Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. 3-11

The Vietnam War was unusual, perhaps unique, in having so many “peace offers” put forward even as the struggle intensified and American involvement deepened during the Johnson years. Washington’s Cold War allies offered their services as interlocutors to get talks started, but so did the Soviet Union’s satellites in Eastern Europe. France’s Charles de Gaulle, acting from his own agenda, called for the “neutralization” of Vietnam ...

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Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

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pp. 13-23

This book examines in detail the various aspects of trying to find a peaceful end to the Vietnam conflict. To help place these efforts in context, we need first to compare what happened there with other wars the United States fought in the twentieth century. ...

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Fighting While Negotiating

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pp. 24-44

David Halberstam had it wrong in 1964 when he warned against the quagmire of Vietnam as if it were newly made. In fact, the bog had been there for more than a decade. From early June, 1951, when the subject of truce talks was broached, until July, 1953, when an armistice was finally achieved, the United States seemed as relentlessly stuck in Korea as, eleven years later, Lyndon Johnson felt himself to be in Vietnam. In both instances ...

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Discussions, Not Negotiations

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pp. 45-58

During the Cold War, within which the Vietnam War took place, American diplomacy was frequently based upon visions of what the world should be, rather than upon what it was. Thus, in Europe, successive administrations refused in various ways to recognize the political consequences of the Second World War, including the imposition of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, while in Asia the United States refused for more ...

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The PENNSYLVANIA Peace Initiative: June–October, 1967

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pp. 59-72

Pennsylvania was the last of the major peace initiatives before the Tet Offensive. It was given its “tag,” its name, because Pennsylvania was the home state of State Department executive secretary Benjamin Read, who oversaw and named most of the initiatives. It took place between June and October, 1967, the most intensive activity coming in July and August. ...

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The Mirage of Negotiations

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pp. 73-82

The odds for a diplomatic settlement of the Vietnam War were never good. It is not an accident that when serious peace negotiations finally occurred, they failed to settle the war. Four years of the Paris negotiations could produce nothing better than the Paris Agreements of 1973, a spurious settlement that neither side signed in good faith. Diplomacy having failed, as it had almost inevitably been going to fail, the war was finally resolved on ...

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Who Gave Peace a Chance?

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pp. 83-96

The American anti-Vietnam War movement was the largest and most sustained antiwar movement in the nation’s history. However one may evaluate the wisdom of its opposition to American involvement in the wars in Southeast Asia, there is no doubt that it had an impact on the public, the media, the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Congress, and Hanoi. ...

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George McGovern and Mr. Johnson’s War

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pp. 97-116

The chamber was nearly empty on the afternoon of September 24, 1963, when George McGovern, a forty-one-year-old South Dakotan some eight months into his first Senate term, rose to deliver a remarkable address. Although he was a Democrat and a protégé of the president, his message was not calculated to please the Kennedy White House. His main subject was the arms race—a proposal to cut pending defense ...

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Missions Impossible: Canadian Secret Diplomacy and the Quest for Peace in Vietnam

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pp. 117-143

The Canadian national experience has been shaped inordinately by external, rather than internal, forces. While the bond with Great Britain remained strong into the 1960s, Canadians have always defined themselves and their foreign policy by their relationship with the United States. Even prior to Canadian Confederation in 1867, American territorial expansion, military prowess, and exceptionalist zeal combined to form ...

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“How Fuzzy Can One Be?”: The American Reaction to De Gaulle’s Proposal for the Neutralization of (South) Vietnam

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pp. 144-161

The timing of Pres. Charles de Gaulle’s initiatives on China and Vietnam— beginning in the late summer of 1963, came shortly after the situation in Vietnam had begun to go badly, which the U.S. ambassador in Saigon, Henry Cabot Lodge, placed as of April, 1963.1 ...

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De Gaulle and the Vietnam War

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pp. 162-165

Opposition to the Vietnam War was virtually unanimous in France.1 Among students, it was led by the so-called Vietnam committees dominated by the Communist Party, and they organized many protests. There was also an opposition led by the “intellectuals,” particularly Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as a political one, led by the president of the Republic himself. De Gaulle had early defined once and for all his general opposition to ...

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Triangle of Discord: The United States, Germany, and French Peace Initiatives for Vietnam

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pp. 166-182

In the mid-1960s, an American commentator once remarked that Paris “counted in South East Asia for just about as much as did Luxembourg.”1 The gentle reader, reflecting on the topic of this chapter, may be tempted to extend this comparison and ask why anybody would be interested in what the Grand Duchy of Liechtenstein thought of Luxembourg’s Southeast Asian policy. ...

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The ASPEN Channel and the Problem of the Bombing

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pp. 183-206

The Americans named it ASPEN after the ski resort in Colorado, but no doubt with the cold Swedish winters in mind. A peace initiative undertaken by Sweden during the years of rapid escalation in Vietnam, it featured frequent secret meetings between Swedish officials and North Vietnamese representatives in Warsaw and Hanoi, and between Foreign Minister ...

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The Japanese Government’s Peace Efforts in the Vietnam War, 1965–1968

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pp. 207-230

The Japanese government’s peace efforts during the Vietnam War roughly corresponded to the administration of Eisaku Sato (November, 1964 to June, 1972). This chapter, therefore, deals with the Sato government’s peace efforts. ...

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The Limits of Peacemaking: India and the Vietnam War, 1962-1968

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pp. 231-259

New Delhi buzzed with diplomatic intrigue in the first days of 1967. Indian officials had been aware for some time of a possible softening in North Vietnam’s position on the war in Vietnam. Then, on January 4, Nguyen Hoa, Hanoi’s consul general in Delhi, made explicit what had previously come secondhand. In a meeting with Tikki Kaul, the ...

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Peacemaking or Troubleshooting?: The Soviet Role in Peace Initiatives during the Vietnam War

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pp. 260-277

Nisi utile est quod facimus stulta est gloria. “If what we are doing is useless, fervor is unwise.” It seems that Moscow followed this precept of the Roman fabulist Phaedrus throughout the Vietnam War whenever it had to deal with peace initiatives aimed at ending the conflict. In fact, the Soviets preferred to help others in their efforts to bring peace in Vietnam—rather ...

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China’s Response to French Peace Initiatives

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pp. 278-291

Between 1964 and1966, French president Charles de Gaulle initiated a number of moves to bring about a political settlement to the conflict in Vietnam. In the end, however, none of his peace proposals bore fruit. Historians have attributed the failure of de Gaulle’s peace initiatives to the lack of interest shown by Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.1 China’s response ...

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“A Half-Hearted Overture”: Czechoslovakia, Kissinger, and Vietnam, Autumn, 1966

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pp. 292-320

On September 6, 1966, as the Vietnam War escalated with no movement toward negotiations from either side, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia Central Committee (CPCz CC) Politburo adopted a resolution approving a plan for a delegation of party and state leaders to visit Hanoi later that month.1 That action set in motion a short-lived, unsuccessful, and ...

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The Pentagon and Peace Negotiations after March 31, 1968

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pp. 321-354

Almost from the beginning of its combat involvement in Vietnam in 1965, the United States sought a negotiated settlement to the war. Various allied and neutral nations presented appeals for peace and arranged private contacts with North Vietnamese officials. Throughout this time, however, there were no direct meetings between high-level North Vietnamese and U.S. officials. ...

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The Shape of the Table: Nguyen Van Thieu and Negotiations to End the Conflict

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pp. 355-370

Almost all analyses of efforts to begin negotiations on ending the Vietnam War—as well as of the Paris peace talks that eventually took place—lack a critical dimension: coverage of South Vietnam’s interests and objectives. This is problematical in American historiography since it was for South Vietnam that the United States was ostensibly fighting the war. It is also a ...

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Vietnam and the Origins of D

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pp. 371-390

Without the Vietnam War, d

Contributors

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pp. 391-394

Index

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pp. 395-406