On the eve of his election in 1968, Richard Nixon secretly conspired with the South Vietnamese government to wreck all-party Vietnam peace talks as part of a deliberate effort to prolong a conflict in which more than 20,000 Americans were still to die, along with tens of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians. The devastating new charge against Nixon, which mirrors long-held suspicions among members of President Lyndon Johnson’s administration about the Republican leader’s actions in the autumn of 1968, is made by the authors of a new study of Nixon’s secret world in the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine. “The greatest honour history can bestow,” reads the inscription on Nixon’s black granite tombstone in California, “is the title of peacemaker.” But if the charges by authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan are correct, Nixon better deserves to be called a peacewrecker than peacemaker. At the heart of the new account was Nixon’s fear that Vietnam peace efforts by President Johnson in the run-up to the November 1968 US presidential election could wreck Nixon’s bid to oust Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, and capture the White House. Nixon’s response to Johnson’s efforts was to use a go-between, Anna Chennault, to… Read full this story
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