Decent interval

Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon discussing the Vietnam situation in Camp David, 1972.

Decent interval is a theory regarding the end of the Vietnam War which argues that from 1971 or 1972, the Nixon Administration abandoned the goal of preserving South Vietnam and instead aimed to save face by preserving a ‘decent interval’ between withdrawal and South Vietnamese collapse. Therefore, Nixon could avoid becoming the first United States president to lose a war. A variety of evidence from the Nixon tapes and from transcripts of meetings with foreign leaders is cited to support this theory, including Henry Kissinger‘s statement before the 1973 Paris Peace Accords that ‘our terms will eventually destroy him’ (referring to South Vietnamese president Nguyễn Văn Thiệu). However, both Kissinger and Nixon denied that such a strategy existed.Already by late 1970 or early 1971, President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger ‘effectively abandoned the hope of a military victory’ in the Vietnam War. Increasingly, they questioned the premise that the South Vietnamese Army would ever be able to defend its country without American help, especially after the Lam Son 719 debacle. Following the Paris Peace Accords, the Nixon administration claimed that ‘peace with honor‘ had been achieved and that South Vietnamese independence had been guaranteed. After the Fall of Saigon, Nixon and Kissinger blamed the failure of the accords on the United States Congress refusing to continue support to South Vietnam—in other words, the Vietnam stab-in-the-back myth. … The idea of a decent interval was absent from public debate during the Nixon years and originally advanced in a 1977 book of the same name by former CIA analyst Frank Snepp. However Snepp does not subscribe to the full theory of intentional abandonment of South Vietnam, but rather that Kissinger, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Graham Martin and others engaged in the same kinds of self-deluded thinking after the Paris accords that had gotten the US into Vietnam in the first place. What Snepp was most outraged over was the haste with which the Americans pulled out in April 1975, abandoning many key South Vietnamese allies and intelligence assets to their fates. Snepp was not party to the high-level negotiations in which the ‘decent interval’ strategy occurred. …”
Wikipedia, W – Vietnam stab-in-the-back myth
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Saigon’s and Frank Snepp’s “Decent Interval”
LISTEN: A Decent Interval
Vietnam War sites in Saigon: Exploring places related to the US-Vietnam War
amazon: Decent Interval: An Insider’s Account of Saigon’s Indecent End Told by the CIA’s Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam – Frank Snepp

Saigon’s Continental Hotel 1967

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in ARVN, Books, CIA, Henry Kissinger, Nixon, Paris Peace Accords, Peace talks, Saigon, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s