Negotiations with Communists

April 21, 1965

Report Outline
Outlook for Negotiations on Viet Nam
Postwar Negotiations with the Reds
Leeway for Negotiation in Viet Nam

Outlook for Negotiations on Viet Nam

Johnson's Acceptannce of Unconditional Talks

Affirmation by President Johnson of American readiness to enter into “unconditional discussions” on settlement of the Viet Nam question was welcomed by Western nations, not as a breakthrough to peace in Southeast Asia, but as an opening, however narrow, in that direction. Reaction of Communist countries to the President's address at Johns Hopkins University on April 7 was almost wholly negative. But there is nevertheless some feeling that a step has now been taken which, whatever the obstacles to be surmounted, may finally lead the warring adversaries to the conference table.

The President suggested at Baltimore that there were several roads to peace in Viet Nam: “In discussion or negotiation with the governments concerned; in large groups or in small ones; in the reaffirmation of old agreements or their strengthening with new ones.” Proposing economic development assistance for all of Southeast Asia “as soon as peaceful cooperation is possible,” Johnson said he would ask Congress “to join in a billion dollar investment in this effort as soon as it is under way.”

Pressure for Negotiation of Viet Nam Question

It was in response to an appeal by 17 non-aligned countries for peace talks on Viet Nam that President Johnson spoke. The appeal, delivered April 1 to a score of governments, to the National Front for the Liberation of South Viet Nam (political arm of the Viet Cong), and to United Nations Secretary General U Thant, urged that negotiations start “as soon as possible, without posing any preconditions, so that a political solution of Viet Nam may be found in accordance with the … aspirations of the Vietnamese people.”

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