6. Editorial Note

On June 17, 1965, the Prime Ministers of the British Commonwealth, meeting in London, issued a statement indicating that a four-member mission, consisting of the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Ghana, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago, would make contact with the governments principally concerned with the problem of Vietnam in an attempt to establish the basis for a conference leading to a negotiated settlement in Vietnam. (Recent Exchanges Concerning Attempts To Promote a Negotiated Settlement of the Conflict in Viet Nam, Cmd. 2756, page 90)

Ambassador to the United Kingdom David Bruce was informed by Prime Minister Wilson of the impending initiative on June 16. Wilson assured Bruce that he would not be a party to any arrangement that was not satisfactory to the United States. (Telegram 6012 from London, June 16; Department of State, Central Files,POL 27-14 VIET) The White House responded on June 16 with a personal cable from McGeorge Bundy to Bruce (Document 4).

The Commonwealth proposal was directed to Saigon, Hanoi, Moscow, Peking, and Washington. On June 22, the United States and the Republic of Vietnam welcomed the proposal for a visit by the Commonwealth mission. (Cmd. 2756, pages 99-100) The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China rejected the proposal, however, on June 23 and June 25, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam also rejected it on June 28. (Ibid., pages 92-95, 101, 103-104) In the face of these negative responses, the proposal was ultimately dropped. Documentation on the [Page 16]proposal and the U.S. response to it is in Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S.