Report: Nixon Intentionally Sabotaged Peace Talks in 1968

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I did not expect to learn something new and terrible about former President Richard Nixon in 2016, but the New York Times published a letter on Saturday that could rewrite the history of the Vietnam War again.

The Times published a handwritten note penned by Nixon's closest aide that shows he conspired to sabotage Johnson's peace talks in 1968.

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. [...]

Nixon had entered the fall campaign with a lead over Humphrey, but the gap was closing that October. Henry A. Kissinger, then an outside Republican adviser, had called, alerting Nixon that a deal was in the works: If Johnson would halt all bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviets pledged to have Hanoi engage in constructive talks to end a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives.

But Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

“! Keep Anna Chennault working on” South Vietnam, Haldeman scrawled, recording Nixon’s orders. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”

Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.

While they were aware of Nixon's actions, Johnson and his aides decided they lacked conclusive proof and did not go public to say that Nixon had committed treason.

This story of a presidential candidate conspiring with foreign lobbyists and leaders against his own country's leaders seems awfully prescient today, doesn't it?

Everything old is new again, even Nixon's treachery.

  • Qahir Makhani

    And yet you’ll have Greenwald and his minions who have co-opted the far left into believing that either wikileaks are true (Colbert called them out on it) and/or Russia are not the perpetrators/it could be them. Talk about doublespeak

  • Wookie Monster

    So, anyone who lost a family member in Vietnam after 1968 can thank the Nixon cabal. It’s been known for a long time that he sabotaged the peace talks, but having proof nearly fifty years later is still infuriating.

    Imagine what treacheries of Trump we’ll learn about in 2064.

    • Scopedog

      Yep. I remember Tom Hartmann talking about this some years ago, and even played the tape of LBJ talking about it, but it is good to see proof from none other than the late H.R. Haldeman.

      Still, it just goes to show you that what the GOP did in 1980, 2000, and 2016 had precedence with Nixon.

  • muselet

    If you begin with the premise that Richard Nixon did the absolute worst thing he possibly could do at absolutely every opportunity in his political life, you’ll probably still underestimate how downright evil (I don’t use that word often or lightly) the man was.

    There’s a lot of Richard Nixon in Donald Trump’s makeup.

    It’s going to be a long four years.


    • muselet



  • Aynwrong

    This election feels like Nixon’s hand has reached up from the grave to terrorize this nation one last time. The GOP has never changed. Monstrously corrupt and amoral to it’s core. The Republican party needs to razed to the ground.

    • Scopedog

      His dead hand certainly reached up from the grave in 2000; 2008 and 2012 it was knocked away. But this year….well, it had help, courtesy of Stein, Sanders, the MSM, Russia, and Wikileaks, not to mention GOP shenanigans that were ignored in favor of the email nothingburgers.

      • Aynwrong

        Don’t forget J. Edgar Comey and his letter about nothing.