Foreign Relations of the U.S.: Vietnam, January 1969-July 1970

By Kinnard, Douglas | Naval War College Review, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Foreign Relations of the U.S.: Vietnam, January 1969-July 1970


Kinnard, Douglas, Naval War College Review


Keefer, Edward C., ed. Foreign Relations of the U.S.: Vietnam, January 1969-July 1970, vol. 6. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006. 1,173pp. $65

This State Department volume, the first of five that will cover the end period of the Vietnam War, documents major foreign policy issues of the Nixon administration, with a focus on U.S. policy toward Vietnam, Cambodia, and to a lesser extent Laos during the period of January 1969 to July 1970. What a time it was!

In the 1968 presidential campaign, candidate Richard M. Nixon stated that he had a plan to end the war in Vietnam. As it turned out, the "plan" was embryonic. When he took office he moved slowly, convinced that how the United States ended the war would have an enduring impact on future American foreign policy. Henry Kissinger, Nixon's national security adviser, became the key figure in the effort to end the war, a program that became known as "Vietnamization."

Vietnamization was directed toward the upgrading of South Vietnamese forces, which was to be accompanied by phased withdrawals of U.S. forces. Completion would depend on how things went in Vietnam. This work, in addition to documenting policy efforts to move this program along, also documents efforts to convince Hanoi that it was dealing with a strong adversary: for example, Secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia, integration of the secret war in Laos with the conflict in Vietnam, and covert operations against North Vietnam.

One of the principal themes developed here is the search for a negotiated settlement, first in the Paris Peace Talks and then through secret meetings between Kissinger and North Vietnamese foreign minister Xuan Thuy and special adviser Le Due Tho. …

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