146. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson 1


  • Answer to Adlai Stevenson’s memo

I asked George Ball to answer Adlai’s memorandum of February 17 (Tab A)2 and here is my own suggestion as to what you might say to him if you wish to telephone him. In the current situation, I do not think such a phone call is urgent.

[Page 338]
Stevenson suggests an early Presidential statement. Your answer is that you believe in all necessary statements of our policy and objectives—that you have stated them repeatedly—and that you have told the Secretary of State to hold a press conference or issue a statement at any time in the next days or weeks that he may think it necessary. You yourself do not wish to heat up the national or international atmosphere by making a very loud noise right now, although you are free to change your mind if the situation requires it.
You do not wish to indicate our “readiness for exploratory talks” at this time. Our position is not one in which we should now look as if we were hunting negotiations. Both the Communists and our friends in Saigon would interpret such a proposal as a sign of weakness and readiness to withdraw.
You share his view that we do not wish to get into the Security Council right now.
You do not think that we would now wish to organize a meeting of the US, UK, France, China, the Soviet Union, and North and South Vietnam. Such a committee would be weighted against us, and there is no reason today to offer the French the mediator role in this conspicuous way.
McG. B. 3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. VIII. Secret.
  2. See Document 145.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.