August 4

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Aug 4, 1969:

Secret negotiations are initiated in Paris

The first secret negotiating session takes place between Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy, at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris.

Kissinger reiterated an earlier proposal put forth on May 14 for a mutual withdrawal of North Vietnamese and U.S. troops and also warned that if no progress was made by November 1 toward ending the war, the United States would consider measures of "grave consequences." Xuan Thuy responded with the standard North Vietnamese line that the United States would have to withdraw all its troops and abandon the Thieu government before there would be any "logical and realistic basis for settling the war." The negotiations ended with only an agreement to keep open the new secret channel of communications. These secret talks would continue, but would not bear fruit until late 1972, after the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive had failed and President Nixon had launched Operation Linebacker II, the "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam.

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