Report: Nixon personally directed South Vietnam to reject LBJ’s 1968 peace initiative

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John A. Farrell is the author of the forthcoming “Richard Nixon: The Life.”

Related Link Nixon Tried to Spoil Johnson’s Vietnam Peace Talks in ’68, Notes Show (NYT) 

HNN:  NYT News Department Scooped by the NYT Op-Ed page.  On the last day of 2016 the NYT Op-Ed page ran the piece excerpted below laying out the evidence that Richard Nixon tried to sabotage the peace talks in 1968. It took the News Department two days to catch-up.  On January 2, 2017 the News Department ran its own story confirming the discovery made by the Op-Ed writer, John Farrell. The news story noted that some, including historian Luke Nichter, discount the discovery.  “Because sabotaging the ’68 peace efforts seems like a Nixon-like thing to do, we are willing to accept a very low bar of evidence on this,” Nichter told the Times.

Richard M. Nixon always denied it: to David Frost, to historians and to Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the strongest suspicions and the most cause for outrage at his successor’s rumored treachery. To them all, Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured on the White House taping system.

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.

The 37th president has been enjoying a bit of a revival recently, as his achievements in foreign policy and the landmark domestic legislation he signed into law draw favorable comparisons to the presidents (and president-elect) that followed. A new, $15 million face-lift at the Nixon presidential library, while not burying the Watergate scandals, spotlights his considerable record of accomplishments.

Haldeman’s notes return us to the dark side. Amid the reappraisals, we must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.




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