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

SUBJECT

  • British reaction to Goldberg's letter to U Thant
1.
You should know that the British have followed up very briskly on Goldberg's letter of last week to U Thant.2 Foreign Minister Stewart has sent word to Dean Rusk that the British, as Chairman of the Security Council this month, feel that they would be seeming to question our sincerity if they did not press very hard to find ways of having an early meeting of the Security Council on Vietnam. In presenting this view, the British have also presented a resolution which would match an end of our bombing against an unpoliced North Vietnamese undertaking to send no more forces into the South—a notion which is plainly unacceptable to us.3
2.
Dean Rusk has given the British a very skillful answer, stressing the need for intense private consultation before there is any Security Council meeting, and pointing out the defects in the UK draft resolution. Meanwhile, Yost talked yesterday to U Thant in New York and found him still adamantly opposed to a Security Council meeting.4 The Russians have told him they would have to use such a meeting for violent denunciation of the U.S. U Thant has said the same thing to the British, and it may be that Stewart will be cooled off.
3.
It is obviously going to be hard for State and Goldberg to keep the right balance between good sense and a forthcoming posture at the UN, but so far they are doing very well. It remains to be seen whether Foreign Minister Stewart is really as unhelpful as this particular demarche suggests. Up till now, he has been our best defender in the UK, but there is a fishy smell to this one.
McG.B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. XIII. Confidential.
  2. See footnote 8, Document 99.
  3. Rusk and British Ambassador Sir Patrick Dean met on August 2. The draft resolution cited here is attached to the memorandum of conversation. (Washington National Records Center, RG 59, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: FRC 83 A 57, August 1965)
  4. Thant said that such a meeting would be “disastrous.” (Telegram 236 from USUN, August 3; Department of State, Central Files,POL 27 VIET S)