296. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • Your conversation with Governor Stevenson
You are considering a decision to suspend air attacks on North Vietnam for several days. You would not announce this decision in any way, but you would call attention to this pause privately with Moscow and Hanoi. While this pause would not be a long one, it would indicate our own ability to move either way, depending upon the actions of the enemy. This pause would not be extended or repeated merely in return for a conference, but only if there were major reductions in the level of armed action in South Vietnam.
You would like to have this decision known to U Thant, but only if he could be told in a way that would protect us entirely against leaks. [Page 645] Does Governor Stevenson think he could tell U Thant on an entirely personal basis, so that Governor Stevenson and U Thant would be the only two people in the whole United Nations to know about this matter until the President was ready to discuss it publicly?
If Governor Stevenson can give you this kind of assurance, you are strongly inclined to go ahead with this pause. If he cannot give you this assurance, you may have to reconsider the whole matter.

Stevenson sees U Thant around noon and this phone call should be placed as quickly as possible.2

McG. B.3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. X. Top Secret.
  2. Johnson’s phone call to Stevenson was placed at 10:57 a.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.