United States Secretary of State William Rogers said yesterday (Tuesday) that the North Vietnamese interest in a negotiated settlement was "absolutely zero".
GV Rogers faces audience
CU Rogers listening to question.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ 1: ROGERS: You ask do I think the Saigon Government would be willing to work out a fair negotiated settlement: my answer is yes.
PASTORE: ....compromise some of these important issues that exist between the North and South?
ROGERS: Yes, but if you ask me: Do I think there's any indication that the North Vietnamese are interested in a negotiated political settlement, my answer is no. Absolutely zero. We don't see any sign that they're in the slightest interested. We've sent out feelers through every diplomatic channel in the world -- that both we and the Saigon Government are interested seriously in discussing a political settlement. We have not had any indication that they're prepared to do that.
PASTORE: Now the next question that pops up -- if what you say is true, then why do we stay in Paris?
ROGERS: Well I think that's good question. One of the reasons we stay there is because obviously we'd be severely criticised by many people....
PASTORE: By whom?
ROGERS: Hell, I' sure we'd be....
PASTORE: You're not being criticised by the American people. I think they're a little disgusted and frustrated. You keep telling us officially that there is no intention on the part of North Vietnam to resolve this question at the negotiating table. We've been there months and years.
ROGERS: Well up to this point I say there's none. In the past when the Communists ever signalled their intentions if they decided to negotiate, they wouldn't tell us in advance, so we always have some hope that there's still a possibility. I say that up to this point there hasn't been any inclination on their part to do it.
Initials GL/MR/OS/2319 GL/MR/CO/23.20
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Background: United States Secretary of State William Rogers said yesterday (Tuesday) that the North Vietnamese interest in a negotiated settlement was "absolutely zero". He said the United States stayed at the Paris peace talks to avoid criticism.
Mr. Rogers, with Secretary of Defence Melvin R. Laird sitting beside him was addressing a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Mr. Rogers was closely questioned by Senator John Pastore (Democrat, Rhode Island) on the reasons why the United States stayed at the Paris talks: