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Reports by Western News Agencies

Vietnam-U.S. “Paris Talks” Enter “Delicate Stage”

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 11, #43, Oct. 25, 1968, p. 12.]

THE “Paris talks” between Vietnam and the United States began officially on May 13. Up to now, Vietnam and the United States have held 26 official meetings.

According to recent reports by the U.S. and other Western news agencies and press, U.S. imperialist chieftain Johnson is preparing to come up with a big plot and fraud of “halting all bombings” of north Vietnam.

U.P.I. reported from Paris that the Paris talks have “entered a delicate stage.” There are “growing indications” that there might be a “breakthrough in the dead-locked Paris talks.” “Such a breakthrough could come in the form of a total U.S. bombing halt.” A Reuter report from Paris said that “the emphasis [of the Paris talks] was shifting from the big military question—Hanoi’s demand for an end to U.S. bombing of its territory—to the political arena.”

In a Washington dispatch, A.P. correspondent John Hightower reported that the United States had pushed a “package plan” at the “Paris talks.” According to this “package plan,” the United States urged north Vietnam to exercise “some restraint” in military actions. U.P.I. correspondent Stewart Hensley reported that the United States had “secretly” put forward in Paris a “three-point formula” for a “complete halt in bombing.” The “formula” involved “withdrawal of north Vietnamese forces from the demilitarized zone,” an “end” to all “terrorism and attacks on south Vietnamese cities” and agreement “to admit the Saigon government to expanded peace talks.”

An October 16 A.P. report from Saigon said that on that day Bunker, U.S. “ambassador” to south Vietnam, and Nguyen Van Thieu, the chieftain of the south Vietnam puppet clique, “held three hurried meetings.” The report said: “A government source told reporters to be on the alert for a possible simultaneous statement issued in Washington and Saigon on the bombing question.” An A.F.P. report from Saigon said: “Reports that the United States is prepared to call a complete halt to bombings of north Vietnam spread like wildfire through Saigon,” following a visit by Bunker to Nguyen Van Thieu.

A.F.P. reported that such a move by Johnson “would bring large numbers of hesitant, Democrat voters into the Humphrey camp.”

U.P.I. correspondent Hensley said that the Soviet Union “has played a part in attempting to bring the two sides closer together” and it has “advised Hanoi that it could not realistically expect a bombing halt under Johnson’s or any succeeding administration without some concessions from north Vietnam.”

These reports by Western news agencies remain to be confirmed by further developments in the situation.

(October 19)

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