Toward Peace At Paris?

Toward Peace At Paris?

First, let me provide some necessary background, and then discuss Nixon’s assuming the Presidency, and how his choice of Henry Kissinger as chief foreign policy adviser may affect the Paris negotiations.

At the end of October 1968, after 28 sessions, it seemed no progress had been made at the Paris peace talks. Suddenly, on October 31, President Johnson announced that all bombing attacks on North Vietnam would cease as of November 1 and that, on the basis of an “understanding” between Washington and Hanoi, the Saigon government and the National Liberation Front would join the talks. The first meeting of the expanded conference was to be held on November 6. An NLF delegation, apparently forewarned, arrived in Paris on November 4. But by November 6, no authorized delegates from Saigon had shown up, and the scheduled meeting had to be called off. A Saigon delegation did appear in Paris soon afterwards, but only to state the refusal of the Thieu-Ky government to participate under the conditions agreed upon by Washington and Hanoi. It took ten weeks to overcome Saigon’s refusal, and the first session of the enlarged talks was rescheduled for January 25, 1969.

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