The fate of The Republic of Viet Nam was decided on June 20, 1972

 

The National Security Archive announces the publication The Kissinger Transcripts: A Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977, comprising more than 2,100 memoranda of conversations ("memcons"), many of them near-verbatim transcripts, detailing talks between Henry A. Kissinger and United States and foreign government leaders and officials.

Click here for these 20 documents (PDF files):

"Memcons" Recounting the Secret Diplomacy of the Nixon-Ford Era

 

Documents 1,2, 3,10, 11, & 12 directly related to the VN war.

Document 10, Conversation between Kissinger & Zhou Enlai marked the beginning of the South VN fall.


Summary Document 10:


Document 10: Memorandum of Conversation with Zhou Enlai, 20 June 1972, 2:05-p.m.,

Top Secret/Sensitive/Exclusively Eyes Only

While the far right remained unhappy with Kissinger, the rapprochement with Beijing continued to unfold with another Kissinger visit in October, Alexander Haig's visit in January 1972 and the Nixon trip in February
 1972.
In White House Years, Kissinger discussed at length his and Nixon's trips to China but he devoted only one paragraph to his talks with Zhou Enlai in Beijing, during 20-23 June 1972. (Note 9) These exchanges, however, do not deserve the obscurity to which Kissinger has relegated them because they were significant, covering key issues such as the Vietnam War, the possibility of normalizing relations, U.S.-Soviet relations, Soviet
 policy, and a host of regional problems ranging from Western Europe to South Asia to Japan and Korea. Kissinger visited Beijing in the midst of U.S.-China tensions caused by Beijing's secret protests of border incidents and attacks on Chinese ships during the Linebacker I bombing raids and mining operations against North Vietnam in retaliation against Hanoi's spring offensive.
 With respect to the Soviets, who were the source of considerable apprehension in Beijing, a fascinating moment occurred when Kissinger tacitly brought Beijing within the scope of the U.S. nuclear umbrella by telling Zhou that Washington would make a nuclear response in the event that Moscow launched an attack "that would put all of Asia under one European center of control" (p. 19). On the outcome of the Vietnam negotiations, Kissinger drew on the "decent interval" concept to convince Zhou that the United States was
 truly determined to exit from Vietnam. He told Zhou that, for credibility reasons, the United States could not meet Hanoi's demand for the "overthrow" of President Nguyen Van Thieu. Nevertheless, once U.S. forces had left Indochina, Kissinger declared, the White House would accept the results of historical change: "while we cannot bring a communist government to power, if, as a result of historical evolution it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina" (p. 37).

Document 10C can be downloaded at:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/HAK%206-20-72.pdf

 

The other Documents can be downloaded at:

 http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/index.htm#1
 

 

Enclosed here is the news from AP 5/27/06 & The Press Release 5/26/06 of National Security Archive.

Saturday, May 27, 2006 Last updated 2:01 a.m. PT

Kissinger told China communist takeover in Vietnam was acceptable: documents


By CALVIN WOODWARD
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER


         Dr. Henry Kissinger, left, U.S. Presidential National Security Adviser, shakes hands with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai of the People's Republic of China at their meeting at Government Guest House in Peking, China, July 9, 1971. As the Vietnam War dragged on Kissinger told Zhou in 1972 that "
if we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina." (AP Photo/File)

WASHINGTON -- Henry Kissinger quietly acknowledged to China in 1972 that Washington could accept a communist takeover of South Vietnam if that evolved after a withdrawal of U.S. troops - even as the war to drive back the communists dragged on with mounting deaths.

President Nixon's envoy told Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai,
"If we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina."

Kissinger's blunt remarks surfaced in a collection of papers from his years of diplomacy released Friday by George Washington University's National Security Archive. The collection was gathered from documents available at the government's National Archives and obtained through the research group's declassification requests.

Kissinger's comments appear to lend credence to the "decent interval" theory posed by some historians who say the United States was prepared to see communists take over Saigon as long as that happened long enough after a U.S. troop departure to save face.

But Kissinger cautioned in an interview Friday against reaching easy conclusions from his words of more than three decades ago. "
One of my objectives had to be to get Chinese acquiescence in our policy," he told The Associated Press.

"We succeeded in it, and then when we had achieved our goal, our domestic situation made it impossible to sustain it,
" he said, explaining that he meant Watergate and its consequences.

The papers consist of some 2,100 memoranda of Kissinger's secret conversations with senior officials abroad and at home from 1969 to 1977 while he served under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford as national security adviser, secretary or state and both. The collection contains more than 28,000 pages.

The meeting with Zhou took place in Beijing on June 22, 1972, during stepped-up U.S. bombing and the mining of harbors meant to stall a North Vietnam offensive that began in the spring. China, Vietnam's ally, objected to the U.S. course but was engaged in a historic thaw of relations with Washington.

Kissinger told Zhou the United States respected its Hanoi enemy as a "permanent factor" and probably the "strongest entity" in the region. 
"And we have had no interest in destroying it or even defeating it," he insisted.

He complained that Hanoi had made one demand in negotiations that he could never accept - that the U.S. force out the Saigon government.

"
This isn't because of any particular personal liking for any of the individuals concerned," he said. "It is because a country cannot be asked to engage in major acts of betrayal as a basis of its foreign policy."

However, Kissinger sketched out scenarios under which communists might come to power.

While American cannot make that happen, he said,
"if, as a result of historical evolution it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina."

Pressed by Zhou, Kissinger further acknowledged that a communist takeover by force might be tolerated if it happened long enough after a U.S. withdrawal.

He said that if civil war broke out a month after a peace deal led to U.S. withdrawal and an exchange of prisoners, Washington would probably consider that a trick and have to step back in.

"If the North Vietnamese, on the other hand, engage in serious negotiation with the South Vietnamese, and if after a longer period it starts again after we were all disengaged, my personal judgment is that it is much less likely that we will go back again, much less likely."

The envoy foresaw saw the possibility of friendly relations with adversaries after a war that, by June 1972, had killed more than 45,000 Americans. 
"What has Hanoi done to us that would make it impossible to, say in 10 years, establish a new relationship?"

Almost 2,000 more Americans would be killed in action before the last U.S. combat death in January 1973, the month the Paris Peace Accords officially halted U.S. action, left North Vietnamese in the South and preserved the Saigon government until it fell in April 1975.

Whether by design or circumstance, the United States achieved an interval between its pullout and the loss of South Vietnam but not enough of one to avoid history's judgment that America had suffered defeat.

Kissinger said in the interview he was consistent in trying to separate the military and political outcomes in Vietnam - indeed, a point he made at the time. "If they agreed to a democratic outcome, we would let it evolve according to its own processes," he said Friday, adding that to tolerate a communist rise to power was not to wish for it.

William Burr, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, said the papers are the most extensive published record of Kissinger's work, in many cases offering insight into matters that the diplomat only touched on in his prolific memoirs.

For example, he said Kissinger devoted scant space in one book to his expansive meetings with Zhou on that visit to Beijing, during which the Chinese official said he wished Kissinger could run for president himself.

At the time, Chinese-Soviet tensions were sharp and the United States was playing one communist state against the other while seeking detente with its main rival, Moscow. Kissinger hinted to Zhou that the United States would consider a nuclear response if the Soviets were to overrun Asia with conventional forces.

But when the Japanese separately recognized communist China with what Kissinger called "indecent haste," he branded them "treacherous."


Massive Collection of Formerly Secret and Top Secret Transcripts of Henry Kissinger's Meetings with World Leaders Published On-Line 28,000 Pages of Documents Show Kissinger as Negotiator and Policymaker in Real-time, Verbatim Talks with World Leaders

For more information contact:William Burr 202/994-7000

Washington, DC, 26 May 2006 - Today the National Security Archive announces the publication of the most comprehensive collection ever assembled of the memoranda of conversations (memcons) involving Henry Kissinger, one of the most acclaimed and controversial U.S. diplomats of the second half of the 20th century. Published on-line in the Digital National Security Archive ProQuest) as well in print-microfiche form, the 28,000-page collection is the result of a seven-year effort by the National Security Archive to collect every memcon that could be found through archival research and declassification requests. According to Kissinger biographer and president of the Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson, "Henry Kissinger's memos of conversation are an amazing, fascinating, and absolutely indispensable resource for understanding his years in power." Nearly word-for-word records of the meetings, the memcons place the reader in the room with Kissinger and world leaders, and future leaders, including Mao Zedong, Anwar Sadat, Leonid Brezhnev, Georges Pompidou, Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Donald Rumsfeld, and George H.W. Bush.

The memcons show Kissinger at work from 1969 to early 1977 as policymaker, negotiator, and presidential adviser. They show him pursuing detente with the Soviet Union, rapprochement with China, strong ties with Europe and Japan, stability in the Middle East, and, most important, a diplomatic resolution to the Vietnam War. The near-verbatim transcripts vividly show Kissinger's style as negotiator, his use of flattery and humor, his outbursts, and his musings on U.S. interests and the use of power. They show Kissinger in the early days of the Nixon administration as his influence was growing as presidential adviser, at the height of power when he served simultaneously as Secretary of State and national security adviser, and later after President Ford fired him from his White House post. The documents are equally revealing of Kissinger's numerous interlocutors.

A sampling of twenty of the newly-published memcons, posted today on www.nsarchive.org, document a variety of episodes in Kissinger's career in statecraft:

  * An early "back channel" meeting where Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin showed concern that the Nixon administration might escalate the Vietnam War: Kissinger replied that "it would be too bad if we were driven in this direction because it was hard to think of a place where a confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States made less sense"


  * In his first high-level secret meeting with the North Vietnamese, August 1969, Kissinger warns Hanoi that without diplomatic progress, "we will be compelled - with great reluctance - to take measures of the greatest consequence"

 

  * Discussing Cuba policy, Kissinger asked an NSC committee to look at "para-military options" because President Nixon was interested in, even "leaning toward", them

 

  * During a meeting of the Washington Special Actions Group on the 1970 "Black September" crisis in Jordan, Kissinger told the group that Nixon "wants us to consider using aircraft against the Fedayeen"; if "Royal authority" in Jordan collapsed, Washington might intervene.


  * A meeting of the National Security Council showed the difficulty of producing a "clear" nuclear weapons use policy in the event of a NATO crisis; during the meeting Nixon argued that "We will never use the tactical nuclears, but we let the USSR see them there."


  * During a discussion of policy toward Allende's Chile with U.S. copper mining executives, Kissinger showed determination to wage economic warfare: "if we agree to open up international credits, we may be just speeding up the process of establishing a communist regime."


  * After his trip to China, Kissinger had an uncomfortable meeting with right-wing critics of detente and rapprochement with Beijing. While Kissinger claimed to welcome "pressure from the Right", he preferred that his audience stay quiet: they were "too harsh" and should "stop yelling at us."


  * During secret talks with Zhou Enlai in June 1972, Kissinger explained U.S. Vietnam strategy. Following his "decent interval" approach, Kissinger argued that the White House could not accept Hanoi's proposals to eject South Vietnamese leaders from power, but would accept the political changes that could occur after the United States withdrew forces from Vietnam: "if, as a result of historical evolution it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a Communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina"

 

  * During a Vietnam strategy session in August 1972, Kissinger had a livid reaction to the "indecent haste" with which the "treacherous" Japanese had just recognized China


  * In the final stages of the Vietnam negotiations, South Vietnamese officials objected strongly to proposed settlement with Hanoi. With the agreement leaving North Vietnamese forces in the South, one official complained to Kissinger about the "overwhelming problems. If you present someone with a question, he does not wish to die either by taking poison or by a dagger. What kind of an answer do you expect?"


  * Meeting with Israeli ambassador Simcha Dinitz, Kissinger denounced the Jackson-Vanik amendment to withhold trade concessions from the Soviets unless they liberalized their policy on emigration of Soviet Jewry: the "issue for American Jews is whether a major American foreign policy can be wrecked"


  * During and after the October 1973 Middle East war, Kissinger began to squeeze the Soviets out of the Middle East; the Soviets understood this and told Kissinger that he had gone back on his promise to include Moscow in the negotiations. When Kissinger declared that the "United States has no intention to exclude the Soviet Union," Leonid Brezhnev suggested that he was not persuaded and spoke of the need for "good faith, not playing games."


  * A few days later Kissinger told Israeli officials: "we are squeezing [Moscow]" but he worried about détente's future because "we are facing these brutal bastards with nothing to offer them."


  * During a discussion with State Department staff of the problem of detecting military coups, such as the April 1974 coup in Portugal, Kissinger asked "what do we do-run an FBI in every country? [W]e say they're a dictatorship with internal security measures. The goddam internal security measures couldn't find the bloody coup, so why the hell should we find it?"


  * Discussing Cambodia with Thailand's Foreign Minister, Kissinger acknowledged that the Khmer Rouge were "murderous thugs" but he wanted the Thais to tell the Cambodians "that we will be friends with them": Cambodia aligned with China could be a "counterweight" to the real adversary, North Vietnam.


  * During a meeting of the "Quadripartite Group"--the U.S., British, French, and West German Foreign Ministers-which met secretly for discussions of matters of common concern-Kissinger explained his skepticism about Euro-Communism: "The acid test isn't whether they would come to power democratically; the test is whether they would allow a reversal. It is difficult for a Communist party to admit that history can be reversed and allow themselves to be voted out of power." For Kissinger, the European Communist Parties were the "real enemy."


  * Meeting secretly with the Iraqi foreign minister in December 1975, Kissinger declared that he found it useful to "establish contact" with Baghdad because he wanted to show that "America is not unsympathetic to Iraq."


  * During a February 1976 discussion with the Pakistani prime minister, Kissinger expressed concern about Pakistan's nuclear aspirations: worried about a proposed deal with the French, "what concerns us is how reprocessing facilities are used at a certain point." After the Pakistanis cited earlier assurances on safeguards for nuclear facilities, Kissinger observed that "realities" mattered, not "words."

The National Security Archive and its co-publisher ProQuest have published these and over 2,100 memcons in The Kissinger Transcripts: A Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977, edited by senior analyst, William Burr. A catalogue and index produced by the expert indexers at the National Security archive provides easy access to the wide-ranging material in the collection; the documents are searchable by names, key-words, title, authors, and other elements. The published guide includes a 305-page catalog, a 141-page names index, and a 592-page index of subjects beginning with "Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)" and ending with "Zimbabwe." The collection also includes a chronology for ready reference, a who's who of Kissinger's
 interlocutors, a bibliography, and an introductory essay providing perspective on Henry Kissinger's career in government.

Click here for:

Kissinger as Negotiator and Policymaker in Real-time,

Verbatim Talks with World Leaders (William Burr)