5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Vietnam: The Kissinger-Le Duc Tho Negotiations, August 1969-December 1973

Vietnam: The Kissinger-Le Duc Tho Negotiations, August 1969-December 1973, an almost 1,800 page documentary history of the negotiations, compiled and edited by John M. Carland, contains word searchable transcripts of every meeting Kissinger had with the North Vietnamese—comprised of 68 separate meetings in 27 separate negotiating rounds. The negotiations resulted in the still controversial January 1973 Paris Peace Accords. Many of the transcripts are accompanied by long discursive footnotes that reference and quote from, sometimes copiously, Kissinger’s summary memos to Nixon about a particular meeting with Le Duc Tho, as well as from other American documents, and also from enemy message traffic—Le Duc Tho to and from the Hanoi Politburo, and various memos and memoirs from North Vietnamese side.

John M. Carland, a historian at the Army Center of Military History, wrote Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965-October 1966, official history of the Army’s first eighteen months of combat in Vietnam (2000).At the Historian’s Office, Department of State, he compiled, edited, and published in 2010 two documentary histories: Vietnam, January – October 1972; and Vietnam, October 1972 –January 1973. In retirement, he completed a third documentary history for State Department: Vietnam: The Kissinger-Le Duc Tho Negotiations, August 1969-December 1973, published in late 2017. All three documentary histories speak to the relationship between force and diplomacy in a war-time setting. He has also published and delivered numerous articles and papers on the United States and the Vietnam War. Carland holds an undergraduate double degree in political science and history from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, an M.A. in political science from the City College of New York, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Toronto.

George C. Herring has devoted much of his career to teaching and writing about the Vietnam War.  He taught his first class on the war in the spring of 1973, as the last U.S. troops were coming home from Vietnam. His book, America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975, was first published in 1979 and next year will go into a sixth edition--with a new title. His books also include The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers (1983) and LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War (1994). A native of Virginia, Dr. Herring graduated from Roanoke College, and after service in the U.S. Navy earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Virginia. He taught at the University of Kentucky from 1969 until his retirement in 2005. In 1993-1994, he was visiting professor at the United States Military Academy.

Winston Lord has led a distinguished career in international affairs, both in and out of government. His governmental posts have included Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor, Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff. Ambassador to China under President Reagan and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under President Clinton. He has also led or served many non- governmental organizations, including as President of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the International Rescue Committee. With respect to the Vietnam negotiations, Lord attended every Kissinger meeting with the North and South Vietnamese from 1970 through January 1973. He was also on related trips to China, the Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. Lord was one of the principal drafters of the Paris Peace Accords on Vietnam, as well as the Shanghai Communique on President Nixon's trip to China. Lord graduated from Yale University (magna cum laude) and the Fletcher School (first in class),and is the recipient of several honorary degrees and governmental awards.

Stephen Randolph served as The Historian of the State Department from 2012 until his retirement at the end of 2017. As The Historian, he was responsible for publication of the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary record of US foreign policy and diplomacy. Prior to his arrival at the State Department, he served for fifteen years as professor, department chair, and associate dean at the National Defense University. Still earlier, he served as a fighter pilot, commander, and policy advisor through a 27-year career in the Air Force, retiring as a colonel in 2001. He is the author of Powerful and Brutal Weapons: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Easter Offensive, a study of the endgame of the US war in Indochina. Dr. Randolph graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1974, and was awarded a master's degree in the History of Science from the Johns Hopkins University in 1975 and a Ph.D. from the George Washington University in 2005.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Philippa Strum (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.



  • Eric Arnesen

    Professor of History, The George Washington University
  • Philippa Strum

    Global Fellow
    Former Director, Division of United States Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center