December 18, 1972 from the Official Commemoration Timeline

Published on: April 4, 2014

Filed Under: Errors in the Official Commemoration Website

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The facts are these: (By Arnold Isaacs)

Kissinger’s “peace is at hand” statement was not made because negotiations were “promising.” He and Le Duc Tho had concluded a firm agreement — not in principle, but exact, final wording — and had agreed on a signing date. It was the US, not NVN, that backed out and (after the Communists twice agreed to postponing the signing) refused to sign what it had agreed to, because South Vietnam’s leader refused to accept it.

It is also not true that NVN walked out of the Paris negotiations on December 18. The talks ended several days before that, and if anybody walked out it was the Americans, at least their chief negotiators. Kissinger left Paris on the 13th, Bill Sullivan I believe on the 14th. The last session was on the 16th and when it ended, the North Vietnamese said they wanted to proceed “as rapidly as possible.” Nixon gave the Linebacker II order on the 17th, not the 18th.

It’s also worth noting that the December negotiations were all on changing things the Americans had already agreed to. Gen. Kicklighter doesn’t need to take my or Vets for Peace or John McAuliff’s word on any of this. It’s all in Kissinger’s memoirs (of course along with his justifications, but with the facts exactly as I’ve summarized here).

 

As to omissions:   I noticed that while there is a listing for the Congressional cutoff of bombing in August 73, the timeline makes no mention of the bombing campaign in Cambodia that spring and summer, which of course was why Congress acted.

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