Created: 10/26/1968

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tafory Review


MEMORANDUM FOR: The Honorable Walt W. Rostow

Special Assistant to the President

The Honorable Dean Rusk Secretary of State

Thieu's Views Regarding the Issues

Involved in Agreeingombing Halt

1rs ICI



President Nguyen Van conductedsu^^rthough his main concern during the period centered around the current talks relatingombing halt. He discussed the situation with almost everyone who visited his office including senior Cabinet officials, aides and secretaries, and religious and political personnages. Thieu's comments to his visitors indicate two main concerns about the discussions underway. The first concern involves the status of the NLF at the negotiating tablealt In the bombing. The second point entails Thieu's strong conviction that DRV concessions in returnombing halt must be spelled out and guaranteed. On both points the President is adamant and his position remains consistent throughout the reporting period.

The President insists he will be intransigent againstNLF participation in negotiations. Thieu stated that he will never negotiate with the NLF as an equal. He has no objection to theirin the North Vietnamese Delegation but he will not agree to their sitting at the conference tableeparate entity. NVN and SVN have recognized governments, Thieu noted, but this is not true of the NLF, which isool of Hanoi. Thieu asked, "In whose Army do the Generals of the other side hold rank?"

4. Inherent in hie concern about the status of participating delegations is Thieu's obvious desire to avoid appearing toU. S. lackey". At one point the President stated that Hanoi wants to meet with thehe GVN and the NLF. Thieu exclaimed that this would make the GVN appear to. S. front. Unless the NLF is denied equal status with the GVN, he disagrees with the American argument that Hanoi's willingness to include the GVN in the Paris talksictory. Negotiating with the NLF also raises theof honor and he has stated: there is no honor in talking to thieves, let alone the servants of thieves.

5. Thieu stated that South Vietnam could be represented at Paris either separately or jointly with the U. S. However, theof makeup and seating of all delegations should be clearly defined ahead of time so that no confusion exists about these points.

Aaombing halt and PQW exchanges, Thieu told

inisteron these issues, which

are the only ones which coiicerntrie^uTsrT he feels the U. S. can play the leading role. Thieu noted, however, his fear that the U. S. might disassociate the bombing issue from the issue of GVN participation. The President reiterated his belief that what constitutes reciprocity should be agreed to and clearly spelled out priorombing halt.

7. Thieu alsoefinite connection between the moves now underway and President Johnson's wish to see Vice President Humphrey elected. Thieu referred many times to the U. S. elections and suggested to his visitors that the current talks are designed to aid Humphrey's candidacy. Thieu has said that Johnson and Humphrey will be replaced and then Nixon could change the U. S. position.

Original document.

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