The War: Dialogue by Headline

For the third straight week, Hanoi continued its efforts to persuade Washington that it was ready to come to terms about coming to terms. Filling North Viet Nam's principal sound stage in the West, Hanoi's chief envoy in the non-Communist world, Paris-based Mai Van Bo, picked the eve of President Johnson's State of the Union message to make a carefully worded statement about Hanoi's latest position on peace talks. Yet after Bo spoke, and spoke still again, Washington could find little in his words to support hopes that negotiations would soon begin.

Bo's little peeps were well calculated for maximum...