It has long been alleged that Richard Nixon stifled a Johnson administration Vietnam peace initiative to give himself an edge in the close 1968 election. Bit by bit, confirmation is emerging. From George Washington at zerohedge.com:
Long-time rumors about presidential candidate Nixon conspiring to delay the ending of the Vietnam War were recently confirmed.
A year ago, historian and journalist John A Farrell wrote in the New York Times:
fA newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, [Nixon’s] closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks [President Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion], which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.***
We must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.
Nixon had entered the fall campaign with a lead over Humphrey, but the gap was closing that October. Henry A. Kissinger, then an outside Republican adviser, had called, alerting Nixon that a deal was in the works: If Johnson would halt all bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviets pledged to have Hanoi engage in constructive talks to end a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives.
But Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.
“! Keep Anna Chennault working on” South Vietnam, Haldeman scrawled, recording Nixon’s orders. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”
Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.
Here are some screenshots from Haldeman’s notes in Nixon’s presidential library:
Nixon also sought help from Chiang Kai-shek, the president of Taiwan. [He was considered somewhat of an enemy of the United States; the CIA considered assassinating him.] And he ordered Haldeman to have his vice-presidential candidate, Spiro T. Agnew, threaten the C.I.A. director, Richard Helms. Helms’s hopes of keeping his job under Nixon depended on his pliancy, Agnew was to say. “Tell him we want the truth — or he hasn’t got the job,” Nixon said.