Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, at the 18th plenary session of the Paris peace talks, says he finds frequent ground for discussion in the proposals of President Richard Nixon and the National Liberation Front. In reply, Nguyen Thanh Le, spokesman for the North Vietnamese, said the applications have been “as different as day and night.”
At the 16th plenary session of the Paris talks on May 8, the National Liberation Front had presented a 10-point system for an “overall solution” to the war. This proposal integrated an unconditional withdrawal of United States and Allied troops from Vietnam the establishment of a coalition government and the holding of cost-free elections the demand that the South Vietnamese settle their very own affairs “without foreign interference” and the eventual reunification of North and South Vietnam.
In a speech to the American public on 14 May, President Nixon taken care of immediately the communist strategy with a proposal of their own. He proposed a phased, mutual withdrawal of significant portions of U.S. Allied and North Vietnamese forces from South Vietnam greater than a 12-month period. The remaining non-South Vietnamese forces would withdraw to enclaves and follow a cease-fire until withdrawals have already been completed. Nixon also insisted that North Vietnamese forces withdraw from Cambodia and Laos at the same time and provided internationally supervised elections for South Vietnam. Nixon’s provide of a “simultaneous start on withdrawal” represented a revision of the final formal proposal provided by the Johnson administration in October 1966. In the sooner proposal, referred to as the “Manila formula,” the United States stated that the withdrawal of U.S. forces will be completed inside half a year immediately after the North Vietnamese left South Vietnam.
In the final, Nguyen Thanh Le’s observation was on target. The communists’ proposal and Nixon’s counteroffer have been really different and there is, in reality, no common ground practically. Neither side relented and nothing at all meaningful originated from this diplomatic exchange.