Operational Requirements. 11 

While securing Ouat's support has been somewhat easier than 
I had anticipated^ I am sure that he and his colleagues will 
become uneasy very quickly if this pause runs beyond the "four 
\to five days" which Quat has indicated to be acceptable from his 
* point of. view, I would hope that our purposes can have been 
fulfilled within the f i. a day period. 

■ 

With regard to paragraph 2 /of Department f s instructions/ > 
Johnson and I feel that it is unnecessary and probably undesir- 
able to approach Archbishop Binh or the Luncio at this tine. 
We will watch closely the local reaction to the suspension and 
• convey the message to the Catholic leadership^ if necessary, at 
a timely moment. 

Much additional attention was.. lavished by Washington upon maintain- 
ing ne£r»absolute secrecy, preserving a plausible front . vis -a -vi s the 
press, end other aspects of stage management. On May 12 j ttati operation 
was given the codeword liAYFLO"^: 3l a and all ecrsaunication'S on it were 
thenceforth to be slugged with that indicator. Besides Taylor and 
Johnson, the only American Ambassadors informed of the political purpose 



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of MAYFJ-jO^ER were William Sullivan in Vientiane , Foy Kohler in Moscow, 
and Winthrop Brown in Seoul — .the latter only for the purpose of inform- 
ifig President Park Chung nee who was about to embark on a state visit to 
Washington and who, the Department felt, should be forewarned so .that he 
might more effectively fend off press proMrigs, 

On the evening of May 11, Secretary Rusk made two moves designed to 
r . L n form "the other s3.de" of the fact that u bombing halt was being called 
and of its political purpose: 

1. He sent a cable 127/ to Foy Kohler in Moscow., instructing him 
to. make urgent contact with the DRV Ambassador in Moscow to convey a 
carefully prepared message to him, as quoted below. The cable set forth 
the instructions and rationale as follows: 



* * 



.We are using you as channel to avoid using Soviets as , 
intermediaries and also to insure that message is accurately 
and directly delivered. We leave appropriate method of 
arranging contact to" you and ere not concerned if Soviets 
should become aware you are making such contact. You should 
of course moke maximum effort avoid any attention by any third 
party. 

* * 

Message you should deliver should be oral but confirmed by 
written piece of paper which you should hand to Ambassador with 
request he deliver message to Hanoi* Message is as follows: 

i 

BlXrll-i TEXT. The highest authority in this government has 
asked me to inform Hanoi that there will be no air attacks on 
Worth Viet-ICam for a period beginning at noon, Washington time, 
Wednesday, May 12, arid running into next week,, \ . 

In this decision the United States Government has taken 
account of repeated suggestions from various quarters , includ- 
ing public. stat erients by Hanoi representatives , that there can 
be no progress toward peace while there are air attacks on 
North Viet-I.am. The United States Government - remains convinced 
that the underlying cause of trouble in Southeast &sia is armed 
action against the people and Government of South Vietnam by 
forces whose actions can" be decisively affected from North 
Vietnam, The United States will be wry watchful to see whether 
in this period of pause there are significant reductions in such 
armed actions by such forces, (The United States must emphasise 
that the road toward the end of armed attacks against the people 
and Government of Viet n cm is the only road which will persp.t the 
Government of Vietnam (and tEe^ov€&*n^ 

to bring a permanent end to their attacks on Korth Vietnam.).., 

- -- 

In taking this action the United States is well aware of 
the risk that s temporary suspension or these air attacks may 












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^>e misunderstood as an indication of weakness, and it is there- 
lore necessary for me to point out that if this pause should be 
misunderstood in this fashion, by any party , it would be neces- 
sary to demonstrate more clearly than ever, after the. pause, 
ended > that the United States is determined not to accept 
aggression without reply in Vietnam. Moreover, the United 
States must point out that the decision to end air attacks for 
*'-■ this limited trial period is one Which it: must be free to re- 
verse if at any time in the coming days there should be actions 
by the other side in Vietnam which required immediate reply. 

But my Government is very hopeful that there vill be no such 
misunderstanding and that this first pause in the air attacks : 
may meet with a response which will permit further and more 
• % extended"' suspension of this form of military action in the ex- 
pectation of equally constructive actions .by the other side in 
the future. END TEXT. 

2. He summoned Soviet Ambassador Anatol Dobrynin to his office in 
the State Department and made virtually the same oral statement to him, 
confirmed by a parallel written version handed to him. Rusk, that same 
evening described the meeting to Foy Kohler in a second cable, 128/ sent 
imraediately after the message quoted above: 

I explained we were not indicating any precise number of 
days 5 that Me retained freedom of action, and that vre would 
convey similar message to Hanoi. I also said we would make 
no announcement although we expected press pressures, and 
made clear our action related only to strikes of any sort 
and not to continued reconnaissance. (Paper itself laakfcs 
clear action confined to DRV and does not include Laos or 
SVM-) 



'•- 



I also said we did not know what to expect but that Hanoi 
knows what it is doing and can find a way to make its response 
clear. 






Dobrynin noted we were merely informing Soviets and was 
clearly relieved we not asking them to act as intermediary- 
Asked about my trip to Vienna and indicated there might be 
further conversations there Saturday with Gromyko. Asked 
basically whether action represented EJiy change in fundamental 
US position. 

IT 

I replied that it' did not and that this should be no surprise. 



I reviewed recent indications that Cambodia conference 
blocked ^oy Peiping despite favorable mention in DRV-1 Moscow 
eoiarnunique and that tbree-uarty talks on Lc.os likewise in 






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abeyance apparently following Peiping and perhaps Hanoi pressure. 
\ President on April 7 had £r£ed open up discourse but. thus far ' . 
channels blocked/ I? attacks on DRV were part of problem, Com- 
munist response to present action might open up channels. 

Dobrynin said he thought ve would get soine answer but could 

not predict what. 
•*-■.' * ■ ■ • . 

4 - # 

I underscored importance action not be misunderstood in 
Hanoi. Hanoi appears to have impression they may succeed , but 
US will not get tired or be affected by very small domestic 
opposition or by international pressures, Hanoi cannot rely on 
Saigon instability. They may have wrong ideas on these points 

and important they not misunderstand our action. 

■ 

Dobrynin responded he saw no danger of misunderstanding but 
problem was to find way. 

Parallel with the Secretary's diplomatic moves , the President made 
a major public address on the first-day of the bombing pause, in which 
he made no reference to the pause , but in which he urged Hanoi to consider 
a "rjolitical solution ." The speech* embracing the theme of the "three 
faces of war" (l, aimed conflict , 2, diplomacy and politics ., and 3- human 
need) contained the following passage: 

■ 

5?he second face of war in Yiei-K&m is the quest for a 
political solution - the face of diplomacy and politics - of 
the ambitions and the interests of other nations. Ue know, 
as our adversaries should also know, that there is no purely- 
military solution in sight for either side. We are ready for 
unconditional discussions, host of the non-Cbrjmurii^t nations 
of the world favor such unconditional discussions. And it 
vould clearly be in the interest of ITorth Vietnam to now come 
to the conference table. For them the continuation of war, 
without talks, means only damage without conquest. Communist 
China apparently desires the war to continue whatever the cost 
to their allies. Their target is not merely South Viet-Ham; 
it is Asia. Their objective is not the fulfillment of Viet- * ' 
namese nationalism; it is to erode and to discredit America's 
ability to he Id nx*event Chinese domination over all of Asia, 

+ 

In this domination they will never succeed. 129/ . . - 

♦ C. Transmitting the 2'es sages 









Foy ICohler in Moscow, upon receiving the Secretary's instructions, 
directed his Deputy Chief of Mission to telephone the Korth Vietnamese 
Embasfey on the morning of fej&y 12 to request an urgent appointment for ■ 
Ambassador Kohler with the Korth Vietn^iertc Ambassador, The latter, however 



* 
* 



■ 



Ml6 



1'OP SSCH3T •• Sensitive 



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I 



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■' 






' 



( 



; 



declined to receive the &asrican # AiabassadGr "in view of the absence of 
\/ diplomatic relations between our two countries," and suggested instead 
that the "important % high level private message" from the US Goverraasat 
. which Ambassador Kohler wished to communicate to the i\W Ambassador be 
sent to the Soviet Government "in its capacity as Co -Chairman of the 
Geneva Conference." 

* * m 

■ Kohler felt it -would not be productive to press the BVH embassy, 
further, and cabled the Department for instructions as to which of two 
alternc.tives he should pursue; "(l) Transmit inesssge by letter via 
messenger to HJK ambassador; or (P) seek appointment with Acting Foreign 
.'. . Minister Kuz-netsov to convey message. "130/ 

The Department's reply was as follows: 

Believe you should pursue both alternatives urgently, 
• * explaining to Kmnetsov' (who will by now have heard from 
• , . Dobrynin) that you recognize reluctance of Soviets to act 

as intermediary and are asking solely that Soviets transmit 
message to DRV Ambassador in accordance with BEV suggestion. 
i3l/ • 

Kohler acted promptly on both alternatives. He transmitted the 
"oral" communication to the DR? Ambassador under cover of a letter signed 
' by Kohler, which read as follows: 

In accordance with the suggestion made oy a ttember of 
your staff today, I am attempting to reach the Acting 
r Foreign Minister tonight, * 

Since this jjaay not be possible" and because of its to- • 
portance, I enclose the message I had hoped to be able to 
a t convey to you personally earlier today. 

However, though hand-delivered by an American embassy employee to 
a DIW. employee, the copauni cation was returned the following morning in 
; * -a plain envelope addressed simply Embassy of US of A. 132/ 

At the same time, Kohler sought £?n urgent appointment with Acting 
Foreign Minister Kiv-:netsov (Gronyko being out of town) but Kusnetsqv was 
not available and Kohler vras able to see only Deputy Foreign Minister 
Fir yob in. The latter, after some temporising, flatly refused his ■ 
government's services as an intermediary and lectured Kohler at length 
Ujon the US misconception of the real nature of the conflict in Vietnam. 
Kohler f s account of the conversation follows: 



±3sU 



I informed Firyuhin that as he must know from report of 
Dobrynin' s conversation with Secretary, US Government has 
made decision which re hoped would bs both understood and 
not misunderstood. I had been informed ^ay several high 



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*. 



'.•"*•■ J 












•■•',. " 



Soviet sources that decision we had taken was precisely what 
was called for but none had "been in position to •yredict re- - 
Action. Our purpose in reaching this significant decision 
vas to attempt to ascertain if a way could be found to peace- 
ful solution of current crisis in 'Southeast Asia* V/chad 
hoped we would be able to deliver oral communication convey- 
ing this decision to DRY authorities and I had attempted to 
•do. so today through DRV Ambassador. Unfortunately Ambassador 
let it be known "that he did not wish to receive me personally 
and when his embassy was informed that the message I sought 
to deliver was of extreme importance, it was suggested that 
ve transmit the message through the Soviet Government in its 
capacity as Geneva Co-Chairman/ It was because of these cir- 
cumstances that I had found it necessary to disturb 
Kr. Firyubin tonight. I pointed out that, alt hough JDHV 
Ambassador had refused to receive me, embassy had succeeded 
in delivering a copy of oral communication to emp3.oyee of 
DRV embassy earlier this evening (2015 Local) who agreed to 
bring it to attention of Ambassador (communication as 



set 



forth in DEJTEL 3103 then translated in full for Firyubin 
with sole interruption being Firyubin 1 s inquiry if cessation 
attacks applied only ^° those from air - which I confirmed,) 
After receiving confirmation from me that cosnnuni cation was 
of oral nature, Firyubin said he viewed comrauni cation as based 
on old erroneous conception on which US has proceeded, a con- 
cept ion which precludes US recognising that the South Viet- 
namese people are fighting fox their freedom and. are struggling 
against aggression and control by Saigon puppets. Furthermore 
it indicated to Firyubin that we continued to view the picture 
incorrectly when we referred again to the struggle in South 
Vietnam as. being organised and directed by the DRV. The 
absurdity of this view, he said, is obvious and' natur ally the 
Soviet Government cannot agree with it as it has made clear 
in numerous statements. Firyubin could only view- the cfesmuni- 
cation as repetition of the threat against the DRV »** now a 
threat of renewed and e: panded aggression, This was the only 
way he could interpret the reference to the risk that a sus- 
pension of attacks involved. Obviously we are suffering from 
a gross misunderstanding if we think that such aggression will 
go impimished, without response* The only constructive approach 
to a peaceful settlement of the situation in South Vietnam was 
•* to end the aggression, recall troops from South Vietnam and give 
the Vietnamese people the right to choose their o:n form of 
Government — a choice which can be made freely only if the 
so-called specialists should be withdrawn sold their opportunity 
of exercising- influence on the Vietnamese thus rempved. Firyubin 
said that he well acquainted with the countries civl peoples of 
Southeast Asia; he therefore was aware and could understand the 
feelings caused by our actions there as well as the reaction in 
many other parts of the world. 



# 



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I told Firyubin I had asked to see him to put a very simple? 
question to him. Does the Soviet Government agree to transmit 
the oral communication to the DRV? I said this was the whole 
purpose of my- visit, 

Firyubin said the DRV embassy had not put such, a request 
.to the Soviet Government- I must agree that for 'Soviets to act 
as intermediary between us and DRY is very unusual. Naturally 
'he - would report-.-rny request to his Government and if the DRV 
should request this service he would not exclude the possibility 
of transmitting the coimunieation to the DRV Government. Nean- 
while he would be interested in knowing just how the DRV embassy 
•had responded to our approach* . 

« ■> ■ 

I again described for Firyubin our efforts to deliver the 
message to the DRV through its embassy in Moscow a>id told him 
that the end result was a suggestion by the embassy that we 
transmit the message through the Soviet Government in its 
capacity. as Geneva Co-Chairman, Firyubin repeated his promise 
to report my request to his Government and to inform me of th 



e 



results. 



While the conversation continued in this vein, Firyubin had passed 
a note to a Foreign Office: assistant, Kornienko, who attended him, arid 
the latter left the room. After some time, Kornienko reappeared and 
• handed a note to Firyubin, which the latter read carefully. After read- 
ing the note, Firyubin said flatly th:.t the Soviet Government would hot 
transmit the U.S. Governments message to the DRV, that the DRV embassy 
had not requested this service and that it was the U.S. responsibility 
to find a convenient way of passing the message. Kohler's account con- 
tinues; * 

*.-.■• • . . . ■ « 
I said I wished to understand him correctly. Was he 
, , rejecting my request to transmit the communication to the 
DRV? 



» » .. • , « 



He said this was a correct understanding of the Soviet 
Government position. We must ourselves find the way. 

I said that whet I was seeking was the cooperation of 
the Soviet Government and Firyubin 1 s remarks indicated 
clearly that the Soviet Government tias refusing this. 
Firyubin said, "J am not a pdstesen 11 and again said we could 
find our own ways of trassmitting messages. 

I pointed out to Firyubin that the cooperation I had 
requested is a well-known and not unprecedented process in 
international diplomacy.. I had great difficulty in recon- 
ciling Soviet Government refusal to cooperate with it*s 
declaration in support of peaceful settlement of disputed 
question*. 



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Kornienko chimed in that he had recalled statement by both 
the President and Secretary 'of State on several occasions that 
the U.S. Government has channels for transmitting messages 
direct to Hanoi. On this the conversation ended but it should 
noted that Firyubin 2na.de no effort to return, to me the text of 
the oral communication which I had handed him at the outset of tlie 



be 



J!- 



t 



* • % 



conversation. 

After further reflection on his meeting with Firyubin, Kohler sent 
a follow-on message to Washington that afternoon , 13^/ in which he 
sought to present the Soviet position with some sympathy and to promote 
an understanding of the Soviet rebuff in the light of the "rather 
'strenuous nature" of the document we were asking them to transmit. 
Kohler f s comments were as follows: 
* 

4 • • 

I came away from my meeting with Firyubin last night with 
mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was annoyed at the apparent 
Soviet rebuff of an effort to take heat out of admittedly dan- 
gerous situation' in SEA and impatient with flimsy rationale for 

" Soviet refusal offered by Firyubin. On the other hand, I could . 
understand, if not sympathize frith, Soviet sensitivity, given 
Chicom eagerness to adduce proof of their charges of collusion 

■ against Soviets and, frankly, given rather strenuous nature of 
document they were "being asked to transmit to DRV. - 



Implicit in latter view, of course, is assumption that 
Soviets in fact want bombing to stop, ore genuinely concerned 
at possibilities escalation, and ere interested in working 
out some sort of modus vivendi which would trke heat out of . 
situation while not undercutting their ova position in Commie 
world as loyal socialist ally. Me cannot be. sure. that this is 
way Soviets view situation, and it entirely possible they so 
confident our ultimate defeat in Vietnam that no gesture on our 
port would meet with encouraging response- Believe at this 
point,, however, we lose nothing assuming Soviets have not com- 
pletely forgotten lesson Cuba and there is some flexibility in 
Soviet position which we should seek to exploit. 

I would hope, therefore, we would not regard Firyubin 1 s 
reaction last night as evidence conscious hardening of Soviet 
attitude. .It may simply be reflection of bind Soviets find 
themselves in at moment* Meanwhile, we cm feel sure message 
is already in DKV hands -•- copies now available thru Dobrynin, 
Firyubin, and I)5V embassy here — and I would suggest we go 
through with original plea and be on alert, both here s&d on 
the scent for any si^iis reaction from other s5.de* Seen % £r 6m 
here, we would lose nothing by doing so; and we gain at least 
with our friends and the unaligned. 



•■ 



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By this tine. (1:00 p.m, March 13, Moscow time), though Kohler w 
not aware, of it, the bombing pauSe had already been in effect for ■ 
seventeen hours. It h?& gone into effect as planned at 2'tOO on March 12 , 
Saigon time, ancl the Department so informed Kohler, The Department also 
decided, in spite of Kohler 1 s confidence that the, U.S. "oral" communica- 
tion had reached Hanoi, to make doubly sure by asking the U.K. Govern- 
ment to instruct its Consul in Hanoi to transmit the same message, in 
inciting, to his normal contact in the DRV* Informed by the Department 
that this step was about to be taken, Kohler expressed his dissatisfac- 
tion with the character and tone of the con-muni cation \r^ recommending 
that, in any resubmission, the message be shortened and softened: 



,"> 



'•..I would recommend we shorten and revise wording of 
"oral" communication to DRV if we plan resubmit through 



British -Consul Hanoi. If cast is present form, I think ve 
are simply inviting rebuff, and exercise -Hanoi would prove 
as fruitless as our efforts in Moscow. Something along 
lines following would get essential message across: 

■ * * 

BEGIN TEXT. The highest authority in this Government 
has asked me to inform Hanoi that there will be no air 
attacks on Korth Vietnam for a period beginning at noon, 
Washington time, Wednesday, May 12 end running into next 
week. 

* 

In this decision the United States Government has 
taken account of repeated suggestions from various quar- \ 
ters, including public statements by Hanoi representatives, 
that there can "be no progress toward peace while there are , 
air attacks on Korth Vietnam. 

* 

■-. - • 

The united States Government expects that in consecmence 

of this action the DRV will show similar restraint. If this 

# *" * should not prove to be the case, then the United States" 

Government will feel compelled to take such measures as it 

feels are necessary to daal with the situation in Vietnam. 

-. EHD TEXT. 135/ 

■ 

Kohler' s recommendation was not accepted, and the Message was trans- 
mitted to the DRV by the British Consul in Hanoi in its original form. 
As in the Moscow case, the message was shortly thereafter returned to 
the sender, -ostensibly unopened. '•**•"-. 

t As a footnote to the "unopened letter" episodes, it may be worth 

noting that Canadian" ICC Commissioner Blair Seaborn* on an ear ly- June 

• 
visit to Hanoi, was approached by the Czech / assador to the DI'V, who 

recounted to him the story of Kohler *s unsuccessful effort to deliver 

the message to the DRV Ambassador in Moscow, with the message having been 

returned ostensibly uiionened* The Czech Ambassador said "everybody" in 

Hanoi knew the story. 136/ 



» 
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• ' ■ - 



D 



Ai-iaiting a Response 



*• 



»■ * .- »* 



While the Administration expected little in the %ray of a posi- 
tive Hanoi response, a watchful eye was kept for eny signals or actions 
that might suggest l\ r orth Vietnamese or Soviet receptivity to any further 
diplomatic explorations. Such signals as were received, however, were 
entirely negative. On May 15 a Hanoi English language "broadcast noted 
Western nei. : s reports, of the bombing cessation, terming them "a worn out 
trick of deceit and threat..." On the same day ? in a conversation with 
British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart in Vienna, Soviet Foreign 
Minister Andrei Gromyko indicated the USS&'s disinclination to partici- 
pate in any negotiations on Indochina, 
- * 

In the meantime , in Saigon , the U.S. Mission was hard at work 
trying to clarify its own thinking --and that pf Washington — on the 
persuasive , or rather coercive, possibilitJ.es of bombing "pauses. In 

"' particular/ the Mission was hoping to link the intensity of US bombing 
after the resumption closely to the level of VC activity during the 

•-pause. The purpose would be to make it clear to Hanoi that what we were 
trying to accomplish with our bombing was to get the DRV to cease direct- 

-. ing and supporting the VC and to get: VC units to cease their military 
activities* in the South, In this approach, a downward trend in VC 
activities would be Veifarded 11 in a -.similar manner by decreasing US 
bombing. Thus it was hoped that, during the bombing pause, the DRV 
would offer the first step in a series of events which Snight ultimately 
"lead'-to the termination of hostilities on satisfactory /i.e., \J.s// 
terms, without engaging in formal negotiations/ 1 

Ambassador Taylor described this approach to Washington in a 
lengthy cable 137/ concurred in by Deputy Ambassador Johnson and G: - :ral 
Westmoreland. The Ambassador recognised that there, were one or two Kinor 
pitfalls in the "scheme, but seemed 'und aunt ed in his confidence that US 
bombing could be designed to have powerful coercive effects. Taylor 
-admit L* J that : . 

' Any success in carrying out such a scenario /yoxLl.&f obviously 
depend on a considerable amount of cooperation from the DRV side 

' based oh a conviction arising from self -interest that the DRV 
must accept a settlement which excludes the conquest of SV1 by 
KW. There "is little likelihood that the Hanoi leaders are yet 
ready to reach such a conclusion, but a rigorous application of 
i air attacks at a tempo related., to Hanoi/vc activities accom- 
panied by pressure on the ground to compel the VC to engage in 
incidents or retreat appears to us to have "oossibilities. Con- 

i ceivably, these ground operations might eventually result in 
herding VC units into "safe havens 11 . ••Whatever its other *Veak~ 
nesses, such a program would eliminate in large measure the 
danger which we may now be facing of equating our bombing ac- 
tivity to VC initiated- incidents, and of seeming to suggest that 
we will stop bombing for good if the VC will simply lie low. 



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A quite different approach to a settlement vras proposed in a rather 
puzzling 'informal contact between Pierre Salinger and two; somewhat 
shadowy Soviet officials in Moscow, On the evening of May 11 (i.e., one 
full day prior to "the inauguration of the bombing pause) Salinger, who 
was in Moscow at the tine on private mcivie "production business ^ was in- 
vited to dinner by Mikhail Sagatelyan, whom Salinger fcd known in Wash- 
ington during the Kennedy years as the TASS Bureau Chief, arid who was 
at this" time assigned to TASS head quarters in Moscow, Salinger reported 
his conversation to Ambassador Kohler vho related it to Secretary Rusk 
in a cable 138/ as follows; 

Sagatelyan probed Salinger hard as to whether he was on 
' '■ soiife kind of covert mission and seemed unconvinced despite 
latter 1 s reiterated denials* In any case, Sagetelyan, pro- 
testing he was speaking personally, tallied at length about 
Viet -Earn. He "wanted Salinger's opinion on hypothetical form- 

■ + 

uls, for solution approximately on following lines: 

- 

% 1. US would announce publicly temporary suspension of 
bombing DRV: 

2. DRV or USSR or both would melee statement hailing 
suspension as step toward reasonable solution; 

3. Soviet Union would intercede with Viet Cong to curtail 
military activities; 

h. De facto cease fire would thus be accomplished. 

5« Conference would be called on related subject (not 
specifically Viet-IIara) . Viet Cong would not be participant 
but have some kind of observer or corridor status (this 
followed Salinger's expression of opinion US Government 
would never accept Viet Cong as participant in any. confer- 
ence)^ .. 

■ 

J t i 6. , Kew agreement would be worked out on Ifiet-Kam pro- 
viding for broader-based SVK Government not including direct 
Viet Cong participation but including elements friendly to 
Viet Cong. 

* 

In a follow-up dinner conversation between Salinger and Sagatelyan 
two nights later, in which a Foreign Office representative, identified 
on?y as "Vasslly Sergeyevicli" also participated ? the Soviet interlocutors 
generally confirmed the proposal quoted above,- mo dicing points three 
and four by sti^e sting tint an actual cease fire could take place onlv 
after in:! tint ion of negotiations and that a cease fire would in fact be 
the first item or: the agenda of any negotiations. 139/ Additional items: 
of interest were reported by Kohler as follows: 



* 



12* 



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in 



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• 



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Soviet interlocutors talked at length about President 
Kennedy's _ forebearance post-Cuba period and broadly implied . 
that Soviets now interested in reciprocating such forebear- ' 
ance. It was clear from their remarks that Soviets assume 
we would welcome some avenue of withdrawal so 'long as. this . 
would not involve loss of American prestige. 
■ 

* . Soviets informed Salinger that Soviet Government had 
received a "Rusk proposal" with regard Vietnam but would not 
answer proposal or act on it in any way until Soviet Govern- 
ment had some idea as to how current exercise with Salinger 
would turn out . . . 

+ ■ ■ • 

As to mechanics of carrying on exercise, Sagatelyan 
suggested Salinger night convey proposal to US Government 
through embassy Paris. -and he hims elf .would fly immediately 
* Paris "in order receive from Salinger there any official 
* reaction. Alternatively , if Salinger wished to proceed 
direct Washington, contact could be designated there 9 
■ probably either Zinchuk (Soviet embassy- counselor) or 
Vadvichenko (TASS Washington Bureau) .• 

* 

Throughout conversation Soviets made clear to Salinger 

that because of sensitive Soviet position any progress 

toward political settlement Vietnam problem must be initiated 

and carried through, at least in preliminary stages, on* basis 

unofficial contacts, clear implication being if leak should 

occur or if scheme should go awry, Soviet Government would 

be in position disavow whole affair. At same time, it was 

clear from reaoarks as well as presence of Foreign Office 

representative that proposal.by Sagatelyan had official 
backing. * ; .-.•."• P . - ...... 

■ 

Palinger had one further contact with Sagatelyan and Vassily the 
following day, where it became apparent that the Soviet of ficials ' 
interest in the proposal had waned. By the time Salinger had returned 
to Washington and sow Ambassador Thompson at the State Department on 
May 18, the Soviet disinterest in any role for themselves during the 
current bombing pause had been made clear through other channels, and 
Salinger's contacts were not further pursued* 

--•••. ., Of. those other channels, the most important (and also the most 

casual) was a brief Kaffeeklatsch between Secretary Rusk and Foreign 

Minister Gromyko at the Austrian Chancellor's residence in Vienna on 

Ksj 15. The proceedings are described in a Rusk cable lfoo/ to 

Undersecretary Ball as follows: ■ * *" 

■ 

. . Have just returned from Chancellor's lunch for visiting 
dignitaries* After lunch Gromyko end 1 and our. wives "were 
at a small table for coffee, I commented to Gromyko that we 



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• ■ • 



were in something of a dilemma about Southeast Asia, We felt 
there might be some value in* a serious exchange of views : - 
between our two Gov ennzcnts but that we did not know whether 

they themselves wished to discuss it. 

• - . ■ 

m 
w 

He coironented vith considerable seriousness that the Soviets 
trill not negotiate about Viet~Nam. He said there were other 
parties involved in that situation and that the United States 
would have to fihd ways of establishing contact with them, and 
he specifically mentioned the DRV. He said they will continue 
to support Borth Viet-XIam and will do so "decisively." He then 
made reference to a fellow socialist country under attack. 

I interrupted to point out that the problem was not that a 
socialist country was subject to attack but that a socialist 
country was attacking someone else. I said that American 
• military forces are in South Vietnam solely because Korth Viet- 
nam has been sending large numbers of men and arms into the 

South. ' "* *' 

.* 

* 

Up denied these facts in the usual ritual fashion but added 
that in any event it was not up to the United States to be the 
judge between Vietnamese. I reminded him that he must know by 
now that a Korth Korean- attack against South Koreans would not 
be accepted, merely because both were Korean. He merely com- 
mented that there were important differences between those two 
situations. 

He referred to Dobrynin's talk with ms and said that the 
temporary suspension of bombing was "insulting." I said I 
could not understand this in view of the fact that Hanoi. 
Peiping and Moscow have all talked about the impossibility of 
discussion's while bombing was going on. 

At this point Chancellor Klaus joined the table to express 
great happiness that Grc./iyko and I were sitting together. 
Neither one of us dispelled his illusion * 

I do not know whether Gromyko will pursue the matter 
further when the four foreign ministers meet briefly with 
Quaison-Sackey this afternoon or when we all assemble for 
the opera tonight. -. . ■. 

Thompson and I both have the impression that Gromyko 1 s 
attitude clearly means that the Salinger talk was of little 
substance aid th^t wc should now merely consider wh r at kind 
of signal we wish to get back by way of Salinger as a part of 
the closing cut "process. 



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I do not believe that w? should assume from Gromyko's 
remarks* that we ourselves* should not put- to Moscow our own 
most serious views of the 'situation, whether they are will- 
ing to discus's them or not. It is quite clear, however, 
that Cromyko wanted me to believe that they are not prepared 
to work toward a settlement in Hanoi and Peiplng and that > 
indeed, unless we abandon our effort in South Viet-Knn there 
will be very serious consequences ahead. 



«* 



i 

■ 



.' 



E. Resuming the Bombing 

1 

, : Having thus been unmistakably rebuffed by Ho scow, Hanoi, and 
Peliing ? the President determined on the evening of May 16 that the bomb- 
ing raids should be' resumed, beginning on the morning of May 18 Saigon 
ii:---:e. In addition to the ROLLING THJKDER XV execute message sent by 
the. JCS to CINCPAG on the l6th, Secretary Rusk* sent messages of a poll- 
ticc A nature to Saigon , London, and Ottawa on May 17 > so that the action 
could be cleared with Premier Quat (which Taylor promptly accomplished), 
and so that the foreign ministers of the Ccffiianonwealth countries would 
be informed beforehand. 3JH / " " m m 

You shoul.d see Fon Kin immediately to inform that be- 
ginning Tuesday morning, Saigon tine, bombing of I;orth 
Viet-flam will be resumed by US end South Vietnamese forces , 
marking the end of a five-day suspension. 

■ 

You should convey message from me that we regret that 
the reception of the other side to the idea of a nause was 
not merely negative but hostile. Gromyko told Rusk that 
our message to Dobrynin on subject was "insulting." 
'HevertheJ.ess.we do not exclude possibility of othe;r such 
attempts in future. 

There will be no public announcement of the resumption 
of bombing. When press questions are asked, it will be 
pointed out that there have been and may again be periods 
when no bombing will take place in response to operational 
factors and that we do not discuss these operational 

* 

questions, ■ 

. Ambassador Kohler, upon receiving word of the resumption, suggested 
that the US might inform the HTA3K) Counci]. and the 17 non-aligned nations 
of our actions, in advance of any resumption > to underline the serious- 
ness of the President's response to the Unaligned Appeal* The Department , 
however , responded negatively to Kohler ! s suggestion: 1^2/ 

■ 

There will be no official public statement from here con- 
cerning suspension or resumptions, Decision at highest levels 
is to avoid ^a^ discussion Project KAXF1X5JER, which now 



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«# 



i* 



** 



concluded, outside of restricted circle designated when Project 
begun, .Despite disappointing response, \fe wish to keep open 
channel with Soviets on tftis subject and "we hojje eventually with 
DRV via Soviets e Ve feel that use of this channel another time 
might be precluded if ve appear to have* - carried through Project 
MkYFLOWER solely for credit it might earn us 'with third parties 
and public opinion in general. Therefore ve would not now wish 
inform NATO- Council, and 17 Non-aligned countries. 

Only British, Canadians, Australians , UN Secretary General 
and Korean President Park (here on state visit) were in fact 
informed in advance of resumption bombing and also of negative 
outcome of soundings of other side. 



■ 

- 

i 

i 



■• # Hi addition to this limited circle of allied intimates , a larger 
circle of friendly governments was' provided with Ambassadorial brief- 
ings on the bombing pause e^be r the resumption. An instruction to* this 
effect went out to American embassadors in Hew Delhi > Tokyo, Bangkok, 
Vientiane , Manila , Wellington , and Paris: 1^3/ 



4 






* 



You should take first opportunity see Pri. Minister, 
?on Kin, or other appropriate high level official to inform 
him that the U.S. and South Vietnamese Governments suspended 
"bombing against North Yiet-Hara for a period of five days 
vhich ended on Me.y 18. The initiation of this pause in 
bombing was accompanied by an approach by us to the Govern- 
ments of the Soviet Union and North Viet-Ham vhich took note 
of repeated calls from that side for cessation of bombing 
snd their statements that discissions could not take place 
vhile bombing continued. Unfortunately the reception of our 
-approach was not merely negative but hostile f . .In view of the 
complete absence of any constructive response, ve have 
decided the bombing must be resumed. Nevertheless ve do not 
exclude possibility of other such attempts in the future. 

You should add that the record of the past several weeks 
is discouraging in that Communists and particularly Peking 
appeax intent on rejecting every effort from whatever quarter 
to open up contacts and conversations which might 'lead to a 
resolution of the Viet -Kan situation. The rejection of Presi- 
dent Johnson's April 7 proposals for unconditional discussions, 
of the- appeal of* the Seventeen ITon-aligned countries and of 
President RadheJcrishnen's proposal all illustrate the point 
together with Peking and Hanoi's obvious efforts to obstruct 
the convening of a conference on Cambodia, We trill neverthe- 
less continue to explore all possibilities for -constructive 
discussion, meanwhile maintaining with the Government of 
South Viet-Kun our joint military efforts to preserve that 
country's freedo?a. 



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Communist China's Foreign Ministry issued a statement May 21 fully 
endorsing Hanoi's position and denouncing' the suspension vith charac- 
teristic intempera-teness . 

F. Aftermath 






- - % 



A still somevhat ambiguous diplomatic move was made by Hanoi 
on Kay 18 , shortly after the bombing had been resumed. 

• . • ' . ■ • 

It appears that in Peris, on the morning of Hay 18, Mai Van Bo, 
head of the DRV economic delegation there, approached the Asian Direction 
of the Quai d 1 Or say to explain the reasons for the DRV's rejection of 
the Radhakrishnan proposals (involving a cordo n s an it aire by Afro-Asian 
troops along the 17th parallel). More important, however, Bo explained 
with text in hand that the Pham Van Dong Four Points, enunciated on 
April 8, should not be isolated from the declaration that had followed 
the four points. Ke then softened the language of that declaration by 
pointing out that the -four points constituted the r, best basis" from 
which. to find the "most just" solution, and that recognition of these 
principles vould create favorable conditions for a solution cf the prob- 
lem and vould open the possibility of convoking a conference. 

» 

- 

When asked if Hanoi recognized that realization of its proposed 

"principle of withdrawal" of American forces vould depend upon the 

"conclusions of a negotiation," Bo "responded "exactly*," and indicated 

that if there were agree >t oh the "bases," t:.e "ways and means" of 

..appli.otion of "principles" vould be found and in a peaceful manner; the 

possibilities were many; a way out. (parte de sortie) should be found for 

the US; "our suggestion humiliates no one," 

This happening, whibh occurred on May 18, vas first reported by.* 
a Quai official to the US Embassy's Political Counsellor in Paris 
unofficially on Key 19 j in a highly glossed version, melting it appear 
that the JJRY was clearly responding to the bombing pause by a significant 
softening of its position on "prior conditions ." In the official version 
that Lucet, the Director of Political Affairs of the French Foreign Office 
conveyed to the DCM on Kay 20, however, the continued ambiguity of the 
DRY position — - as to whether or not recognition of the four points 
remained a precondition to talks of any sort -~ was fully revcolcd. 

* - This ambiguity was in no sense resolved a few weeks later, \fiion 
Blair Seaborn raised this question with the DHV Foreign Minister in Hanoi. 
The U.S. had asked Seaborn in late May to seek an appointment vith Pham 



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Van Dong and on its "behalf reiterate the March message and U.S. determi- 
nation to. persist in the defense "of South Vietnam* to regret that Hanoi 
had not responded positively t6 the various recent initiatives* includ- 
ing the bombing pause* and to state that* nevertheless, the United States 

'remained ready "to consider the possibility of a solution "by reciprocal 
actions on each side. 11 If the Vietnamese brought up I*hara Van Dong's 
four points, Seaborn was authorized to endeavor to establish whether 

'•Hanoi insisted that" they be accepted as the condition for negotiations.- 
On June 3* Seaborn succeeded in gaining an audience with the DRV Foreign 
Minister (and concurrent Deputy Premier) Ngtaygen Duy Trinh* who reluc- 
tantly heard hir*i out after stating that the U.S. position was too well 
known to require restatement, Trinh's reaction to the message was totally 
negative* and in the exchange preceding its recitation he studiously 
avoided going beyond the vague statement that Pham Van Dong's four point 
were the "basis for solution of the Vietnam question;,"!'^/ 



s 



• As there was considerable misunderstanding concerning the Mai Van Bo 
approach of May 18* and misleading accounts of it were circulating* the 
State Department informed several U.S. ambassadors (Saigon, Paris* Bonn) 
of what it considered the true facts in the case. 145/ 






Facts are that bombing was actually resumed on mornin; 
May 18 Saigon time. Subsequently on morning May 18* Paris 
time* but undoubtedly on antecedent instructions* DRV eco- 
nomic delegate in Paris* Mai Van Bo* approached Quai urgently 
for appointment. His message was to explain negative Hanoi 
attitude toward Indian proposal (cessation of hostilities on 
both sides and Afro-Asian force) but second* arid more impor- 
tant* to discuss Phan Van Dong's four points originally stated 
April 8 end later included in Hanoi statement referring to 
appeal of 17 Eon-aligned nations . v Bo repeated four points 
with slight variations from public statements, apparently 
softening' language by indicating that four points might be 
"best basis" for settlement and apparently insisting less 
strongly that their recognition was required as condition to 
negotiations. During course of conversations* French asked 
whether withdrawal US forces visuai.i^ed as prior condition or 
as resulting from negotiations* and Bo responded that latter 



was correct 



c 



- , French passed us this message on May 20 (delaying two 
days) so that we had in fact resumed well' before we heard of 
it. More important* message still left smhiguity whether 
recognition of four points remained precondition to talks of 
any sort. Accordingly* We saw no reason to alter conclusion 
based on Hanoi propaganda denunciation of pause* plus fact 
that pace of Hanoi -directed basic actions in South had con- 
tinued and even increased --that Hanoi not ready to. respond 
to pause and that we must resume < 



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- . .-.—. 






Subsequently > Canadian ICC Representative,, Seaborn^ visited 
Hanoi commencing May 31- # He* himself raised saiao questions vith 
DRV Foreign Minister and response indicated DRV evasive ^ and in 
effect negative, apparently ta.king position recognition four , 
points y plus s one element US vithdrav&lj vere preconditions to 
any talks. 



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XYZ (MA.I VAN BO COUTACTS) 

MAT 1965 - FEBRUARY 1966 



SUMMARY and ANALYSIS 



1. Ambiguous Beginning 

The U.S. contacts with Mai Van Bo, Head of the DRVN Delegation 
in Paris , developed in three stages: first , through the French Govern- 
ment j then ? through a free-lancing private U.S. citizen; and finally by 
means of an authorized but "unofficial" U.S. representative. 

The timing of Bo's initial approach to the French and the pre- 
cise content of his message represent two important and ambiguous points 
With respect to the ti 



*S> 



the French claimed that Bo made a "fairly 



pressing approach" to them on the morning of May l8th, just prior to the 
resumption of U.S. bombings. In fact, this meeting must have occurred 
after the resumption. The earliest that Bo saw the French was probably 
9:00 a.m., Paris time. The bombings had resumed at 8:00 a.m., Saigon 
time — in other words, eight hours earlier-. There was, then, sufficient 
time for Hanoi to cable Bo and tell him not to make the approach. More- 
over, it seems clear that the message was probably drafted before the 
bombings resumed, with the signal to execute delivery being given after 
the resumption. 

This technique of delaying response to a bombing pause until 
a few hours after the pause ended was repeated in Rangoon on January 31, 
after the 37-^ay suspension. The DRV probably used this gap for two 
purposes: propaganda and bargaining. The propaganda value was poten- 
tially high — couldn't the U.S. wait a few more hours before plunging 
back to the attack? More importantly, it was a way of cancelling out 
the U.S. negotiating blue chip. The DRV would not respond with the 
threat of resumption hangin D over its head, since this could be read 
as a sign of weakness. If it were to enter negotiations, the DRV seemed 
bent on doing so only after the threat of bombing resumption had been 
minimized (public declaration on cessation?) and only after the U.S. 
conveyed a "recognition" of the Four R>ints. 

It was this latter element, the meaning of the Four Points , 
that represented the second ambiguity. Since the April 8, I965 enunci- 
ation of the Four Points, the U.S. had been interpreting our acceptance 
as a precondition for negotiations. While Pham Van Dong explained their 
meaning as the "basis for the soundest political settlement " (underlining 
added), the U.S. tended to focus on what followed: "if this basis is 
recognized, favorable conditions will be created for the peaceful settle- 
ment of the Vietnam problem, and it will be possible to consider the 



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reconvening of an international conference along the pattern of the 
195^ Geneva Conference on Vietnam." Hanoi had done nothing to clarify 
this issue. Indeed, when Seaborn, on June 6, 1965$ asked Trihh whether 
the points were preconditions or ultimate goals, Trinh deliberately 
remained vague. 

The two slightly contradictory messages conveyed to us by the 
French on May 19 (by Asian Director Manac f h) and on May 20 (by Director 
of Political Affairs Lucet) did not lift the veil, but they were sugges- 
tive. The first message, given in "strict confidence," indicated that 
Bo stated that the Four Points "were to be considered not rpt not prior 
conditions but rather as working principles for a negotiation which 
should, in the DRW view, represent ultimate goal of settlement in Viet- 
nam." The second message, conveyed officially, stated: "Recognition 
these 'principles 1 would create favorable conditions for solution problem 
and would T open f possibility of convocation conference like Geneva, 195^-" 
This message also included a bonus from Bo--U.S. troop withdrawal would 
depend on the "conclusions of a negotiation." The U.S. did not follow 
up this approach to the French, despite an inquiry at the Quai by Bo on 
June Ik as to what had happened. 



Private enterprise and American ingenuity entered the picture 
in July 1965, when Mr. Arkas-Duntov of the Dreyfus Fund applied through 
a French journalist friend to see Bo. The first Bo-Duntov meeting took 
place on July 16. Bo seemed very forthcoming, making references to self- 
determination, delay in the withdrawal of U.S. troops and not making 
much of U.S. bombings in the north. Against State Department wishes, 
Duntov saw Bo again on August 5. In response to a question, Bo said he 
would be prepared to receive a U.S. official if he makes clear the U.S. 
acceptance of the Four Points. 

At this point, the USG moved in by dispatching Edmund Gullion, 
former U.S. DCM in Saigon but now a private citizen, to contact Bo. 
Bo (r) and Gullion (X) had four meetings: August 6, 15, 18, and Septem- 
ber 3- Bo did not show up for an arranged fifth meeting, scheduled for 
September 7. Y, another ex-FSO, saw Bo only once and nothing was said, 
and Z never existed. It is obvious that "XYZ" should be renamed "X". 

The talks between X and R represent the most serious mutual 
effort to resolve matters of substance between the U.S. and the DRV 
before and since. 

It is striking that the first flirtations, from which the contact 
developed, were Bo f s approaches to the Quai in May and June of 1965. This 
is just the time at which Seaborn returned from Hanoi with the conclusion 
that the "DRV is not now interested in any negotiations." Seaborn was turned 
off just as Bo apparently began an effort to awaken U.S. interest more 
directly in Paris. The Russians, who had tried to foster negotiations about 
Vietnam through a conference on Cambodia and in other ways, also expressed 
their unwillingness to try further at about this time. 



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2, X r s Guidance — Flexibility and Pressures 

The U.S. was sending X with the intention of seeking peace 
from a position of U.S. strength. X was to show a desire for ending 
the conflict along lines "compatible with the Four Points, but he 
was also to say that the prolongation of the war" is bound to lead to 
progressively larger U.S. pressures and long-term China control of 
North Vietnam. X was to convey that pressures in the U.S. to widen 
the war were growing and that "it would be increasingly harder to 
exercise restraint." 

X took this guidance seriously. At the end of the second 
meeting when R refused to accept X's formulation of a statement announcing 
the reconvening of the Geneva Conference, X threatened to call off all 
future contacts* It was R who demurred and urged the third meeting — 
as he had taken the initiative in setting up the second. Except for 
the last meeting when R grew heated about recent U.S. escalations, R 
was serious and responsive. Throughout and even at this last meeting, 
there were no ideological harangues. 

3- Convening a Conference 

The most basic point to emerge from the X and R contacts with 
respect to convening a conference was made by R at the August 6 meeting. 
R said that there was a difference between "discussions" and "settle- 
ment." "There could not be settlement without recognition of the princi- 
ples within the k Points." R did not indicate what "recognition" meant. 
Later, in an August 31 speech (and repeated in the DRV Memorandum of 
September 23), Pham Van Dong made this point more ambiguous, but did not 
change it. He stated: "This k Point stand must be solemnly accepted 
by the USG before a political settlement of the Vietnam problem can be 
contemplated/ 1 This formulation, in turn, differed from Ho's demand 
for "tangible proofs" of U.S. acceptance on the h points. In the Dong 
speech and the DRV memo, U.S. acceptance of the k Points is pegged to a 
"political settlement" and not explicitly to starting negotiations. It 
is probable, nevertheless, that since DRY viewed the h points as "princi- 
ples" and not, as the Americans called them, "preconditions," the DRV 
always intended that the U.S. in one way or another give evidence of 
acceptance prior to serious negotiations. Successful negotiations to 
the DRV had to be based on these principles. If the United States would not 
accept the principles prior to negotiations, there could be no strong 
presumption on the DRV part that the negotiations would be successful. 

These were the first of many distinctions that Hanoi was to 
make among words like contacts, talks, discussions, negotiations, and 
peace. In June 1966, Ronning learned from Trinh that neither the k nor 
the 5 points were preconditions for "talks" — a new term at that time. 
If the U.S. stopped the bombing completely, Trinh told Ronning, the DRV 
would "talk/ 1 Ronning conveyed these distinctions to the USG, but they 
were lost sight of until the fall of 1967. 



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The U.S. position throughout as enunciated in President Johnson's 
Johns Hopkins speech of April 1965s was for "unconditional discussions." 
If, however, the DRV were to demand preconditions, for example, a "bombing 
halt, the U.S. would insist on reciprocity. In other words we would make 
no preconditions, but if the other side did so, we would have some of our 
own. 






X and R reached agreement at their August 15 meeting on a Geneva 
Conference forum. R had previously told Duntov (at their second meeting) 
that Geneva was the "only possible" procedure for negotiations. At this 
same meeting with Duntov, R said that the UN would be folly since the 
Chinese are not represented. At the August 6 meeting between X and R, 
R rejected the UN and other interlocutors, saying that Geneva was a "valid 
base, since it brought the interested bodies together." 

The DRV Foreign Ministry Memo of September 23, however, was less 
specific on these points. With respect to the UN, it confined its denun- 
ciation of the organization to the use of formal UN machinery, declaring 
only that it will regard as null and void any UN resolution and any "solu- 
tion" which seeks UN intervention. This memo did not explicitly reject 
mediation attempts by the UN Secretary General and others in the UN organ- 
ization. With respect to the Geneva Conference, the memo says that the 
Vietnam problem falls within the competence of the "participants" of the 
195^ Geneva Agreements. 

X and R, at their August 15 meeting even went so far as to dis- 
cuss a statement to announce the reconvening of the Geneva Conference. 
X offered the following statement: "in order to secure and preserve the 
fundamental right of the Vietnamese people, etc., as affirmed in the 
Geneva Accords, a meeting of Geneva conferees would be held which would 
take up Riam Van Dong's k points and other propositions." R expressed 
agreement with the first part of the sentence, but disagreed with the 
latter* (The disagreement on the latter could have signalled continued 
DRV insistence on the need to accept the h Points as the basis for negoti- 
ations . ) 

The agreement that a Geneva Conference would be the appropriate 
forum was clear. What was not clear was the issue of "participants." The 
U.S. position was that we were prepared to negotiate with "any government," 
and that all elements of South Vietnamese society could participate in 
free elections. X was told, in his instructions for the third meeting, 
that the U.S. was opposed to coalition government now, but that "groups" 
could attend a peace conference and express their views. 

The DRV position was tough but ambiguous. Ho, on August 15, 
implied that only the NLF could participate in an international conference, 
and stated that the Saigon authorities were "a creation of the Americans.... 
On August 31, Dong stated that the Front was the "only genuine representa- 
tive of the South Vietnamese people," and the "real master of the situation," 
On September 23, Foreign Ministry Memo stated that there could be no 



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"negotiations on any South Vietnam problem without KFLSV having its 
decisive say-" Later, on May 6, 1966, R said to Segonzac that the NLF 
was the "only valid negotiator," but that certain groups like the 
Buddhists which were not dominated by the U.S. could participate. 
Because the other conditions necessary for convening a conference were 
never met, it remains unclear how far either side would have departed 
from its opening position. 

With respect to participants other than the GVN and NLF, there 
was nothing said, but presumably this was not necessary. By virtue of 
their agreement on the reconvening of a Geneva Conference, it could have 
been assumed that all former participants in the 195^ conference would 
attend again. 

h* The Bombing Issue 

One of the interesting features of the R and X contacts was 
the relative absence from discussion of the bombing issue — ■ until their 
last meeting on September 3- In E's initial meeting with Buntov, he only 
mentioned the bombings in passing and with mild reproof. When, in the 
second meeting with R, X brought up the issue of reconvening the Geneva 
Conference, R did not mention U.S. bombings. At their August 18 meeting, 
the change began when R revealed to X that the DRV viewed the cessation 
of the bombings as "tangible evidence" of acceptance in principle of the 
h Points. From the August 31 Dong speech on, however, the issue was 
brought back to prominence. Dong raised the issue in a rather odd way. 
He said that the U.S. must "put an end to escalation (emphasis added) in 
air attacks against North Vietnam," prior to negotiations. In his 
September 3 meeting with X, S said that the U.S. had intensified bombings 
in the Worth and ground actions in the South in the last 15 days as an 
attempt to force negotiations on the DRV. R added: "Bombings must stop 
unilaterally, immediately, totally, and definitively. Then, there would 
be a possibility for negotiations." Again, on January 29, 1966, R indi- 
cated: "The pause in bombing is not negotiable .. .we have always demanded 
that these bombings stop as a prerequisite of any negotiations...." 

In other words, the bombings did not receive any prominence at 
all until the third meeting when they were indicated as "tangible evidence," 
and they were not raised as a serious issue in dispute until the irth and 
final meeting. One explanation of this may be that the DRV knew that the 
bombing issue would complicate the discussion of other issues, and it did 
not want to so complicate the discussions until the U.S. had revealed 
the full extent of the concessions that it might make. In any event, 
from this point on, the DRV position was that it would not trade anything 
for a cessation of the U.S. bombardments in the north. In March, 1966, 
the DRV made clear to Ronning that the cessation of such bombardments 
was a prerequisite for "talks." 



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5* Opposing Settlement Proposals: The DRV's k Points and Ours 

Both sides' settlement proposals nominally included the four 
principles laid down in the DRV's k Points (withdrawal of "foreign" 
military forces; non-intervention; self-determination for SVN; peaceful 
reunification), hut they held quite different views on content. 

The distance between them is illustrated by another topic they 
touched on, cease-fire provisions. Neither side wished an early cease- 
fire. Both feared it would permit the other to consolidate its position 
prior to the final settlement. In other words, both expected the final 
settlement to be much more to their liking than the status quo. (For 
the U.S. view, see 8/18/65; for the DRV, see 9/23/65.) 

A. Withdrawal of "foreign" forces 

The DRV k Points demanded the withdrawal of U.S. troops, 
military personnel, weapons, bases and alliances with SVN. Nothing was 
said publicly about NVA forces in SVN, but neither did DRV declaratory 
policy during XIZ specifically deny their presence. In private, when 
pressed by X, R did not deny DRV troop presence in SVN (8/l8/65)> or 
even that the 325th NVA Division was in SVN, but claimed it was not then 
engaged in military operations (9/3/65). After the contact had ended, 
again speaking privately, R said there were no regular northern troops 
in SVN, but that northern volunteers might have joined the NLF (1/27/66). 
While conceding little, this DRV posture permitted the discussions to 
include provisions for mutual troop withdrawal. 

On the timing of U.S. withdrawal, X consistently argued that 
there would be no problem in the event of an agreement between the two 
sides on an internal solution for SVN, though the specifics he envisioned 
grew progressively less liberal as the episode went along. He told Duntov 
in July that withdrawal would be a technical problem, as easily solved as 
with the French in 1954. It could take place over 2 or 3 years (7/16/65). 
To X in August, he said that the final settlement should see troop with- 
drawals completed (8/18/65). By September, R was telling X that U.S. 
troops must leave before elections were held (9/3/65). Several months 
later, speaking to the journalist Segonzac, he gave this as Hanoi's concept 
for U.S. withdrawal: 

"it contemplates three stages — in the first stage, the US 
would agree on the principle of their departure before the South 
Vietnamese settled by themselves their problems, which cannot 
be resolved so long as a foreign army is on their national terri- 
tory. The second stage is that of negotiation. The third stage 
is departure." (5/6/66) 



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The principle that troop withdrawal would have to be mutual 
was apparently accepted by R at the second meeting with X (8/18/65), and 
reaffirmed at the third (8/18/65). At the fourth, however, he pulled 
back completely and denied with agitation that there had been any incon- 
sistency in his successive positions or between them and the official DRV 
position (9/3/65). 



The US accepted in principle all the DRV demands regarding 
withdrawal at the first meeting with R, stipulating however that they 
apply to the DRV as well as SVN and that they include regrouping and 
redeployment of indigenous forces as well as withdrawal of 'foreign mili- 
tary and quasi -military personnel and weapons" (8/6/65). As X later 
explained, this included all persons with military functions and all 
support equipment related to the war effort. The regroupment provisions 
were intended to separate the combatants (8/18/65)* 

The U.S. did not specify the timing it thought appropriate 
for withdrawal, except to indicate mutually agreed stages as among the 
topics for negotiations. X was instructed to give North Vietnamese infil- 
tration of men and supplies as the sole reason for the U.S. presence. If 
the infiltration stopped, the U.S. would go home (8/9/65). He stressed 
that withdrawal would have to be "phased" and "balanced" (meaning mutual 
and at rates to be. negotiated between the two sides); R accepted these 
modifiers without inquiring into their meaning (8/15/65). 

B. Non-interference 

Although the two sides found different words to express 
this principle, the issue gave them little difficulty and was scarcely 
discussed by X and R. The U.S. noted that "a sovereign government should 
have the right to call for help if necessary in its own self-defense," 
and in other ways left room for our SEATO commitments to be observed - 
There is no indication of the DRV response to this reservation. 

C. Self-determination for SVET 

Before the contact between X and R was established, R had 
spoken to Duntov of self-determination as "the one basic premise"needed 
for a solution to the Vietnam problem (7/16/65). At his July 28 press 
conference, President Johnson said, "we will always insist that the 
people of SVN shall have the right of choice, the right to shape their 
own destiny in free elections in the south, or throughout all Vietnam 
under international supervision...." Duntov urged Bo to see him again, 
suggesting that this statement had been influenced in some degree by 
his (Duntov 1 s) report of their first meeting (End July)'. 

The possibility of a convergence of views on this issue 
may have motivated the DRV in permitting the contact between X and R. 






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• • 



n 



As the contact developed, though, US/DEV differences about what consti- 
tuted self-determination simply came into sharper focus , undermining the 

premise" on which agreement over the conditions for troop withdrawal 
might have rested • In the end, troop withdrawal and self-determination 
became a chicken-or-the-egg type of conundrum. As R parodied the U.S. 
position and rebutted it as follows: The U.S. "will withdraw from 
Vietnam T as soon as the Vietnamese will be left to solve their problems 
alone.* In fact, the Vietnamese will be left to solve their problems 
alone precisely after the Americans have left." (1/27/65) 

The DRV k Points call for "the internal affairs of SVN to be 
settled by the SVN people themselves in accordance with the NLF Program. . 
This was amplified on many occasions, including Phara Van Dong's National 
Day address of August 31j 1965 — between the third and fourth contacts--to 
mean that the NLF "is now the real master... in SVN. It must have a decisive 
say in the settlement of the SVN question." As R had done earlier with 
Duntov, Pham Van Dong heaped scorn on the "Saigon Quisling administration... 
Prior to this speech, the issue was apparently passed over lightly by X and 
E. At the fourth and last meeting, R took a line similar to Pham Van Dong's 
speech and modified his earlier position to require U.S. troop withdrawal 
before elections in SVN (9/3/65). Much later, he explained himself to 
Segonzac. Without condemning the principle of elections, he asked, "How 
can elections be held in a country over which no authority is exercised?" 
Did he mean the exercise of authority is decisive, not the electoral process? 
Wo doubt. In which case, the question of who should organize the elections — 
the NLF with DRV help, or the GVN with U.S. help— would be the real issue. 

The US envisaged no NLF role "as of right" in SVN (9/8/65)5 
and would not guarantee a role for it before elections because to do so 
would be contrary to "free determination." Individual members of the NLF 
could participate in the political process. At most, the future of the 
NLF should be a matter for discussion, not something settled in principle 
before negotiations began (8/15/65). In the event of a ceasefire, it was 
our intention to insist on the GVN's right to operate throughout SVN (9/1/65). 

D. Peaceful reunification 

The two sides offered virtually identical wording in their 
provisions for peaceful reunification. The U.S. required that reunifica- 
tion come about "on the basis of free determination" (8/6/65), a phrase 
absent from the DRV's fourth point, but parallel to an elaboration given 
by R at the first meeting (8/6/65). R stated then, as he had previously 
and would again, that the DRV was not in a hurry to see reunification 
accomplished. Clearly, though, it did expect a settlement that would 
insure reunification ultimately, namely the NLF coming to power in SVN 
(7/16/65). 



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6. Ho/Bo Differences? 

On the morning of the second meeting, Le Monde published an 
interview with Ho Chi Mihh. Ho essentially reiterated the DRV T s 
k Points , insisting at each turn on the WLF as the sole authentic repre- 
sentative of the SVN people and brushing aside the GVN — "there is no 
question of Saigon authorities, a creation of the Americans...." Thus 
he was for self-determination, on the basis of the MLF program. He 
accepted an autonomous SVN for as long as the SVN people desired, noting 
that reunification would come by free consent, according to the program 
of the NLF. 



When asked a complex question — would the DRV enter discussions 
with the U.S. on withdrawal if the U.S. affirmed the principles of Geneva, 
and would an end to U.S. air strikes against the DRV be preconditions for 
a settlement — Ho replied, "To this end, the USG must give tangible proofs 
that it accepts the Four Point stand of the DRV. . . ; it must immediately 
stop the air attacks..., stop forthwith the aggressive war against the 
south..., and withdraw from there all US troops and weapon^ 1 (8/15/65). 

This aroused consternation in Washington, which wondered if he 
was making immediate US troop withdrawal a precondition for an "effort 
at settlement" (8/17/65). Given the elegance of the French newspaper's 
question, however, it is not at all clear what Ho meant. He could equally 
have been laying down preconditions for a termination of the war (rather 
than the opening of negotiations), or simply leveling a demand without 
making compliance a precondition for anything. At the third meeting, 
R assured X that his statements on phasing and balancing troop withdrawals 
were the accepted DRV position (8/18/65). 

■ 

7- Why Did the Contact Break Down? 

Until the last meeting between X and R, all was proceeding at a 
better than expected pace. At this September 3^d conversation, R turned 
cold. He insisted on immediate cessation of U.S. bombings, and he pulled 
back on his agreement for the staged withdrawal of forces from SVN. 
Undoubtedly, a decision was made after the third meeting to wipe the slate 
clean at the fourth- -and then, to schedule the fifth just in case something 
new arose. What happened between August 18 (the third meeting) and 
September 3? Did, in fact, the breakdown of these conversations have 
anything to do with the surrounding events, or was it part and parcel of 
the DRV's negotiating strategy all along? Or, could - it have had something 
to do with events and relations ex±ernal to the contact itself, such as 
China? 



Could the breakdown of conversations have been related to ground 
action in South Vietnam? It could have, but the major announcement on 
U.S. force inputs to this ground action was made by the President on 



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July 28, that is, well before the initial X and R meeting- If the 
DRV regarded President Johnson's announced U.S. force increase from 
75 ? 000 to 125,000 and his saying that "additional forces will be needed 
later and they will be sent as requested" as a threat, they might not 
have allowed the meetings in the first place. But it could also be that 
the impact of this announcement and the impact of the U.S. forces actually 
on the ground and fighting in South Vietnam was not felt until a month 
later . 

U.S. bombings in the North is another possible explanation for 
the breakdown. In his August 31 speech, Dong said: "To achieve these 
aggressive purposes, the U.S. imperialist further step up the escalation 
of the war in Worth Vietnam in an attempt to intimidate the Vietnamese 
people... and are threatening further escalation!" He accused the U.S. of 
'bombing and strafing densely populated areas, many hospitals. . .and public 
utility installations such as the Ban Thach Dam..." While there is no 
evidence on our attacking population and hospitals, it is true that we 
first struck the Ban Thach Hydropower Plant on August 23. Other U.S. 
first strikes in this period that could have affected Dong's speech were: 
Lang Bun RR Bridge on July 29, Nam Dinh Thermopower Plant on August k, 
and the Bich Phuong Lock on August 23. Measured in sorties or tons, how- 
ever, overall U.S. air activity in the north in August was not higher 
than the previous month, July. 

m 

Another possible explanation for the breakdown may lie in North 
Vietnam's relationship to the warring giants of the socialist world- 
China and the USSR. It was on September 2, 1965* that Lin Piao gave his 
famous wars of national liberation speech. Some scholars speculate that 
this speech surfaced previously existing differences between Hanoi and 
Peking over how to fight the war in Vietnam (the Chinese arguing for a 
more prolonged, lower keyed , approach and the Vietnamese for a more 
militant one) and how to order the political battle (the Chinese arguing 
for united front tactics and the Vietnamese pushing for social revolution). 

It can also be argued that the DRV broke off the contact simply 
because it had accomplished some purpose. This purpose might have been, 
by seeming forthcoming and using the right words (e.g., self-determination), 
to see how far the Americans would go in indicating their fallback posi- 
tions. Hanoi could have been testing the U.S. position after the bombing 
pause to see if it had stiffened or softened. To Hanoi, pause and sub- 
sequent escalation were signs that the war in SVN was going badly for us. 
Perhaps they reasoned that these signs would be reflected in new and 
softer U.S. objectives. Bo did deliver his first message to the French 
right after the bombing resumed, then inquired in June as to what had 
happened with it, and it was the U.S. that delayed making contact until 
August . 



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Hanoi and Washington had never had a private and direct talk 
about settlement terms. This may have seemed an easy first way of proceeding. 
Since the contact was not with an American official s the exchanges were 
always disownable, and in fact, R ultimately did renege on points of agree- 
ment. When it became clear that the U.S. was not about to make far-reaching 
concessions, Hanoi could have viewed this as a demonstration of clear 
intransigence and decided to break off. 

Because the R and X exchanges were so responsive and productive 
and because these exchanges were severed so abruptly, no explanation is 
really satisfying. It seems that this dialogue between Americans and 
Vietnamese was as mysterious in its ending as it was fruitful and sugges- 
tive in its beginnings . 






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XYZ (MAI VAN BO CONTACTS): MAY 196 5 - FEBRUARY 1966 



May 19, 1965 

French Foreign Ministry Asian Director told U.S. Embassy Political 
Counselor "in strict confidence" that on May 18, just prior to the 
resumption of U.S. bombings , Mai Van Bo (head of the DRVF Delegation, 
Paris) had made a fairly pressing approach to the French. 

Bo wanted to understand that Hanoi's four points "were to be 
considered not rpt not as prior conditions but rather as working 
principles for a negotiation which should, in DRVN view, represent 
ultimate goal of settlement in Vietnam." Bo said that he was speaking 
with authorization, and the French source believed that the Bo approach 
was responsive to the U.S. suspension of bombing. 

(Paris 6582). 



May 20, I965 

Lucet, Director of Political Affairs of the French Foreign Office, 
called on the U.S. DCM in Paris to convey a message from Hanoi — although 
he said "we were not asked to convey message.." 

He went on to deliver a message that substantially differed from 
the one transmitted by his own Asian Director* According to Lucet, 
"Bo stressed that the four points should not be 'isolated 1 ftom 
'declaration* which followed." He went on: "The four points constituted 
'best base 1 from which to find 'most just' solution. Recognition these 
'principles' would create favorable conditions for solution problem and 
would 'open 1 possibility of convocation conference like Geneva, 195^," 

In response to a question on U.S. withdrawal Bo agreed /"exactly^/ 
that the withdrawal of American forces would depend upon the "conclusions 
of a negotiation." Bo went on: "If there were agreement on the 'basis', 
then a 'ways and means' of application of 'principles' would be found 
and in peaceful manner; - • - 'our suggestion humiliates no one'-" 

With respect to the discrepancy between this message and the public 
May 18 Hanoi communique denouncing "so called cessation bombings," Lucet 
said the latter was "for public consumption." 

» 

(Paris 6612). 






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£ 



. May 22, 1965 

State cabled appreciation for the Lucet information and asked 
that Lucet be told we continued to follow the matter with interest 
and that he should continue to keep us informed/ 1 (State 6056). 



June Ik, 1965 

Bo called on Manac'h. Manac'h told Bo that his message of May 18 
had been transmitted to the Americans, and Manac'h said the Americans 
were "deeply interested/ 1 

Bo asked if Manac'h could give him the name of the American diplomat 
with whom he discussed this matter. Manac'h did not do so. 

(Paris 7071). 



July, 1965 

Mr* Urah Arkas -Duntov, a partner in the Dreyfus Fund, on his own 
tact, took steps to arrange a meeting with Mai Van Bo. Duntov contacted 
Messr. M. Parisot, of France Soir , and Barisot, knowing that Eli Mais si, 
another journalist, had good connections with Bo, asked Maissi to arrange 
an interview for Duntov. Bo, at first, refused to see Duntov. Later, 
Maissi convinced Bo that such an interview might be an advantageous way 
of communicating to the U.S. at no political risk. 

July 16, 1965 (First Duntov-Bo meeting) 

i 

Maissi and Parisot were present. The following were the main points 
of the meeting: 

"1. Hanoi's Attitude toward Negotiations * Duntov asked 
why Hanoi would not negotiate. Bo responded that Hanoi did 
want to negotiate, and that there were ample contacts in which 
negotiations might take place. However, there must first be 
a basis for negotiations. Bo first said that the proper basis 
would be the Geneva Accords of 195*+ • He then added that these 
accords are often misinterpreted and misquoted, and that the 
true interpretation is found in the Four Points laid out by 
Pham Van Dong. Thus these formed the proper basis for negoti- 
ations , 

* 

"2. Unification of Viet-Nam . Bo stressed very strongly 
that Viet -Nam is one country and cannot be divided. When asked 
whether the US had not made clear its willingness to negotiate 
unconditionally, Bo replied that the President's Baltimore 
speech of April 7 was a trap, and that the President was really 



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laying down conditions "by his insistence on the necessity of 
an independent South Viet -Nam and guarantees for such a 
South Viet -Nam. 

"One of the participants asked Bo whether his position 
was not in conflict with statements by the National Liberation 
Front to the effect that the Front favored an independent 
South Viet-Nam. Bo seemed somewhat taken aback by this ques- 
tion, but recovered and said that this would be all rights 
since an 'independent' government in South Viet-Nam would 
in fact decide to join the north. 

"3- Internal Solution in South Viet-Nam. Bo insisted, 
somewhat emotionally , that there was one basic premise , self- 
determination by the South Vietnamese people, and that if this 
was accepced, a solution was possible . He referred at different 
times to the phrase, 'self-determination,' and to the Liberation 
Front program for the South (insistence on which, of course, 
is the third of Eham Van Dong's Four Points)- In referring to 
'self-determination, ' Bo explained that, if this principle was 
recognized, an independent government could be formed. However, 
he went on to say that no 'traitor' could be included, apparently 
meaning by this that at least the present South Vietnamese mili- 
tary leaders would be excluded. 

n k* Withdrawal of US Forces . Bo was asked what time schedule 
would be required — in the event of an agreement for an independent 
South Viet-Nam — on the withdrawal of US forces. Bo replied that 
this was no problem and that it was a technical detail that could 
be worked out as it had been with the French in 195^- The with- 
drawal could be discussed and could take place over a two- or 
three -year period. Bo related US withdrawal clearly, however, to 
acceptance of the principles he had laid down for 'independence' 
and 'self-determination' in South Viet-Nam. 

"5* Cease-fire or Cessation in Bombings . Bo mentioned the 
bombings of the North only in passing and with mild reproof. He 
gave no indication that a cessation of bombing was required 
before there could be discussions." 

Duntov reported all this to the State Department on July 29. 



End Julv 



State judged the Bo statements to be in accord with the Nhan Dan 
editorial of July 20, I965. 



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The background for the second Duntov-Bo meeting is quite confused. 
Duntov 1 s story is that Mais si had phoned him, saying that Bo is very 
pleased with the President's press conference of July 28, 19^5* Maissi 
asked Bo if there were any point in his seeing Duntov again and Bo 
said that it would he a good idea. Again, according to Duntov, Maissi 
then made the arrangements with Bo. Duntov conveyed this to the State 
Department and was told that "we are very interested in his information 
but that we would prefer that he hold off at this time." Duntov said 
that he understood. 

Maissi f s story is quite different. He said that on 30 July, Duntov 
telephoned him saying that he had conveyed the report of the first 
meeting to "certain friends in Washington," that he believed the Presi- 
dent's press conference had been influenced to some degree by this report, 
and that this encouraged him to believe he should meet again with Bo. 



August 5, 1965 (Second Duntov-Bo meeting) 

P&risot and Maissi were again present. 

Duntov told Bo that he had conveyed the results of the first meeting 
to friends in Washington. Bo said that he was not convinced of U.S. 
sincerity to negotiate. 

Duntov asked Bo if he were prepared to receive an authorized USG 
official for the purpose of explaining the American position. Bo ■ 
replied that if such an official will come to Paris, and if he makes 
it clear that the USG will accept the if-point program, it would be 
possible to "halt the war." 






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Also with respect to the four points, Bo initially insisted 
that only the NLF should represent SVN in peace negotiations — 
but subsequently implied this was a matter for the South Vietnamese 
people to decide. 

With respect to the machinery for the negotiations, Bo said that 
the UN would be folly since the Chinese are not represented. Bo argued 
that the only possible machinery for negotiations is a revival of the 
Geneva Accords procedures. 

TEXT OF A STATEMENT ON VIETNAM BY PRESIDENT JOHNSON 
AT HIS PRESS CONFERENCE OF JULY 28, 196 5 

"WE WILL STAND IN VIETNAM" 



t? 



• # # 



.We have learned at a terrible and brutal cost that 
retreat does not bring safety and weakness does not bring 
peace* 

"it is this lesson that has brought us to Vietnam. This 
is a different kind of war. There are no inarching armies 
or solemn declarations. Some citizens of South Vietnam, at 
times with understandable grievances, have joined in the attack 
on their own government. 

"But we must not let this mask the central fact that this 
is really war. It is guided by North Vietnam, and it is spurred 
by Communist China. Its goal is to conquer the South, to defeat 
American power, and to extend the Asiatic dominion of communism. 

"There are great stakes in the balance, 

"Most of the non-Communist nations of Asia cannot, by them- 
selves and alone, resist growing might and the grasping ambition 
of Asian communism. 

"Our power, therefore, is a very vital shield. If we are 
driven from the field In Vietnam, then no nation can ever again 
have the same confidence in American promise or in American 
protection. 

"In each land the forces of independence would be consider- 
ably weakened and an Asia so threatened by Communist domination 
would certainly imperil the security of the United States itself. 

"We did not choose to be the guardians at the gate, but there 
is no one else. 



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For would surrender in Vietnam bring peace, because we* 
learned from Hitler at Munich that success only feeds the 
appetite of aggression* The battle would be renewed in one 
country and then another country, bringing with it perhaps 
ever larger and crueler conflict, as we have learned from 
the lessons of history. 



H 



Moreover, we are in Vietnam to fulfill one of the most 
solemn pledges of the American Nation. Three Presidents — 
President Eisenhower, President Kennedy, and your present 
President — over 11 years have committed themselves and have 
promised to help defend this small and valiant nation." 



"What are our goals in that war-stained land? 

"First, we intend to convince the Communists that we can- 
not be defeated by force of arms or by superior power- They 
are not easily convinced. ... 

"I have today ordered to Vietnam the Air Mobile Division 
and certain other forces which will raise our fighting strength 
from 75*000 to 125,000 men almost immediately. Additional 
forces will be needed later, and they will be sent as requested 
This will make it necessary to increase our active fighting 
forces by raising the monthly draft call from 17,000 over a 
period of time to 35*000 per month, and for us to step up our 
campaign for voluntary enlistments . 

"After this past week of deliberations, I have concluded 

that it is not essential to order Reserve units into service 
ti 



now. 



* . • 



"Second, once the Communists know, as we know, that a violent 
solution is impossible, then a peaceful solution is inevitable. 

m 

"We are ready now, as we have always been, to move from the 
battlefield to the conference table. I have stated publicly 
and many times, again and again, America's willingness to begin 
unconditional discussions with any government at any place at 
any time* ..." 



"I made a similar request at San Francisco a few weeks ago 
because we do not seek the destruction of any government, nor 
do we covet a foot of any territory, but we insist and we will 



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always insist that the people of South Vietnam shall have the 
right of choice j the right to shape their own destiny in 
free elections in the souths or throughout all Vietnam under 
international supervision, and they shall not have any govern- 
ment imposed upon them by force and terror so long as we can 
prevent it. 

"This was the purpose of the 195^ agreements which the 
Communists have now cruelly shattered. If the machinery of those 
agreements was tragically weak, its purposes still guide our 
action " 



• • 



August, 1965 - U.S. Reaction 

At this point, Washington decided that Buntov should be kept out 
of the picture, and that an authorized but disownable U.S. representative 
should contact Bo directly. The U.S. representative was Edmund Gullion, 
former U.S. DCM in Saigon. 

For purposes of the negotiating track, Gullion is referred to as 
X and Mai Van Bo is referred to as R. 

Initial talking points for X : 

- 

1. These were to be simple and vague, but to set limits 
in which talks can safely take place. 

2. X was to show desire for peace, and a free, independent, 
and unified Vietnam. 

3- X was to say that the prolongation of conflict is bound 
to lead to progressively larger US pressures and long-term China 
control in MVN. 

k. X was to insist that nothing can force the US out. Indeed, 
X was to say that pressures in the US to a wider war were growing 
and that it would be increasingly harder to exercise restraint. 

5- If R does not seem receptive to a second meeting, then 
proceed as follows: 

Theme: US is flexible to some degree. See, for example, 
the President's press conference of 28 July. 

a. US ready to discuss the four points. 

b. People of SVTT have a right to peace and to determine 



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their own destiny in free elections in SVN or throughout 
Vietnam under international supervision. 

c. The four points , in some measure, parallel our 

own. Are we right in assuming these points are not stated 

as the only basis for starting talks and that other points 
can be discussed? 

d# The four points mention withdrawal of forces. The 
US says it will do so once SVN "is secure from outside aggression." 

e. We did not ask SVN to be our ally or to keep US 
bases there — * although a "sovereign government should have the 
right to call for help if necessary in its own self-defense." 

f. US is not opposed to unification "at some future time 
under democratic processes." 

Purpos e of X's mission: 

* ■ ■ ■ i t ■ » . j — 

Primary — To ascertain whether any serious purpose to 
negotiate exists and, if so, on what basis? Secondary — R 
as possible contact? Third, clarify the four points (pre- 
requisite or best basis., timing on unification and elections, 
a settlement in accord with NLF program, timing on withdrawal) . 
Fourth — Collateral intelligence (DRV attitude on the Indian 
proposal, UN, China, NLF, and the possible use of Laos and 
Cambodia as a gambit for talks ) . 



August 6, 1965 - First meeting between X and R 

1* It was clear to X that R was aware that report of this meeting 
would go to US officials, and X believed that R spoke and made comments 
on instructions. 

2. R said "convening of discussion should stipulate withdrawal 
as one of objectives. . .but confirmed that there would be 'modality 1 
including staging and timing." 

3* R rejected any UKF intervention and other interlocutors such 
as France, Ghana, and the Commonwealth countries. Geneva, he said, 
was a "valid base, since it brought T the interested bodies' together." 

k. On reunification — R said that it could take a long or 
short time but only on the basis of "free decision and consultation 
between Vietnamese people." Pending reunification, R expressed desire 
for freer movement between the zones, more trade, etc. 

5. R said that the NLF was solely qualified to represent the 
South p 



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• 



6. R seemed to agree with X's statements about China to the effect 
that Hanoi should be worried about increasing Chinese influence and 
control. 

7* On the four points, R said that there is a difference between 
"discussion and settlement . " "There could not be settlement without 
recognition of the principles within the four points." This is the 
main point in the initial meeting . 

8- R wanted to know U.S. reaction to a whole series of questions. 
R did not get a chance to ask questions since X went on to his pre- 
planned discussion about the U.S. version of the four points. 

9- R says that he wants to ensure understanding of the DRV posi- 
tion and that contacts could be continued. R, himself, then suggested 
a date for the next meeting* 

10. There was no mention whatsoever of US bombing in NVN. 

11. X handed R a U.S. version of the four points. It was quite 
similar to the one we transmitted to the North Vietnamese in Rangoon 
in January of 1966. 

"Point I - The basic rights of the Vietnamese people to 
peace, independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity 
are recognized as set forth in the Geneva Accords of 195^- 
Obtaining compliance with the essential principles in the Accords 
is an appropriate subject for immediate, international discussions 
without preconditions and subsequent negotiations. Such dis- 
cussions and negotiations should consider, among other things, 
appropriate means, including agreed stages, for the withdrawal 
of foreign military and quasi -military personnel and weapons from 
South and Forth Viet-Nam; the dismantling of foreign military 
bases in both areas j the cancellation of military alliances in 
controversion of the Accords; and the regrouping and redeployment 
of indigenous forces. 

"Point II - Strict compliance with the military provisions of 
the Geneva Accords must be achieved in accordance with schedules 
and appropriate safeguards to be agreed upon in the said dis- 
cussions and subsequent negotiations. 

"Point III - The internal affairs of South and North Viet -Nam 
must be settled by the South and North Vietnamese peoples them- 
selves in conformity with the principles of self-determination 
without any foreign interference. 

"Point IV - The issue of reunification of Viet-Nam must be 
decided peacefully, on the basis of free determination by the 
peoples of South and North Viet-Nam without foreign interference." 



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August 9* 1965 - McGeorge Bundy memo to the President 
Talking points for next X meeting with R : 

1. Let R do the talking this time and see if there is any 
give in his position. 

2. Make clear U.S. interest in "unconditional Geneva 
Conference." 

3* Instructions: 

a. Purpose — • set stage for formal negotiations if 
possible. 

b* Seek a no preconditions Geneva Conference and 
timing thereof. 

c. On NLF — Throw ball in R f s court. What would he 
suggest, recognizing the U.S. view on negotiations between 
governments? 

d. Stress that the sole reason for the U.S. presence 
in SVN is North Vietnamese infiltration of men and supplies. 

If infiltration stops, the U.S. will go home. This is a matter 
for Hanoi and no one else. Withdrawal of all forces must be 
the product of negotiations, not the preliminary. 

e. If R brings up bombing, say that U.S. must view 
"suspension or cessation in the context of adequate reciprocal 
actions . " 

f. Would R want conference on Vietnam alone 3 or Vietnam 
plus Laos and Cambodia? How would he want the conference con- 
vened — by invitation from the co-chairmen, privately, publicly, 
or by direct US-Vietnamese means? 

g. U.S. envisages no NLF role as of right in SVN. Is 
this really a precondition of the DRV? 

h. Pick up R f s suggestion about greater contacts between 
the zones. 



August 15, 196? - Ho-Devillers interview in Le Monde 

"Question: Does the position of the Government of the Demo- 
cratic Republic of Vietnam remain that which was defined by 



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Premier Pham Van Dong on 8 April, namely the South Vietnamese 
people must be left to solve their own affairs themselves with- 
out foreign interference and on democratic bases? 

"Answer: That's right , and this on the basis of the program of 
the NFLSV, the sole authentic representative of the South Vietnam 
people . 

"Question: Is the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ready to accept, 
so long as the South Vietnamese people will so desire, the 
existence of an autonomous South Vietnam, neutral of course, 
but disposed to establish with the north the relations implied 
by fraternity and a common nationality? 

"Answer: Of course. Along with preparations for the national 
reunification of Vietnam which will be carried out through 
peaceful means, on the basis of the free consent of the north 
and the south, according to the program of the NFLSV and the 
program of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, our entire people are now 
struggling with their main and might against the U.S. aggression 
in our country to defend the DRV, liberate South Vietnam, and 
achieve peaceful reunification, highest goal of all the Vietnamese. 

"Question: In case the U.S. Government would solemnly reaffirm 
its will to respect the basic principles of the Geneva agreements — 
namely, unity and independence of Vietnam and prohibition of any 
base and any presence of foreign troops on its soil — would the 
Government of the DRV agree to discuss with it the conditions and 
guarantees for disengagement which this U.S. declaration would 
imply? Also, in your opinion, is an end to the U.S. air attacks 
against the DRV territory a sine qua non condition leading to a 
settlement of the Vietnam problem? 

"Answer: To this end, the U.S. Government must give tangible proofs 
that it accepts the four-point stand of the Government of the DRV 
which conforms to the essential political and military clauses of 
the 195^ Geneva agreement on Vietnam; it must immediately stop the 
air attacks against DRV territory,- stop forthwith the aggressive 
war against the south of our country, and withdraw from there all 
U.S. troops and weapons. That is peace in honor; there is no 
other way out. 

"Question: Do you think, Mr. President, that the solution to 
the Vietnam problem depends directly on the Hanoi and Washington 
governments- — without the holding of an international conference — 
or do you think that it rests essentially with the MFLSV and the 
Vietnamese authorities in Saigon to find a settlement? 



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"Answer: The four-point stand of the Government of the DRV gives 
a clear answer to this question, and there is no question of 
Saigon authorities, a creation of the Americans which is cursed 
by our people, and which nobody in the world takes seriously." 



August 13, 1963 - Second meeting between X and R . 

1. ,r R was rigid and even retrograde." 

2. R said that Hanoi understood pressures in the US, but he 
implied that the American people would be opposed to the continuation 
of the war, 

3« X asked if R had thoughts on U.S. version of the four points. 
R said that the U.S. interpretation was not a "correct solution." R 
did not take a clear position on the four points being stipulated or 
accepted in advance of the conference- R seemed to reject the U.S. 
version of the four points, but not definitively and finally. 

k. X and R agreed on a Geneva Conference forum, but their dis- 
cussion on preconditions was left vague. R tried to argue that the DRV 
did not oppose the Cambodian Conference initiative but was merely 
accepting Sihanouk's insistence on NLF participation in the government 
of SVN. X rebutted this saying that Sihanouk had ended up saying that 
both Saigon and the NLF could be represented. 

5« R said that "Hanoi had noted President Johnson's reference to 
some form of meeting with NLF, but it was up to the US to give concrete 
details." He then launched into a tirade against the Saigon government, 

6. X returned to the issue of getting the conference started. R 
did not mention bombing. R said the US "must leave Vietnam alone to 
work out its destiny. . .claimed that President Johnson recently said 
US must remain in Vietnam and could never leave it." X denied this, 

7- X went back to the issue of infiltration and the withdrawal 
of all forces, saying that the U.S. was ready to put its promise of 
six months withdrawal to test. X said that withdrawal would have to 
be phased and balanced with a holding back of North Vietnamese forces 
as well. R indicated agreement. R then said "these accusations" of 
DRV activity in SVN are only recent — the US has been sabotaging Viet- 
nam since 195 1 *-. 

8. R asked if X had seen Ho f s response to Devillers. X said no, 
since he had not read the day's papers yet. 

9- X returned to the issue of getting the conference going and 
discussed the terms of announcing such conference. X offered the 



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following statement: "in order to secure and preserve the fundamental 
right of Vietnamese people, etc., as affirmed in the Geneva Accords > 
a meeting of Geneva conferees would be held which would take up Pham 
Van Dong's four points and other propositions." R expressed agreement 
with first part of sentence, but disagreed with the latter. X then 
said that maybe there was no use in future meetings. R was eager to 
set another meeting in case there should be "some change in the points 
of confrontation." 

10, X noted some flexibility on R's part on the issue of troop 

withdrawal and WHF representation. 

* 

Instructions for next meet ins 



1. X should be tough * indicating that his reading of the Ho- 
Devillers interview was very discouraging. 

2. U.S. will not guarantee role for the WLF before elections because 
to do so would be contrary to "free determination." However, South Viet- 
namese citizens in the IttF/vC could participate fully in the political 
process. Would Hanoi buy this, or, at least, discuss it? 

3. Does Ho's interview really mean that the DRV would buy two 
separate Vietnams as long as South Vietnam desired it? X should suggest 
more definitive machinery for the free plebescite than existed in 195^- 

h. In his interview, Ho asked for "tangible evidence" of U.S. 
acceptance of the four points. He said prior withdrawal of U.S. forces 
was required before "effort at settlement." (There is a clear conflict 
here between Ho's statements and R's.) R had not mentioned bombing -- 
as Ho most explicitly did in his interview — or even a cease-fire. lie 
may fear cease-fire effect on HLF just as we fear its effect on GVW 
legitimacy and control. 

August 18, 1965 - Third meeting between X and R 

1. This was the most positive meeting to date. R: (a) revealed 
fall -back position from the Ho interview y and (b) pin-pointed bombing 
as "tangible evidence" of acceptance in principle of the four points; 
(c) queried the meaning of X ! s four points* showing serious considera- 
tion thereof, and (d) stressed the desirability of a further meeting. 

2. R did not reject the idea that a formula on South Vietnamese 
representation at the Conference table could be worked out if "other 
obstacles removed." R tried to get X to make another move on repre- 
sentation. 

3- R said reunification could "wait some time." Like X* R 
insisted on the word "stages." On mechanisms for elections and super- 
vision, R did not object to X's formulations. 



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h. Bombing issue re-emerges as the key DRV objective. 

5* R said that troop withdrawals should be "phased," but that 
the final settlement should see troop withdrawals completed. X indi- 
cated that troop withdrawals must be "balanced" as well. R did not 
deny DRV troop presence in the South- Contrary to Ho, R insisted that 
his statements on phasing and balancing of troop withdrawals was the 
accepted DRV position. 

6. R asked for clarification in detail of X's four points: 

a. He did not like the word "compliance" and preferred 
"execution" or "acceptance." 

b. Did "quasi military" mean men or weapons, or both? X said 
it meant all persons with military functions and all support equipment 
related to the war effort. 

c. R asked for the meaning of regrouping and redeployment. 

X responded that one word was more static than the other, but that the 
key element was separation of combatants at some stage. 

d. R asked about the meaning of the phrase "foreign personnel." 
X said that meant all foreign personnel. 

7* R referred to "separation of combatants." X noted that R r s 
interest in this issue was very tricky and could lead to VC consolidation 
of territory in the South. R said that this issue was very complicated. 

U.S. Talking Points — Where we stand in the talks and where we go 
from here 

■ 

1. Two positive signs ~ withdrawal and reunification issue. 

a. Hanoi through R is not insisting on prior withdrawal 
and even envisages DRV balanced and phased withdrawal. 

b. Hanoi accepts X's reunification formulation and the idea 
of phasing. 

2. Remaining issues in dispute: 

a. DRV insistence on the four points. 

b. Conditions for cessation of bombing. 

c. NLF representation. 

d. Terms of the cease-fire (but this issue is not an obstacle 
to the inception of the Conference). 



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3- On X's point three , X should press the U.S. self-determination 
formula — at least to some sort of verbal agreement, 

k* On the bombing issue: 

a. Hanoi is clear in its insistence on bombing cessation 
before the Conference can begin, and 

b. V/e are clear that we will stop only if the DRV ceases 
infiltration and there is a sharp reduction in military activity in SVN. 

5. On the NLF, we should: 

a. Reject the Algerian analogy. 

b. Say this is a matter for Saigon and the VC to decide. 

c. Stick to the no- coalition- now formula, and 

d. Make clear that other "groups" could attend the Conference 
and express their views. 

6. On the issue of the full cease-fire, we should insist on the 
GVN right to operate throughout SVN* 

7. In his next meeting with R, X should: 

a. Concentrate on his formulation of the four points (which 
have gained legitimacy by the Rusk TV interview). 

b. Ascertain what the DRV would give for cessation of U.S. 
bombing, and 

c- Suggest a formula of reductions in incidents in SVN (like 
French/Algerian agreement) as a possible DRV response to a bombing 
cessation. 

September 2, 1965 - Pham Van Dong Report at National Day Meeting, 31 August 

"But no difficulty whatsoever could force our people 
to retreat, and no enemy whosoever could intimidate us. 
With seething hatred and undaunted determination, all our 
compatriots from north to south rose up like one man and 
waged a nationwide and all-sided patriotic war in accordance 
with the appeal by our party and President Ho Chi Minh: . . . 
We would rather sacrifice everything than lose our inde- 
pendence. We are determined not to be enslaved again. 
The hour of struggle for national salvation has struck. 



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Let us make sacrifices till our last drop of blood in 
order to defend our country. In spite of hardships imposed 
by the war of resistance, with a spirit of determination to 
make sacrifices, our people will certainly win victory. 

"Soon after the DRV's founding and even after the out- 
break of the resistance war in South Vietnam, we entered 
into negotiations with the French colonialists on many 
occasions and concluded with them several agreements and a 
modus vivendi in an effort to preserve peace. But to the 
French colonialists the signing of agreements was only a 
move designed to gain time and to prepare military forces 
and make plans for further aggress ion . It was only when 
our victories had made it clear to them that they could 
never conquer Vietnam and subdue our people and that further 
military adventures would only result in still heavier 
defeats that peace could be restored on the basis of the 
recognition of our national rights: This is a clear lesson 
of history, a lesson on relations with the imperialists which 
our people will never forget." 



"The NFLSV, now controlling more than four-fifths of 
South Vietnam's territory and over two-thirds of its popu- 
lation, is the only genuine representative of the people of 
South Vietnam. The front's international prestige and 
influence increase with every passing day. The front is 
now the real master of the situation in South Vietnam. It 
must have a decisive say in the settlement of the South 
Vietnam question. In the meantime, the Saigon quisling 
administration has unmasked itself more and more clearly 
as the U.S. imperialists 1 henchman, as traitor to its country 
It is hated by the people and regarded by world opinion as 
a puppet unworthy of njtice." 



"....The U.S, aggressors think that by launching air raids 
against the north they can intimidate our people both in North 
and in South Vietnam and menace the peoples of the socialist 
countries and other parts of the world. In reply to this 
threat our people both in North and in South Vietnam, far 
from flinching, have dealt, are dealing, and will deal ever 
stronger blows at the U.S. aggressors and their agents. " 



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"The socialist camp is more and more powerful; all 
socialist countries are extending wholehearted support and 
assistance to our people; close to us, like the lips and 
the teeth, are the stanch Chinese people; always side by- 
side with us are the peoples of the mighty Soviet Union 
and the other fraternal socialist countries." 



tr A few years ago the U.S. President and U.S. military 
and political circles often made arrogant statements. They 
said the Viet Cong must be wiped out, that they are resolved 
to pacify South Vietnam, and that the national liberation war 
in South Vietnam must be defeated to set a good example for 
the world. But now their tone has changed. In his speech 
on 28 July President Johnson even began to talk, about his 
readiness to discuss Hanoi's proposals, to mention the question 
of reunifying Vietnam, and the NFLSV. Why is there such a 
change? Is that an indication of Washington's willingness 
for peace? 

"Replying to this question, we must consider not the 
statements by the U.S. ruling circles, but their deeds. What have 
they done? They have been intensifying the aggressive war in 
South Vietnam and stepping up the escalation in the north. They 
have decided to dispatch all at once 50?000 more U.S. combat 
troops and still more in the future to South Vietnam and at 
the same time are making preparations in all fields for expansion 
of the war in this area. 

"In a word, President Johnson talks about peace in an attempt 
to cover up his war schemes; the more he talks about peace the 
more he steps up the war. ..." 



"in order to expose the U.S. imperialists as aggressors and 
warmongers, we call on the world's people, including the American 
people, to further push forward the movement demanding that they 
stop the aggressive war in South Vietnam, put an end to the 
escalation in air attacks against North Vietnam, implement the 
Geneva agreements, accept the four-point stand of the DRV Govern- 
ment and the stand expounded in the 22 March 1965 statement of 
the KPLSV. Only in this way could there be a genuine and lasting 
peace in this area and could peace be safeguarded in other parts 
of the world." 



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"•••.To put an end to the war in Vietnam and deter 
similar wars in other parts of the world, it is necessary 
to resolutely stay the hands of the U.S. aggressors and 
warmongers, the source of all types of unjust wars." 

"....To bow down before the threats of the U.S. imperi- 
alists or to compromise with them would constitute an act 
of encouragement fraught with incalculably serious consequences. 
That is why the entire world has unanimously and strongly pro- 
tested against the U.S. escalation of the war to Worth Vietnam." 

"•...The purpose of the Vietnamese people's bold struggle 
has been folly embodied in the four-point stand of the DRV 
Government . 

"This is the sole correct stand of peace which has been 
recognized by world public opinion as the only basis for a 
settlement of the Vietnam problem. This four-point stand fully 
conforms to the most important political and military provisions 
of the 195^- Geneva agreements on Vietnam., and the whole world 
is now of the view that these agreements must be correctly 
implemented. This four-point stand must be solemnly accepted 
by the U.S. Government before a political settlement of the Viet' 
nam problem can be contemplated." 



September 3, 1965 - Fourth meeting between X and R 

1. R took a line similar to the Hiam Van Dong speech. This was 
a retrogression from previous talks in two very important respects: 

a. U.S. troops must leave before elections , and 

b. U.S. intensification of bombings in the North and ground 
actions in the South in the last 15 days was viewed by the DRV as an 
attempt to force negotiations on the DRV. R said that the bombings 
must stop "unilaterally, immediately, totally, and definitively." Then, 
he said, there would be a "possibility for negotiations." 

2. R, when pressed, did not deny that the 325th was in SVN, but 
claimed it was not now engaged in military operations. 

3- X offered a formula of "parallel but ostensibly unlinked" 
actions to halt the bombings, possibly synchronized by the third 
party. X said that U.S. was showing restraint and has not hit a number 
of sensitive targets. R said that thousands in the Worth were being 
killed. 



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h. R pulled back on "stages" approach to troop withdrawal/ 

5* X noted that talks with R had taken zig-zag course. R, 
obviously agitated , demanded confirmation from X that R had always 
taken a consistent line in these talks and had never deviated from 
the official DRV position. X did not comply with this request* 



September 7? 196 5 - Fifth meeting 

R does not show up. DRV officials said that he was "sick." 

Sum- up Memo : 

Even though the talks dissipated in the last meeting, R showed 
interest in: 

a. X f s own initiative on U.S. troop withdrawals before 
elections, and 

r 

* b. Possible Hanoi responses to a bombing cessation without 
stipulating WY counterparts* 

■ 

September 23, 196$ - DRV Foreign Ministry Memorandum 



• # » • 



"The 'unconditional discussions 1 proposal of the U.S. 
authorities is but an attempt to compel the Vietnamese people 
to accept their own terms . " 

"These are: U.S. troops will not withdraw, but will cling 
on to South Vietnam; the United States always regards South 
Vietnam as a separate nation, that is to say, it wants the 
partition of Vietnam to be prolonged indefinitely; it does not 
recognize the HFLSV, the sole, genuine representative of the 
people of South Vietnam. As a matter of fact, its scheme is 
to try to achieve at the conference table what it has been 
unable to gain on the battlefield. The Vietnamese people will 
never accept such insolent conditions." 

"The f cease-fire 1 trick of the U.S. authorities is designed 
in fact to compel the Vietnamese people in both zones to lay down 
their arms while U.S. troops continue to be reinforced, to occupy 
and commit aggression against Vietnam. This is also an attempt 
to play for time to consolidate the puppet administration and 
army, to increase forces for further expansion of the war in 
Vietnam. ... 

"....Now they are saying that they 'will cease bombing the 
north 1 if there is some 'response 1 from Hanoi." 

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"The DRV Government solemnly declares that the U.S. 
authorities must stop their criminal war acts against the 
DRV. They have no right to impose any condition on the 
DRV Government. 



* • 



"....Yet the U.S. Government refuses to recognize it as the 
sole genuine representative of the people of South Vietnam. 
It has declared that it does not regard the front as an inde- 
pendent party in negotiations. This further exposes its talks 
about negotiations as a mere swindle. There cannot be any 
negotiations on the South Vietnam problem without the NFLSV 
having its decisive say." 



"The DRV Government has on repeated occasions delcared that 
internationally speaking the consideration of the U.S. Govern- 
ment's war acts against the DRV and the U.S. war of aggression 
in South Vietnam falls within the competence of the participants 
in the 195^ Geneva conference on Indochina, and not of the United 
Nations. Any U.N. resolution in furtherance of the above U.S. 
scheme will be null and void and will completely discredit the 
United Nations. 



rr 
# • • 



"To settle the Vietnam problem it is essential to remove 
the roots of the serious situation in Vietnam — U.S. aggression. 
Any approach which puts the aggressor and the victim on the 
same footing or which does not proceed from the real situation 
in Vietnam will fail to bring about a settlement of the Vietnam 
problem." 

■ 

"This stand also proceeds from the legitimate aspirations 
of the Vietnamese people in both zones, as embodied in the program 
of the Vietnam Fatherl ,nd Front and that of the NFLSV; namely, 
peace, independence, unity, and democracy." 

"The Vietnamese people and the DRV Government earnestly call 
on the governments and peoples of the world to resolutely struggle 
and demand that the U.S. Government accept the four-point stand 
of the DRV Government. The U.S. Government must put an immediate 
end to the air war against the DRV and completely stop encroaching 
on the latter 1 s sovereignty and security. It must immediately end 
the war of aggression in South Vietnam and withdraw all U.S. 
troops and weapons from there . . . . " 

"The four-point stand of the DRV Government is enjoying an 
ever -warmer sympathy and support from the peace-loving govern- 
ments and peoples all over the world. It is the sole correct 



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— not 



basis for a settlement of the Vietnam problem- Any solutions 
at variance with it are inappropriate and so are any solutions 
which seek U.EF. intervention in the Vietnam situation, because 
such solutions are fundamentally contrary to the 195^- Geneva 
agreements on Vietnam." 

"The U.S. Government must solemnly declare its acceptance of 
this four-point stand before a political settlement of the Vietnam 
problem can be considered." 



November 1, 19&5 *- X introduces Y by letter to R 
Instructions for Y: 

■ ■ I I I I ■ II ■■■ ■!■ ■ !■ ■ ■■! 

i 

1. Stress building pressures in the U.S. for escalation 
a threat but a fact* 

2. Take an anti-Chinese tack. 

3- Develop theme of Asian economic development and aid. 
k. DRV Aide Memoire, September 23, I965: 

a. Asserts LLS, insists on keeping forces in SVN. With respect 
to this , pursue the idea of stages. 

b. Asserts U.S. insists on separate Vietnams forever. 

c. Seeming change on point three — now NLF "must have 
decisive say." 

d. What is meant by "solemnly declaring acceptance of four 
points -- stopping all action, withdrawal or agreement to withdraw, 
bombing cessation?" 

e. Rules out any DRV response to a bombing cessation. 



November 18,1965 - First meeting of Y and R 

■ 

1. R seeded puzzled Y had no new knowledge to convey. 

2. UMR Deputy Hauret tells Wylie (Cultural Attache) that R may 
have something to communicate to the U.S. 

3- On 29 December, R says (unconfirmed) that he would like to 
meet with Gleysteen, senior officer, Political Section. 



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December 29, 1965 - Instructions for Y 

1. Y should indicate to B knowledge of Deptel 202/Rangoon. 

2. Y can indicate that possible DRV response to a bombing cessa- 
tion would be "a clear major reduction in level of VC military activity 
and terrorism in SW. rr 

On January 1, 196 6, Y tries to contact R and is told that R is sick* 

January 3? 1966 - Meeting of Y and Jean (Vo Van Sung), second or third 
man in DRV delegation 

1. Jean said that the DRV four points "must be basis of solution-" 

2. Jean accepted papers (Rangoon and French translation of X's 
four points), but had no message to transmit. 

January 11, 1966 - R report encouraging intermediaries 

1. Senator McGovern 

2, Kingsbury- Smith 
3- Sanford Gottleib 

January 13, 1966 - Meeting of Y and Jean 
Nothing transpires. 



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January 27,1966 

- Bo Conversation with Left-of- Center French Journalist 

~ Statements by Bo on U.S. Peace Offensive (lU Points) (CSDB 312/ 
00280-66) 

"2. Asked to comment on the United States peace offensive 
with regard to Vietnam., Bo replied as follows: 

"With their peace offensive the Americans tried 
to create a double illusion- Firsts the illusion that 
they had made concessions- In fact, their fourteen 
points show absolutely no change of position from 
before* Each principle they state is followed by a 
condition that makes the principle unworkable, i.e. 
that denies the principle. They say that they will 
withdraw from Vietnam 'as soon as the Vietnamese 
will be left to solve their problems alone. 1 In fact, 
* the Vietnamese will be left to solve their problems 
alone precisely after the Americans have left. I could 
give you more examples of how each of their fourteen 
points is a statement of principle coupled with a con- 
dition that denies the principle* 

"The second illusion created by their peace offen- 
sive is that they have 'accepted three of our four 
points,' as Dean Rusk said. But let us look at the 
remaining point, i.e., point number three. That point 
states that South Vietnam should apply the program of 
the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam 
(KFLSV). That program consists of independence, democracy, 
neutrality, peace, and peaceful reunion of the two Viet- 
nams. In rejecting point number three, the Americans in 
fact reject the tiu-ee points that they claim to accept. 
You see, one must look at the heart of the matter. The 
Americans have not budged an inch in their position. 
They are not willing to ' give ' anything . They want to 
hang on to Vietnam. Their bombings have failed. Our 
Prime Minister said, 'Nobody, not even children are 
afraid of the bombings j' that is the heart of the matter, 
that is our victory. Of course, our roads, bridges, 
schools, and hospitals are sacred to us, dear to us. 
The Americans gambled on that; they thought that we would 
rather save them than fight. They failed. Th,eir ground 
escalation and ground war have failed. We have downed 
200 planes and killed 20,000 Americans. Our victories are 
tremendous. So, having failed to bring us. to our knees 
by bombings and by ground war, they have tried to force 
our hand by putting pressure on world opinion in order 



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to have others put pressure on us and lead us to the 
negotiation table — only to accept the American conditions . 
That was the meaning of the peace offensive* They wanted 
to bring many countries to force us to sit down and accept 
the American conditions. That was the 'content 1 of their 
sincerity. When we speak of sincerity we must define the 
word, find out what is the 'content 1 of American sincerity. 
They are sincere in wanting to stay in Vietnam and in 
wanting us to sit down and accept that as a fact- They 
are in an impasse and they are going to sink further and 
further into the impasse. We are prepared and we will 
wait for them to bomb Haiphong and Hanoi. The price for 
this will become higher and higher for them; they will 
have to pay more money and suffer more casualties. We 
are not going to be deterred by any type of escalation. 
Aside from that, while the f peace offensive went on 1 the 
Americans continued to expand their military and logistic 
infrastructure, to prepare the way for a wider, bigger, 
wilder, longer war — not for a retreat. 

"3* Asked about the bombing pause, Bo stated: 

"The pause in bombing is not negotiable. The Ameri- 
cans unilaterally violate the territorial integrity of a 
nation and then stop and expect something in exchange for 
it? That is mad. We have always demanded that these 
bombings stop as a prerequisite of any negotiations but 
the stopping of bombing is not enough, 

"h. Asked what he would consider as a gesture on the American 
side that would show willingness , i.e. 'sincerity with content, 1 
to negotiate, Bo replied: 

"There are several things that they could do: recog- 
nizing the Front as the sole representative of the South 
Vietnamese people is onej stopping the bombings in the 
Worth and aggression in the South are others . 

"5- The interviewer pointed out that many discussions have 
taken place about whether Worth Vietnam wants the United States 
to withdraw its troops before any negotiations or whether American 
acceptance of the four points in principle, without withdrawal of 
its troops, would be sufficient for North Vietnam to negotiate. 
He asked what the true North Vietnamese position on this question 
was. Bo smiled, appearing slightly embarassed, and replied: 

"Each thing In its own good time. We are now faced 
with escalation, with more war. If the Americans ever 
decide to leave our country and by certain practical 



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concrete gestures show to us that they mean it, then 
we can find ways and means for a settlement for their 
departure; then we can solve the problems that will 
arise. So why speculate? As for now, the Americans do 
not accept our four points and want to stay in Vietnam. 
If some day they accept our four points, then we can 
look for solutions to the problems that will arise on 
how to make their acceptance of the four points concrete* 

(Source Comment: This was Bo ! s way of saying, or of hinting 
without stating, that the departure of United States .troops was 
not a pre-condition to negotiations. I am categorical about that, 
i.e. that he tried to convey this impression.) 

"6. Asked whether he did not think, as some do, that the 
Americans did not want peace but that they wanted to use the 
peace offensive to bring about an agreement with Hanoi so as 
not to escalate the war on either side, to maintain it within 
its present size or perhaps decrease it on both sides, Bo 
replied: 'C'est tire par les cheveux' (that is far-fetched). 
Bo repeated that the peace offensive was the result of American 
failure to bring the HFLSV or Hanoi to their knees and was but 
an attempt to bring them to their knees by diplomatic means, 
which were as heavy handed as their military ones. 

"7* When asked if Aleksandr K. Shelepin 's visit to North 
Vietnam had been useful, Bo smiled broadly and said, 'Very! 1 
This contrasted with Bo's comments on Chinese and Soviet help 
made at a previous interview on 30 September 19&5 when he was 
restrained and polite in saying that these countries had helped 
North Vietnam. This time, at mention of Shelepin, Bo smiled 
broadly and was very dramatic although maintaining his traditional 
coolness of manners. Bo said, "The Soviets are giving us sub- 
stantially increased material and military aid.' Asked "if the 
North Vietnamese were satisfied with Russian aid, Bo said "very 
satisfied" and added, 'Shelepin 1 s trip was but the symbol of the 
increase of Russian aid to us/ The interviewer noted that the 
Russian communique and the North Vietnamese communique issued 
in Hanoi were slightly different and asked if this did not mean 
that Shelepin had pressured the Vietnamese to be more moderate 
and had indirectly worked for the Americans. Bo smiled and 
answered, r I can only repeat to you that officially and privately, 
in name and in fact, the Russians approve of our struggle, back 
it, and are increasingly with us.' 

"8. When asked if his statements meant that North Vietnam 
had missiles capable of destroying Saigon in reprisal if Hanoi 
were bombed, Bo smiled — it seemed a secret, happy smile — and 
said, *I cannot go into such details for obvious reasons, but, 
yes, the Russians have significantly contributed to our defenses. 1 



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"9* When asked why Soviet missiles did not shoot down as 
many American planes as expected, Bo said this was because the 
missiles were manned by North Vietnamese. If the Worth Viet- 
namese had asked the Soviets to man them, Bo said, they would 
have had to ask for Chinese Communist personnel as well, and 
the North Vietnamese thought they could handle things by them- 
selves. Bo said that now the North Vietnamese were getting 
more experience and training. 

"10, Bo would not answer a question as to the presence of 
Soviet military personnel in North Vietnam, 

"11. To a question as to whether Nguyen Van Chi represented 
the NFLSV in France, Bo responded rather contemptuously that 
Chi was f just a Vietnamese gentleman who lives in France 1 and 
represented nobody. 

"12» TShen it was suggested to Bo, to provoke a reaction, that 
manifestations of dissent in the United States by students and 
others would not persuade President Johnson to stop the war, but 
would only serve to provoke indignation and raise prospects of a 
new f McCarthyism T and even fascism in America, Bo showed skepticism. 
He said that he did not have a simplistic view of the United States, 
and that it was true that progressive action normally brought 
about reaction, as in France in 1956, but that he did not believe 
that this would lead to fascism in the United States, where the 
Government j after all, was obliged to take public opinion into 
account. Bo spoke at length on the reasons he did not think that 
public opinion would harden in the United States. While he agreed 
to a point with statements that there were no proletarians in the 
United States and that most of the people were bourgeois and 
prosperous and therefore backed the Government to defend their 
advantages, he seemed profoundly convinced that public opinion in 
the United States is reacting more and more against the war in 
Vietnam and that the high cost of the war and loss of American lives 
will eventually lead the United States to want to get out of Vietnam. 
Bo quoted television commentator David Schoenbrun, a French general, 
and others to back up his case. He presented a long argument about 
the Americans and the atomic bomb, which he said could kill a lot 
of people and was not something to be despised and ignored, but he 
said what ultimately counted was man — man r s brain. The Americans, 
Bo said, rely only on machines, and that is their weakness; Europe 
has a solid cultural infrastructure — thousands of years of history — 
the Americans do not. Bo said the Americans were not like other 
people, and that their blind faith in machinery and mechanical 
devices would be their doom. He said the atomic bomb was "not. the 
end of the world," and that Hie human factor was more important. 
He said that the whole world hated the Americans; they were the 
most hated people in history. 



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"13. To a question as to whether Hanoi had pulled some troops 
back as a result of the American peace offensive, Bo said there 
were no northern troops in South Vietnam- -at least not regular 
troops. He said that North Vietnam was backing the NFL5V morally 
and materially and that North Vietnamese volunteers might have 
joined the NFLSV but that they were fighting on their own-" 



May 6, I966 - Bo meeting with Adalbert de Segonzac of France Soir 



Bo told Segonzac that "the essential thing is to find out whether 
or not the Americans are willing to leave." Bo related that the internal 
situation in North Vietnam had improved greatly over what it was in the 
first months of the U.S. bombings. In fact, he said: "The country is 
much better off now than it was before the bombings because it is receiving 
from the communist countries a flood of foodstuffs and other useful products 
in much greater quantities than in the past." 

Bo gave Segonzac the impression of being intransigent on the question 
of NLF representation at a conference. To Bo, the Front "is the only 
valid negotiator." Bo did say, however , that certain groups that are not 
dominated by the U.S. can also have their say, for example, "the Buddhists 
are patriots . " 

Bo showed skepticism about the possibility of holding free elec- 
tions. "How can elections be held in a country over which no authority 
is exercised?" Bo did not condemn the principle of elections. 

Bo freely admitted that Hanoi was helping the VC, but maintained 
that the VC were acting independently of Hanoi. 

Bo gave the following schedule of particulars of Hanoi's version 
of a plan for the departure of U.S. forces: 

"it contemplates ti*ree stages — in the first stage, the 
U.S. would agree on the principle of their departure before the 
South Vietnamese settled by themselves their problems, which 
cannot be resolved so long as a foreign army is on their 
national territory. The second stage is that of negotiation. 
The third stage is departure. 



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PINTA: THE RANGOON CONTACT 



SUMMARY and ANALYSIS 



This paper is in three parts: (l) A discussion of the main 
questions raised by the episode. (2) A brief description of the 
principal events in Rangoon. (3) A more detailed chronology based 
on cables j memoranda, etc. Parts 1 and 2 are based on the sources 

cited in Part 3, 



1. Discussion 

The U.S. entered the 37-day bombing pause on December Sk 3 19^5, 
with few illusions that the communists would respond readily by entering 
negotiations. On December 10, Radio Hanoi denounced the May 1965 pause 
as "shameful trickery" amounting to "an ultimatum." It noted indications 
that another halt was in the offing and announced that the U.S. should 
"harbor no hope that the Vietnamese people would be taken in...." It 
demanded U.S. recognition of the DRV's k Points, a "definite" halt to the 
bombing and the "wa^r of aggression" in SVN, etc. On December 16, Soviet 
Embassy Counsellor Zinchuk indicated to Bundy that Hanoi would almost 
certainly not respond at that time, though a pause could improve the 
atmosphere for the long run. 

In spite of this, the U.S. made a maximum effort to draw the 
DRV into contact during the pause. A modicum of success was attained 
in Rangoon, where the DRV Consul General agreed to receive the U.S. 
Ambassador on December 29 and accept his Aide Memoire. 

Timing: Contact While Bombing? No formal DRV reply was 
received until the evening of January 31* over 12 hours after the bombing 
had been resumed. The circumstances left unclear whether this timing was 
coincidential or a delay intended to avoid the appearance that the DRV 
agreed to the contact out of fear of the bombing. The ambiguity was so 
well contrived as to suggest that it was intentional. It did not provide 
a basis for claiming either that the DRV had gone back on its pledge never 
to talk while being bombed, or that the enticements of a pause in the 
bombing were sufficient to induce the DRV to enter contact. 

A Stab at "Unconditional Discussions"? The DRV response turned 
out to be a rebuttal of the U.S. 14 Points, ft objected particularly to 
U.S. troop withdrawal being offered on the condition, it claimed, that 
the NLF lay down its arms and accept amnesty. This meant keeping the 
"puppet government" and not recognizing the Hid? as the sole genuine* 
representative of the SVN people or negotiating with it. U.S. acceptance 
of the DRV h Points was again demanded. At the end, the DRV representa- # 
tive offered to listen to what the U.S. Ambassador "may wish to expound 
on the US position." 



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Perhaps this rather stilted "beginning was intended as a 
small move toward unconditional discussions , since the DRV had taken 
some account of our Ik Points, presented its rebuttal and offered to 
hear our reply. The substance of the matter was not pursued , however. 
Instead our representative turned to arrangements, objecting to DRV 
contentions that its k Points should be the exclusive basis for exchanges 
and asking if "responsible emissaries of our two Governments could meet 
and talk about all of these things (the k Points and our Ik Points) 
together*" This more formal arrangement was firmly rejected. 

On February 1, Hanoi published a lengthy article containing 
essentially the same arguments as the confidential Aide Memoire. One 
new point was injected: Raising doubt about U.S. acceptance of 
neutrality for SE Asia, the article asks "is it not plain enough that... 
(the Americans) oppose the holding of an international conference guaran- 
teeing the neutrality and territorial integrity of Cambodia?" In fact, 
the U.S. had earlier urged such a conference in the hopes that Vietnam 
might be discussed by the way. Was this an involuted DRV probe of U.S. 
interest in resurrecting the Cambodian conference idea? It seems 
unnecessarily oblique, and the notion was not tested at the time. 

The Channel Stays Open * The Rangoon channel was still open on 
February 3, when the U.S. delivered a note assuring the DRV that its 
Aide Memoire was under study - 

Opposing Settlement Proposals . The substantive U.S. reply 
was delivered on February 19 in an Aide Memoire urging that the political 
future of SVN be settled through truly free elections, without any out- 
side interference. The U.S* would accept the results of such an election, 
though it would not agree to put the NLF into a coalition government or 
take it as the sole representative of SVN without an election. U.S. 
forces would withdraw when peace was restored. The specific proposals 
passed to the DRV during the XYZ exchanges were offered again. 

The issues separating the two sides are fairly clear. The 
communists demanded assurance of a major role for the NLF as the price 
for ending the war; and they feared that no such assurance would be valid 
while U.S. troops remained In Vietnam. The U.S. was unwilling to see such 
a role for the NLF imposed by force of arms; it wanted the war ended first. 
It would withdraw its troops only as the DRV withdrew and the NLF gave up 
the use of force as a means to political power. This would mean accepting 
the GVN, with such alterations as could be negotiated, as the legitimate 
government of SVW. In short, the communists were not willing to contend 
for power peacefully under GVN auspices, whereas we insisted they do so. 

The Channel Closes , After accepting the Aide Memoire for trans- 
mittal to Hanoi, the DRV representative assailed as acts of war the bombing 
resumption and the USG/GVN Declaration of Honolulu. Acting under instruc- 
tions, he then declined to continue the contact, citing the bombing 
resumption as the reason. Given his willingness to accept a U.S. message 
on February 3, however, and in view of the DRV f s great emphasis on a role 



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for the NLF and its rejection of the GW, it seems possible that * the 
Honolulu Declaration was as much responsible. Contrary to repeated 
communist demands 5 the Declaration must have read to them as a reaffirma- 
tion of U.S. recognition of the GVN as the "sole genuine representative 
of the SVN people." 






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2. Principal Events in the Rangoon Contact 

December 29 , 1965 . Byroade hands the DRV Consul General, Vu, 
an Aide-Memoire calling attention to the bombing suspension begun 
December 2U, and expressing the hope that DRV reciprocity would permit 
it to be extended. 

January h, I966 - The DRV Foreign Ministry issues a blast at 
11 so- called peace efforts" of the US. The statement does not explicitly 
acknowledge that the bombing has stopped. It objects to numerous other 
US activities. Its main point is that tr a political settlement of the 
Vietnam problem can be envisaged only when the USG has accepted the 
U- Point stand of the DRV, has proved this by actual deeds, has stopped 
unconditionally and for good its air raids and all other acts of war 
against the DRV." 

January 21, 1966 . Byroade calls on Vu to remind him we await 
a reply to our Aide-Memoire. Vu says he has no instructions yet, but 
offers his "personal" view that the Aide-Memoire amounted to an ultimatum. 
He uses the occasion to protest press reports from the White House hinting 
at their direct contact. 

+ 

January 2k 9 1966 . Vu sends Byroade a hand-carried Aide-Memoire 
dated January 21, and repeating, virtually verbatim, Vu's oral remarks 
of that date. 

January 27, 1966 . Byroade responds to Vu's January 2k Aide- 
Memoire with a memo inquiring about a response to his December 29 Aide- 
Memoire* 

January 31? 1966 . Some hours (at least 6) after the resumption 
of air strikes against the DRV, Vu asks Byroade to call. When they 
meet (more than 12 hours after the resumption), Vu delivers an Aide- 
Memoire referring to the DRV Foreign Ministry statement of January k and 
adding specific rebuttals of the US Ik Points: (a) the Ik Points and 
subsequent US statements constitute a refusal to recognize the principles of 
the 195^ Geneva Accords; (b) the US offers to withdraw its troops from SVW 
only on its own terms, which means that it really refuses to withdraw them; 
(c) the US statement that it seeks no military bases in SE Asia is incon- 
sistent with its reiterated commitment to SEATO; and (d) the US demands 
that the NLF lay down its arms and accept amnesty as a condition for self- 
determination of the SVK people j which means the US intends to keep the 
"puppet regime" in power, does not recognize the HLF as the sole genuine 
representative of the entire SVN people, and will not negotiate with the 
KLF -- the US rejects Point 3 3 which amounts to rejecting all k Points. 

■ 

The Aide-Memoire concludes by expressing Vu's willingness to 
listen to what Byroade "may wish to expound on the US position." Byroade- 



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replies by objecting to the k Points as an exclusive basis for US/DRV 
exchanges and asks if "responsible emissaries of our two Governments 
could meet and talk about all of these things (the k Points and our 
l^f Points) together." Vu says there is no possibility of negotiations 
unless we accept their k Points, However , he also offers to communicate 
to Hanoi whatever Byroade has to say at any time, and shows Byroade 
out by a back gate which is indicated as better to use from a security 
point of view. 

February 1, 1966 . Hanoi's English service broadcasts a lengthy 
article from the Vietnam Courier (published only in French and English) , 
listing the US Ik Points and rebutting them with essentially the same 
arguments used in Vu f s January 31 Aide -Memo ire. In elaborating on objec- 
tions to SEATO, it calls the US a "sworn enemy of neutral countries" 
asking in substantiation "is it not plain enough that... (the Americans) 
oppose the holding of an international conference guaranteeing the 
neutrality and territorial integrity of Cambodia?" 

February 3 ? 1966 * Byroade delivers a brief memo saying Vu's 
January 31 Aide -Memo ire is under study in Washington. The purpose is 
to see if Hanoi is willing to maintain the contact , in spite of the 
bombing resumption. 

Meanwhile Bundy, in Washington, concludes that "there appears 
to be a substantial possibility. . .that Hanoi even waited till it knew 
of the resumption before it dispatched (Vu's) instructions. . .Hanoi may 
have been unwilling to open any dialogue during the suspension, lest 
this appear as a sign of weakness." He notes that Hanoi had enough time 
to call Vu off by a commercial cable simply saying not to carry out prior 
instructions . 

February 16, 1966 . State sends Byroade an Aide-Memo ire to be 
handed Vu, without the appearance of urgency. It responds to Vu's 
January 31 Aide-Memoire, as follows: (a) The US believes the 1954 and 
1962 Geneva Accords are an adequate basis for peace in SE Asia, (b) The 
US is willing to withdraw its troops from SVN when peace is restored. 
It does not demand to be the sole judge of this condition. DRV violation 
of the regroupment provisions of the 195^ Accords has made US actions 
necessary. US withdrawal under international verification would be under- 
taken in the light of DRV actions in this regard, (c) The US desires 
neither military bases nor forces in SVN. (d) The DRV's Point 3 would 
be acceptable if it means only seeking "to achieve independence, democracy, 
peace and neutrality in SVIJ and to advance toward peaceful reunification," 
as paraphrased January 29 by Ho. It would not be acceptable if it meant 
putting the NLF in a coalition government or accepting the NLF as "sole 
genuine representative" of the SVIJ people, prior to and without regard 
to an election. The political future of SVE" should be settled through 
truly free elections. The US is categorically prepared to accept the 
results . 



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This statement of the US position is accompanied by a settle- 
ment proposal similar to that handed Mai Van Bo in XYZ (q..v. ) Byroade is 
instructed not to amplify on the text, but to note Vu T s comments. 

February 19 » 1966 . Byroade delivers the text to Vu, who 
listens to his interpreter's reading of it, promises to transmit it 
to Hanoi j but does not comment on its contents. Vu then assails as 
acts of war the bombing resumption and the USG/GVN Declaration of Hono- 
lulu. Noting that he is acting under instructions, Vu says, "Since the 
US has resumed the bombing, I hold that it is inappropriate to continue 
our talks at your request. 11 

February 21, 1966 . Vu's oral remarks of February 19 are con- 
firmed and elaborated in an Aide-Memoire dated February 19 but hand- carried 
to Byroade on February 21. 



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3. Chronology 

■ 

December 10, 1965 

U.S. PAUSE Bf BOMB DIG OF DRV DECEIVES NO ONE 

Hanoi VNA International Service in English I706 GMT 10 December I965--B 

. - .in an attempt to hoodwink public opinion in the United States 
and the world and cover up their frenzied efforts to expand and 
escalate the war in both zones of Vietnam. U.S. President Johns on , 
State Secretary Dean Rusk and the U.S. delegate to the United Nations , 
Ambassador Goldberg have once again played their record of uncon- 
ditional discussions. Worthy of note was that U.S. State Secretary 
Dean Rusk has been claiming noisily about a so-called second pause 
in the bombing raids in North Vietnam, At a press conference in 
the White House on 1 December 19&5 he said, I am not now excluding 
a stop in the bombing as a step toward peace. He also recalled the 
so-called first pause in May this year and slanderously accused 
the DRV with not responding to this gesture of the United States. 
He even threatened that if North Vietnam did not respond the peaceful 
settlement of the Vietnam question would be delayed. 

This trick of the U.S. state secretary is not novelty. It must 
be recalled that in May this year, Dean Husk in the name of his 
government, already sent a message to a number of countries announcing 
a halt in the bombing of the DRV by U.S. aircraft for a week beginning 
on 12 May. Making black white, the message slanderously charged 
North Vietnam with aggression against South Vietnam and threatened 
that if the South Vietnamese people did not stop their self-deliberation 
fight, the United States would continue to bomb the north. 

In its essence, the message was an ultimatum to the Vietnamese 
people, urging the South Vietnamese to abandon their patriotic struggle 
as a condition for a halt in the bombing of the DRV. The message . 
itself has revealed that the unconditional discussion offer of Johnson 
is only a bid to make the Vietnamese people lay down arms and submit 
to their brute force of aggression. 

This shameful trickery has failed miserably. Now the U.S. 
imperialists are having another try at it. . . . 



It also must be pointed out that the U.S. imperialists 1 deeds 
never match with their words. In the period of the so-called sus- 
pension of the bombings over North Vietnam, from 12 to 17 May this 
year, U.S. aircraft and warships continued to encroach upon the 
airspace and territorial waters of the DRV for spying, provocative, 
and raiding activities. Two U.S. P-105 jetfighters were downed 
over Nghe on 13 and IT May, respectively. Meanwhile, the United 
States brought to South Vietnam (?over 1,1*00) more combat troops 



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and the U.S. -puppets intensified "both their ground and air raids 
against the population. On Ik May alone , U.S. -puppet aircraft flew 
186 sorties. 



. . . L. Johnson himself did not hide the true intention of the 
United States when he declared at his ranch in Texas on 6 December; 
We vill send as many men as necessary to Vietnam. Is it not sufficiently 
clear that the new decision to halt the bombing in North Vietnam is only 
a maneuver to prepare for further expansion of the war by the U.S. 
imperialists? 

Let the U.S. imperialists harbor no hope that the Vietnamese 
people would be taken in by such a shopworn trick of theirs. The 
United States must declare its recognition of the four-point stand 
of the DRV and prove it by concrete acts. Concretely speaking they 
must stop definitely all bombing raids against the DRV, stop their war 
of aggression against South Vietnam,withdrawall US troops from South 
Vietnam and let the Vietnamese people decide themselves their own a 
affairs. Only then can there be genuine peace in Vietnam. As pointed 
out by President Ho Chi Minh in his reply to questions by Uruguayan 
journalist Salomon Schvarz Alexandroaith, editor in chief of EL POPULAR, 
organ of the Uruguayan Communist Party, this stand is the only correct 
basis for a solution to the Vietnam problem since it conforms with the 
Geneva agreements, with the practical situation in Vietnam and with the 
national rights of the Vietnamese people. 



December 17, 196$ 

NOTE TO THE SECRETARY: 

Subject: Last Thoughts on the Pause Proposal 



(TOP SECRET—EYES ONLY) 



1. My recommendation would continue to be affirmative, but only if 
we give ourselves time for real understanding with the GVN, and we were 
determined to continue it at least for two weeks, not jumping back in 

at the first predictable counter-blast from Hanoi. 

2. I lunched with Zinchuk of the Soviet Embassy yesterday and, 
for what it is worth, he seemed to be saying that Hanoi almost certainly 
would not respond this time, but that it would greatly improve the 
atmosphere for the long run. I got the impression that the Soviets have 
had recent talks in Hanoi, in which Hanoi has taken pretty much the line 
reflected in its propaganda broadcasts of December 10 and 11 } virtually 
denouncing a second pause in advance unless we also do something major 
with respect to the South—which I take to imply the suspension of 
reinforcements. This I most emphatically do not feel we should do. 



« . 



William P. Bundy 



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December 29 , ±965 

STATE 202 (to Amembassy RANGOON), S/Nodis, Flash, Sent 29 December I965 

EYES ONLY FOR AMBASSADOR FROM SECRETARY 

1. President has decided that he wishes defer resumption of bombing 
for several more days . We are most anxious that word of this action be 
conveyed directly to DRV, although we are also naturally conveying message 
to key Communist governments that in touch with Hanoi. 

2. Accordingly, you should convey aide memoire in text given below 
in some manner to DRV Ambassador Rangoon. 



* . . 



3. Text of aide memoire is as follows: 

BEGIN TEXT: 

"1. As you are no doubt aware, there has been no bombing in North 
Viet-Nam since December 2k although some reconnaissance flights have 
continued. No decision has been made regarding a resumption of bombings 
and unless there is a major provocation we would hope that the present 
stand-down, which is in its fifth day, could extend beyond New Year. If 
your government will now reciprocate by making a serious contribution 
toward peace, it would obviously have a favorable effect on the possibility 
of further extending the suspension. 

"2. I and other members of my Embassy staff stand available at any 
time to receive any communication you may wish to address to me or to us , Tt 
END TEXT. 

RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



RANGOON 315 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Immediate, sent 29 Dec 65; Rec'd 
0715, 29 Dec 65 

EYES ONLY FOR THE SECRETARY 

REF: DEPTEL 202; EMBTEL 311 

< 

I called upon DRV Consul General at 3 P.M. today. ... 

Vu Huu Binh ... received me with slight smile and ready handshake 
I told him I was grateful for opportunity to see him personally as my 
government wished me to convey message directly to him for transmittal 



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to his government. I then handed him the aide memoire. He and his 
interpreter studied document together with interpreter translating 
parts thereof into Vietnamese . 

After studying document Vu Huu Binh said he would transmit it 
to his government. . * . I thanked him and told him I planned to keep 
my visit to him and the subject thereof quite confidential I had come 
in official U.S. Embassy car but not my own because it was conspicuous 
He said that on his part he would also keep matter confidential. 

I • . . . would be available in Rangoon anytime of day or night 
if he should wish to see me. . . • 



* 



* • 



BYROADE 



RANGOON 316 (to SeeState), S/Nodis, Immediate, Sent 29 Dec 65; 
Rec'd 133!*., 29 Dec 65 

Eyes Only for the Secretary 

Ref : DepTel 202 

In an unprecedented evening meeting in the Foreign Office I saw 
U Thi Han and U Soe Tin together there tonight. . . . 

I filled them in on the day's developments , going into substance 
along lines Deptel 201 only slightly and they did not ask substantive 
questions. They were obviously delighted that present effort was being 
made, and that direct contact had been made in Rangoon, and that I had 
sought to inform them promptly. 

U Soe Tin asked if I ejected a direct reply. I said I had had 
personal experience with Far East Communists only of the Chinese variety 
but, based upon that, I doubted, though I hoped to contrary, that a 
direct reply would come. He said he thought this correct and that, 
if Hanoi did in fact decide upon affirmative response, it would be in 
actions and not in form of reply to us . 



BYROADE 



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January k. 19 66 

(Hanoi VUA International Service in English Yjhjl k Jan 66) 

"Statemen t by Spokesman of DRV Foreign Ministry on So- Called Peace Efforts 

Made Recently by. the United States 1 

Text 

Hanoi , h January — Follows the full text of the statement issued today 
by the spokesman of the DRV Foreign Ministry regarding the so-called peace 
efforts made recently by the United States: 

Recently, the U.S. Government has started a large-scale deceptive 
peace campaign coupled with the trick of temporary suspension of air attacks 
on North Vietnam as a sign of good will. U.S. President Johnson has 
repeatedly stated that the United States is determined to exhaust every 
prospect for peace, and will search relentlessly for peace, The U.S. 
Government has sent envoys to approach foreign countries, and has put 
forward new peace proposals which are actually a mere repetition of old 
themes. 

The fact is that in spite of repeated military and political defeats, 
the U.S. policy of aggression in Vietnam has remained unchanged. The 
United States has impudently sabotaged the 195^ Geneva Agreements on 
Vietnam which it had undertaken to respect. It still states shamelessly 
that it will keep its commitments with the puppet regime rigged up by 
itself in Saigon, and this with a view to clinging to South Vietnam and 
perpetuating the partition of Vietnam. It still refuses to recognize the 
South Vietnam National Front for Liberation, the sole genuine representative 
of the people of South Vietnam, and the leader of their struggle against 
the U.S. imperialists' war of aggression. The United States still refuses 
to allow the people of South Vietnam to settle by themselves their own 
affairs in accordance with the program of the South Vietnam National 
Front for Liberation. 

Moreover, it is frantically using U.S. and puppet troops to burn 
down or destroy villages and crops, and massacre the people in South 
Vietnam and even arrogantly demanding that the people of South Vietnam 
lay down their arms and accept the rotten Saigon puppet regime. The 
United States still brazenly gives itself the right to launch air attacks 
on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, an independent and sovereign country. 
It talks about respecting the 195^ Geneva Agreements on Vietnam, yet it 
refuses to accept the four-point stand of the government of the Democratic 
Republic of Vietnam, which is a concentrated expression of the essential 
military and political provisions of the said agreements. It is harping 
on the same string about unconditional discussions whose real purpose it 
is to carry out the plot of conducting negotiations from the position of 
strength, and attempting to force on the Vietnamese people acceptance of 
U.S. terms. 



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The U.S. authorities' talks about peace are in complete contradiction 
vith their war schemes and acts . While making a noise about its peace 
efforts , the United States is making feverish preparations to double the 
U.S. military strength in South Vietnam. The third brigade of the U.S. 
25th Division has just been brought in for an occupation of Pleiku. The 
United States has kept on using toxic chemicals as a means of warfare 
and has made public announcements to this effect. Its B-52 strategic 
planes continue to bomb densely populated areas. In Worth Vietnam , the 
United States has threatened to bomb the densely populated industrial 
areas of Hanoi and Haiphong. U.S. President Johnson has also threatened 
to take hard steps In Vietnam. Meanwhile } the United States has intensi- 
fied its air attacks on the liberated areas in Laos and impudently 
authorized U.S. troops to intrude into central and southern Laos and 
into Cambodian territory, thus extending the war from South Vietnam to 
these two countries. 

The facts have shown that every time the U.S. authorities want to 
intensify their aggressive war, they talk still more glibly about peace. 
The present U.S. peace efforts are also a mere attempt to appease public 
opinion at home and abroad, which is strongly opposing the U.S. policy 
of aggression in Vietnam. The United States wants to turn to account 
the world people's legitimate aspirations for peace in an attempt to 
call black white, to pose as a peace-lover, to slander the Vietnamese 
people, and thus to create a pretext for making new steps in implementation 
ot its scheme to intensify and expand the war. But no matter what sophisms 
the U.S. authorities may resort to in their attempt to cover up their 
aggressive schemes 9 they can fool no one. 

The United States is thousands of miles away from Vietnam. The 
Vietnamese people has never laid hands on the United States. The U.S. 
Government has no right to send troops to invade South Vietnam and to 
launch air arracks on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam any condition 
whatsoever in exchange for stopping its air raids on North Vietnam. 

U.S. Imperialist aggression is the deep root and the immediate 
cause of the serious situation now prevailing In Vietnam. With the 
ending of this aggression peace will be immediately restored in this 
country . 

The Vietnamese people eagerly want peace for national construction, 
but they know full well that real Independence must be achieved if 
genuine peace is to be secured. It is the unswerving stand of the 
Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to strictly respect 
the 195^ Geneva Agreements on Vietnam and to correctly implement their 
basic provisions as concretely expressed In the following points: 

One - -Reaffirmation of the basic national rights of the Vietnamese 
people: peace, independence, soveriegnty, unity, and territorial 
integrity. In accordance with the Geneva Agreements , the U.S. 



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Government must -withdraw all U.S. troops , military personnel, and weapons 
of all kinds from South Vietnam, dismantle all U.S. military bases there } 
cancel its military alliance with South Vietnam. Q3ie U.S. Government must 
end its policy of intervention and aggression in South Vietnam. In 
accordance with the Geneva Agreements, the U.S. Government must stop its 
act of war against North Vietnam, cease all encroachments on the territory 
and sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. 

Two --Pending the peaceful reunification of Vietnam , while Vietnam 
is still temporarily divided into two zones, the military provisions of 
the 195^ Geneva Agreements on Vietnam must be strictly respected: The 
two zones must refrain from joining any military alliance with foreign 
countries, and there must be no foreign military base, troops, and 
military personnel on their respective territory. 

Three — The internal affairs of South Vietnam must be settled by the 
people of South Vietnam themselves, in accordance with the program of the 
South Vietnam National Front for Li eration without any foreign interference 

Four — The peaceful reunification of Vietnam is to be settled by the 
Vietnamese people in both zones, without any foreign interference. 

A political settlement of the Vietnam problem can be envisaged only 
when the U.S. Government has accepted the four-point stand of the Govern- 
ment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, has proved this by actual 
deeds, has stopped unconditionally and for good its air raids and all 
other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. 

The just struggle and the unswerving good will of the Vietnamese 
people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam have 
always enjoyed the sympathy and vigorous support of the peace-loving 
governments and people the world over. The Vietnamese people are very 
grateful for this sympathy and support. The Government of the Democratic 
Republic of Vietnam calls on the governments and peoples of the Socialist 
countries, those of the Asian, African, and Latin American countries, 
and the peoples of the whole wo^ld, including the American people, to 
extend still more active support and assistance to the Vietnamese peoples r 
just patriotic struggle, and to oppose still more resolutely and vigorously 
all the U.S. imperialists 1 plans for intensified war as well as all their 
peace swindles. • ■ 

So long as the U.S. imperialists still pursue the war of aggression 
against Vietnam, still use U.S. and satellite troops to invade South 
Vietnam, and launch air attacks on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 
the people in both zones of Vietnam, fearing no sacrifices, will resolutely 
carry the resistance war through to the end and fulfill their sacred duty 
of defending the sovereignty of the fatherland and the independence of 
the nation and contributing to the defense of world peace. 



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January g, I966 

RANGOON 327 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Priority , Sent 5 Jan 66; Rec'd 2:27 A.M., 
5 Jan 66 (Passed to White House 5 Jan 66, k:I$ A.M.) 

Eyes Only for the Secretary 

1* . . .When I saw U Thi Han and Soe Tin as reported EmbTel 316 
I asked them how fast they believed North Vietnamese communications were. 
(I was interested in whether Vu Huu Birth might have been able get Hanoi's 
authority to receive me,) Soe Tin said they would be quite slow unless 
they used Chinese facilities. 

2. Last night Soe Tin told me Vu Huu Binh had transmitted my 
message to Hanoi. He said Vu had sent two other messages to Hanoi 
direct by commercial cable a few hours after I saw him. I find this 
interesting and encouraging, in that this would appear to indicate Vu 
communicated with Hanoi without informing Chinese Embassy here. 



• . 



# • • 



BYROADE 



January 6, 19 66 

■ ■- 

RANGOON 329 (to Se estate), S/lffODIS, Priority , Sent 6 Jan 66; 
Rec f d 6:45 A.M., 6 Jan 66 (Passed to White House 6 Jan 66) 

Eyes Only for the Secretary 

Yugoslav Ambassador Drndic called on me at his request today and 
further reinforced my belief we are still in clear as far as secrecy 
of Rangoon operation is concerned. 



. . . .He said, "I talked with Vu Huu Binh recently and he said 
he was confused because of non- receipt of instructions from Hanoi. Vu 
said that he had received guidance on the party line quickly during 
the last bombing pause, but that this time he hadn f t had a word from 
Hanoi. 1 ' . . . . 



BYROADE 



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RANGOON 336 (to SecState), s/Nodis, Priority , Rec'd 8:53 P.M., 
Jan 11 , I966 (passed White House 11 Jan 66, 10 P.M. ) 

Hyes Only for the Secretary 



. . 



Tonight at a diplomatic function the French .Ambassador . . 

.•.said that the story was being circulated that I had seen 
the North Vietnamese Rep here and had given him a communication 
explaining the pause in bombing. , . . 



• . * * 



• • 



...I believe that this information in the hands of a not very 
friendly French Ambassador, plus the fact that the White House has 
announced a direct contact, will result in such speculation as to 
possibly preclude the use of Rangoon as a secret contact post in 
the future. . . . 

BYROADE 

Januar y 20, 1966 

STATE 227 (to Amembassy RANGOON), S/Nodis, Immediate, Sent 20 Jan 66 

!• As part of our effort to close all circuits, you should seek 
appointment with DRV Consul General, saying simply that you are doing 
so under instructions. 

2* Assuming he accepts, you should remind him that when you 
delivered our' message on December 29 you indicated that you would be 
available for any response DRV might wish to make through this channel. 
Since that time, USG has received no indication of any Hanoi response 
either related to military action or obstacles to negotiation. Does 
DRV rep have any message to convey? 

3- We suspect he will be without instructions and will simply 
undertake to report your call. However, if he should respond at all 
on your reference to military activity, you should indicate that VC 
activity in the South appears to have remained at a high level, and 
we have had reliable evidence of major truck movements continuing - 
through Laos to South Vietnam. In circumstances, we have no alternative 
but to assume that DRV is continuing to send regular units to the South 
and to support high level of military activity there. 



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k. If he should turn conversation in direction of conditions 
for negotiation, you should say that our position has been made 
clear many times and recently summarized in fourteen points and also 
in Goldberg letter to UN. We have had no indication of Hanoi's 
views on these documents > or on possibility of negotiation either 
without conditions or on basis of Geneva Accords, 

RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



January 21 , I966 

RANGOON 365 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Immediate , Sent Jan 21; 
Rec'd Jan 21, 1966, 12:k6 EM. (Passed "White House Jan 21*, 66) 

Eyes Only for the Secretary 

1. Called upon DRV Consul General Vu at his residence at 8:00 P.M. 
tonight. . . . 

2. Vu did not wait for any introductory remarks on my part but 
remarked as soon as we were seated that I had delivered an aide memoire 
to him recently which I had said I would keep confidential He said he 
had transmitted document to his government as he had promised. He 
wanted me to know however that in his own personal opinion the tone 
and contents of the aide memoire were such that he considered it an 
ultimatum - 



h* I reminded him that when I last saw him I had said I would 
stand by for a reply from him. So far none had been received and 
there was no indication of any response either related to military 
action or to obstacles to negotiation. I asked if he had any reply 
for me. He said he had had no instructions from his government to 
reply. He said that in the meantime his government had issued 
public statements which indicated its position. 



7- Vu said he had read press reports from the White House 
which hinted at our direct contact, I said I was aware of this 
statement but Rangoon had not been singled out. He said "such 
news should not have been disclosed, if you sincerely wish to 
exchange views." I said I understood and would do all I could 
to preserve secrecy our contacts. 



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9- I made remark that I hoped I received a telephone call ^ some 
day from him and was preparing to depart "when he said he was ready 
to listen if I had anything more to say. I said I had no instructions 
to say more but would make one more comment. I said from Washington 
viewpoint it was obvious that VC initiated militaiy activity in South 
Vietnam had remained at a high level. We also had reliable evidence 
of major truck morements continuing to South Vietnam through Laos. 
It seemed we had no alternative but to assume that DRV was continuing 
to support large scale military effort in South and send regular units 
there. 

10. Vu said that we were now speaking informally he would comment 
He said that immediately after the US made its Ik points public, 4000 
US soldiers had landed in South Vietnam. He also mentioned the figure 
of 9000 more arrivals (but I never got period of time to which he 
referred). He said there are reports that 20,000 more South Koreans 
may come. This was ample proof that our President was not sincere. 

11. I said we both had had military experience, and therefore 

we both knew the advance planning that had to go into major movements 
of military units. . . . 

12. . . . Vu said out Ik points contained nothing really new. 
I said I hoped he would find it a useful summary of our views for 
study. 

13- ... ' ' 

BYR0ADE 



STATE 230 (to Anembassy RANGOON), S/N0DIS, Immediate, Urtel 366, 
Sent 21 January 67 

1. Text of U Thant's press conference Jan 20 on point you 
raise reads as follows : 

"QUESTION: Last week when the US note was passed to the Hanoi 
Government in Burma ^ were you personally instrumental in this?" 

"ANSWER: No, I was not instrumental in such a reported transaction; 
but of course the US very kindly kept me informed of the steps it proposed 
to take . " 

2, While you are right in assuming Thant tends by inference to sub- 
stantiate reporter's assumption that contact took place in Burma, this 
point was not pursued in his press conference, nor was it raised with 
Secretary in his press conference this morning. 



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3- If we are asked , we will continue for time being to take line 
that US is not prepared to comment on any specific channels of communi- 
cations and suggest you do same, 

k. Basis of question was probably earlier New York Times story 
about Monday which had mentioned Burma as place of US/DRV contact. 
Rangoon had also been mentioned in other press reports as possible 
point of contact. However , Times and other references were in low 
key and , thus far, neither they nor U Thant remark have attracted 
particular press attention. 

RUSK (Drafted by W. B. Buffum, P. H. Kreisberg; Approved by W.P. Bundy 
and Walsh) 



January 2^, I966 

RANGOON 370 (to SecState), S/Nodis, immediate, Rec'd 7:36 A.M. 
(passed to White House 9 A.M.) 

Have just received an Aide-memoire addressed to me signed by 
DRV Rep Vu Huu Bing. Aide memo ire is confusing in that it is dated 
January 21. Which is the date of my second meeting with him. Text 
follows : 

Quote :At the last meeting, you handed to me an Aide-memoire 
which sounds in my personal views like an ultimatum. At your request, 
I have, however, transmitted it to my government and kept the contact 
in secret. 

With regard to your Aide-memoire, I have no instruction from my 
government to give you an answer. Still I hope you have read the 
statements issued recently by my government. 

m 

Lately, the press has reported news quoting White House sources 
which hinted the contact between you and me. 

Also personally, I have some other remarks to make: Immediately 
after the announcement of the Ik points by the United States, some 
^,000 American soldiers were introduced into South Vietnam and were 
stationed in Pleiku and recently, additional US troops comprising 
9,000 men have landed in South Vietnam and it is now reported that 
South Korea is preparing to send 20,000 soldiers to South Vietnam. 
All these facts prove that your president is not sincere yet in 
settling the Vietnam question in accordance with our position. 

Though I do not intend discuss things now, 1 should like to 
point out that the US Ik points contain nothing new." Unquote. 



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It will be noted contents above quite similar to his remarks to 
me as reported finbtel 365. Letter containing Aide-memoire was 
obviously hand carried as there were no stamps or postmarks. It 
sounds as if it were written prior to our second meeting but it 
seems if so Vu would have mentioned his reply to me. Also if 
hand carried why a three day delay? I can only guess that it 
was written after our second meeting and post dated so we cannot 
take position there was no reply. We will endeavor to find out 
about this if we can, 

BYROADE 



Januar y 2.6, I966 

STATE 2*a (to Amembassy RANGOON),, S/Nodis, Immediate, Sent 26 Jan 66, 9 36 A.M. 

1. Kohler saw DRV Charge in Moscow on 2^th and found latter with 
nothing new to say. However , DRV Charge concluded conversation by 
saying that if USG wished any contacts they should be in Rangoon. 

2. Accordingly, you should send message to DRV Consul General 
saying simply that you remain available and asking whether he has any 
instructions. This could be in form of response to his aide memoire 
delivered January 2k> , * . 

THE SECRETARY (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 

January 27 , 19 66 

AMEMBASSY RANGOON 3Jk (to SecState), S/Nodis, Immediate , Rec T d 
27 Jan 66, 12:3^ A.M. (Passed White House 27 Jan 66) 

Ref : DepTel 2 la 

1. At 10:32 this morning the following memorandum addressed to 
Vu Huu Binh was handed to a representative of DRV Consulate General 
here. 

2. Quote I received on January 2k, I966 your Aide-memoire dated 
January 21, I966 and have transmitted its contents to my government. 

3- I have noted in it your statement that you have no instructions 
from your government to give me an answer to my Aide-memoire of Decem- 
ber 29, I965, and I wish to inquire whether such is still the case. In 
this connection I wish to assure you again that I remain available at 
any time to receive any communication you may wish to address to me. 
Unquote . 

BYROADE 



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January 31 , 19 66 

RANGOON 389 (to SecState), S/Nodls, Flash } Sent 31 Jan 66; Rec'd 
3:39 A.M. , 31 Jan 66 (Passed to White House 3:55 A.M., 31 Jan 66) 

Am seeing DRV Consul General Vu tonight at 7 = 30 P-M. at his rpt 
his request. 

BYEOADE 



RANGOON 392 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Immediate , Sent* 31 Jan 66, 
Rec'd 31 Jan 66, 9:02 P.M. (Passed to White House 9:^5 P.M. 31 Jan 66) 

Text of Aide memoire referred to in Embtel 39 1 as follows: 
Quote I am forwarding to you the statement attached herewith made by 
the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic Republic of 
Vietnam dated January k, 1966 regarding the so-called "Peace -efforts" 
made recently by the United States. 

With regards to the 14 points and the subsequent statements of 
the United States Government I hold that the American authorities 
still refuse to recognise the fundamental national rights of the 
Vietnamese and people namely peace independence } sovereighty, unity 

and territorial integrity of Vietnam as stipulated by the 195^ Geneva 

agreements of Vietnam. 

The United States Government states that withdrawal of its troops 
from South Vietnam will be effected only under American terms 7 that 
means the United States refuses to withdraw its troops from South 
Vietnam, 
■ 

The United States Government states that it seeks no military 
bases in South East Asian countries but on the other hand says it has 
to fulfil its commitments with the S.E.A.T.O. Bloc. 

The United States Government says it respects the right to 
self-determination of the South Vietnamese people on condition that 
the South Vietnam Rational Front for Liberation lay down arms and 
be granted amnesty -- that means the United States tries to maintain 
a puppet regime in power countering the South Vietnamese people , does 
not recognize the South Vietnam National Front for Liberation as the 
sole genuine representative of the entire South Vietnamese people 
and will not engage in negotiations with the Front. The United 
States Government refuses to accept Point 3 of the ^-point stand 
of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, that 
amounts to American rejection of all the four points. 



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Concerning the lj— point stand of the Government of the Democratic 
Republic of Vietnam. . I beg to quote the above-said statement of the 
spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam: 
"A political settlement of the Vietnam problem can be envisaged only 
when the United States Government has accepted the U-point stand of the 
Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam , has proved this by 
actual deeds , has stopped unconditionally and for good its air raids 
and all other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. 

I am ready to listen to what the Ambassador may wish to expound 
on the United States position. 



Rangoon dated January 3 ls ^ 1966 

Mr. Vu Huu Birih, Consul General of the D.R.V 



UNQUOTE 



BXROADE 



RANGOON 39^ (to SecState), S/Nodis, Immediate , Sent 31 Jan; 

Rec T d 31 Jan 66, 9:21 P.M. (Passed to White House 10:15 P.M., 31 Jan 66) 

Interpreter for DRV representative Vu called early this afternoon 
to ask if I could meet with Vu at 7:30 EM "tonight. I agreed and called 
on him then accompanied again by Leo Reddy. 

■ 

His Aide memo ire was still in the typewriter and we had a rather 
pleasant twenty minutes of small talk not touching on Vietnam. When 
document arrived he spoke at some length about his views on Vietnam 
situation. A close check with Reddy r s notes indicates that he had 
practically memorized contents of Aide memoire and its contents should 
be accepted as accurate protrayal his remarks. He ended by asking 
if- I had anything to say (along lines last sentence Aide memoire). 

I said I would like to revert to our previous meeting and to 
his Aide memoire of January 21. The latter contained the following 
sentence "All of these facts prove that your President is not sincere 
yet in settling the Vietnam question in accordance with our position." 
He acknowledged his rememberance of this sentence. 



I said I thought it expecting just too much that our President 
should be expected to be "sincere" in meeting "their" terms. They 
had their four points which were called "conditions." We had 
fourteen points which expressed what we believe. Was it not possible 
that responsible emissaries of our two Governments could meet and 
talk about all of these things together. All we asked was for uncon- 
ditional talk or talks based upon the Geneva Agreements. 



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Thei^e was some confusion, based I believe on faulty interpretation, 
and at one point he apparently thought I had said something new as he 
said he would have to report to his government. On further clarification 
however his answer was quite clear and definite. He said there was no 
possibility for negotiations unless we accepted their k points. He 
said their position was the embodiment of the minimum of their national 
rights. If we proved our acceptance of the Geneva Agreements by actual 
deeds there could be a basis for a political settlement. If we re- 
jected the Geneva Agreements, which embody their rights , there could 
be no negotiations. >7hat was needed from our side was the acceptance 
of these points by actual deeds. There was a non- conclusive discussion 
as to just whom had violated the Geneva Agreements. He asked if I had 
anything else to say. 

I said that I did because we had heard from Hanoi publicly many 
times that our President was not sincere } that his peace effort was 
a phony and that we were deceitful in the whole exercise. I wanted 
to raise the question as to just who was sincere and who was not. 
Hanoi kept repeating, even as late as yesterday, that there were no 
North Vietnamese regular troops or troop units in the South. Almost 
no one believed this. There were plenty of prisoners from these 
units to 'disprove this stand of Hanoi. Representatives of many 
nations in Saigon knew the facts, yet these statements continued. 
I could not understand this and wished his comments. Vu said he 
took note of my remarks and would communicate them, but would not 
comment otherwise . 



I said that I was nothing new in the positions he had given me 
tonight but was glad to talk to him in at event. He said if we were 
not careful we could get into endless quarrels, I said that there 
would never be anything personal about our differences of opinion 
and we should keep it that way so that sometime we both could be 
useful to our governments. He said he would communicate at any 
time whatever I had to say. He showed me on the way out a back gate 
to his house which would be much better to use as an entrence from 
a security point of view. 

While the above doesn't sound like it, this was our most friendly 
meeting to date. Vu was very cordial and hospitable and seemed in 
a relaxed mood. If he knew of news reports that bombing had been 
resumed he gave no indications of it. 

BYEOADE 



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February 1, I966 

RANGOON Dmnediate 396 (to SecState), S/Exdis, Rec r d Feb 1, 1966, 1:26 A.M 
(Passed to White House 1 Feb 66, 1:^3 a.m.) 

Ref : EMBTEL 39^ 

In reviewing the bidding on last night's discussions I find 
a sentence in the notes of Mr. Reddy which concerns me. This 
sentence is as follows; Quote in fact, your government agreed 
when the Geneva Agreements were drawn up that you would not use 
force to protect them. Unquote. This remark, if it was in fact 
made with use of these words, would have come chronologically at 
a point near the end of para 5 in above reftel where I reported 
that there was a non- conclusive discussion as to just whom had 
violated the Geneva Agreements. 

It should be remembered that his discussion was through an 
interpreter. Our discussion at that point seemed to me at the 
time to be simply an exchange of statements as to which side had 
used force to violate the Geneva Agreements. On the other hand 
the statement in Reddy 's notes says something quite different. 
It could imply that DRV in attacking South Vietnam though it 
would be secure against US military action, and that we were not 
playing the rules of the game as we had previously said we would 
not use force in such a situation. 



BYROAD 



Hanoi VNA International Service in English I737Z 1 Feb 66. 

"Johnson Puts Everything in the Basket of Peace Except Peace 

Text 

Hanoi — Following is an article by Quang Loi in Vietnam Courier , 
a Hanoi fortnightly published in English and French, playing 
Johnson's deceitful search for peace campaign: 

On 23 December 19&5, Dean Rusk, in an interview with the 
Canadian Broadcasting Company , expounded American views on a 
settlement of the Vietnam problem. On 3 January I966, the White . 
House issued a communique entitled "The Heart of the Vietnam 
Problem." On 5 January 1966 Goldberg, U.S. Representative to 



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the United Nations , sent U Thant a letter in which he reaffirmed his 
government's desire for a negotiated solution to the Vietnam problem 

With perfect synchronization, on 2^ December 1965, the Pengaton 
ordered a temporary suspension of the criminal bombings against the 
DRV. 



Since then, six emissaries sent by U.S. President Johnson have 
traveled the length and breadth of the five continents : Goldberg to 
The Vatican and Western Europe; Harriman to Poland , India, Pakistan, 
the UAR, some Asian countries , and Australia; Williams to Africa; 
Humphrey to the Far East; Bundy to Canada; and Thomas Mann to Mexico.,,. 

Never has the United States engaged in a diplomatic campaign on 
such a scale. It has, indeed, good reasons for doing so! 

The Heart of the Vietnam Problem 

The existence of the Vietnam problem is an undeniable fact. The 
presence in South Vietnam of a 200, 000- strong U.S. expeditionary corps 
is another undeniable fact, 

A constant preoccupation of the Washington rulers is how to 
justify American armed intervention in Vietnam. For this would 
allow them to explain to public opinion why there have been re- 
taliations against the DRV. 

This time, having found nothing better, the White House simply 
harked back to its old quibble: the South Vietnamese people's struggle 
against American interventionist troops is aggression from North Vietnam: 
it is this aggression from the outside which has resulted in the presence 
of U.S. troops. After affirming that it would be difficult to count 
U.S. and other countries' peace initiatives, the White House had made 
public U.S. contribution to the basket of peace: 

1 — The Geneva Agreements of 195^ &nd I962 are an adequate basis 
for peace in "Southeast Asia. 

2- -We would welcome a conference on Southeast Asia or on any 
part thereof. 

3~-We would welcome negotiations without preconditions, as the 

17 nations put it. 

k — We would welcome unconditional discussions, as President 
Johnson put It. 

5 — A cessation of hostilities could be the first order of 
business at a conference or could be the subject of preliminary 
discussions. 



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6— Hanoi's four points could be discussed along "with other 
points which others might wish to propose. 

7 — We want no U.S. bases in Southeast Asia. 

8 --We do not desire to retain U.S. troops in South Vietnam 
after peace is assured. 

9 — We support free elections in South Vietnam to give the 
South Vietnamese a government of their own choice. 

10- -The question of reunification of Vietnam should be 
determined by the Vietnamese through their own free decision. 

11- -The countries of Southeast Asia can be nonalighed or 
neutral if that be their opinion. 

12 — We could much prefer to use our resources for the 
economic reconstruction of Southeast Asia than in war. If there 
is peace , Worth Vietnam could participate in a regional effort to 
which he would be prepared to contribute at least 1 billion dollars. 

13 — The President has said: The VietCong would not have 
difficulty being represented and having their views represented if 
for a moment Hanoi decides who (as received) wanted to cease 
aggression. I do not think that would be an insurmountable problem, 

1^--We have said publicly and privately that we could stop the 
bombing of North Vietnam as a step toward peace although there has 
not been the slightest hint or suggestion from the other side as to 
what they would do if the bombing stopped. 

We have deemed it useful to reprint in full the White House's 
1^ points so that our readers can judge them in all objectivity. 

Where Doe s the Heart of the Matter Lie? 

* If one was to believe the White House , U.S. armed intervention 
would be legal for the thing for the United States is to keep its 
commitments to South Vietnam. 

But the real commitments of the United States are completely 
different. Everyone knows that the 195^ Geneva Agreements on 
Vietnam have recognized the independence, sovereignty , unity , and 
territorial integrity of Vietnam, and clearly stipulate that all 
participants in the 195*1 Geneva Conference should abstain from 
interference in Vietnam's internal affairs. In the name of the 
U.S. Government, Bedell Smith, head of the American Delegation 
declared at that conference that his government undertook to 
refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb the execution 
of these Accords , 



* 



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From the jurisdictional and political point of view, only that 
solemn commitment counts. It "was taken at the final session of the 
"Geneva Conference, and the U.S. Government must fully respect it. 

However , the American imperialists have completely ignored it. 
They have been interfering ever more seriously in South Vietnam, 
They have brought to power a whole series of agents in their service. 
Through a system of advisors and aid, they have set up a neoeolonial- 
ist regime and sabotaged the reunification of Vietnam, which was 
scheduled for 1956. They have covered South Vietnam with a network 
of military bases and suppressed all aspirations to peace and national 
reunification with Fascist measures taken by a most tyrannical regime. 
Even if U.S. commitments to the pro-American puppet administration 
did exist, they would not be valid simply for lack of a legal basis. 

It is the American imperialists * policy of intervention and 
aggression that is the deep cause of the serious situation in South 
Vietnam. The people of South Vietnam have been forced to fight in 
self-defense to preserve their sacred national rights and their right 
to live. The struggle they have been waging is just and conforms to 
the spirit and letter of the 195^ Geneva Agreements on Vietnam. This 
accounts for the growing approval and support of the world f s people , 
including the American people , for the Vietnamese people. 

On the contrary , all the efforts made by U.S. strategists to 
justify themselves before the American people and before history 
have come to grief. One remembers the White Paper issued by the 
State Department at the end of 1961 when the special war was launched , 
the Green Paper which followed it, and the second White Paper, 
"Why Vietnam? 11 , published at the time when U.S. troops were being 
massively sent to South Vietnam. One remembers the tireless 
declarations made by the White House, and by U.S. President Johnson 
himself, and the innumerable trips undertaken by U.S. emissaries 
to almost all countries of the world. All this has ended in utter 
failure; never have the U.S. rulers experienced such serious political 
isolation. Everywhere, peace-loving people have strongly condemned 
American aggression in South Vietnam and the aerial bombings against 
the DRV. The publication of "The Heart of the Vietnam Problem" 
shows that Washington's efforts, although considerable, have failed 
to falsify the truth and to whitewash the American aggressors. 

The 14 Foints--A Barefaced Lie 

In its new document, the White House mentions a few things 
which it has so far more or less evaded; respect for the I95U and 
I962 Geneva Agreements, U.S. intention not to set up any military- 
bases in Southeast Asia and not to maintain troops in South Vietnam, 



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freedom for the South Vietnamese people to choose their own government 
and for the Vietnamese people as a whole to decide on the reunifica- 
tion of Vietnam, and so forth. 

The Johnson Administration has made those so-called concessions 
to make believe that the United States has renounced its aggression 
in Vietnam and accepted the four-point stand of the DRV, except the 
third point. But this American bluff is not so shrewd as it seemed 
at first. 

The White House affirms that the United States does not desire 
to retain U.S. troops in South Vietnam after peace is assured. But 
peace in South Vietnam has been wrecked by the sending of an American 
expeditionary corps for direct aggression. As long as this latter 
remains in South Vietnam , how can peace be restored and assured? 
To say that the withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam 
will be effected only when peace is assured means to refuse to 
withdraw them until the Vietnamese people bow before American 
aggression. 

The White House affirms that the United States wants no U.S. 
bases in Southeast Asia and that the countries of Southeast Asia can 
be nonaligned or neutral if that be their option. But in the intro- 
duction to the Ik points, it makes it clear that American commitments 
are based on, among other things, the SEATO Treaty. As SEATO is 
directed against the security of Southeast Asian countries , among 
them Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam, how can respect for the 
neutrality or nonalignment of Southeast Asian countries be compatible 
with American attachment to the objectives of SEATO? At bottom , the 
American imperialists remain the sworn enemy of neutral countries . 
It is not plain enough that they have never ceased to sabotage the 
neutrality of Laos and oppose the holding of an international con- 
ference guaranteeing the neutrality and territorial integrity of 
Cambodia? Did not Dean Rusk himself declare to the CBC on 
23 December 19 65 that South Vietnam f s neutrality might be realized 
after the V iet Cong have laid down their arms and accepted the 
amnesty? In the American conception, neutrality is but a camouflage 
for neocolonialism. 

The White House affirms that the United States respects the 
South Vietnam people's freedom of self-determination and right to 
choose their own government through free elections. How can free 
elections be held when the country still remains under the control 
of American troops and when the United States wants , as Dean Rusk 
has admitted, the capitualtion of the South Vietnamese people? 
The American imperialists talk about the South Vietnamese people's 
right to self-determination: in fact, they only want to impose on ' 
them a puppet regime in the U.S. imperialists' pay. 



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The White House talks about the Vietnamese people's free 
decision on the reunification of Vietnam. How can this reunifi- 
cation be brought about when a pro-American pupper government is 
maintained in South Vietnam with the bayonets of an American 
expeditionary corps? In spite of all their protestations of 
good will , the American imperialists can never hide their intention 
of perpetuating the division of Vietnam. 

The White House drops a hint that the United States would 
accept the stand of the DRV government } except its third point. 
This third point says; The affairs of South Vietnam must be settled 
by its own people, according to the political program of "the NFLSV — 
South Vietnam National Front for Liberation — without any foreign 
interference , 

The NFLSV, the only authentic representative of the South 
Vietnamese people, controls at present four-fifths of the territory, 
inhabited by 10 million people. Its program alms as realizing 
independence P democracy, peace and neutrality in South Vietnam 
and the eventual peaceful reunification in Vietnam. It envisages 
the setting up of a democratic government of broad national union. 
If it is true that the U.S. Government respects the Vietnamese 
people's right to self-determination, how can it justify its 
refusal to accept that third point? This refusal means simply 
the negation of all other demagogic promises of the White House. 
At bottom , the American imperialists stubbornly refuse to recognize 
the four-point stand of the DRV government. Their own position 
remains unchanged: to cling to South Vietnam, to maintain their 
troops there and the Saigon puppet administration, to turn South 
Vietnam into a U.S. military base and new-type colony, and to 
perpetuate the division of Vietnam, 

# 

In Fact a Smokescreen . 

Armed aggression In South Vietnam, aerial warfare against 
the DRV, heinous crimes committed against the South Vietnamese 
people- -all this has aroused universal indignation against the 
American imperialists. On the other hand, the just stand of the 
DRV government and that of the NFLSV receive the full approval 
of the whole of progressive mankind. 

The noisy peace campaign and the lk points put forward by 
the White House, however skillfully concerted, nevertheless betray 
the American imperialists T intention of deceiving American and 
world opinion, forcing on the Vietnamese people acceptance of 
their conditions , while actively preparing for the intensification 
and expansion of the aggressive war in Vietnam, 



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In the first three weeks along of January 1966, the American 
imperialists sent 12,000 men to South Vietnam, bringing the number 
of their troops to more than 200,000, Numerous sources have revealed 
their planned increase to 400,000, Massive means of extermination 
are being used on a growing scale in South Vietnam, resulting in 
abominable crimes. 

Air reconnaissance is being continued with a view to renewed 
bombings in the DRV, Several American generals have talked about 
bombing raids to be conducted on the populated industrial areas of 
Hanoi and Haiphong, and other criminal schemes. 

The American imperialists have not only intensified their 
aerial bombings in Laos and multiplied armed provocations against 
Cambodia. They even talk about pursuing the Viet Cong into Laotian 
and Cambodian territory, which means extending their aggressive war 
to the whole of Indochina. 

The American imperialists said that they have put everything 
in the basket of peace. They have indeed, except peace. Let them 
nurture no illusion about the effectiveness of their threats and 
lies. As the spokesman of the DRV Foreign Ministry stated on 
4 January I966: The Vietnamese people eagerly want peace for 
national construction, but they know full well that real independence 
must be achieved if genuine peace is to be secured, 

A political settlement of the Vietnam problem can be envisaged 
only when the U.S. Government has accepted the four-point stand of 
the DRV government, has proved this by actual deeds , and has stopped 
unconditionally and for good its air raids and all other acts of war 
against the DRV. 



February 2, I966 

STATE 253 (to Amembassy RANGOON), S/Nodis, immediate, Sent 2 Feb 66 
8:kk P.M. 



2. ...we wish to give some response and also to test whether 
Hanoi is still willing to talk after the resumption (which your man 
apparently did not know about and on which his commuai cat ions mi^ht 
not have permitted a cancelling message to get through on Monday). 
Accordingly, you should send him a short note acknowledging his 
communication, saying it is under careful study in Washington, and 
that we expect to have a detailed response in a very few days. 



_j • ... 
RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



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February 3, I966 

STATE Memorandum for SecState from William P. Bundy, dated Feb, 3, 1966 

MEMORANDUM FOR >WHE SECRETARY 

SUBJECT: DRV Approach in Rangoon on January 31 

It seems to me that our response to this approach will take 
careful thought. As a first step, since Byroade's cables are hard 
to read together , I have done the attached pull- together , which con- 
tains the full text of the aide memoire, and also the points made in 
the oral conversation. I think this gives us a much better starting 
point , with numerical headings, for our own reply. (Tab A). 

We may know much better, on the basis of Byroade's interim 
response, whetner Hanoi really intended to start a dialogue after 
the resumption. In the meantime, the present facts appear to 
indicate that Hanoi may have sent the instructions prior to the 
resumption, but that it should have been possible to send a last- 
minute "recall" or "cancel" message if Hanoi had desired. Ifyroade 
reports that the DRV interpreter came to him to seek the appointment 
in the "early afternoon" of January 31, Rangoon time. (Rangoon time 
is 1 1/2 hours earlier than Saigon time.) This would suggest that the 
appointment was sought not earlier than 1500 Saigon time^ whereas the 
first bombs had fallen at about 0900 Saigon time. The fact that the 
aide rnemoire was still being typed when Byroade arrived at 1930 
Rangoon time would suggest that the instructions must have been 
freshly received and that there may even have been a preliminary 
instruction to seek an appointment, followed by the later trans- 
mission of the detailed instructions. By 1730 Rangoon time (1900 
Saigon time) ten hours had elapsed after the resumption (which we 
assume was instantaneously reported to Hanoi). We believe that 
Hanoi T s communications to Rangoon may go either by direct commer- 
cial cable or by relay through Peiping, using some cryptographic 
system that is presumably immune to Chicora reading. We are now 
checking whether NBA has any reading on message transmissions of 
that date, but what stands out is that it would surely have been 
possible for Hanoi to send a fast commercial cable that need not 
have said anything more than a short instruction not to carry out 
prior instructions. In other words , the evidence does add up to a 
high probability that Hanoi was prepared to go through with the 
contact notwithstanding the resumption. Indeed, there appears to be 
a substantial possibility on the timing, that Hanoi even waited till 
it knew of the resumption before it dispatched the instructions. 
Paradoxical as it may seem, Hanoi may have been unwilling to open 
any dialogue during the suspension, lest this appear as a sign of 
weakness, and fear of our bombing. 



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A second collateral aspect worthy of note is that Hanoi broadcast, 
on the evening of February 1, Saigon time, in English, a lengthy article, 
the so-called "Quang Loi" article, which is by far the roost detailed 
exposition of Hanoi f s reaction to the Fourteen Points. For the first 
time , the actual text of the Fourteen Points was published, and the 
article goes on to explore their meaning, with a fair amount of 
invective, but in general in a far more moderate and reasoned tone 
than the overwhelming bulk of its output during the suspension. It 
seems to me essential that the aide memoire received in Rangoon be 
read in conjunction with the Quang Loi article, which I have there- 
fore attached as Tab B. 

Thirdly, the aide memoire itself refers to the DRV Foreign Ministry 
statement of January k } and in effect incorporates this by reference. 
The January k statement, attached as Tab C, is a fairly straightforward 
reiteration of the Four Points, with no reference to our Fourteen Points 
except in highly general terms. 

Because of the length of the two related Hanoi statements in Tabs 
B and C, I have sidelined key passages. 

/s/ WPB 

WILLIAM P. BUNDY 



3 Encl 

1 - Tab A 

2 - Tab B 

3 - Tab C 



Bundy Summary 
Quang Loi Article 
January k Hanoi Statement 



THE RANGOON APPROACH OF JANUARY 31 
(From Rangoon 392-296) 

Text of Aide Memoire (See cables cited) 
(Para Numbers Added) 



Points Made in Conversation (Para Numbers Added) 

■ 

8. After the reading of the aide memoire, the DRV man asked 
if Byroade had anything to say. Byroade reverted to the earlier 
Rangoon aide memoire questioning the Presidents sincerity, and 
said that it was expecting too much that the President should be 
expected to be "sincere" in meeting "their" terms. Hanoi had its 
Four Points which were called "conditions." We had Fourteen Points 
which expressed what we believe. Was it not possible that responsible 
emissaries of our two governments could meet and talk about all of 
these things together? All we asked was for unconditional talks or 
talks based upon the Geneva Agreements. 



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9- The DRV man was at first confused and thought Byroade had 
said something new. However, on clarification, his answer was quite 
clear and definite. He said there was no possibility for negotiations 
unless we accepted their Four Points. He said their position was the 
embodiment of the minimum of their national rights. If we proved our 
acceptance of the Geneva Agreements by actual deeds there could be a 
basis for a political settlement. If we rejected the Geneva Agreements, 
which embody these rights, there could be no repeat no negotiations. 
What was needed from our side was the acceptance of these points by 
actual deeds* 

10. There was then a non- conclusive discussion as to who had 
violated the Geneva Accords. In the course of this discussion, the 
DRV man asserted that, when the Geneva Agreements had been drawn 
up, the US had agreed that it would not use force to protect them. 
(Byroade f s 396 thinks that this statement, in its context, conveyed 
an implication that the DRV" had thought that, in attacking South 
Vietnam, it would be secure against US military action -- that, in 
short, the DRV had been misled. The facts on this point are that 
Bedell Smith said that we would not ourselves use force to disturb 
the Agreements, but went on to say that we would view the use of 
force by others with grave concern. In other words, the statements 
by the DRV man distort the record substantially. ) 

• 

11. Then, in response to the DRV man's asking whether Byroade 
had anything else to say, Byroad reverted to the question of sincerity 
and raised the question as to just who was sincere and who was not, 
when Hanoi kept repeating, as late as January 30; that there were no 
North Vietnamese regular troops or troop units in the South. Byroade 
pointed out that almost no one believed this and that there were plenty 
of prisoners to disprove it. Yet these statements continued. The 

DRV man took note of these remarks and said he would communicate them, 
but* did not comment otherwise. 

12. In conclusion, Byroade said that he saw nothing new in the 
positions the DRV man had given him, but was glad to talk with him 
in any event. He added" "He (the DRV man) said if we were not 
careful we could get into endless quarrels. I said that there would 
never be anything personal about our differences of opinion and we 
should keep it that way so that sometime we both could be useful to 
our governments. He said he would communicate at any time whatever, 
I had to say. fie showed me on the way out a back gate to his house 
which would be much better to use as an entrance from, a security 
point of view." 

13. Byroade' s closing comment was as follows: "While the above 
doesn't sound like it, this was our most friendly meeting to date. 
Vu was very cordial and hospitable and seemed in a relaxed mood. If 
he knew of news reports that bombing had been resumed he gave no 
indications of it." 



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RANGOON 398 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Priority, Sent 3 Feb 66; Rec'd 
3 Feb 66, 5*M A.M. 

Ref : DepTel 253 

We have arranged to deliver the following memorandum . . . 

Text follows "I refer to our last discussion on January 31, 1966, 
in which you presented me with an aide-memoire which in turn enclosed 
a statement made by a spokesman of the foreign ministry of the 
Democratic Republic of Vietnam dated January k, 1966. 

I wish to inform you that these matters are under careful 
study in Washington, and that I think I may have a detailed response 
for you in a few days time." 



• • 



BYROADE 



February 7, 1966 

RANGOON U06 (to Sec State), S/tTodis, Priority, Rec'd 7 Feb 1966, 10:^2 P.M. 
(Passed to White House 8 Feb 66, 12:30 A.M.) 

English language papers this morning frontpaged AP and UPI stories, 
quoting "Administration" and "informed" sources, of direct contact made 
by me here with DRV on Dec. 29- No mention of continuing contacts. 

I have told RGUB and have passed word to Vu that I will not rpt 
not confirm, but will stand on no rpt no comment. 

BYROADE 



February 8, 19 66 

RANGOON Ull (to SecState), S/Nodis, Priority, Rec'd 8 Feb 66, 6:03 A.M., 
(Passed White House 8 Feb 66) 

1. GV1T Consul General Due requested appointment see me today. . . 
Responding to his expected questions re contact in Rangoon between 
Ambassador Byroade and DRV ConGen as reported in wire services, I 
took line previously agreed on with Ambassador Byroade that all 
embassies had strict instructions not to comment on any channels of 
communication with North Vietnam; that Ambassador Byroade had had 
similar inquiries put to him before departing for Bangkok and was 

not commenting. Moreover, I was in no position to speculate about 
contacts . 

2. Due unagressive and did not press further. 
EANAKD 

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February 16, 1966 

STATE 267 (to Amembassy RANGOON), S/Nodis, Priority, Sent 16 Feb 68, 
11:38 A.M. 

You should seek appointment with DRV Consul General to deliver 
following aide-memoire ; 

BEG IN TEXT: 

1. The USG has taken note of the Aide Memoire delivered to the 
American Ambassador in Rangoon on January 31, I966. 

2. The USG fully respects the basic rights of the Vietnamese 
people to peace, independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial 
integrity, as set forth in the Geneva Accords of 195^- As the USG 
has repeatedly said, it believes that these Accords, together with 
the I962 Accords concerning Laos, are an adequate basis for peace 
in Southeast Asia or for negotiations looking toward a peaceful 
settlement . 

. 3« The USG has repeatedly stated and hereby reaffirms that it 
is prepared to withdraw its forces from South Viet-Nam when peace is 
restored. The US has never stated that it must be the sole judge of 
when this condition exists. Plainly, the restoration of peace 
requires the adherence of all concerned to the essential provisions 
of the Geneva Accords dealing with the regroupment of opposing forces 
to their respective areas, and dealing with the obligations that the 
two zones shall not be utilized for the resumption of hostilities or 
in the service of an aggressive policy. It is the view of the USG 
that the DRV, in introducing armed forces, military equipment, and 
political cadres into South Viet-Nam, has breached the provisions of 
the Accords, and has thus made necessary the actions undertaken by 
the USG in support of the legitimate right of the Republic of Viet-Nam 
to self-defense. The withdrawal of US forces would be undertaken in 
the light of the actions taken by the DRV in this regard, and would 
necessarily be subject also the existence of adequate measures of 
verification. 

The USG seeks no military bases of any kind in South Viet-Wam and 
has no desire whatever to retain its forces in South Viet-Nam after 
peace is secured. 

k* With respect to the third of the DRV's four points, the US 
takes note that Chairman Ho Chi Mirih in his letter of January 29 
described the program of the WLF as seeking "to achieve independence, 
democracy, peace and neutrality in South Viet-Nam and tb advance 
toward peaceful reunification." If this is all that is intended 



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when it is stated that the affairs of the South Vietnamese "be settled 
. "in accordance with the program of the NLF, rr the third point would not 
be an obstacle to negotiations . 

However , it appears that in referring to the program of the NLF 
the DRV may contemplate that the NLF arbitrarily be accorded integral - i 
participation in a coalition government or be accepted as the "sole 
genuine representative of the entire South Vietnamese people" prior l 

to, and without regard to, an election. If this is what is meant by 
the third point, ve would consider it in contradiction of the very 
objectives specified above, and quite without warrant in the Geneva 
Accords of 195*!-. 

It remains the essence of the USG view that the future political 
structure in South Viet-Nam should be determined by the South Vietnamese 
people themselves through truly free elections. The USG is categorically 
prepared to accept the results of elections held in an atmosphere free 
from force, intimidation or outside interference. 

5* In the light of the foregoing and to make clear our under- 
standing of a possible basis for discussions leading to a peaceful 
settlement, we submit for consideration of the DRV the following: 

Point I - The basic rights of the Vietnamese people to peace, independence, 
sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity are recognized as set forth 
in the Geneva Accords of 195^- Obtaining compliance with the essential 
principles in the Accords is an appropriate subject for immediate, 
international discussions, or negotiations without preconditions. Such 
discussions or negotiations should consider, among other things, appro- 
priate means, including agreed stages, for the withdrawal of military 
and quasi-military personnel and weapons introduced into South Viet-Nam 
or North Viet-Nam from one area to the other or into either area from 
any other outside source; the dismantling of any military bases in 
either areas, and the cancellation of any military alliances, that may 
contravene the Accords; and the regrouping and redeployment of indigenous 
forces . 

Point II - Strict compliance with the military provisions of the Geneva 
Accords must be achieved in accordance with schedules and appripriate 
safeguards to be agreed upon in the said discussions or negotiations. 

Point III - The internal affairs of South and North Viet-Nam must be 
settled respectively by the South and North Vietnamese peoples them- 
selves in conformity with the principles of self-determination. Neither 
shall interfere in the affairs of the other nor shall there be any 
interference from any outside source. 

Point IV - The issue of reunification of Viet-Nam must be decided 
peacefully, on the basis of free determination by the peoples of 
South and North Viet-Nam without outside interference. END TEXT 



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6. In delivering text, you should take care not to ge beyond 
its terras in providing explanation to any questions asked. Naturally, 
-we would be most interested in any comments he may care to make then 
or at future date* 

7* FII: Bundy will bring to Baguio some additional material 
for your background in case of future contacts. However, for time 
being, we do not wish to be drawn into extended oral discussion 
which might be misunderstood. EI© FYI. 

8. In arranging appointment, you should avoid any impression of 
undue urgency. 



February 19, 19 66 

RANGOON 433 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Priority, Rec'd 19 Feb 1966, 11:33 A.M. 
DRV Rep Vu received me at 7:00 P.M. . . . 



Vu did not try to read document in English but listened attentively 
as his interpreter translated document for him. 



Vu said he would transmit our Aide-Memoire to his government. He 
said that if I had anything else to add that I should go ahead with it. 
I said that my instructions had been covered fully by the document now 
in his hands and that I had nothing more for the present . Vu then 
said that since our last meeting there had been many developments in 
the situation. He said that their stand on the grounds for agreement 
must be based on the fact that the US has resumed the bombing. He 
said this was a gross violation of the sovereignty and national inde- 
pendence of a state. American forces had been intensifying the war 
and following a policy of kill all, burn all, destroy all. Also 
there was the fact of the joint declaration of the USG and the South 
Vietnamese authorities. He said the points made therein only served 
the cause of the American war. 

He then said "I also wish to avail myself of the occasion of 
this meeting to inform you something else today. Since the US has 
resumed the bombing, I hold that it is inappropriate to continue our 
contact! 



;s. 



... I said I wanted to be very sure I had understood correctly 
his statement about future contacts between us, and asked if he could 
amplify his remarks. He repeated verbatim his previous words except 
that this time he used the expression "It is imappropriate to continue 



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our talks at your request." He said he thought he had expressed 
himselv clearly. He would however follow up by sending me an 
Aide-Memoire, as he had been speaking under instructions. 



BYROADE 



February 21 , I966 

RANGOON ^36 (to SecState), S/Nodis, Immediate, Rec'd 21 Feb 66, 2:01 PM 

Ref : EMBTEL i+33 

The following aide-memoire dated Feb 19 from DRV representative 
Vu addressed to me was hand delivered to the Embassy this evening. 
Quote: At this meeting held at your request, I find it necessary to 
make the following statements : 

The resumption of the bombing of the Democratic Republic of 
Vietnam, -the increase of American armed forces and of war aid to 
the South Vietnam authorities, rigged up by the United States, on 
order of the United States Government and the issue of a joint 
declaration at the Honolulu Conference by the United States and 
the South Vietnam authorities have exposed the true colour of the 
"Peace Efforts" Manoeuvred by the American government. The American 
government is doing its utmost to intensity and expend its aggressive 
war in Vietnam and Indochinese countries, bringing it to a new stage, 
seriously endangering peace and security of the countries in this 
region. The American government must bear full responsibility for 
the consequences resulted in by the aggressive war it wages. The 
bombing of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, an independent and 
sovereign country, ordered by the United States Government constitutes 
an unpardonable aggressive act. In so doing, the American Government 
not only grossly violates and tramples under foot the 195^ Geneva 
Agreements on Vietnam which ±t solemnly undertakes to respect but 
also brazenly breaches the United Nations Charter and the most 
elementary norms of justice and human rights . 

Conducting the destructive war in South Vietnam with every kind 
of -American, most modern weapons including those strictly prohibited 
by International Law as noxious chemicals and gas, the American 
Expeditionary Troops and the mercenary troops have been carrying out 
wherever they go the scorched earth policy killing all, burning all 
and destroying all. If the United States Government thinks that its 
utmost barborous and cruel aggressive policy as such can "subjugate 
the Vietnamese people, that will be a great mistake and here day-dream. 



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The Honolulu Conference and the Joint Declaration signed at 
that conference by the United States and South Vietnam puppet 
authorities represent the entire scheme of the United States to 
bring the aggressive war in South Vietnam to a new stage. There- 
fore y such hypocritical terms of the said declaration a "opposition 
to aggression/* "fulfilment of commitments /' "continuation of 
peace efforts/ 1 "self-determination" ^ "rural reconstruction program/ 1 
etc. are in essence aimed at covering up the designs of the aggressive 
war in South Vietnam, 

Faced with the strength of unbreakable unity and determination 
to fight and to win of the Vietnamese people who enjoy the strong 
sympathy and support of the world people including the American people > 
the efforts made so far or to be made in the future by the American 
Government cannot remove the more and more critical situation of the 
American troops and the mercinary troops who are now falling into a 
quagmire in South Vietnam but will only bring them instead even 
bigger and more ignominious setbacks and eventually total defeat. 
It is the Vietnamese people who decide the outcome of the war they 
wage against the American invaders. They have won and will triumph. 
Such is the truth that has been realized and admitted by the majority 
of the American people and a number of persons among the American 
political circle but denied, by the United States Government. 

If the United States Government realli wants to settle the 
Vietnam question peacefully 7 it should accept the four-point stand 
of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and prove 
its acceptance by actual deeds and stop for good and unconditionally 
its bombing of North Vietnam and all other war acts against the 
Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Only so can a political settlement 
of the Vietnam question be envisaged. 

As the United States Government has ordered the resumption of 
bombing raids on the Democratic of Republic of Vietnam , I consider 
it inappropriate to continue the contacts made at your request 
between you and myself. Unquote. 

BYROADE 



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TILE RONNING MI SSIONS - MARCH AND JUNE 1966 
Ronning Revs Up 

Chester Ronning ! s "unofficial 11 trip to the Orient on behalf of 
peace was proposed by the Canadians in late January 1966. It evoked 
formal U.S. support and unvoiced U.S. trepidations, A Sinologist and 
retired diplomat, Ronning was known to hold a critical view of U.S. 
policies toward China and Vietnam. He hoped to visit Peking and Hanoi,, 
relying for his welcome in China on a long-standing invitation from 
Ch'en Yi, with whom he had friendly relations, and Hanoi on his bearing 
Pearson* s answer to Ho Chi Minh's letter of January 2k. 

Both Washington and our Btibassy in Ottawa guessed an ulterior 
motive for the trip: Canadian Foreign Minister Paul Mai^tin wanted to 
test the wind for changes in Canadian policy on Chinese representation 
in the UN, possible recognition of Communist China, and, more generally, 
a demonstration that Canada was not a U.S. "satellite," Under the circum- 
stances (the 37 day bombing pause was still running), there seemed no 
proper response other than encouragement, even though the U.S. doubted 
the mission would produce much. (1/27/66, 2/k/66, 2/25/66) 

By February 24, Peking had refused to issue Ronning a visa (2/2^/66), 
and the reason is not difficult to guess. Ronning f s itinerary and intention 
to visit Hanoi would have shown Peking that he hoped to play the mediator 
between NVN and the U.S. Chinese Communist policy insisted that the war 
be fought until the U.5* was defeated. Nevertheless, the DRV permitted 
him to come and, during his stay (March 7-ll) gave him access to a number 
of high officials. 

The March Visit: "Talks" in Exchange for a Bombing Cessation 

- — — — ^— ^— — — 1 — -- v - 

Ronning characterized the results of his March 7-11 visit with an 
old Chinese saying: he had "travelled ten thousand miles to present a 
feather." (3/15/66) Although treated with deference,* he was unable 
to move the DRV leaders from their insistence on the "Four Points" as 
the only basis for a peaceful settlement. They felt confident of keeping 
up their end of the war. (They expected destruction of Hanoi and Haiphong, 
they said, and were evacuating women and children, dispersing factories 
and offices, etc.) When Ronning protested their "Four Points" as tanta- 
mount to U.S. surrender, their attitude seemed to be "that's America's 
problem." (3/15/66) 

Toward the end of Ronning f s 2-hour interview with Pham Van Dong, 
however, he was told that DRV willingness to enter into some form of 
preliminary contact hinged on a commitment by the U.S. to cease "bombing 



* He was received by the DRV Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh, the Vice 
Foreign Minister, Nguyen Co Thach, Col. Ha Van Lau (NVA liaison to the 
ICC) and, on his last day, Pham Van Dong. 



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and all acts of war against North Vietnam" "unconditionally and for good." * 
It was not clear whether a public declaration or something more confidential 
was demanded; nor what the nature of the consequent contacts would be. 
Pham Van Dong refused to be drawn out, saying only: "Our position includes 
many aspects. In brief , we can say that informal talks and a cessation of 
attacks against North Vietnam go together." (3/20/66) 

Ronning felt that a U.S. response was desired. The importance of 
secrecy was stressed to him. When earlier feelers had become public , 
the DRV had been forced to deny them, he was told. 

* 
Arranging the Second Trip: Canada in the Middle 

Ronning* s report aroused little enthusiasm in Washington, which: 

— Felt that any U.S. de-escalation should be reciprocated by 
military de-escalation on the other side. 

— Feared that a bombing halt would be interpreted to mean U.S. 
acceptance of Hanoi's Four points.** (4/26/66) 

Martin, however, felt strongly that the channel should be kept 
active and pressed Washington personally and through channels to respond. 
In what may have been a veiled form of pressure, he informed Washington 
that his Government "did have important information of which it was the 
sole possessor." (4/22/66, h/26/66) 

By May 1, Washington had prepared a "new" message for Ronning, 
restating its willingness to talk without conditions, or to de-escalate 
mutually j to communicate with Hanoi directly or via intermediaries, etc. 

(V30/6S) 

When Ottawa approached Hanoi about a return visit by Ronning, it 
was criticized by the North Vietnamese for failing to distinguish between 
aggressor and victim, and of advancing proposals not conforming to the 
1954 Geneva accords, etc. Toward the end of May, it obtained grudging 
permission for Ronning to come along, however. (5/24/66) 



* Ronning was promised an Aide-Memoire on Pham's remarks, but was sub- 
sequently told that he had "mi sunder stood" and no such paper would be 
forthcoming. In his written summary of the conversation, Ronning used 
quotation marks in the manner reproduced here. Presumably, he felt 
confident he was accurately repeating Pham's language. 

** In his January 24, 1966, letter to heads of state, Ho had demanded that 
the U.S. "accept the four-point stand of the DRV Government and prove 
this by actual deeds; it must end unconditionally and for good all 
bombing raids and other acts of war against the DRV." 



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The June Visit: Wo Movement by Either Side 

Ronning visited Hanoi a second time, June 14-17, 1966, with even 
more disappointing results than in March. 

He was told that Pham Van Dong was not then in Hanoi, and the 
highest official to receive him was Nguyen Duy Trinh, Foreign Minister 
and Vice Premier. Trinh expressed disappointment that the message 
Ronning carried was so "similar to newspaper reports with which the 
DRV was already familiar." Ronning, looking back a week later, felt 
"totally depressed following his conversation with Trinh" and did not 
detect "any hint on Trinh T s part of a desire to put forward any new 
or alternative proposals." (6/21/66) 

The main points made by Trinh were: 

--There would be no military reciprocity for a bombing halt. 

— The Canadians were abetting the U f S. "peace offensive" by 
appearing to mediate when they had nothing new to contribute — and doing 
so in a period (since March) when the U.S. was "escalating." When 
Ronning offered to withdraw, though, Trinh asked that the Canadian channel 
remain available. 



—The Four Points were not mentioned per se , but their contents 
and the NI3? Five Points were stressed as elements the U.S. would have to 
accept eventually. 

— Neither the Four nor the Five Points were preconditions for "talks", 
however. If the U.S. stopped bombing completely, the DRV would talk. 

(6/21/66) 

i 

Although Ronning saw no promising new approach that might be offered 
the DRV at that time, Martin clearly wished to maintain the Canadian 
channel and seemed determin i to find some role for Canadian peace- 
making efforts in the future. (6/23/66) 

General Topics Raised During Ronning' s Contacts 

* 

The following are topics raised with Ronning which also appear fre- 
quently during other negotiating sequences. 

"Talks" vs "Negotiations" 

Bundy visited Ottawa on June 21 to review Ronning' s experiences 
with Ronning, Martin and other Canadians. As he cabled 1 back, they con- 
cluded that "the total DRV comment appeared to add up to there being a 



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satisfactory prior understanding, before 'negotiations' as to (l) our 
recognition of the status of the WLF (not spelled out); (2) return to 
the 195^ Agreements; (3) withdrawal of US forces (not specified whether 
this must take place prior to negotiations or as to the ultimate result); 
(k) the Four Points," In distinction to these conditions for negotiations, 
"the DBV reps did say categorically that acceptance of the Four Points 
was not a necessary condition to preliminary talks. The only condition 
for such preliminary talks is our unilateral cessation of bombing. How- 
ever,.. • this appears to relate only to resumption of Rangoon-type contact, 
and as to any substantive negotiations the Pour Points are still in the 
picture." (6/21/66) 



"Permanent and Unconditional" 



On Ronning 's first visit, the North Vietnamese indicated 
a willingness to talk if "the bombing and all other acts of war" were 
unilaterally ceased "unconditionally and for good." This statement clearly 
contained two qualifiers: no reciprocity from Hanoi and no threat of 
resumption. Ronning, however, was not told that Hanoi would only "talk." 
The two qualifiers taken together were sufficient, but that they both 
were necessary was not clear, Ronning never tested this. Trinh, in 
January 1967, dropped the "permanent" qualifier, but at the same time, 
made it plain that a U.S. bombing cessation would buy only "talks." 

"Peace Offensives vs. Military Offensives" 



The timing of Ronning' s second visit — mid- June — was awkward 
for the U.S., as it was planned to bomb POL facilities through the 
DRV, including Hanoi, at just that time. Such an attack would be diffi- 
cult to reconcile with our support for Ronning r s mission. (5/9/66, 
6/8/66, 6/15/66) . An attempt to circumvent this problem was made by delaying 
the strikes but seeking the earliest possible report from Ronning on Hanoi's 
response. (6/17/66) Ronning, however, had been told to report only to 
Ottawa, upon his return. (6/17/66, 6/18/66) Furthermore, Martin specif- 
ically asked us not to "escalate" in the period just after Ronning f s 
return for fear that this would "jeopardize Canadian good faith with 
Hanoi and make it appear the U.S. used Ronning as a means of obtaining 
a negative readout on negotiations which would justify escalation." 
(6/20/66) In effect, the Canadian initiative seemed to require that 
we not escalate just before, during or just after contacts with Hanoi. 
Moreover, Martin wished to maintain a continuing dialogue with Hanoi. 
The POL system was attacked toward the end of- June. 

Secrecy 

The North Vietnamese repeatedly stressed the importance of 
keeping their contacts secret and repeatedly complained of leaks to the 
press. (6/21/66) To illustrate the gravity of the matter, the Vice 
Minister of Foreign Affairs told Moore (the Canadian ICC representative) 
that the la Pira peace feeler had been genuine, but that Hanoi had had 
to denounce it when it leaked. (6/8/66) 



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On the other hand, an Eastern European Snbassy in Hanoi 
briefed Raffaelli, the AFP correspondent there, on the content of 
Ronning ! s June exchanges with relative accuracy. The French firibassy 
in Washington and Americans assumed that the information had been passed 
with DRV approval, without satisfactorily resolving the question of DRV 
motives in providing this leak. 

Reunif icat ion 

The subject of reunifying the two Vietnams was broached to 
Moore on one of his routine visits to Hanoi early in June, 1966, by 
Ha Van Lau, The main point stressed by Iau was that "Afte.r the fighting 
stops, there should be a fairly long interval, during which the status 
quo continues with the two countries divided at the 17th parallel, . • - 
After that, it would be possible to see whether there were some changed 
ideas in Saigor. and Hanoi." (6/8/66) When Ronning visited Hanoi, later 
that month, the subject was not emphasized by the Vietnamese, but was 
raised in the context of observing the 195^ Geneva Agreements. (6/21/66) 

row's 

The U.S. asked Ronning to scout the possibility of exchanging 
prisoners of war with the DRV or providing them with ICRC protection. 
(5/15/66) Hanoi's reply was that FOW's were "criminals" under DRV law 
and no ICRC role would be considered. He was given no detailed informa- 
tion about the prisoners themselves. (6/23/66) 



Another Geneva Conference? 



In the event of negotiations beginning, DRV officials indicated 
to Ronning that they would consider a Geneva -type conference on Vietnam 
and observed that they would favor French participation. With some 
prodding from an Ottawa colleague, Ronning reconstructed the following 
as a possible sequence: (l) an end to the U.S. bombing on DRV terms; 
(2) informal bilateral DRV-U.S. talks; (3) a multilateral Geneva-type 
conf erenc e . ( 6/21/66) 



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January 27, 1966 

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION; Participants: H. E. Charles S. A. Ritchie, 
Ambassador of Canada, Mr- Chester Rorming, former Canadian Ambassador, 
Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs, 
and Mr. Paul H. Kreisberg, FE/ACA. 



11 



"...Ronning said he was without illusions on the 
likelihood of any success from this mission but thought 
it was worth a try. He said the Canadian line would 
be to express surprise at Peking's and Hanoi's opposi- 
tion to a conference in view of their participation 
in the Laos conference. 



rr 



II 



NLF. 



Rorming then inquired about the position of the 



"Mr. Bundy reviewed the U.S. position on the 



NLF, stressing that we are prepared to have them present 
In some form at a conference but not in full status 
as a 'party 1 but anything short of that we would be 
prepared to consider. He. . .stressed that acknowledg- 
ment of full status for the NLF would be pre- judging the 
right of the NLF to participate in a future government 
in South Vietnam. He noted that the NLF program called 
for the Front to have a main role in a coalition govern- 
ment and said that to admit this would quite frankly 
lead to their ultim- ie victory...." 

"...Rorming suggested that there might be an analogy 
between NLF participation in a conference and that of 
the Bathet Lao in the Laos conference. 

tr 

. a . . 

"Ronning said that he was convinced the DRV would 
continue to deny its military participation in South 
Vietnam but might accept something less clear-cut. 
He said the DRV did not want a branch of the CP* in 
South Vietnam ever to declare its independence of North 
Vietnam. He suggested that bilateral U.S. -DRV talks 
without the GVTJ might offer some possibilities. 



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rr Mr* Bandy said this was possible and we had 
offered this to the DRV during the pause. He noted 
that it might be necessary to arrive at some f pre- 
digested 1 conclusion in such a forum. He observed, 
however, that the question of disclosure to the GVN 
presented a serious problem. Ronning stressed that 
the DRV could not sit at the conference table with- 
out the KLF since this would place all responsibility 
for military action in South Vietnam on itself. 

"Mr. Bundy reiterated that the NLF was a really 
tough problem since it ran so close to the heart of 
the matter. It was possible to finesse other points, 
for example, accepting the four points implicitly by 
reiterating acceptance of the Geneva Accords, or simply 
deleting the objectionable clause in point three. 
Mr. Bundy said that the DRV still thought it could 
win the whole game but that ultimately, if it was 
convinced that there was no military victory possi- 
ble, it might re-frame its political requirements 
and move for a political solution. He noted that 
we could without particular difficulty "de-fuse" 
point 13 of our 1^ points by omitting the reference 
in that point to "aggression." Mr. Bundy also noted 
that the DRV was concerned about the timing of U.S. 
withdrawal , 



January 2?, 1966 

STATE to AmEmbassy OTTAWA 826 (SECRET-EXDIS) , 2? Jan 1966: 

"For Ambassador from Bundy 

"1. Canadian Ambassador Ritchie and former Canadian 
High Commissioner in New Delhi Ronning called on Bundy 
today and discussed planned visit by Amb. Ronning to 
Peking and Hanoi in near future. Ronning visit to be 
unofficial but he will travel with personal rank of 
Ambassador and at request of Foreign Minister Martin. 
Ronning has long-standing invitation from Chicom Fonmin 
Chen Yi to visit CPR extended when Ronning was Canadian 
Rep at 1962 Geneva Conference on Laos, Purpose of visit 
to sound out Peking and Hanoi on possible conference 
on Vietnam. Ronning said he without any illusions as 
to likelihood of success but thought visit in any event 
might be worthwhile. 



11 

• # 



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January 28 , 1966 - 

STATE to AmEmbassy OTTAWA 83O (SECRET-EXDIS), 28 Jan 1966 

"l. - . .we certainly have no objection to proposed 
Ronning trip. . . • 

"2. It occurs to us that Ronning trip may well 
have ulterior motives in terms of Canadian feelers 
on Chi com representation in UN" or even Canadian recog- 
nition. . . ." 

RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



AmEmbassy OTTAWA, to SECSTATE 97^ ( SECRET-EXDIS ), 28 Jan I966 
"For Bundy from Butterworth 



?! 






"3. Ever since he became Minister for External 
Affairs two and a half years ago Martin has had the 
idea of using Chester Ronning, who was born in China 
and went to school with Chou En-lai, to help bring 
about recognition of the Chinese Communists by the 
UN or by Canada or both. 



rr 

• • » * 



"5. Ronning is well-known in Canada as a Sinologist 
and has been more often than not critical of American 
Far Eastern policies. . . . 



. * . • « 



BUTTERWORTH 



January 31, 1966 

AmEmbassy OTTAWA to SECSTATE 981 (SECRET-EXDIS), 31 Jan I966 



h 



,r 2. ...Pearson confirmed Ronning mission was 
Martin's idea, that it entailed greater dangers than 
Martin had perhaps appreciated and that he had 'scared 
the hell out of Paul about it last night -...if anything 
went wrong, his government would disavow any involve- 
ment in the Ronning mission Tt 

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AmEmbassy OTTAWA to SECSTATE 979 ( SECHET-EXDIS) , 31 Jan I966 



IT 



"5. ...Martin volunteered that he had clearly 
in mind the domestic political scene and 'Dief eribaker ' s 
insincere support of the U.S. position in Vietnam 1 
and that at some point he should demonstrate to the 
Canadian people that Canada had not just been a U.S« 
satellite but had done what it could to bring about 
a solution. ..." 

HJTTERWORTH 



February 2, 1966 

m 

AmEmbassy OTTAWA to SECSTATE 996 (SECRET-EXDIS), 2 Feb 1966 

"For Assistant Secretary Bundy 

". i -Incredible though it may seem EXTAFF official 
stated Ronning 1 s passport reads T Special Emissary of 
Canadian Government with Personal Rank of Ambassador. f 
Ploy with Hanoi for obtaining visa is that Ronning 
interested in discussing Ho Chi Minh letter of Janu- 
ary 2^ to Prime Minister Pearson, Text of letter 
(copy being sent Dept. separately) parallels that 
sent other capitals except for last two sentences as 
follows: 'Your Excellency, Canada is a member of the 
International Commission for Supervision and Control 
for the Implementation of the 195^ Geneva Agreement 
on Vietnam. In face of the extremely serious situation 
brought about by the U.S.A. in Vietnam, I hope that 
your Government will fulfill its obligation under 
the Geneva agreements . 

tt 



BUTTERWORTH 



February k 9 1966 

STATE to AmConsul HONG KONG 1000 , AmEmbassy SAIGON 225^ 
Amembassy OTTAWA 856 



"2. Ronning is retired diplomat, born in China 
and steeped In Sinology. He was most recently Canadian 

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TS - WODIS 



High Commissioner in New Delhi and during that time 
represented Canada at Geneva Conference on Laos* 
We have long been exposed to his viewpoint, which 
tends personally to be highly critical of U.S. policy 
toward Communist China, and particularly to the ad- 
vocacy of Chinese Communist admission to UN. More- 
over, he apparently has long-standing personal ties 
with both Chou En-lai and Chen Yi, plus fact that 
his parents are buried in China, so that present 
visit has some handle in an earlier Chen Yi invita- 
tion and in the idea of visiting the graves of his 
parents. 

* 

"3- ...Despite our private misgivings as to his 
personal views, we have naturally had to say we would 
have no objection to such visit and indeed could only 
welcome any constructive initiative .... 

• . . ■ . 

RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



STATE to AmEmbassy OTTAWA 857 (SECRET-EXDIS), h Feb 1966 

v You should deliver following personal letter to 
Foreign Minister concerning Ronning visit: 

"Dear Paul: 



"I must, however, express a shade of concern at 
the information that we have just had from Walton 
Butterworth that Ronning f s passport will apparently 
carry the appearance of a formal accreditation as 
your special emissary with the personal rank of 
Ambassador. . . . 

t! I am also more seriously concerned at the possi- 
bility that Ronning may find himself engaged in dis- 
cussion, especially in Peiping, of the problems relating 
to Chinese representation at the UN and even, if I 
understand your last conversation with Walton •Butterworth 
correctly, questions of recognition, . , . 

TT 



"...I think we shall both have a great deal of 
thinking to do on this subject in the months ahead 
and I ho-pe that in the first instance we can do it 



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f&0 



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on a very confidential basis between ourselves. I 
have therefore welcomed the indication that you are 
not discussing the Ronning trip with any other govern- 
ment , and I would end by repeating my hope and assump- 
tion that he will be listening only as to any matters 
other than Vietnam, and that in any event we shall 
have a full opportunity to talk over with you what- 
ever he picks up in any area* 

"With warm regards , Sincerely , Dean Rusk" 

(Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 

February 7, 1966 

AmConsul HONG KONG to SECSTATE 1^52 (SECRET-EXDIS), ,7 Feb 1966 

!f We shall do what we can helpfully to influence 
Ronning 1 s thinking if opportunity presents itself. 
Incidentally American in Hong Kong who will have full- 
est opportunity affect his thinking is NY Times corres- 
pondent Topping, who is his son-in-law." 

RICE 

February 2k, 1966 

STATE to AmEmbassy SAIGON 2512, AmConsul HONG KONG 1086; Info: 
AmEmbassy OTTAWA 9^3, AmEmbassy MANILA 1556 ( SECRET -EXDIS), 
2k Feb 1966 

"l. Canadian Embassy has informed Dept. Ronning 
trip to Peking turned down by Chlcoms but accepted by 
Hanoi, Ronning now in Hong Kong and scheduled go 
Saigon March 1 leaving for Hanoi March 7 &nd return- 
ing Saigon March 11. . . . 



"3- — Peking turndown of visit made through 
Chen Yi message to Ronning referring to U.S. actions 
in Vietnam and GOC support for these which make visit 
'inopportune. 1 Door held open for some future visit, 

however. 



ti n 



RUSK (Drafted by P. H. Kreisberg) 



6 TS - KODIS 



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IU 



TS - NOBIS 



MEMORANDUM to The Secretary from Samuel D. Berger, FE, . Subj: 
Chester Ronning Visit to Peking and Hanoi, dated 2k Feb 1966 
(NODIS) 



IT 



"5* ...Hanoi's willingness and even enthusiasm 
in agreeing to Ronning 's visit results in part from 
a growing feeling of isolation and in part from a 
desire to project a more 'positive 1 foreign policy 
image. The agreement by the DRV Charge in Moscow 
to obtain clarification for Lord Chalfont on some points 
in the DRV position and Hanoi's reversal of its de- 
cision last summer not to extend an invitation to 
Hkrumah to come to Worth Vietnam may be other aspects 
of this somewhat looser and more flexible foreign 
policy. Such a policy, designed to offer a more 
attractive image of Hanoi to the world at large, was 
specifically urged by DRV Politburo member Le Due 
Tho earlier this month. The change in policy, how- 
ever, is one of form, not content- thus far. 



11 



February 25, 1966 

AmBmbassy SAIGON to RUEHC/SEC STATE 3100 (SECKET-EXDIS), 
25 Feb 1966 

"1. It is true that I know that Mr. Ronning 
is taking the trip, but it is quite an exaggeration 
to say that I am 'fully informed of the background 
of his trip. ' I honestly do not feel that I am aware 
of all the ins and outs and all the implications. 

rr 2. Having in .And the British/lforth Vietnamese 
contact in Moscow, I would appreciate knowing of what- 
ever understanding there may be in Washington. 

"3* Once again we seem to be getting into direct 
contacts which affect the future of Vietnam and I do 
not know what to tell the Vietnamese. 1 ' 

LODGE 

STATE to AmEmbassy SAIGON 2525 (SECRET -NODIS ), 25 Feb I966 - 

"Eyes Only for the Ambassador from the Secretary 

■4 

"Following are my own personal comments about the 
Ronning visit to Hanoi: 



TS - NODIS 



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• * 



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"Quite frankly, the Canadians themselves seem 
to be of divided minds about his trip* Ronning has 
not been helpful on Vietnam and I have no doubt strongly 
favors recognition of Peiping. Mike Pearson is defi- 
nitely skeptical about the whole affair but was inclined 
to go along with Paul Martin T s guarded approval for the 
trip . 

"I personally talked to Paul Martin about Ronning 
and emphasized that it was extremely important that 
Ronning do nothing to encourage a Hanoi miscalculation 
about our determination and do nothing to encourage 
a Hanoi miscalculation about our determination and 
do nothing to undermine the publicly stated positions 
of the United States. Martin assured me that he would 
make that very clear to Ronning. 



"Actually, the Ronning trip was originally de- 
signed primarily for Peiping and I suspect that the 
question of recognition and Peiping membership in the 
UN was most on Ronning T s mind. However, Peiping re- 
fused to let him come since Canada's attitude toward 
• Vietnam made his visit QTE inopportune UMQTE. 

"I can assure you there is no occult understand- 
ing between Washington and Ottawa on this matter . 
If you need to say anything to the South Vietnamese 
about the Ronning trip, you can tell them that he is 
on no mission for us, that he has been strongly advised 
not to say anything or do anything which would encourage 
Hanoi to believe that their effort will succeed and 
that his visit should be considered along with such 
efforts as have been made by many individuals to have 
a go at Hanoi. Quite frankly, I attach no importance 
to his trip and expect nothing out of it. At the same 
time it would be unwise to say anything to GVN which 
would appear to conf] vet with Canadian version of 
trip already given GVN and reported in Deptel 2512, 
Para 2." 

RUSK (Drafted by Rusk) 

March 3, 1966 

AmEmbassy 0TTAV& to SECSTATE 11^3 ( CONF-EXDIS ) , 3 Mar I966 

"...Exstaff has put its ICC peace probe on ice,... 
it is shifting concentration of its peace efforts to 
Ronning visit to Hanoi next week. ...Ronning is not 
mediator but explorer." 

SCOTT 

8 . -' TS - NOBIS 



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AmEinbassy SAIGON to SECSTATE 31?8 (SECRET-EXDIS), 3 Mar 1966 

"1* Moore (Canadian member ICC) called to present 
Ambassador Ronning who is on his way to Hanoi. 



IT 



"3- ...Ronning wished to find out if there was 
something useful that the ICC could do other than to 
implement the Geneva accords which have now been so 
thoroughly violated. 

u k. He explained all this to Colonel An, the 
GVN liaison officer with the ICC, and was planning 
to tell Tran Van Do about it. An apparently did not 
object. 

f, 5. ...Moore, who had gone to Hanoi to pave 
the way for Ronning, said that Hanoi's acceptance of 
the idea of Ronning T s visit was 'immediate.* ...he 
seemed to think they were worried about the immense 
casualties which their Army was encountering and would 
Be encountering in South Vietnam. 



n 



LODGE 

* 

March 15, 1966 

AmConGen HONG KONG to SECSTATE 1669 ( SECRET-EXDIS ) , 15 Mar 1966 

it 



"2. Results of mission: Ronning characterized 
results of his mission by quoting old Chinese saying; 
he had 'travelled ten thousand miles to present a 
feather. 1 He said he is more pessimistic about long- 
range Vietnamese problem than before his trip. 

"3. NVN confidence: North Vietnamese leaders 
he spoke to from Hiam Van Dong on down convinced they 
were winning war, although they concede it will be 
long struggle. In response my query how NVN expected 
achieve victory (e.g., by military victory, U.S. loss 
of determination, GVN collapse), Ronning said NVN 
views not clear. NVN leaders told him they fully 
expected stepp-up U.S. military effort, both in" 
South and in bombing of North, including bombing of 
Hanoi, industries, etc. Explained they had few large 
industries; small industries being dispersed and plans 
made for evacuating government offices and populace. 



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/c 



TS - NOBIS 



Ronning commented to me that he did not disabuse NVN 
leaders of their estimates of increased U.S. military 
action. Instead, he tried to impress upon them that 
U.S. could bring vastly greater military power to bear 
than could the French in 1950' s > sind that therefore 
no chance of history repeating itself (as they seemed 
to believe). 

rr U. Negotiations: NVN leaders were totally un- 
willing budge from 'four points,' His remonstrances 
that strict adherence 'four points' would amount to 
total American surrender and were therefore unworkable 
as negotiations formula were greeted with attitude 
'that's the American's problem.' Soviet Ambassador, 
while expressing full support NVTT, implied there was 
somewhat greater possibility for negotiations by tell- 
ing him that first prerequisite was permanent cessa- 
tion of bombing of HVN. When Ronning asked why, if 
this was the case, HVN had made no response during 
recent bombing pause , Soviet Ambassador said 'they 
did respond' but refused specify channel or content - 
Ambassador said resumption of bombing came at just the 
wrong time and gave Ronning impression resumption had 
'loused up' overtures Soviets were making to Hanoi 
at the time- 

"5. Sino-Soviet dispute: NVN leaders attempted 
downplay importance of dispute and particularly its 
impact on Vietnam situation. Told him they expected 
Chicoms to attend CPSU Congress, but claimed they . 
did not know composition delegation. 

"6. Geneva Accords. Ronning said both GVN and 
NVN leaders talked of return to Geneva Accords but 
in completely different terms. GVN leaders stressed 
provisions for withdrawal of NVN and VC forces, and 
claimed that reunification would eventually come through 
'disintegration' of communist control in north. NVN 
leaders stressed elections and claimed they were confi- 
dent election results would pave way to early reuni- 
fication. 

"7- Ronning *s treatment: Ronning found that as 
a Canadian he treated better than British who support 
American position fully, but made politely aware that 
Canada little more than American satellite. However 
Pham Van Dong appreciative of Pearson's public state- 
ment of regret over resumption of bombing in north. 
Ronning found his several hours of talks with Hanoi 
leaders very wearing and frustrating with conversations 

10 TS - KODIS 









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TS - NODIS 



wandering down blind alleys and always returning to same 
intransigent dead end- He got impression he was object 
of team effort at wearing him down, as long, hard hours 
of conversation with one group of officials would soon 
be followed, with little rest, by another session with 
fresh team. Some talks also scheduled in early morn- 
ing with scarcely fifteen minutes notice , apparently 
to keep him off balance- He was in constant company 
of protocol cadre (with whom he could converse in 
Chinese) and interpreter. 

"8, Impressions of Hanoi: People adequately 
c3.othed and fed- Ronning made special point of visit- 
ing market and found rice, fish, meat and vegetables 
in seemingly good supply. Only stall with line of 
people in front was selling flour. (He could not 
tell whether it was Canadian or not, but noticed word 
'flour 1 in English on bag.) Streets were practically 
empty at night, and Ronning was told that many oldsters, 
youth, and cadre dependents had been evacuated. 

"9- Ho Chi Minh out of sight: Ho, an old ac- 
quaintance of Ronning r s sent apologies explaining that 
round of meetings in connection with forthcoming Soviet 
Congress left no time to see him. It rumoured in Hanoi 
that Ho planning attend Congress. 

"10. Chinese also not in evidence: with exception 
of banquet room full of Chinese cultural troupers in 
Sun Yat Sen suits, Ronning saw no Chinese in Hanoi-. 
Chi com Embassy personnel invited to reception given 
by Worth Vietnamese his honor did not shew up. 



If 



ARMSTRONG 



March 20, 1966 

MEMORANDUM OF C0KVERSATI0II; Subject: Ronning Visit: Hanoi; 
Participants: Canadian Ambassador Chester Ronning, Canadian Ambassador 
Charles S. A. Ritchie, Embassy of Canada, Assistant Secretary for Far 
Eastern Affairs William P. Bundy, Mr. Miehaei Shenstone, Counselor, 
Embassy of Canada, Mr. Paul H. Kreisberg, OIC, Mainland China Affairs, 
ACA. 

,T 1. Ambassador Ronning passed the attached memorandum 
to Mr. Bundy, which summarizes his principal meetings in Hanoi. 

ATTACE^iEIJr QUOTE 

Accompanied by Mr. V. C. Moore, Canadian 



IJ . TS - KODIS 



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/a 



TS - KODIS 



Commissioner, I.C.S.C, Mr, Chester Ronning 
visited Hanoi from March 7 to 11, as a Special 
Representative of the Canadian Government. 

Mr. Ronning f s instructions were to present 
Prime Minister Pearson's reply to Ho Chi Minh f s letter 
of January 2k, and to discuss with the North Viet- 
namese authorities the conditions in which they would 
envisage a negotiated settlement in Vietnam, including 
the possibility of the International Commission playing 
a helpful good offices role in bringing about or facil- 
itating such negotiations. His primary objective was 
to obtain, if possible, authoritative clarification of 
the conditions enunciated by the Hanoi Government as 
required elements in a negotiated settlement. 

Ronning was received by, and had discussions with, 
Vice Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach, Foreign Minister 
Nguyen Buy Trinh, Col. Ha Van Lau, Chief of the PAVN 
Mission in charge of liaison with the I.C.S.C., and, on 
the last day of the visit, prime Minister Pham Van Dong. 
This final interview lasted for two hours. 

• 

All the discussions were marked, on the North 
Vietnamese side, by repeated emphasis on the necessary 
acceptance of the f Four Points' as the only basis on 
which a peaceful settlement could be approached, and 
by an apparent uncompromising belief in the ultimate 
'victory 1 of their cause. 

The early part of the interview with Pham Van Dong 
revealed these same obdurate attitudes, and seemed to 
suggest that there would be no deviation by the Prime Minister 
from the determined, confident, hard-line approach regis- 
tered by the others in previous discussions. Towards 
the end of the interview, however, and under persistent 
questioning by Ronning about the conditions Hanoi would 
require to have met before entering into direct or 
indirect talks with the U.S.A., the Prime Minister 
gave the following indication: North Vietnamese willing- 
ness to enter into some form of preliminary contact 
hinges on a commitment by the U.S.A. to cease 'bombing 
and all acts of war against North Vietnam' 'unconditionally 
and for good ' . 

In reply to questioning he made it clear that this 
condition was limited to North Vietnamese territory and 
did not encompass U.S. military activity in the South. 

It was not clear whether the commitment envisaged 
by Pham Van Dong was to be given publicly, or diplomatically. 



12 TS - NODIS 



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(The translator used the term 'declaration'.) 
Furthennore, while Pham Van Dong conveyed the 
impression that Hanoi's response to such a move by 
the U.S.A. would lead to negotiating contacts, he 
gave no clarification of whether he envisaged these 
as "being direct or indirect. Ke said: 'In fact, 
our position includes many aspects. In brief, we 
can say that inf ormal talks and a cessation of attacks 
against North Vietnam go together. f 

He did intimate, however, that he was soliciting 
a U.S. response, and a further exchange with the U.S.A. 
through Canadian channels. 'For our part', Pham Van 
Dong said, 'we will look into the attitude of the 
U.S.A., and with all understanding. 1 

It was agreed that what had been said to Ronning 
vould be conveyed to the U.S.A., as a Canadian under- 
standing of the North Vietnamese position, and not on 
the basis of a request by North Vietnam to do so. It 
was also understood that Canada was not volunteering 
to act as a mediator. 

Emphasis was laid on the importance of absolute 
secrecy in any exchange that might develop from Ronning' s 
discussions. Earlier feelers had become public and 
the Korth Vietnamese had been forced to issue a denial. 
AlECACHiEKT EHD QUOTE 

"2. Ee noted that in contrast to Saigon where he had 
operated completely under the ICC cloak, Hanoi was anxious 
that Ms visit there not be under ICC auspices. On his 
arrival he was escorted into the city separately from Victor 
Moore, the Canadian ICC representative in Hanoi. 

"3. Ronning found the Vice Foreign Minister, the Foreign 
Minister and ICC Liaison Officer, Col. Han Van Lao all equally 
hard and uncompromising on negotiations. All insisted on the 
US acceptance of the l h points', the role of the KLF as 'sole 
representative of the people of South Vietnam 1 , etc- Col. 
Han Van lao said that the DRV wanted the ICC to continue but 

* 

emphasized it was important that it make the proper findings. 
No findings at all were preferable to bad ones. 

w ^. Ronning said he tried in all his conversations to 
argue that it was a mistake to believe the Americans were 
like the French and could be driven out by military means. 
He said that all the Vietnamese took a 'black and white' view; 
the A'-jrlcans Mexe wrong and the DRV was 'right 1 . Trie For- 
eign Minister and other subordinate officials said they 
expected the US to destroy Hanoi and Haiphong. They were 



13 TS - K0DI8 



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US 



TS - KODIS 



evacuating women^ children, dispersing Government 
offices and factories, and were prepared to fight to 
the end. The United States, they said, could never 
crush an agricultural society like that of North Vietnam. 

"5* Officials below the Prime Minister also were 
critical of Canada for being an American 'satellite 1 , 

"6. Ronning 's last substantive conversation was with 
Prime Minister Pham Van Dong. Until nearly the end of 
his conversation, he was as rigid as his subordinates. 
In response to a question from Ronning inquiring whether 
there was nothing which could be done, Pham Van Dong said 
that the DRV would be prepared to have talks with the 
United States if the latter declared an unconditional and 
permanent halt to its bombings of North Vietnam. In 
response to a request for clarif ication, Pham Van Dong 
said he was not referring to military action in the South, 
only in the North. He added at this point, however, that 
this had already been included in the January h f 1966 
Foreign Ministry Statement and was not new. He agreed 
in response to Ronning f s request to provide Ronning with 
an aide memoire on talks following a permanent halt in 
bombings. Subsequently Ronning was told by an aide to 
Pham Van Dong that there had been a misunderstanding and 
no aide-memoire would be forthcoming. Ronning said that 
at no point had an acceptance of the *k points' been linked 
to the halt in bombing by Pham Van Dong. Dong asked that 
the Government of Canada convey this message to the United 
States and said several times that the DRV wanted to keep 
a channel open through the Canadians. 

"7. Ronning said he had asked Dong why the DRV hadn't 
talked to the United States during the last 'pause 1 . Dong 
said they had (the Soviet .Ambassador made this same point). 
Pham Van Dong had also tossed off the SIno-Soviet conflict 
as merely a 'difference of opinion' and had emphasized both 
were friends of the DRV and would help defend the security 
of a socialist country. 

"8. Pham Van Dong concluded by observing that the 
Canadians were 'men of good will 1 and while 'good will' 
doesn't matter much, one should use it when one can. 

"9- Dong accepted Prime Minister Pearson's letter 
to Ho Chi Minh but expressed regret that Ho was too busy* 
to see Ronning. Dong said the Chinese Co::anunists would 
go to Moscow for the 23rd CPSU Congress and that Chou En-la 1 
would probably lead the delegation. (Ambassador Ritchie 
said Ambassador Dobrynin had told him Chou would not be 
going to Moscow.) 



Ik TS - KODIS 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3,3 
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/£? 



TS - KODIS 



"10- Ronning expressed his personal opinion that the 
offer of talks for a complete halt to bombing was separate 
from the *h points' but added that, on balance, he frankly 
did not himself think anything significant had emerged 
from his visit. 

"11. Mr. Bundy observed that the Hanoi ploy was 
clever; since the bombing question had in the past 
(including Ho Chi Minh T s January 24 letter) been linked 
publicly with the '4 points', acceptance of the DRV 
offer implied acceptance of the 'k points. ' He said Phsm 
Van Dong's remarks would, however, call for sane careful 
consideration- To Mr. Bundy 's question as to whether 
Pham Van Dong had discussed the role of the NLF in negoti- 
ations, Ronning said he had not and suggested Hanoi wanted 
to avoid discussing matters that pertained directly to the 
South . " 



March 31, 196S 

■ 

Memorandum (SECRET/eXDIS); To: FE - Mr. Bundy; From: ACA - Harold 
W. Jacobson; Subject: EXDIS Response to Phasi Van Dong's Remarks to 
Ronning. 



"2. According to Ronning r s account, the only concrete 
proposal made to him in Hanoi was Pham Van Dong's last minute 
suggestion that DRV willingness to enter preliminary talks 
with us 'hinges' on the question of our declaration of an uncon- 
ditional and permanent halt to the bombing of North Vietnam. We 
could hardly respond positively on this; we could, at best, only 
seek further information. Therefore, instead of responding 
directly, to the Ronning message, Paul suggested, and David Dean 
and I concur, that the EXDIS Aide Memoir e sent to the DRV through 
Rangoon, February 16, be resubmitted to the DRV through the 
Canadians in the course of their routine travels to Hanoi. At 
the same time we could request the Canadians to add the following 
oral comment: 'A representative of the US would be prepared to 
discuss the question of talks leading toward a peaceful settle- 
ment of the conflict in Vietnam at any time. The proposal by 
the Eorth Vietnamese Premier that the US permanently and com- 
pletely halt such bombings could, of course, be among the sub- 
jects for discussion in such a meeting.'" 



15 . TS - NOBIS 



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April 22, 1966 

Department of State Memorandum for the File, 

"Mr* Paul Martin, Secretary of State for External Affairs, 
Canada , called at 9:05 AM from Ottawa, to speak to Mr, William 

Bundy. 



« 



- • 



". * . . His main concern was the long interval - the 
Canadians had had some word frcm 'Asia* to the effect that they 
too are concerned about the length of time /since the last visit^/ 
Mr. Martin said he felt very strongly indeed that they had to 
go back with something - even nothing - even something contrived. 

"Mr, Bundy said that any response would not be contrived on 
our side; that he had reviewed a proposed message to the Canadian 
Government just yesterday and had mentioned previously to Ambassa- 
dor Ritchie that we did not feel that it would be a propitious 
thing to move 'while things are at white heat. 1 

"Mr. Martin replied that he appreciated that, but felt that 
what we had to do was establish with 'these people' the notion - 
quite genuine on the Canadian side - that we want to do something 
and that we are really trying- He stated that the potentiality 
of this matter cannot be minimized. 






"Mr. Bundy said we would couch our memorandum in such terms 
that it would be up to the Canadians just how our message would 
be conveyed." 



(Drafted by B. M. Moore) 



r 

■ 

Department of State Memorandum for the Secretary (through S/s); 
Subject: Pending Vietnam Matters, dated 22 April i960. 



"... Paul Martin is very anxious for a prompt response 
on the Ronning approach. We still do not see much in it but 
plainly our relations with Paul Martin alone would dictate as 
forthcoming a response as we can make. I have drafted a reply. 



11 



lliam P. Bundy 



16 TS - NODIS 



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11/ 

111 TS - NODIS 



April 26, 1966 

MEMORANDUM TO THE GOVE OF CAHADA 

tr l. The Department of State has carefully studied the 
memorandum provided by Ambassador Chester Ronning following 
his trip to Hanoi on March 7~Hj an< ^ ^ as further considered 
Ambassador Ronning' s personal report to Mr. Bundy on his visit 
on March 20. . . . 

"2. We agree that the Canadian channel to Hanoi that this 
approach has provided should be kept open, and have refrained 
from proposing a reply up to this point because of the political 
crisis in Saigon- To have approached Hanoi in these circum- 
stances seemed to us unwise, 

"3* As the Canadian Government is aware, a direct channel 
between the United States Government and Hanoi was opened in 
Rangoon during the period of the recent bombing suspension. . . . 
the record stands that a direct channel has been opened, but that 
Hanoi chooses for the time being not to employ it. 

n k* Against this background, and in the light of repeated 
North Vietnamese statements insisting upon the acceptance of 
the so-called 'Pour Points' before any discussions or negoti- 
ations — and insisting that the US demonstrate such acceptance 
by 'concrete acts' such as the unequivocal and permanent cessation 
of bombing of the North — the USG is unable to evaluate the 
message conveyed to Mr. Ronning as indicating any real 'give' 
in Hanoi's position. We understand that Prime Minister Pham 
Van Dong reiterated the DRV r s 'four points, * but at the close 
of the conversation suggested or hinted that Hanoi might be pre- 
pared to enter into discussions if the US would declare a 
permanent cessation of bombing attacks on the North. It seems 
most probable that this was still intended to be linked with 
acceptance of the 'four points, ' although a contrary interpre- 
tation is conceivable. In any event, it should of course be 
clear that the U.S.G. could not accept a unilateral cessation 
of this form of military activity without some reciprocal action 
of the North Vietnamese side involving its infiltration of men 
and equipment into the South and perhaps also the overall level 
of military activity in the South. 

"5* In the circumstances, the U.S.G, believes that a 
message should be conveyed to Hanoi--either through the regular 
Canadian ICC representatives, or, if desired, Ambassador Ronning-- 
which would explore the meaning of the North Vietnamese suggestion 
as far as possible and reiterate US willingness to pursue the 
matter further through the established direct channel. The 
Canadian channel might continue to be used in the event of a 



17 TS - HODIS 



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in 

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forthcoming response- In view of the complexity of the 
issues that would be involved in any true reciprocal reduc- 
tion of hostilities, it would be the US hope, however, that 
if Hanoi were interested, the matter would be pursued directly 
as soon as possible- Specifically, the USG suggests that an 
oral message along the following lines be conveyed in Hanoi 
at the appropriate level: 

TEXT 

rr A. The Canadian Government has conveyed to the 
USG the views expressed by Prime Minister pham Van Dong 
to Ambassador Chester Ronning on March 11- The reaction 
of the USG indicated that it could not accept the apparent 
suggestion that the USG must agree to a permanent cessa- 
tior of the bombing of North Vietnam as a unilateral 
and non-reciprocated pre-condition to the holding of 
discussions. The Canadian Government knows, from the 
public and private statements of US representatives, 
that the US is itself prepared for discussions or nego- 
tiations without any preconditions whatever, and that 
it would also be prepared to consider a reciprocal 
reduction in hostilities in Vietnam, which could include 
the question of the bombing of North Vietnam. However, 
action concerning the latter, as the Canadian Government 
understands the US view, could not be undertaken uni- 
• laterally in the absence of reciprocal measures by Worth 
Vietnam- The Canadian Government is confident the USG 
would be interested in any indication the DRV was inter- 
ested in such reciprocal actions, and of what sort. 
Moreover, interest was expressed by the USG as to whether 
the remarks of Prime Minister Pham Van Dong indicated 
the possibility that mutual and reciprocal reductions 
in military activity might in themselves serve to create 
the possibility for holding of discussions or talks. 

rf B, The Canadian Government is assured that the 
USG would be prepared at any time to discuss directly 
and in fullest confidence the respective positions of 
the USG and the Forth Vietnamese Government and the 
possible means of reconciling these positions and moving 
toward a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam conflict. 

fT C. The Canadian Government knows that the US would 
be interested in any response, or any indication of its 
position in any respect, that the Government of North 
Vietnam night wish to communicate to the Government of 
Canada," 



18 TS - NODIS 



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173 

TS - NOBIS 



April 26, 1966 

Amembassy OTTAWA lhh3 to SecState (SECRET/eODIS) 



"1. I delivered the memorandum contained in reftel to 
Extaff Min Martin. . . . 



"3 • Martin •• . said that he had been concerned that 
delay on our part might call into question Canada's 'credibility 1 
and this was the reason why T in the absence of Dean and you and 
Charles Ritchie 1 he had 'impulsively picked up the telephone 1 and 
called Bundy. He went on to say that the U.S» had been assured that 
nothing that was in our national interest to know would* be withheld; 
nevertheless GOC did have important information of which it was 
the sole possessor, . . . " 

BUTTERWORTH 

I 1 April 30, 1966 

Oral Message (Final Draft) 

j "A. The Canadian Government has conveyed to the United 

I States Government the views expressed by Prime Minister Pham 

Van Dong to Ambassador Chester Ronning on March II • • • . 

"B. The Canadian Government told the United States 
Government that, on the basis of the impressions gained by 
Ambassador Chester Ronning, the D. R.B.N, would be prepared 
to have informal talks if there were an unconditional under- 
taking by the United States to cease bombing and all acts of 
war against North Vietnam. The reaction of the United States 
Government indicated that it could not accept a suggestion in 
these terms, that is to say> that it must agree to a permanent 
cessation of the bcmbing of North Vietnam as a unilateral and 
non-reciprocated precondition to the holding of discussions. 

- 

"C. The Canadian Government knows, fran the public and 
private statements of U.S. representatives, that the United 
States is itself prepared to engage in discussions or negoti- 
ations without preconditions. If this could not be done on 
the Ilorth Vietnamese side without preconditions involving the 
question of halting the bombing of North Vietnam, • the Canadian 
Government understands that the United States would be prepared 
to proceed towards talks on the basis of a reciprocal reduction 
in hostilities in Vietnam of which a cessation of the boshing 
of North Vietnam would be one element. The Canadian Government 
is confident that the United States Government would be interested 



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in any Indication that the D.R.V.IL was prepared to consider 
such a reciprocal reduction in hostilities and, if so, of 
what sort. The Canadian Government also believes that the 
United States Government would be prepared to contemplate 
the possibility of a mutual and reciprocal reduction in mil- 
itary activity. This might in itself serve to create the 
possibility for the holding of discussions or talks. 



- • 



"D. The Canadian Government knows that the United States 
would be interested in any response, or any indication of its 
position in any respect, that the Government of North Vietnam 
might wish to communicate to the Government of Canada. 

"E. The United States Government are interested in 
seeing the Canadian channel kept open. The Canadian Govern- 
ment is also assured that the United States Government would 
be prepared at any time to discuss directly and in fullest 
confidence the respective positions of the United States 
Government and the North Vietnamese Government and the possible 
means of reconciling these positions and moving toward a peace- 
ful settlement of the Vietnam conflict." 



May 2, 1$66 

MEMORANDUM (SECRET/M)DIS); To: Mr. Bundy; From: Paul H. Kreisberg; 
Subject: Ronning II 

"The draft Canadian oral message based upon our April 26th 
memorandum to the GOC seems to me to be essentially satisfactory 
and to accurately reflect the spirit of our original memorandum. 



May 5j 19b6 

Note to the Secretary (SECRET/jMODIS) 

"Ambassador Waller (Australia) came to see me this after- 
noon and asked point blank about what Chester Ronning was up 
to. In the circumstances, I decided that the only thing to do 
was to tell him frankly the situation. I therefore said that 
Ronning had been up in Hanoi in March and had talked to Pham Van 
Dong, who had reiterated the four points but then had thrown out 
a teasing suggestion that they might be prepared to talk if we 
agreed to stop the bombing. I said that we had sat on this 
message during the recent political troubles, but were now 
prepared to authorize the Canadians (I did not specify whether 
it would be Ronning himself) to go back and say that we were 
interested in whether Eanoi had really meant to say that it no 
longer insisted on the four points and was talking only of a 



20 



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cessation of bombing, and secondly that if this was the 
suggestion we could not accept it on a unilateral basis but 
would have to know what Hanoi proposed to do itself. . 






• • • * 



William P. Bundy 



May 9, 1966 

Department of State, Note to the Secretary (SECBEP/NODIS) 

"Walt Rostow heard from the Ranch today that the President 
has indicated that if you wish we may give Ottawa approval of 
the attached revised Ronning oral message to Hanoi without 
checking back with him, but the President asked whether we might 
not have to override this political initiative with a more far- 
reaching one if we take the air action against NVN now being 
pressed by DOD. 

"Under these circumstances, do you wish the revised draft 
to be given to the Canadians at this time?" 

Benjamin H. Bead 



May 15, 1966 

STATE 1219 to Amembassy OTTAWA (SECRET/nODIS) 



• ■ 



"5. We would prefer that Ronning . • • make the following 
points; 

(a) He understands that the ICRC in accordance with 
its traditional neutrality and independence stands ready to 
make its services available to prisoners on both sides of this 
conflict. 



* • * 



• • 



(c) He has reason to believe that the U.S* would be 
prepared to discuss arrangements for a possible release or 
exchange of these prisoners, either through the Red Cross, or 
through another intermediary, or directly, North Vietnamese 
receptivity to such a move would be an important step toward 
lessening of tension. 

"6. We would not want Ronning to raise the issue of 'war 



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crimes trials', partly because there are recent indications 
that Hanoi does not intend to go through with its threat to 
try these men. ..." 

HUSK (Drafted by F. A. Sieverts) 

May 2h, 1966 

SAIGON TT External k2 Immed DE DELHI 

"Following is text of Hanoi Tel CHl^+l May 21: Begins: 
For Coinmissioner only from Donahue QUOTE Was requested to 
attend mtg with Van Iau today at I83O hours. After brief 
exchange of pleasantries he got right down to business.. He 
gave us well rehearsed summary of the Vietnam situation, 
reaffirming time and again that the USA and her satellites 
were cause of the present situation. He stated that in 
spite of world opinion condemning her policy, the USA was 

intensifying and expanding the war* 

* 

"2. QUOTE At the end of this talk he said he did not 
rpt not have a let to give me but he. did give me an Aide 
Memo ire which laid out the point of view of his Govt. I am 
enclosing full text of this note. He requested that I bring 
the point of view of his Govt, to your attn as well as their 
views on the proposals made by our FM on May 2. He empha- 
sized this last point. 

"3. QUOTE Following is full text of note QUOTE Par Al - 
Everybody knows that the deep root and the immed cause of the 
present serious situation in Vietnam lie in the USA policy of 
intervention and aggression. At present, the USA Govt, keep 
sending more USA and satellite troops to South Vietnam in an 
attempt to intensify and expand its war of aggression there, 
at the same time fren^ledly QUOTE escalating UNQUOTE Its air 
war against the DRVII evilly committing countless crimes against 
the Vietnamese people. So far it has refused to recognize the 
four-point stand of the Govt, of the DRVN and to recognize 
the South Vietnam Rational Front for Liberation as the sole 
genuine rep of the people of South Vietnam. It is obvious that 
the USA policy of aggression vls-a-vis Vietnam remains unchanged. 
2. The Govt, of the DRVN once again affirms that If the USA 
Govt, really desires a peaceful settlement it must recognize 
the four-point stand of the DBYII Govt., prove this by actual 
deeds; It must announce a definitive and unconditional end to 
its air raids and all other actions of war against the Democratic 
Republic of Vietnam. Only then will it be possible to envisage 



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a political solution to the Vietnam problem. 3- According 
to recent reports from Western news agencies, on MSy^ 1966 
the CDN PM came out with a proposal or measure for a settle- 
ment of the Vietnam problem. It is to be regretted that this 
proposal conforms neither to the fundamental provisions of the 
195^ Geneva Agreements on Vietnam, nor to the actual situation 
in Vietnam. It makes no rpt no distinction between the USA 
which is the aggressor and the Vietnamese people who are the 
victims of aggression fighting in self-defence. It does not 
rpt not meet the four-point stand of the DRVTT Govt. However, 
out of good will, we consider that Mr. Ronning f s visit to 
Hanoi may be agreed to as proposal by the CDN Govt. The timing 
of the visit will be intimated in due course. Hanoi May 2l/66 
UEQUOTE , 



MOORE 



June 3, 1966 

OTTAWA I635 to SecState (SECHET/nODIS) 

"1- GOC learned today that Ronning mission acceptable 
to Hanoi in mid-June, so Ronning expected fly to Hanoi fron 
Saigon on ICC aircraft June Ik and return June l8. 



"3- Extaff has queried whether Dept. has any comment 
for It on that section of John Finney article in IJY Times of 
June 3 which stated that USG QUOTE has sent a ne\r message to 
Hanoi pledging willingness to cease bombing if KVN, under 
some form of international verification, stops infiltrating 
troops into SVN. These diplomatic overtures have been con- 
veyed to Peking and Hanoi in recent days through diplomatic 
channels and through private, informal meetings by individuals 
who were understood to know administration thinking. END QUOTE." 

BUTTERWOKPH 



June 6j 1965 

SAIGOH 5312 to SecState (SECRET/kODIS) 

"1. It would be less disturbing if Canadians were to leave 
informing GVN about Ronning mission to US. However we recognize 
this might not satisfy Canadians, and that may be behind their 
offer to clear their approach in advance. . . . 



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"3* We, of course, will . . * . use argument that 
Canadians wished to pursue matter, we had no wish to dis< 
courage them, and while we do not expect results we will 
keep GVN iafomed." 

LODGE 



June 8, 1966 

BRUSSELS SECTO 87 to SecState (TOP SECRET/nODIS ) ; Eyes Only for 
Secretary McNamara from Secretary Rusk. 

"Reference your telegram on Ronning, you may have seen* 
by telegram to the President. 1 am deeply disturbed by 
general international revulsion, and perhaps a great deal at 
home, if it becomes known that we took an action which sabotaged 
the Ronning mission to which we had given our agreement. I 
recognize agony of this problem for all concerned. We could 
m3ke arrangements to get an immediate report from Ronning. If 
he has a negative report, as we expect, that provides a firmer 
base for the action we contemplate and would make a difference 
to people like Wilson and Pearson. If, on the other hand, he 
learns that there is any serious breakthrough toward peace , the 
President would surely want to know of that before an action 
which would knock such a possibility off the tracks. I strongly 
recommend therefore against ninth or tenth. I regret this 
because of my maximum desire to support you and your colleagues 
in your tough job." 

RUSK 



June 8, 1966 

SAIGON 5379 to SecState (SECRET/NODIS) 



Section one of two. 



"2. Moore then launched into a long talk .full of miscel- 
laneous items about what he has picked up in North Viet- Nam, as 
follows : 

"3* The North Vietnamese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs 
had told Moore that the La pira peace feeler had been genuine, 
but the Hanoi regime had had to denounce it when the leak came. 

"4. Moore was very emphatic on the danger of leaks, and, in 
fact, on the whole danger of talking a great deal and having a lot 



2k TS - KODIS 



n 



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of publicity about peace feelers. He said that Hanoi have 
r played ball 1 as regards keeping quiet on the first Bonning 
trip, and he believed they would do so this time, 

"5- In particular, he deplores a U.S. statement which 
he said was made by McCloskey on June 3, which gave in public 
almost exactly what the substance was of what the Canadians 
were planning to say in private. . - . 



LODGE 



Section two of two. 

"12. .... On the matter of a public statement explaining 
the reason for the Ronning trip, he said it was clear that Hanoi 
did not like any talk about T a new role for the Commission' and 
that would not be used as an explanation. 

"13- Moore agrees with his Polish colleague that there is 
a 'will to talk 1 in Hanoi and cited the receptiveness to the 
suggestion that Ronning could come as an illustration. 

"l4. He talked a good deal about conversations which he 
had had with Ha Van Lau, the Hanoi regime's liaison man with 
the ICC, and honorary colonel and a professional French -trained 
civil servant. Iau said: 'The U.S. must show its sincerity by 
its deeds. 1 At a number of dinners and lunches, where he con- 
stantly ran into Lau, the conversation always was on Lau r s part 
and the other guests around him: 'How can this war be ended?' 
Lau often discussed reunification, with discussions running some- 
thing like this: 'After the fighting stops, there should be a 
fairly long interval, during which the status quo continues with 
the two countries divided at the 17th parallel, depending on 
the circumstances. After that, it would be possible to see 
whether thei'e were some changed ideas in Saigon and Hanoi.' 
But, Moore said, implicit in everything that lau said was that 
the NLF was the only legitimate group and would, of course, have 
to be the government of South Viet-Mam." 



LODGE 



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June 15, 1966 

SPATE 3563 to Amembassy TOKYO (TOP SECRET/iIODIS); Literally Eyes 
Only for Ambassador from Secretary 

"1. As you know from discussion at Baguio meetings we 
have had under continuing consideration the possibility of 
bombing key POL installations in DRV, notably Haiphong and 
Hanoi installations, which are just outside city limits and 
in areas where we believe civilian casualties can be kept to 
extremely low figures under the prescribed operating rules of 
good weather and daylight operations. Operation would involve 
total of roughly seven targets and could be conducted in two good 
weather days, although the likelihood of good weather and effec- 
tive attack may be such as to cause it to stretch for four days 
or more. 

". . . . Assuming that the operation were to be conducted 
between now and early July, we request your personal assessment 
as to the level of Japanese reaction to be anticipated and the 
attitude GOJ might take. . • - 



RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



STATE to Amembassy VIENTIANE 802; Info: Amembassy OTTAWA 13^1 and 
Amembassy SAIGON 3911 (SECRET/NODIS) 



"2. - , . ♦ your arrangement with Maclellan to see him 
June 18 is exactly right. You should find occasion to re-confirm 
this meeting and to make absolutely sure you see Ronning soonest as 
he returns/ 1 



RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



Department of State Memorandum of Conversation (SECRET); Subject: 
Ronning Visit; Participants: Mr. Michael Shenstone, Counselor, 
Canadian Mbassy; Mr. Leonard Unger, Deputy Assistant Secretary for 
Far Eastern Affairs. 

"1. .... Moore recounted a conversation of Ronning 
(and himself, presumably) with a senior DRV Foreign Ministry 



o 



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TS - NOBIS 



official who said that there will be no DRV press release 
on the Ronning visit this time and he hoped that the 
Canadians would likewise make no public statement . The 
official went on to say that his Government presumes that 
Peking knows about the Ronning visit but the DRV neverthe- 
less wished to avoid the added affront that might be given by 
its being publicly announced. Moore speculated that an 
added factor might be that Ho Chi Minh might still be present 
in Peking . - . . " 



June 15, 1966 

IQNDON, JUKE 15 (REUTERS) 

"Prime Minister Harold Wilson hinted today that another 
peace initiative in Vietnam might be made soon. 

"The prime Minister said a mission to Hanoi last year 
by junior Minister Harold Davies was greatly harmed by 
premature publicity. 

11 ' I shall be careful to say nothing today, f Wilson told 
a meeting of his parliamentary labor party. 'This does not 
mean that there will be none. f 

"Diplomatic observers in London thought Wilson may have 
been referring to the mission of special Canadian Envoy 
Chester Ronnings. 

"Officials in Ottawa today said Ronning was now in Hanoi 
on his second mission since March.' 



* . • * 



June 17, 1966 

STATE to Amembassy VIEHTIAEE 805; Info: Amembassy OTTAWA 13V? and 
Amembassy SAIGON 39^3- Eyes Only for Charge. 

"In your conversation with Ronning, if he should give 
negative reading, you should inquire particularly whether 
he is making immediate cable report to his government in 
this sense." 

RUSK (Drafted by W. P. Bundy) 



27 TS - NODIS 



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June 17, 1966 

OTTAWA 1710 to SecState (SECRET/kODIS) 



• • 



• 



4 



"Martin said he had given Ronning instructions to be 
very careful, depending on what he c ernes out with, about 
what he tells our people in Vientiane . He is instructed in 
any case to send a full report as promptly as possible to 
Martin himself. 



• ■ • 



• • 



SCOTT 



June 18 , 1966 

SAIGON 5628 to SecState (SECRET/NODIS) 

"Moore has more than clammed up. He regrets he is 
under strict instructions not rpt not to talk to us until 
he reports to Ottawa. . . . His instructions provide that 
Ottawa will do the talking 



tr 
• • • 



LODGE 



VIENTIANE 1335 to SecState; Info: Ottawa 98 and Saigon 65k (SECRET/ 
NODIS) 

■ 

"1. . . . I was unable see Ronning during his brief 
stopover here this morning. Maclellan apparently received 
two days ago categorical instructions from Ottawa that 
Ronning was to see no one rpt no one on his return from 
Hanoi. , . . " 



. » 



SWANK 



June 20, I966 

OTTAWA 1722 to SecState 



. « 



"2. Martin said his primary reason for wanting to see 



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Kreisberg first was to emphasize his grave concern that 
any escalation in military action in Vietnam by U.S. in 
immediate future would jeopardize Canadian good faith with 
Hanoi and make it appear U.S. used Ronning as means of 
obtaining negative readout on negotiations which would 
justify escalation." 



SCOTT 



June 21, 1966 

OTTAWA to SecState 17^0 FLASH (SECRET/EXDIS); For Secretary from 
Bundy. 



"2. Basically, Hanoi turned Ronning down cold on 
their paying any price whatever for the cessation of 
bombing. It is Ronning f s impression that they understood 
his message to relate to preliminary talks of the character 
that we had had in Rangoon. In other words, Hanoi appeared 
to Ronning to be saying that they would not even talk to us 
in this fashion unless we agreed to cease bombing totally 
on their terms, without any reciprocal action on their part. 

"3* Ronning thinks Hanoi had hoped he was bringing 
something more forthcoming than our familiar position calling 
for reduction of hostilities to be reciprocal. DRV Reps 
did refer specifically to our June 3 spokesman's statement 
on this subject, which of course had simply repeated the 
position we had stated many times, most specifically in our 
reply to the British last August. Martin this afternoon gave 
me no hint of recrimination because of our having repeated 
this position publicly, but this remains a potentially trouble- 
some point that he may raise this evening. 

"4. Having covered the question of conditions for pre- 
liminary talks, Ronning went on to have. a general discussion 
of the conditions under which there might be QTE a cease-fire 
and negotiations UlIQTE. The DHV foreign minister dealt veiy 
generally with this subject, but the total DRV comment appeared 
to add up to there being a satisfactory prior understanding, 
before QTE negotiations UI<QTE, as to (l) our recognition of the 
status of the ItfLF (not spelled out); (2) return ot (sic) the 
195^ Agreements; (3) withdrawal of U.S. forces (not specified 
whether this must take place prior to negotiations or as to the 



29 TS - KODIS 



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• 



4 



ultimate result); (h) the four points • Ronning did not get 
into detail on these questions, but the litany sounds 
familiar. 

"5- The only conceivable sign of life in all the con- 
versations is that the DRV Reps did say categorically that 
acceptance of the four points was not repeat not a necessary 
condition to preliminary talks. The only condition for such 
preliminary talks in our unilateral cessation of bombing. 
However, as I have noted above, this appears to relate only 
to resumption of Rangoon- type contact, and as to any sub- 
stantive negotiations the four points are still in the picture 
I conclude that the result is clearly negative and I hope 
to confirm more categorically tonight that Pearson and Martin 
accept this, I also expect to get into the question of what 
they will be saying in their Parliament- My own thought is 
that they might say that Ronning was seeking on Canadian 
initiative to see whether a basis could be established for 
talks among the interested parties. His conclusion was that 
no such basis as yet existed. This kind of formula would 
avoid Martin f s saying what the positions were or whether he 
agreed with the American position, which I surmise he would be 
reluctant to do." 

BUTTERWOBTH 



MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION (SECRET/eXDIS); Subject: Visit of 
Ambassador Ronning to Hanoi, June 1^-17* i960; Participants: 
Canada : The Honorable Paul Martin, Minister of External Affairs; 
Ambassador Chester Ronning, Government of Canada; Mr. Ralph Collins, 
Under Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs; Mr. Claus Goldsehlag, 
Director of Far Eastern Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs; 
Mr, Thomas Delworth, Vietnam Desk Officer, Ministry of External 
Affairs- United States : Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary 
for Far Eastern Affairs; Minister Joseph V. Scott, American Enbassy, 
Ottawa; Mr. Paul H. Ereisberg, OIC, Mainland China Affairs, Fe/acA. 

"1. Ambassador Ronning said that he was met on his 
arrival in Hanoi by Le Thanh, Director of the North American 
Division of the DRV Foreign Ministry. He was greeted warmly 
and given the best suite in the Government's guest house in 
Hanoi, considerably better accommodations than he had had during 
his first visit in March. The evening of the same day, June lk, 
Le Thanh gave a small dinner party for Ambassador Ronning at which 
he subjected Ronning to a continuous hard line presentation of the 
DRV position throughout the evening. Ronning said that he had not 
paid much attention to Le Thanh's remarks in view of his rela- 
tively junior status, 

- 

"2. The next day, June 15, Ronning was received by Vice 
Foreign Minister Nguyen Go Thsch. Ambassador Ronning conveyed 



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to Thach the oral message with which he had been provided 
by the US Government and requested that Thach pass it on 
to his superiors in the DRV Government, Thach agreed to do 
so but gave his personal opinion that it was doubtful a 
favorable response would be forthcoming. • . . 

"3- Later in the afternoon of June 15, Ronning saw PAVN 
ICC liaison officer, Col- Ha Van Lao. Ha analyzed at great 
length the Vietnamese situation — both North and South — enrpha- 
sizing that the North Vietnamese were prepared to resist 
indefinitely, that no matter how much the U.S. increased its 
efforts the North Vietnamese had the ability to deal with the 
situation, and that the US would inevitably be defeated in 
South Vietnam. He claimed the Viet Cong were winning every- 
where and that recent South Vietnam political difficulties proved 
the US did not have the confidence of the people. He also said 
criticisms of US policy in the US, specifically referring to 
Senator Fulbright and Walter Lippmann, also proved that there 
was a lack of American confidence in President Johnson. He 
said, however, that the DRV was not* counting on US opinion to 
wiri but on the strength of f the Vietnamese people themselves. ' 



"5- On the third day, June 16, Ambassador Ronning saw 
the highest official to whom he was given access on this trip, 
Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh, who, however, received him 
in his concomitant capacity as Vice Premier. Trinh said that the 
US oral message had been considered and that the Forth Vietnamese 
had been disappointed that Ronning had brought a reply similar to 
newspaper reports with which the DRV was already familiar. He 
said there was nothing in the Ronning message that the DRV had 
not already considered and accused the Canadians of joining with 
the US in another 'peace offensive*. He said he had considered 
the Canadians to be sincere and to have had good will which was 
why they had accepted the offer of good offices by the Government 
of Canada. He rejected as impossible; however, any suggestion 
that the DRV pay a price for a halt of US bombing of North Vietnam 
(Ronning 1 s interpreter told him the next morning that part of the 
reason the US proposal had been rejected was that the DRV could 
not permit the US to believe it was so concerned about US bombing 
that it would pay a price for its halt.) He furthermore charged 
that the US had been escalating the war since Ronning 's last visit 
in March and asked how it was possible for Ronning to be in Viet- 
nam 'negotiating' while this was going on. Ronning denied that 
he was engaging in 'negotiations' but was simply trying to dis- 
cover whether there were any mutually acceptable bases on which 
movement toward a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam conflict 
might be made. Ronning asked Trinh whether his remarks meant 
that the March DRV proposal was now being withdrawn. Trinh said 



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TS - KODIS 



it was not and that if the US was willing to accept the 
original DRV proposal, the DRV was prepared to 'tali 1 . 
Ronning further asked whether, if the DEV concluded that 
the GOC was insincere and that it lacked confidence in 
Canadian good will and efforts to contribute to an honor- 
able settlement j there was any point in continuing the dis- 
cussions further and in keeping the 'Canadian 1 channel open. 
Trinh again expressed regret that Ronning' s presentation to 
Vice Foreign Minister Thach had showed 'lack of appreciation 1 
of the DRV position but added that it was the US attitude to 
which the DRV objected primarily and that the Forth Vietnamese 
wished to keep the door open through the Canadians for any 
further developments, 

fl 6. Ronning asked Trinh whether the DRV could put for- 
ward any new counter-proposal. He inquired, as an example, 
as to the possibility of an over-all settlement including a 
ceasefire throughout Vietnam. Trinh said 'This all depends 
on the US attitude 1 . Aside from halting its bombing of North 
Vietnam, which must be done before any talks could be held, the 
US would have to 'recognize the ELF position, ' abide by the 
terms of the 195^ Geneva Agreements, and withdraw its forces and" 
bases from South Vietnam. 

rf 7» Ronning said that Trinh had referred to the WLF 'Five 
Points' as among those elements which would have to be accepted 
by the US but was ambiguous as to whether this would be part 
of the discussions leading toward an amis t ice or of a final 
settlement. He said that he had clarified specifically with 
both Thach and Trinh that acceptance of the DRV 'Four Points' 
and a cessation of fighting in South Vietnam were not precon- 
ditions for preliminary DRV-US talks. Ronning emphasized the DRV 
position was that if the US stopped bombing completely, the DRV 
was prepared to talk. 

"8. Trinh did not himself specifically refer to the DRV 
'Four Points' £er se, although he mentioned individual points in 
the course of his presentation. (On the day of Ronning 's departure, 
however, Le Thanh of the Foreign Ministry noted specifically to 
Ronning that the 'Four Points' were also 'an element', one of 
the problems that would have to be discussed.) 

"9- Ronning asked Trinh whether, if the US clarified its 
position on the NEF, agreed to the withdrawal of its troops, and 
agreed to abide by the 195** Geneva Agreements. The DRV would, 
be prepared to enter into negotiations. Trinh said 'It all 
depended on the US reply, but the current US attitude would have 
to change.' Ronning emphasized that his entire presentation and 
all his remarks during this part of the conversation with Trinh 
were extremely general and that he had not attempted in any way 
to go into details but merely to try and feel out the general 
nature of the DRV position. 

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"10. On the final day of the trip, June IT, Le Thanh 
reiterated to Ronning that the DRV had confidence in Canadian 
sincerity and good will and wished to keep the door open If 
the Government of Canada had anything to say. Ronning added he 
replied that, similarly, if the DRV had anything to say it 
could contact the Canadian representative on the ICC, Moore. 

n ll. In response to questions asked by others present 
at Ambassador Ronning f s debriefing, Ronning made the following 
observations which he did not attribute to specific DRV 
individuals but which he said had been made during his con* 
versations in Hanoi: 

a. The North Vietnamese were confident that the 

US would eventually bomb Hanoi and Haiphong and lay waste much 
of North Vietnam. They expected this and were prepared for it. 
He remarked that on June 15> while he was in Hanoi, there had 
been an air raid alarm which had sent the population scurrying 
to many shelters which had been built in the city. He thought 
an observation plane might have been responsible for the alarm 
and said he had seen no planes (there was a heavy cloud cover) 
or heard any bombing. He noted that a US plane was said to have 
been downed in the suburbs of Hanoi a few days before his 
arrival and that the diplomatic corps had been taken to see 
the plane and had been given fragments as souvenirs. The 
Canadian ICC military representative, however } was not permitted 
to make this 'excursion 1 . 

b. DRV officials told Ronning that premier Pham Van 
Dong was not in Hanoi at the time but did not specify where he 
was. In response to Ronning ! s own question as to Ho Chi Minh's 
whereabouts, officials said Ho was not in Communist China and 
labeled as 'rumors 1 reports that he was on such a trip* The 
question of whether he had been in the CPR was not raised. 

c. DRV officials on at least one occasion strongly 
criticized the Government of Canada for its role on the ICC 
Commission in Laos. 

d. Officials had specifically told Ronning that they 
would attend a Geneva -type conference on Vietnam. (This presum- 
ably came up in the context of the general conditions under which 
the DRV would agree to negotiations) and observed that they 
would favor French participation In such a conference. 

e. No emphasis was placed in the conversations on the 
subject of 'reunification 1 but it was raised "ay DRV officials 
In the context of observance of the 195^ Geneva Agreements. 

f . DRV officials declined to be drawn out by questions 
on the relationship of the DRV with the Soviets and the Chinese, 



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merely reiterating that both supported North Vietnam and 
were fraternal countries of the DRV. 

"12. Minister of External Affairs Martin asked Ambassador 
Ronning several times to make clear whether there was any ambi- 
guity in his mind as to whether Hanoi was prepared to 'talk* 
solely on the basis of an end to the US bombing. Ronning was 
absolutely convinced there was no ambiguity on this point and 
that he interpreted DRV reference to be to informal bilateral 
talks with the US, not to formal negotiations or a Geneva -type 
conference. Mr, Goldschlag summarized the DRV position as 
Ronning appeared to have garnered it as a three- stage position: 
(l) an end to US bombing on DRV terms; (2) informal bilateral 
DRV- US talks; (3) a multilateral Geneva-type conference. Ronning 
and Martin agreed this was an accurate summation as the Canadians 
understood it. 

"13. In a subsequent private conversation } Ronning told 
Kreisberg that he had been totally depressed following his con- 
versation with Trinh and that he had not detected any hint on 
Trinh' s part of a desire to put forward any new or alternative 
proposals which Ronning might bring back. , 

u lk. At the conclusion of the conversation, Mr. Bundy 
observed that it was very difficult to perceive where there was 
any 'handle 1 by which to grab hold of the views expressed by 
DRV officials to Ambassador* Ronning but that the USG would care- 
fully evaluate Ronning r s observations as conveyed during the 
present meeting. 

rr 15- Comment : Ronning T s manner and attitude following his 
June trip to Hanoi was markedly more sober and subdued than it 
was after his March trip. In March Ronning clearly felt that he may 
have gotten some hint of a shift in the DRV position which posed 
the possibility of further hopeful development* He was anxious at 
that time for the US to consider urgently its evaluation of the 
DRV line to the GOC so that some further move might be undertaken. 
At no point during Ronning ! s remarks following his June trip to Hanoi 
did he personally hint at any opening or flexibility in the DRV 
position or that he had emerged from his current mission with any 
information tfhich required further consideration and might offer 
the possibility for yet a third effort. Minister of External Affairs 
Martin, however, repeatedly emphasized on his side that the DRV 
had agreed to keep open the Canadian channel and that this was 
important. Ronning did not demur from this position, and in fact 
agreed that Hanoi had been willing to keep the channel open but 
offered no encouragement or suggestion as to how it might be used 
from here on . " 



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June 22 , 1966 

Attachment to Memorandum for the Record ( SECRET/ NOD IS ); Subject: 
Dinner Meeting with Paul Martin and Other Canadians, June 21, 1966 

I. - The Ronning Mission 

"A . It was entirely clear at the dinner that all the 
Canadian participants accepted that Ronning had found no sign 
of T give* in Hanoi's position . 



"B. While Martin attempted seme recriminations in the US 



handling of the mission, by the close of the discussion we 
believe these had been dealt with and will not appear in any 
public discussion by him . 

. . . . Martin early in the dinner launched into a complaint 
that our position had not been forthcoming enough. Mr. Bundy said 
that we could have taken no other position on a unilateral cessa- 
tion of bombing, and with this Martin wholly agreed. He then went 
on to suggest that we might have said something more about the 
status of the NLF, and Ronning made the suggestion that we might 
indicate at some point that we were prepared to treat the NLF as 
a 'belligerent group. f Mr. Bundy argued that any recognition of 
the NLF as an independent party would prejudice the whole possi- 
bility of a stable political settlement in the South and simply 
could not be contemplated, particularly with the existing political 
weakness in the South. . * . 

Secondly, Martin, and to some degree Ronning, thought that 
our June 3 press statement on reciprocal reductions of hostilities 
might have queered the mission. Ronning 's account of his mission 
(covered, in Mr. Kreisberg's separate memorandum) had indicated 
that the DRV representatives had referred to his press statement, 
and Ronning also thought that they had expected something more 
forthcoming from his mission. . . . when we had been forced to 
comment on the Finney leak of June 3 about the Warsaw talks (which 
Mr. Bundy noted had been forced on us by a Senatorial indiscretion) 
we were bound to repeat precisely the position that we had always 
taken, saying that we could consider action concerning the bombing 
if Hanoi would take reciprocal action, 'for example 1 relating to 
infiltration; military activity, and North Vietnamese military 
personnel in the South. . . . 

■ 

1 

Thirdly, several of the Canadians wondered what sort of 
response we might have expected Hanoi to make to the agreed message.' 
On this, Mr. Bundy remarked that we had had one experience with 
a North Vietnamese contact who had said that we should watch the 
level of military activity and North Vietnamese military presence 
in the South, . . . 



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.... there was a long discussion of Hanoi's state of 
mind. Mr. Bundy expressed "the view that Hanoi had dug itself 
in during December, as their handling of the pause showed, and 
that the political troubles in the South would seem logically 
to be encouraging to Hanoi. At the same time, we were getting 
evidence that our pressures in the South were exerting an effect } 
and even some third country evidence that the bombing was having 
a cumulative depressing effect in the North. It was now clearly 
of vital importance to get the political situation in the South 
stabilized, and we hoped, established on a democratic basis through 
the Constitutional elections. If this could be done, Bundy thought 
that Hanoi might start to show some signs of give in 3~^ months, 
although he was not sanguine that Hanoi would be ready to call the 
operation off by the end of the year. . / . 



II. - Points Belated to Bombing Policy 

M At no point did Mr. Bundy refer specifically to any forth- 
coming operations. However, the course of the discussion peimitted 
several related points to be made and discussed, as follows: 



ii 



A. Possibility of Chinese Intervention 



Bundy and Ronning had a long exchange on this, in which 
virtually total agreement emerged that the Chicoms would be highly 
sensitive to any threat to their own territory and might well 
react if they concluded that it had become our objective to destroy 
North Vietnam or eliminate the Communist regime there. . . . 



f, B. Mr. Bundy specifically said that we had no intention of 
bombing the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, or mining the Haiphong 
harbor. 



Ronning had given an Interesting account of the air raid 
shelters constructed in Hanoi, and Mr. Bundy said flatly that they 
would not need these shelters. Ronning also expressed grave con- 
cern over any US action that tended to throw the North Vietnamese 
into the arms of the Chicoms, which he thought would be disastrous 
both In stiffening the North Vietnamese position and in bringing 
about heavy Chicom influence and eventual control in North Vietnam. 
Mr. Bundy said that we saw the same danger, and that it was a 
major element in cur not contemplating the mining of Haiphong. 



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it, 






C. During the above discussions, Mr. Bundy twice made 
clear that we might well consider actions within our present 
policy and within the above analysis of Chic om reactions. 

These references were not picked up by the Canadians, 
but can hardly have gone unnoticed. " 



June 23, 1966 

STATE 4023 to Amembassy SAIGON; Info: Amembassy OTTAWA 1382. 

"1- Canadians (MinExtAff Martin and Ronning) briefed Bundy 
this week on Ronning f s trip to Hanoi June lk-¥J . 



• • • 



"2. Ronning saw PA VN ICC Liaison officer Ha Van Lao, DRV 
Vice FonMin Nguyen Go Thach, and FonMin and Vice Premier Nguyen 
Duy Trinh while he was in Hanoi. He did not rpt not see Fhani Van 
Dong or Ho Chi Minh. DRV officials were personally cordial but 
demonstrated complete inflexibility on matters of policy and put 
forward no new positions. Hanoi reiterated its demands that the 
US halt the bombing of the North, withdraw its forces from SVN, 
'recognize the position of the NLF r (not otherwise spelled out), 
and adhere to -the terms of the 195^ Geneva Agreements. Communist 
officials maintained they were confident that the Viet Cong would 
win and expressed their determination to maintain their position 
despite US bombing of the North. 

"3. Ronning expressed concern to DRV officials about US 
POW's in North Viet- Nam but was given standard Hanoi position 
that POW's were 'criminals 1 under DRV law and told that no ICRC 
protection role would be considered, and provided no detailed 
information about the prisoners themselves. 

rT 4. FYI : We bel:*ve above represents basic position we 
should pass to GVN and that we should not refer to oral message 
we agreed have Ronning pass to Hanoi on reciprocal dampening down 
of hostilities in SVN in exchange for US move on bombing of North* 
You should know, however, that Hanoi absolutely rejected US 
message and Trinh told Ronning DRV would pay no rpt no price what- 
soever for halt to bombing. Hanoi also made clear to Ronning that 
in exchange for total halt to bombing it prepared only to enter 
into informal bilateral talks of type we had in January this year. 
Trinh and other DRV officials offered no alternative proposals to 
Ronning, who told us he had been profoundly depressed by Hanoi r s 
position. 

"5- Ronning said at one point in conversation in Hanoi Trinh 
had accused Canadians of being insincere in their good offices 
role and Ronning had offered leave immediately. Ronning said 
Trinh pulled back from his earlier position and agreed it useful 



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for DRV to maintain existence of 'Canadian channel' but that 
even he probably now persuaded there no current prospect of 
effective approach to Hanoi. 

■ 

"6. Bundy took opportunity of long dinner conversation 
with Martin, Ronning, and other senior ExtAff officials to review 
current US position and view of future in Viet-Ham. Ronning 
seemed more responsive to our approach than we had seen him before 
but Martin clearly remains determined to find some role for Canada 
in peace-making efforts in future, END FYI." 

RUSK (Drafted by P. H. Kreisberg) 



June 28, 1966 

MEMORANDUM OP CONVERSATION (SECRET/EXDIS); Subject: Ronning Mission; 
Participants: Mr. Roger Duzer, Counselor, Bnbassy of the French 
Republic; Mr, Peter M. Roberts, Counselor, Bribassy of Canada; Mr. Paul H. 
Kreisberg, OIC, Mainland China Affairs, ACA. 

"1. Mr. Duzer showed me a French telegram from Hanoi 
which dealt with the Ronning mission. The telegram stated that 
an unnamed Eastern European Babassy in Hanoi had briefed the AFP 
correspondent in Hanoi, Raffaelli, last week on the Ronning mission. 
The AFP man was told: (l) Ronning transmitted a USG message to 
Hanoi offering a halt in US bombing of north Vietnam in exchange for 
reciprocal reduction in Viet Cong hostilities in South Vietnam; 
(2) Hanoi had categorically rejected this proposal, indicating that 
they would pay no price for a halt to the 'completely unjustified 1 
US bombing of North Vietnam; (3) Ronning had raised the question 
of US POWs and had been told emphatically that they were criminals 
and that there was no question of a protecting authority being 
designated; and (h) nevertheless the DRV was prepared to keep the 
Canadian channel open "or future contacts. The French telegram 
assumed that the briefing must have been passed with DRV approval 
and suggested that the story had been leaked in order to indicate 
that North Vietnam, while not willing to accept the proposals 
carried by Ronning, was not completely intransigent and was pre- 
pared to talk with peace emissaries. 



"2. Duzer pressed me on the accuracy of the briefing described 
in the telegram. I told him that this was a Canadian matter and 
that any specific comment on the content of the Ronning mission 
would have "to come from the Government of Canada. 

f, 3* After Duzer left, Canadian Counselor Peter Roberts, by 
coincidence visited me in my office and I informed him, with 
cautions as to the sensitivity of the information in terms of its 
source, of the message the French had received. I told him that 
I wanted it to be perfectly clear that, in the event AFP carried 



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a story based upon Raffaelli's Information, the source was not 
the USG and to note the apparent indifference of the DRV to 
maintaining secrecy on the Ronning mission. Roberts and I 
agreed that the French interpretation of why Hanoi may have 
leaked the gist of the Ronning mission was not completely per- 
suasive, but we were not able to arrive at any more satisfactory 
explanation J 1 



39 



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