18. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

120335. Literally Eyes Only for Ambassador and DCM. Moscow 3066.2

Following is to be held until an execute order is received:

Guthrie should seek appointment soonest with DRV Chargé to convey message below.
Message is:
By “completely secure arrangement” USG has in mind discussions between DRV and US representatives that would not be disclosed to any other government or party whatsoever unless by mutual agreement, and that would be subject to the strictest precautions against press or public inquiry. USG is able to assure DRV that earlier message has not been disclosed to anyone.
We believe DRV already has considerable information by both public and private means, of US position on settlement of Viet-Nam problem, and has also received formulations from others in contact with USG. USG for its part has studied public and private statements by DRV representatives. We believe discussions should seek to establish whether common ground now exists for an acceptable settlement.
In discussions, USG would be prepared to consider any topic that DRV felt should be included. For illustration, topics USG would be prepared to discuss would include following:
Arrangements for the reduction or the cessation of hostilities.
Essential elements of the Geneva Accords of 1954 and 1962, including withdrawal of any forces coming from outside South Viet-Nam and now present there.
Arrangements for a free determination by North Viet-Nam and South Viet-Nam on the issue of reunification.
Recognition of the independence and territorial integrity of North and South Viet-Nam, or of all Viet-Nam if the people should choose reunification.
The international posture of South Viet-Nam, including relationships with other nations.
Appropriate provisions relating to the internal political structure of South Viet-Nam, including freedom from reprisals and free political participation.
Appropriate objective means for insuring the integrity of all provisions agreed to.
The topics thus listed could be considered in any order, and the USG would be prepared to consider any additional topics the DRV would propose.
You should put these points in writing. In addition, you should note orally that while USG is prepared to conduct discussions under a completely secure arrangement at any place the DRV may wish, USG believes there are many advantages in Moscow. USG senior representatives in Moscow are fully equipped and can be supported securely and without personnel moves that might attract attention. We believe physical security in Moscow can be maintained subject to appropriate safeguards.
As these instructions indicate, we believe our first response should be a listing of topics. However, we recognize possibility that Guthrie might be probed further about substance of USG position. He should seek to avoid going beyond this, indicating that very purpose of discussions would be to develop positions on both sides. If, but only if, DRV Chargé should refer to Marigold ten points (which you have as attachment to Dobrynin-Rusk memcon of January 5),3 Guthrie should be familiar with these and should respond that, as we believe has been indicated to DRV, we believe this formulation would be satisfactory basis for more detailed discussion of the points contained therein.4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/SUNFLOWER. Top Secret; Nodis; Priority; Sunflower. Drafted by Bundy; cleared by Katzenbach, Harriman, Walt Rostow, and Read; and approved by Rusk.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 16.
  3. See Document 7. For the 10-point statement issued during the height of the Marigold exercise, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. IV, Document 331.
  4. Guthrie and Akalovsky met with Le Chang and Hoang Man’Tu on January 20. After Le Chang read the written message, Guthrie told him that U.S. representatives would meet those of the DRV at any place, including Moscow, and that the list of topics was merely “illustrative.” Guthrie noted not only that Le Chang promised to transmit the message to Hanoi, but that his demeanor was congenial, “in marked contrast with his attitude” in past meetings with Embassy representatives. (Telegram 3126 from Moscow, January 20; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/SUNFLOWER)