Negotiations: New Flexibility

In both Washington and Paris last week, the feeling grew that U.S. and North Vietnamese negotiators have finally begun to move from rhetoric toward reality in their meetings. North Viet Nam's chief negotiator in the peace talks, Xuan Thuy, went out of his way to belittle American suggestions that longer tea or coffee breaks between the formal sessions represented some progress, noting ironically: "We talk about the seasons, the weather, the food, the scenery."

Still, the informal break last week lasted 42 minutes, a long time to discuss even the glories of France's climate, cuisine and countryside. In fact, the...