Toàn văn điện tín mật của Đại sứ Maritin như sau:
“210925Z JANUARY 1974 VIA MARTIN CHANNEL
SAIGON 0587 IMMEDIATE
JANUARY 21, 1974
TO GENERAL BRENT SCOWCROFT
FROM: AMBASSADOR GRAHAM MARTIN
REFS: A) WH 40327; B) SAIGON 924
1.You may wish to bring these further observations to Henry’s attention before he decides on the nature of his approach, if any, to the PRC.
2. Reftel provides answers to questions posed. The Naval Log is interesting to review. Characteristic caution which was countered in the end by compulsion not just to sit there and take it but to do something. This compulsion reinforced by President Thieu’s physical presence in Danang and consequent intangible pressure from necessity not to appear passive faced with what was too easily summarized as clear aggression. Had he been here in Saigon, and had we known about what he was contemplating, we could have probably talked him into more reasonable course of action. For example, I HEARD THIS MORNING HE HAD ORDERED RVNAF TO BOMB CHINESE FORCES IN PARACELS. THAT HAS BEEN STOPPED.
3. Question is where we go from here. What. for example, do we advise GVN to do about their garrison at Namyit Island in the Spratleys. Withdraw it? Reinforce it? Or sit and wait? Naval Log shows despatch of ship to Namyit on 15th. According to preliminary seismological reports beginning to leak, there is probably enormous quantities of oil under the South China Sea in the vicinity of these otherwise worthless bits of real estate.
Therefore, the stakes are pretty high. We cannot, I think, become directly involved in the disputes over sovereignty between our old allies – the RVN, the ROC, and the Philippines. Or between them and the PRC with whom we would hope to build a more forthcoming relationship. However, it would not seem that we would necessarily jeopardize any of them by reiterating quietly and behind the scenes, our traditional position opposing use of force to settle territorial disputes, and such equally traditional positions as the use of the ICRC to facilitate immediate return of dead and wounded.
4. Indeed, if the PRC were to accede to the GVN request to return the dead and wounded under ICRC auspices, it would be a rather large stick to use to push the DRV into a more forthcoming attitude on the current “prisoner exchange” issue which they are stalling now in the TPJMC discussions. If, in addition, the PRC would use the rubric of “wounded” to return all the prisoners as a Tet gesture, it would be an even greater weapon to use on the DRV. 5. I have just been handed FBIS transcript of Peking NCNA Domestic Chinese 210112Z which says, inter alia “persons captured from the other side in this war of self-defense will be repatriated at an appropriate time.” In both Chinese and Vietnamese context there could be no more appropriate time than Tet. Of course, we do not know if the captured are still on Pattle Island or have been removed to Hainan or to the Mainland. It would, of course, be much easier to repatriate them from Pattle Island.
6. Question of Kosh further complicated by fact that UPI Saigon has story from Vietnamese sources that “American with meteorlogical station on Pattle Island now presumably captured by Chinese.”
This is all they have. They do not have his name or fact that he is DAO civilian employee. When queried we did not ask they kill or hold story but observed if it not carried for 24 hours, it might greatly facilitate release. UPI Bureau Saigon is so recommending to Bill Landry, Foreign Editor, UPI, in New York. What he will decide we do not know.
7. On the diplomatic front we have based on observations of USUN, advised GVN to simply file complaint with Security Council but not to press for hearing and certainly not for vote. Thieu wishes despatch letter to President Nixon requesting intervention and condemnation of PRC. We have strongly advised no such letter be sent, since there could be only negative reply, adding that I would myself recommend such a negative reply, We have recommended to Foreign Minister Bac that the GVN take its case to the International Court, and to play any report to SEATO very low key, 8. Out of all this may come a great deal of good. Certainly I shall be able to exert a greater influence in both restraining Thieu from any further ill-considered actions and also in being more forthcoming to meet any give, if any, in Le Duc Tho’s intransigence on prisoner exchange and the GVN proposal on the lowering the intensity of violence by refraining from use of mortars, rockets, and mines and other mass killers of innocent civilians. And, above all, on tightening up both his military command and control apparatus and give Khiem more power to coordinate the civilian ministries.
9. On balance, we should be looking for ways to use this incident, regrettable as it is, in ways which advance our overall objectives. Dispassionately and objectively I still believe low key approach to Chinese along lines I suggested might be useful. I do not suggest we insist they give the Paracels back to the GVN. They have them, and obviously they are not going to return them. Our recommendations that they accede to GVN request for return of dead and wounded and, further, that they may wish to use Tet to generously return all the prisoners are really, and I think would be perceived by the PRC to be, a tacit acceptance of their “fait accompli”. It just might, also, save the Spratleys and the possible oil under them for the GVN. It is just not credible to me that this incident is not one where the GVN stumbled into a PRC operation already well under way. 10. On balance, it seems to me that we would really gain with the PRC and at the same time appear to have done the only thing it makes sense for us to do for the GVN out of all that they have and will request. And, looking at it from this distance, there seems little, if any, danger that could possibly accrue to us from taking this initiative.
[Source: 417, SECRET, DECLASSIFIED, E.O. 12356, Sec. 3.4, MR 94-86, $26, 8/9/94.
By NARA, Date 8/19/94. Photocopy from Gerald R. Ford Library]