President Richard Nixon, in response to criticism that his administration has not made its best efforts to end the war, reveals that his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger has held 12 secret peace negotiating sessions between August 4, 1969, and August 16, 1971. The negotiations took place in Paris with Le Duc Tho, a member of Hanoi’s Politburo, and/or with Xuan Thuy, Hanoi’s chief delegate to the formal Paris peace talks.
Nixon also disclosed the text of an eight-point peace proposal presented privately to the North Vietnamese on October 11, 1971. The main features of the eight-point plan were: withdrawal of all U.S. and Allied troops and all communist troops from South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos within six months of an agreement; simultaneous release of all military and civilian prisoners of both sides; supervision of the cease-fire by an international commission; and presidential elections in South Vietnam organized and supervised by a coalition of factions including the Viet Cong, with President Nguyen Van Thieu and Vice President Tran Van Huong resigning one month after the voting.
The North Vietnamese rejected the U.S. peace proposal and presented a proposal of their own. While Washington wanted the withdrawal of all foreign forces from South Vietnam with the condition of an agreement in principle on a final solution, Hanoi insisted on the withdrawal of U.S. and Allied troops from all of Indochina without condition. Hanoi also wanted the immediate resignation of the Thieu regime. With the secret talks now public and at an impasse, the North Vietnamese leadership decided to order a massive invasion of South Vietnam, which was launched in March 1972.