Henry Kissinger's Negotiation Campaign to End the Vietnam War

23 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016

See all articles by James K. Sebenius

James K. Sebenius

HBS Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit

Eugene Kogan

Harvard Kennedy School

Date Written: December 12, 2016


President Richard M. Nixon was elected in 1968 with the widespread expectation that he would bring about an end to the costly and unpopular war in Vietnam. The task largely fell to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. When the negotiations began, North Vietnam appeared to have a winning hand with time on its side. To induce agreement from North Vietnam on acceptable terms, Kissinger orchestrated a complex negotiation campaign with multiple fronts: North Vietnam, the U.S. public and Congress China, the USSR, West Germany, and South Vietnam. Kissinger’s efforts culminated in the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, which held for about two years before collapsing in the wake of Watergate. The account in this working paper carefully describes — but does not analyze nor draw lessons from — core features of these challenging negotiations. Forthcoming papers will provide analysis and derive general insights from this negotiation campaign.

Keywords: Kissinger, Negotiation, Negotiation Campaign, Bargaining, Diplomacy, Coercive Diplomacy, Multiparty Negotiations, Dispute Resolution, Mediation, International Relations

Suggested Citation

Sebenius, James K. and Kogan, Eugene, Henry Kissinger's Negotiation Campaign to End the Vietnam War (December 12, 2016). Harvard PON Working Paper, Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 17-053, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2884193 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2884193

James K. Sebenius (Contact Author)

HBS Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-9334 (Phone)
617-496-7379 (Fax)

Eugene Kogan

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics