217. Editorial Note

On June 25, 1967, following a luncheon and a meeting on defense systems and the Middle East, which lasted from 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., the President conferred with Kosygin from 3:20 p.m. to 6:09 p.m. on matters relating to Vietnam. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) [Page 551] At this session, the President gave Kosygin a message to transmit to the North Vietnamese which read:

“The United States anticipates that it could stop the bombing of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam. The United States further anticipates that, following the cessation of bombing, there could be immediate discussions between representatives of the United States and the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam. These discussions could be held in Geneva, Moscow, Vientiane, or any other suitable location. The United States further anticipates that its own and allied forces in the northern provinces of South Viet-Nam would not advance to the north and that elements of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam in the northern part of South Viet-Nam and in the southern portions of North Viet-Nam would not advance to the south. The United States anticipates that, if discussions are held between its representatives and those of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, all questions which either side might wish to raise could be raised. The United States would hope, on the basis of the anticipations expressed above, that the results of such talks could be the stabilization of peace in Southeast Asia. The United States would be glad to know of the reactions of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam to the thoughts expressed above.” (Attachment to memorandum from Rusk to the President, June 24; ibid., National Security File, Country File, USSR, Hollybush II, Addendum)

Notes of the June 25 meeting are in a memorandum of conversation between the President and Kosygin, June 25. (Ibid.)

Kosygin’s lukewarm response led to a generally pessimistic assessment of the Glassboro Summit. In a June 28 meeting immediately before Ambassador Bui Diem departed for Saigon in order to brief South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, Ambassador at Large W. Averell Harriman told the Ambassador that “there was no movement on either the Middle East or Vietnam problems.” Harriman added that as far as negotiations were concerned “Kosygin held to the standard Soviet line.” (Memorandum for the Record by Cooper, June 28; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers, Special Files, Public Service, Chronological File, June 1967)

President Johnson commented along the same lines when he briefed former President Dwight Eisenhower on the meeting during a telephone conversation of June 25:

“On Vietnam, he said we got to stop our bombing. We’ve got to pull out (that’s what he said on television) and just get all of our troops out. That we were the aggressors there; we were the invader there; we were the perpetrator of aggression. Not anything else will do—no substitute. We exchanged some views and I asked some questions of him in that connection, and asked him—what would happen if we stopped our bombing, would they talk and if so how long and would it be another Korea talk to delay it or would it be serious, what could come from it and could he guarantee, underwrite, or ensure or what did he think. The net of it was just another line of ‘stop the bombing, send your troops home, then things will work out.’” (Johnson Library, [Page 552] Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation Between Johnson and Eisenhower, June 25, 1967, 9:44 p.m., Tape F67.13, PNO 1 and 2)

Additional documentation on the Johnson-Kosygin meetings is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 US.