3. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and the Under Secretary of State (Ball)1

Pres. asked that somebody summarize the paper on the 12 or 13 diplomatic channels we had.2 Mac Bundy had mentioned earlier in the day we were going to ask Bruce to talk to Wilson and bring them up to date. It might be wise to ask Bruce to have a breakfast meeting or some kind of meeting with Menzies to go over it with him. If they want us to get out of Viet-Nam we can get out and they'll be in a fix. Bill had told the President of the lunch today. It is essential we survive the monsoon; we're in a very precarious position.

Ball told the President he would have a memorandum for him in the morning along the lines of his talk with Moyers.3 Bill Bundy had suggested on the thirteen points rather than give them out as a release, or to use as one paper against another, we might incorporate them in a speech during the week. Perhaps the Secretary could do it—a speech that will set forth what we have tried to do in context to have an impact. President [Page 10]mentioned that the Secretary was getting him together a speech for Monday4 but he hasn't got it yet. McNamara wanted to do one, but President told him it should come from either the President or the State Department. Ball mentioned his speech in Pittsburgh at this point. President asked that he be given a draft; if he can make it he will, or … President said he particularly liked what Ball has been doing—raising the red flag and saying we ought to give thought to different approaches, etc. Initiatives are necessary. Anything we can get together, they will be rewarded and not criticized. He mentioned having talked with Fulbright. Ball told him he was seeing Fulbright tomorrow. President asked that he get all of his views. He will talk to him before he sees Dobrynin (the Secretary) and tell him Fulbright's views. Fulbright thinks we should say to the Russians what can you live with? He thinks it will be Tito. He believes if they will call a meeting with the British there is a chance. We should tell him what we would like to do—“The Ball Plan”5—we will stop bombing if they will stop; we will be willing to meet and work out supervised elections through the UN and let the people have a choice. Fulbright is hypnotized by them now. There will be trouble if we don't take him with us. Ball said he would talk with him. President advised Ball get his plan ahead of time. Tell Mac to send the Tito memorandum of four or five weeks ago.6 President didn't know how we could sell something like this in this country. Dick Russell will back us up, although he is afraid of the ground troop thing. Mansfield is unhappy. President told him he wanted a united front; he does not want to be a dictator. If they will write the policy the President will try to execute it; he will consider their thoughts. They could put in a resolution or whatever they want. If they get the Committee Members together we are willing to explain everything and provide them all the debate they want. President advised Ball to put it to Fulbright hard; he thinks he is ready to go with us; he just wants to have something after the monsoon. President told Ball to get anybody he wanted, either in the Government or outside. Pick up the phone and tell him you will send a plane and get him down here for a talk.

President said he wanted to get off the San Francisco hook.7 He doesn't want to go out there. He doesn't have enough to say to them in this frustrated period. He wants somebody to find a reason why he doesn't have to go. Mentioned again he had asked the Secretary to have a [Page 11]speech for him but he hasn't got it yet. He asked that Ball get this in his teeth and have some recommendations for him tomorrow.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Papers of George Ball, Vietnam I. No classification marking. Drafted in Ball's office.
  2. Presumably a reference to the paper prepared by the Department of State on June 10 and entitled “Recent History of United States Negotiating Efforts in Southeast Asia.” (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Vol. XXXV)
  3. Apparently a reference to Document 7.
  4. June 21. Presumably Johnson is referring to a draft of the speech he delivered in San Francisco on June 25; see footnote 3, Document 19.
  5. See vol. II, Document 287.
  6. Not further identified.
  7. See footnote 3, Document 19.