Hoang Duc Nha:
It, uh, that peace of hand thing has its history in, uh, let's see, the peace of hand speech was, uh, October 26 or something, right? And Kissinger departed Saigon
October 23rd. And it's very interesting, because on October 22nd, the evening of the 22nd when we told him, we said No way we're going to sign it, you know, that's it, and no more to discuss. And that was the meeting between Kissinger and Bunker on one hand, and President Thieu and myself, four of us.
So we say, well, you know, I'm ready for any contingency, but uh we're not going to sign it, so please go back to Mr. Nixon, tell him that we're very sorry we cannot cooperate on that one. At that time, you know, he saw that we would not budge from our position, so he said, well, Can we, can I see you tomorrow before I go back, uh, to the States? And you know, I remember telling him, I said, What good will it do because we have nothing else to discuss. He said, Oh no, we want to keep this, uh, you know, give the impression that negotiations are still going on.
Okay? And we say, Well, you know, you want to say good-bye, fine, and we'll see you in five minutes, you know; and we're there half an hour—one half an hour!—just to give the impression that talks are still continuing, and nothing has been, you know, has been broken, or anything. So we said Fine, you know, if that pleases you, uh, it doesn't harm us, so… When he left, and he told us, he said, Well, under no circumstance, uh, you guys will understand that you shouldn't reveal the nature of our talk. Okay?
By that time, you know, the North Vietnamese knew that, uh, the talks had, uh, run into troubles and, uh, I, for one, knew that if I did not seize the opportunity, the people would be completely alarmed, because, uh, they knew that ever since October 19th to October 23rd a lot of meeting would be going, and the rumours flying all over, the whole press going, you know, telling our politicians here, Well, you know, this thing is completely, you know, solved, you know, peace is at hand, to the point that, uh, Sullivan, who accompanied Kissinger, went to Vientiane and Bangkok to brief the leaders of
(unintelligible) that peace, un, is at hand; those guys were so, um, so happy. Of course, he didn't tell them the whole story; he didn't give them a copy of the agreement.
And at the same time Kissinger went to, uh, Phnom Penh, and even poor Lon Nol, he celebrated, uh, that with champagne. He, uh, poor guy, he thought everything was resolved, he so happy. But they didn't give those poor, you know, people, a copy of the agreement, nor did they tell them what we objected to, so just to tell you that, you know, it was, uh, uh, a very tricky situation. So uh after Kissinger departed on the 23rd, on the 24th I wrote a speech for President Thieu to make at the, uh, our television network. Not revealing the substance of our talks, but, in a way, reiterating our position
against the Communist demands, because, the, uh, the draft of the agreement contained exactly what the Communists had boasted in their propaganda, so I used that clever devise to tell the people that we still are opposed to this, we still are opposed that.
And I guess that had provoked the North Vietnamese , they said, Oh, shit, you know, maybe the, uh, the Americans and the South Vietnamese have connived again and to breaking this peace, so on the 24th, on the 25th they went public, with a broadcast when they broadcast the content of the agreement, they summarized into nine points I think. And that's, made Kissinger hold the press conference on the 26th, and we were told two hours ahead of time that he would make the press conference, that he would say "peace at hand". I remember being asked you know by reporters say what do you think about "peace at hand"?