Secret White House Tapes

817–5

About this recording

817–5
  • Melvin R. Laird
  • [David] Kenneth Rush
  • Thomas H. Moorer
  • Adm.Elmo R Zumwalt
  • Gen. Robert
  • Gen. Creighton
  • Alexander P. Butterfield
  • White House photographer
November 30, 1972
Conversation No. 817-5

Date: November 30, 1972
Time: 10:14 am - 11:34 am
Location: Oval Office

The President met with Melvin R. Laird, [David] Kenneth Rush, Adm.Thomas H. Moorer, Adm.
Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., Gen. Robert E. Cushman Jr., Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Gen. Horace M.
Wade, Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig, Jr. and Alexander P. Butterfield. Members of
the press and the White House photographer were present at the beginning of the meeting.

Greetings

Oval Office
-Compared to Cabinet Room

Photograph session
-Seating arrangements

[Photograph session]
-[General conversation]
-Unknown person
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

The press and the White House photographer left at an unknown time before 11:34 am.

Frequency of meetings
-Kissinger, Haig
-1972 campaign

Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] and National Security Council [NSC]
-Foreign policy speeches
-Services to country

Purpose of meeting
-Vietnam contingency plans

Vietnam negotiations
-Settlement agreement
-Contingency plans
-Note taking
-Debriefings
-Prohibition
-Press story leak [William Beecher article in New York Times]
-Timing
-Source
-Defense Department
-State Department
-Accuracy
-Paris
-Demilitarized Zone [DMZ]
-Hanoi
-Problems
-Reaction to North Vietnam
-North Vietnam’s leak
-US reaction
-Secrecy
-The President’s meeting with Nguyen Phu Duc
-Agreement collapse
-Post-agreement North Vietnamese violations
-Status
-Kissinger’s briefing
-Laird
-Contingency plans
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Secrecy
-Congressional relations
-Funding
-Economic and military aid
-Supplemental
-The President’s conversation with William C. Westmoreland
-Timing
-Abrams
-Westmoreland’s views
-Withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from South
Vietnam
-Nguyen Van Thieu’s political concerns
-Congressional relations
-Decline in support
-Cut off of funds
-US public opinion
-1972 campaign
-George S. McCovern’s settlement offers
-Compared to October 8, 1972 agreement
-Surrender and humiliation
-Reaction
-Regret for undertaking war
-Losing
-October 8, 1972 agreement
-May 8, 1972 terms for ending US bombing and mining
-Cease-fire
-Prisoners of War [POWs], missing in action [MIAs] return
-South Vietnamese self-determination
-Coalition government
-October 8, 1972 agreement
-Compared to May 8, 1972 terms
-South Vietnamese and US objections
-Public knowledge
-POWs return
-Cease-fire
-Political terms
-Thieu’s retention
-National Committee of National
Reconciliation and Concord [NRC]
-Government of South Vietnam [GVN]
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Foreign and domestic policy control
-Free elections
-Public acceptance of terms
-Opposition to prolongation of war
-Withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from
South Vietnam
-South Vietnamese support
-Administration efforts in first term
-Congressional relations
-Reconvening date
-January 3, 1973
-Cut off of funds
-Military and economic aid
-US bombing and mining
-Duration
-Possible effect on North Vietnamese
-South Vietnam’s status
-Compared to May 8, 1972
-Pride in accomplishments
-Sacrifices
-South Vietnamese self-determination
-Vietcong [VC]
-Left’s view
-Fighting for nothing
-Sacrifices
-Quality
-Forthcoming negotiations
-North Vietnam
-Enforcement
-Treaty of Versailles
-World War II
-[Yalta]
-Soviet Union
-Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.’s view
-Yalta
-Korean War truce
-US troops remaining
-Conclusion
-Need to defend
-U.S. military
-33-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Thieu
-Criticism
-North Vietnamese “cave-in”
-US economic and military aid
-US commitment
-Reaction to North Vietnamese violations
-Summary
-Complexity
-Recent changes
-Terms
-Cease-fire provisions
-Reconnaissance flights
-North Vietnam
-Compared to South Vietnam
-Washington Special Actions Group [WSAG] plan
-South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, off-shore
-Withdrawal of US forces
-Time table
-US Civilian personnel
-Economic programs
-Original draft
-Paramilitary functions
-Contractors, maintenance personnel
-Effect of press stories
-North Vietnamese demand
-Withdrawal of maintenance,
supply personnel
-US military personnel
-US bases
-Dismantling
-North Vietnamese troops
-Reinforcements
-Military supplies
-Additional troops
-Effect on US
-Effect on North Vietnam
-Infiltration into South Vietnam
-Replacements
-Ratio
-Army of the Republic of Vietnam [ARVN]
-34-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Vietnamization
-Ratio
-Categories
-Destruction, damage, worn-out, used-up
-Stolen
-Vice Admiral’s comment
-US equipment
-The President’s conversation with Laird
-Airplanes
-Helicopters
-Engines
-Sappers
-Meaning of terms
-Ratio
-Quality
-Haig’s and Kissinger’s trip to South Vietnam
-North Vietnamese buildup
-US statement
-Tanks moving into South Vietnam
-US tanks
-Provocation
-Military hostilities
-People’s Republic of China [PRC], Soviet
Union
-US modernization program with South
Vietnam
-Contingency plans
-Value
-Communists
-US Support for South Vietnam
-Military and economic aid
-Enforcement
-Resumption of war
-PRC
-Soviet Union
-US-PRC and US-Soviet Union relations
-Influence
-Example
-European Security Conference
-North Vietnam
-35-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-North Vietnam
-US economic assistance
-Precedents
-Purpose
-Influence
-Value of contracts
-The President’s law school experience
-The President’s conversations with Rush
-Bryan Bolich quote
-US-Soviet Union, US-PRC, and US-North Vietnam relations
-Political mechanisms
-International control groups [International Commission of Control
and Supervisions] [ICCS]
-Poland, Japan, India
-Value
-Compared to enforcement power
-Washington Post
-Peter Lisagor
-New York Times
-Time, Newsweek
-[Arnold] Eric Sevareid
-Value
-Kissinger’s role
-Thieu’s concerns with language “cosmetics
-Interpretations
-Coalition government
-North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam
-Claim of right
-JCS statements
-Soviet Union and PRC roles
-US-PRC and US-Soviet Union relations
-Cooperation
-US-PRC relations
-The President’s meeting with Duc
-Change in US policy toward PRC
-Thieu’s view
-US containment policy
-The President’s trip to the PRC
-Effect
-PRC subversion,
-36-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

aggression in Asia
-US influence with the PRC
-Containment
-Shanghai Communique
-Use of force
-Change in US policy toward PRC
-Effect on regional security
-Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnamese
-Criticism of “Hawks”
-The President’s hawkish identity
-Thieu
-Human Events
-Criticism of liberals
-Joseph C. Kraft
-US influence on the PRC
-Dialogue
-US resistance to PRC military force
-US military aid
-Replacements
-Limits
-Congressional relations
-POWs and MIAs return
-Time table
-US troop withdrawals
-Ratio
-Laos
-Cambodia
-North Vietnamese claim
-Laos
-Number
-Political prisoners in South Vietnam
-Issue
-Tone
-Number
-US POWs
-South Vietnam and Provisional Revolutionary Government [PRG]
talks
-US POWs
-Release
-Timing
-37-
37

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Thieu’s leverage
-Withdrawal of North Vietnam troops from South Vietnam
-South Vietnam and PRG talks
-North Vietnamese withdrawal of clause
-Effect
-Thieu’s leverage
-Mix-up of civilian political prisoners with
US POWs
-Forthcoming talks
-Paragraph X. E. [?]
-Restoration
-Prospect
-POWs, MIAs
-Information about gravesites
-Location
-Exhumation
-Repatriation
-ICCS
-Location
-North Vietnam
-Indochina
-Provisions
-Quality
-Political prisoners in South Vietnam
-Forthcoming talks
-October 8, 1972 agreement
-North Vietnamese withdrawal of clause
-Terms
-Political provisions
-South Vietnamese self-determination
-North Vietnam’s obligations
-US and Democratic Republic of Vietnam [DRV]
-Free elections
-International supervision
-Tendencies and personalities imposition
-NCRC
-NCRC
-The President’s meeting with Duc
-Thieu’s letter to the President
-Objection
-38-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Coalition government
-Foreign and domestic affairs
-Political structure of South Vietnam
-Elections
-Veto
-Cease-fire
-Geography
-Compared to people
-ARVN
-VC
-GVN and Thieu
-Retention
-Domestic and foreign affairs
-Reconciliation, elections
-Unanimous vote
-Reconciliation
-Meaning
-July 19, 1972 resumption of talks
-North Vietnamese proposals
-Thieu’s resignation
-Army, police disbanding
-Political prisoners release
-Coalition government
-Changes
-Thieu’s retention
-Thieu’s authority
-GVN
-Army, police, courts, proxies
-Foreign policy
-Appointments
-PRG, Thieu
-Operation
-Unanimity
-Lack of police, army, foreign policy
-Tasks
-Promotion of signed agreement
-Reconciliation
-Elections
-Terms
-Institutions and timing
-39-
39

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-GVN and National Liberation Front [NLF]
-Thieu’s role
-Formation
-Timing
-Thieu’s veto of election decisions
-Procedures
-Coalition government
-Workability
-Press commentary
-Kraft
-I. F. Stone
-Thieu
-North Vietnam
-Problems
-Madame Binh
-US acceptance and promotion
-State Department
-US military
-Criticism
-Sources
-Critics of Thieu
-DMZ
-Issue of boundary status
-Reunification of Vietnam
-Peaceful means
-Annexation
-Military pressure
-Geneva Accords
-Provisional line
-Compared to political boundary
-Respect
-Reunification
-Statement in newspapers
-Leak
-North Vietnam
-Recognition of existence
-Respect
-International supervision
-Chapter
-Length
-40-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Compared to political provisions chapter
-Two-party provisions
-South Vietnamese parties
-Four-party provisions
-ICCS
-Disagreements mediation
-Independent investigation
-Two and four-party provisions
-Elaborate nature
-Timing
-Protocols
-ICCS, four and two-party provisions
-Concurrent signing
-Laos and Cambodia
-Reaffirmation of 1954 accords on Cambodia and 1962 accords on
Laos
-Withdrawal of foreign troops
-Respect of territory
-Respect territory
-Encroachment
-Bases
-Withdrawal of foreign troops
-Importance of provision
-Laos
-Cease-fire
-Timing
-Separate understanding
-Souvanna Phouma’s view
-North Vietnamese surrender
-Thieu
-Terms
-Quality
-Absence of unconditional surrender
-Compared to World War II or World War I
-Promotion
-Political provisions
-Demobilization of forces
-North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam
-Reinforcements
-Rotations
-41-
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NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-DMZ, Cambodia, Loas infiltration
-North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam
-North Vietnamese claim
-Denial of troop presence
-DMZ
-Violations
-Rotations
-Introduction of military personnel
-Reinforcements
-Thieu’s view
-Duc’s view
-Infiltration
-Numbers
-North Vietnamese claim
-Denial of troop presence
-Replacements
-Replacements
-Materiel
-Compared to personnel
-Possible loophole
-Tanks
-North Vietnamese claim
-Denial of troop presence
-Legal aspects
-North Vietnamese claim
-Denial of troop presence
-South Vietnamese
-Claim of right
-Violations
-US military response
-Thieu’s military response
-ARVN
-Infiltration
-DMZ, Cambodia and Laos, introduction of
personnel provisions
-The President’s conversation with Duc
-US military response
-Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
[SEATO]
-US response
-42-
42

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-1954 Geneva Accords
-Kissinger’s conversation with Duc
-SEATO
-Replacements
-Material
-Tanks
-One-for-one
-International supervision
-DMZ, Laos infiltration
-Accounting
-International protocol
-DMZ crossing points
-Ports
-Possible North Vietnamese claim
-South Vietnamese forces
-Ports
-Reinforcements
-ARVN
-Rotations
-Offensive
-Timing
-March, April 1973
-Withdrawal
-Intelligence report
-Gen. Vieh [First name unknown]
-Demobilization
-Withdrawal
-North Vietnamese admission of presence
-Withdrawal
-Collateral provisions
-Effect
-Reduction in forces
-Contingency plans
-Violations
-South Vietnamese and US response
-Legal restraints
-Compared to Tonkin Gulf Resolution, SEATO
-Diplomatic restraints
-Soviet Union, PRC influence
-Military restraints
-43-
43

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-War damages
-US bombing, mining
-Casualties
-South Vietnam
-Post-May 8, 1972
-Compared to South Vietnamese
-Enforcement
-Duration
-Enforcement
-The President’s May 8, 1972 decision
-Timing
-US-Soviet Union Summit
-1972 election
-Violations
-DMZ, cease-fire, Laos and Cambodia
-US response
-“Mad man” term
-Contingency plans
-Agreement collapse
-Air Strikes
-Three and six-day strikes
-Escalation
-Duration
-Mining
-Hanoi
-B-52s
-Public reaction
-Originality
-Post-agreement North Vietnamese violations
-Levels
-Studies
-Ground forces
-Residual forces
-US personnel
-Quality
-Thieu’s concerns
-Quality
-Intelligence capability
-Thailand
-South Vietnam
-44-
44

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)



*****************************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 1
[National Security]
[Duration: 65s ]
[Intelligence]

END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 1
******************************************************************************


-ICCS
-Violations
-Indonesia
-Kissinger’s conversation with Lt. Gen. T.N.J.
Suharto
-Possible Indonesian military aid


*****************************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 3
[National Security]
[Duration: 14s ]
[Indonesia]

END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 3
*****************************************************************************


Latin America
-Military supplies
-Mistakes
-Defense Department
-Civilian suppliers
-Aircraft
-French sources
-Military attaches
-Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America [Charles A. Meyer]
-Departure
-45-
45

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Replacement
-US equipment
-Congressional relations
-Frank F. Church
-Laird’s and Moorer’s testimony
-French aircraft
-British ships
-West German missiles
-Foreign logistical support
-Ammunition
-European sources
-Economic interests
-The President’s conversation with an unknown person
-Preference for US material
-Bribery allegation
-Unknown European government

Vietnam negotiations
-Settlement agreement
-Laird’s view
-Support
-Military buildup for South Vietnam
-Congressional relations
-Funding
-Hawks
-Response to Thieu’s refusal to sign
-Cut off
-Timing
-Testimony
-Military and economic aid
-North Vietnamese compliance
-Enforcement
-Moorer’s recollection of 1968 Cabinet Room meeting
-Cease-fire
-Contingency plans
-Retaliatory capability
-US options
-Agreement collapse
-Post-agreement North Vietnamese violations
-US response
-46-
46

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Costs
-Congressional relations
-Cease-fire
-Support
-Kissinger’s return to Paris
-Present meeting
-Publicity
-The President’s meeting with Duc
-Photographers, press
-Public statements
-Tone

Presidential gifts
-Cuff links
-Pins
-Distribution
-Instruction for Haig

Haig’s rank

[General conversation]
-Christmas reception
-Unknown person’s residence

The President’s schedule
-Meeting with black administration officials
-Gen. Daniel (Chappie”) James, Jr.
-James E. Johnson

Blacks
-Military
-Working conditions
-Volunteers

Vietnam negotiations
-Settlement agreement
-Support
-Limits
-The President’s conversation with Westmoreland
-Unconditional surrender
-47-
47

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Apr.-08)

Conversation No. 817-5 (cont’d)

-Support

[General conversation]

Laird et al left at 11:34 am.

Zosimo T. Monson entered and left at an unknown time before 11:49 am.
Secret White House Tapes |

817–5

This recording is currently not available on millercenter.org. To listen to it, please email Mike Greco at mdg4u@virginia.edu

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