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Remarks to Reporters After a Briefing on the Paris Peace Talks

July 04, 1970

Ladies and gentlemen:

We have just completed a meeting with Ambassador Bruce and Ambassador Habib, who has come in from Paris, and with Under Secretary Johnson and Dr. Kissinger.

This is the first meeting in which Ambassador Bruce is being briefed on the negotiations in Paris. He will meet again with the Secretary of State when he returns to London on July 11. In the middle of the month or shortly after the middle of the month, at a time we can arrange it, we will have a National Security Council meeting in Washington, where all of those who participated today, as well as the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, will be present.

In addition, Ambassador Bunker will return from Saigon to participate in that meeting. These briefings will be completed before the first of August, and by the first of August, as I indicated on Thursday, Ambassador Bruce will be in Paris.

Ambassador Habib will stay in Paris for a period of time during which the transition will occur, and after he completes that assignment, Secretary Johnson has a very important new assignment for him, which will be announced at an appropriate time.

I would like to say again that I think the Nation is most fortunate to have a man with the great wealth of experience in diplomacy to take this assignment as chief of our delegation in Paris. Ambassador Bruce, as I pointed out the other night, is unique, perhaps, in the diplomatic service of this country in the number of very important posts that he has filled. We are glad that he returns to the diplomatic service for this assignment.

He can respond now if he likes, in any way that he can. Of course, any statements with regard to the negotiations will be deferred until he arrives in Paris to assume the responsibility as chief of the delegation.

Note: The President spoke at 11 :50 a.m. at the Western White House, San Clemente, Calif.
Ambassador Brace responded as follows:

Mr. President, I feel deeply honored at having been given this assignment. It is one which is foreign to my experience, but if I can make any contribution, no matter how slight, to bringing about a settlement of the difficulties in Southeast Asia, I will feel overjoyed.

I am not going to make any statement until I have taken up my duties, which will be about the first of August, in Paris. And meanwhile, I hope you won't ask me questions, because quite frankly, I'd be quite unable to answer them, even with the best of good will.
Thank you, Mr. President.

Richard Nixon, Remarks to Reporters After a Briefing on the Paris Peace Talks Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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