114. Telegram From the National Security Council Executive Secretary (Smith) to President Johnson, at Camp David, Maryland1

CAP 65479. Goldberg's report on his talk in New York yesterday with U.N. Security Council members:

Goldberg, Plimpton and Yost met for one hour this afternoon with non-permanent Security Council members Ramani (Malaysia), Velazquez (Uruguay), Aka (Ivory Coast), Quarles (Netherlands), Scott-Murga (Bolivia), Rifai (Jordan).

Ramani opened meeting by stating US letter to Security Council2 placed obligation for action on members. Vietnam is new subject not on Security Council agenda and letter cannot simply be filed. Those present therefore would appreciate clarification as to US intentions and objectives.

Goldberg explained at some length rationale for President's letter to Secretary-General2 and his letter to Security Council, emphasizing our central objective is to bring issue out of battlefield to negotiating table, welcoming any initiatives by Security Council members, collectively or individually, but expressing agreement with Secretary-General's view that Security Council meeting at this time would not be productive. He also stressed that our letter was seriously meant, was in no sense intended as propaganda maneuver, was in fulfillment our Charter obligation to keep Security Council informed, was certainly not designed to put Security Council members on the spot but rather to elicit from them any initiatives or assistance which may lead to negotiations.

We welcome all efforts, he said, to find way to negotiations and honorable settlement, including those by Quaison-Sackey, Tito, Shastri, Nasser and other Africans. Most of all we count on Secretary-General and hope Security Council members will assist him, as well as taking any independent steps toward mediation and conciliation they may feel would be constructive.

Rifai was only non-permanent member who commented at some length. He recognized sincerity of US appeal to Security Council and welcomed it, pointing out he had favored bringing question to Security Council in April but had gotten no positive reaction then. He mentioned [Page 318]he is meeting with Secretary-General today. He would not fear polemical debate in Security Council if something constructive came out of it. He would not, however, wish to go into Security Council meeting without prior understanding where we would come out. There is, moreover, no point in Security Council adopting decision if that decision would not be accepted by interested parties not present in Security Council. If these parties would not come to Security Council, he believed effort should be made to obtain their prior acquiescence to action Security Council would take. He hoped to have further discussion among those present and with others as to what should come out of a Security Council meeting, such as conditions of settlement, organ that carries out settlement, etc. Without disregarding outside efforts he would much prefer that the UN, and in particular, the Security Council find solution in order to strengthen future peacekeeping. He was aware US appeal to Security Council had aroused interest not only of this group but of other Security Council and UN members. He closed by saying he would like to discuss more details later.

Both Velazquez and Quarles asked, if no Security Council meeting were held, what other action could Security Council take.

Goldberg replied that there is nothing in Charter which limits Security Council action to meeting and voting. Conciliation and mediation are not excluded from Security Council jurisdiction. In commenting on Rifai's statement Goldberg said US would of course welcome Security Council playing important role in solution and that is why appeal to it had been made.

Velazquez inquired whether US, having in mind Security Council should not meet on this issue, intends to bring it before General Assembly. Goldberg replied that we still have some time before General Assembly meets in which to consider that possibility but that, since Security Council is organ primarily dealing with peace and security it should not be downgraded by having matter prematurely taken out of its hands.

Aka agreed with Goldberg that it is most desirable to give Secretary-General time and help in finding solution before resorting to Security Council meeting.

Ramani closed meeting by saying he wished later to discuss other aspects of problem with Goldberg, having in mind special Malaysian interests because of geographic proximity.

All members expressed appreciation for meeting and for Goldberg's frankness.

It is our impression that these expressions were genuine and that meeting was very useful even though no concrete proposals emerged.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Vol. XXXVIII, Cables. Secret. Received at 3:55 p.m. There is an indication on the source text that the President saw the telegram.
  2. See footnote 8, Document 99.