305. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

2600. Mayflower—for Ambassador only. Ref MACV 171100Z May.2 JCS message 22303 which you may already have seen orders resumption bombing against north and authorizes execution Rolling Thunder 15 starting 0600 May 18. Regret this leave you so little time for consultation.

You should see Prime Minister Quat as soon as possible to inform him of decision here and confirm his concurrence as per reftel.4 At same time you should convey to him paragraph 2 of septel to London and Ottawa rptd you for info5 which explains outcome of our approaches to Soviets and North Vietnamese on this matter.

“You should convey message from me that we regret that the reception of the other side to the idea of a pause was not merely negative but hostile. Gromyko told Rusk that our message to Dobrynin on subject was ‘insulting.’Nevertheless we do not exclude possibility of other such attempts in future.” (Ibid., POL 27 VIET S/MAYFLOWER)

Third paragraph same message provides press guidance which should also be followed in Saigon when questions raised following resumption bombing.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S/MAYFLOWER. Top Secret; Flash; Exdis; Mayflower. Drafted by Unger and approved by William Bundy and Rusk.
  2. Not found.
  3. Dated May 17. (Department of State, Central Files,POL 27 VIET S)
  4. In telegram 3803 from Ambassador Taylor to President Johnson, May 18, Taylor reported that he had received Quat’s concurrence in the resumption of the air attacks against North Vietnam, and he added that Quat was quite happy over the decision to resume. (Ibid.)
  5. Paragraph 2 of telegram 7323 to London, May 17, reads as follows:
  6. The guidance outlined in paragraph 3 indicated that there would be no public announcement of the resumption of bombing. The response to questions from the press would be that the pause in bombing was in response to operational factors, and such factors were never discussed publicly. (Ibid.)