145. Editorial Note
Since August 1964, United Nations Secretary-General U Thant had been attempting through U.S. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson to arrange private talks in Rangoon between North Vietnamese and American representatives. See Walter Johnson (editor), The Papers of Adlai E. Stevenson, volume VIII, pages 661–666, and the Editorial Note in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume I, Document 427.
The U Thant-Stevenson discussions were resumed in January 1965. On February 16, Stevenson met with U Thant, who suggested that the U.S. Government prepare a paper stating its position on Vietnam for circulation in the U.N. Security Council. Stevenson’s memorandum of this conversation, which includes a brief introductory section recapitulating his contacts with U Thant, is in The Papers of Adlai E. Stevenson, volume VIII, pages 700–702.
Stevenson also sent a memorandum to President Johnson on February 17, in which he suggested that the President prepare an early statement of the U.S. position on Vietnam for distribution in the U.N. Security Council as U Thant had suggested. (Ibid., pages 702–704) McGeorge Bundy advised against a Presidential statement in his memorandum of February 19 (Document 146).