Nguyen Thanh Le, North Vietnamese spokesman at the Paris peace talks, tells reporters that the Honolulu conference reveals that “the position of the United States remains infinitely obstinate.” According to the North Vietnamese, the war would continue as long as the United States remained determined to support the “puppet government” in Saigon.
President Lyndon B. Johnson had met with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu in Honolulu from July 18 to July 20. At the conference, Johnson reaffirmed his administration’s commitment “to defend South Vietnam.” Thieu stated that he had “no apprehensions at all” concerning the U.S. commitment. In a joint communique, Thieu further asserted that his government was determined “to continue to assume all the responsibility that the scale of forces of South Vietnam and their equipment will permit,” thus tacitly accepting current U.S. efforts to “Vietnamize the war.” The two presidents also agreed that South Vietnam “should be a full participant playing a leading role in discussions concerning the substance of a final settlement” to the conflict. Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, made “Vietnamization” one of the pillars of his Vietnam policy, directing that the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces be improved so that they could ultimately assume full responsibility for the war and U.S. forces could be withdrawn.