December 10

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Dec 10, 1972:

Breakthrough appears near in Paris peace talks

Technical experts on both sides begin work on the language of a proposed peace accord, giving rise to hope that a final agreement is near. A peace agreement was signed on January 23, 1973.

The peace agreement came out of secret negotiations National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger was conducting with North Vietnamese representatives at a villa outside Paris. Gen. Alexander Haig, who had been briefing President Richard Nixon on the Paris talks, was alerted to fly to Saigon with the document when it was completed, so that Saigon could sign while the United States and Hanoi signed in Paris. Unfortunately, the talks broke down two days later when South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu balked at the proposed agreement because it did not require North Vietnamese troops to leave the south. The North Vietnamese negotiators refused to discuss the withdrawal of their troops and walked out. They returned only after Nixon ordered the bombing of North Vietnam. After 11 days of bombing, Hanoi agreed to send negotiators back to Paris. When the talks resumed in January 1973, the negotiations moved ahead quickly. On January 23, the United States, North Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam, and the Viet Cong signed a cease-fire agreement that took effect five days later.

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