427. Editorial Note

Following his meeting with the President on August 6 (see Document 298), U Thant contacted Ho Chi Minh about the possibility of direct talks with the United States. By early September, he had received a positive response, but the record is unclear whether he transmitted it to Ambassador Stevenson at that time, or because of the Presidential campaign, not until November. On November 23, 24, and 26, Stevenson and Secretary of State Rusk discussed the question and Rusk concluded that U Thant should keep the matter in his hands for the time being. Because U Thant was ill for much of December, further talks did not take place until January 1965.

Records of the three conversations between Stevenson and Rusk are in Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. A 4-page undated paper, entitled “Key Points of Developments [Page 958] Relating to U Thant’s ‘Rangoon’ Initiative,” with an attached 9-page chronology, is ibid., Ball Papers: Lot 74 D 272, Vietnam U Thant. For another account of these discussions, see Walter Johnson (ed.), The Papers of Adlai Stevenson , volume VIII, pages 661–666.