Paris Peace Agreements
… January 1973 and signed in Paris. These include an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of all US military personnel, the release of all prisoners of war and an international peace force. For their work on this agreement, Kissinger and Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973… In this context, the United States and Hanoi agreed in 1968 in Paris on the opening of peace talks. But almost immediately after the start of the talks, it stopped. When President Lyndon Johnson handed over the presidency to Richard Nixon, eight months after the talks, the two sides agreed only on the shape of the conference table. The last major breakthrough was on October 8, 1972. Earlier, North Vietnam had been disappointed by the results of its Nguyen Hue offensive (known in the west as the Easter Offensive), which had led the United States to retaliate with Operation Linebacker, a major campaign of airstrikes that blunted the north`s engine in the south and caused damage to the north. They also feared increasing isolation if Nixon`s efforts to détente significantly improve U.S. relations with the major communist powers, the Soviet Union and the People`s Republic of China, which supported North Vietnamese military efforts.
In a meeting with Mr. Kissinger, he significantly changed his negotiating line, allowing the Saigon government to remain in power and find a definitive solution to the negotiations between the two South Vietnamese parties. Within 10 days, the secret discussions prepared a final draft. Kissinger held a press conference in Washington, where he said that “peace is at hand.” In February 1970, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger began secret talks with North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho outside Paris, while the formal peace process continued in the city. However, until the summer of 1972, little progress was made. At that time, Nixon continued a détente with both China and the Soviet Union and wanted to leave Vietnam behind before the next elections. Both sides wanted peace. Hanoi feared political isolation if the United States moved closer to China and the Soviet Union. They also knew that peace could put an end to the terrible American bombing and finally mean the total withdrawal of the military giant. Nixon wanted to move on to other foreign policy initiatives. The treaty paved the way for the United Nations Transitional Administration in Cambodia (UNTAC), a peacekeeping mission that essentially led the country in 1992-93. Drawing on the spirit of the time – a period of dizzying liberal optimism that contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union – the agreement also promised to turn a poor and conflict-shaken nation into a liberal democracy in which human rights would be respected and defended.
Nixon asked the eminent Asian-American politician Anna Chennault to be his “channel to Mr. Thieu”; Chennault agreed and regularly reported to John Mitchell that Thieu had no intention of attending a peace conference. On November 2, Chennault told the South Vietnamese ambassador: “I just heard from my boss in Albuquerque, who says his boss [Nixon] is going to win. And you`ll tell your boss [Thieu] to hold on for a while longer.  Johnson learned about the NSA and was furious that Nixon had “blood on his hands” and that Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen agreed with Johnson that such an action was a “betrayal.”    Defence Minister Clark Clifford considered this to be an unlawful violation of the Logan Act.  In response, President Johnson ordered the listening of members of the Nixon campaign.   Dallek wrote that Nixon`s efforts “probably made no difference” because Thieu was unwilling to participate in the talks and there was little chance of reaching an agreement before the elections; However, his use of the information provided by Harlow and Kissinger was morally questionable and Vice President Hubert Humphrey`s decision not to make Nixon`s actions public is “an unusual act of political decency.” [1