54. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1
The meeting2 might be broken into two parts:
- —a decision on the message to London which is urgent;
- —a discussion of the other issue posed in the attached memorandum.3
With respect to the first part there are two questions:
- —do we permit Wilson to go ahead with his formulation?
- —do we extend Tet?4
I suggest, therefore, that you open the meeting by asking Secretary Rusk this question: Can we proceed down this track while resuming operations at the end of Tet (6:00 P.M. our time Saturday;5 the last we can stop it is a message dispatched 10:00 A.M. Saturday)?
When that is settled, we can march through the other issues.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Sunflower Plus [2 of 2]. No classification marking.↩
- The President, Rusk, and McNamara met in the Cabinet Room from 3:19 to 5:12 p.m. to work out the message that would be sent to Kosygin. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) No notes of this meeting have been found. For the message, see Document 51.↩
- A handwritten notation in parentheses by Rostow reads “on its way in 5 minutes.” The memorandum is printed below.↩
- The President wrote “No” after this sentence.↩
- February 11.↩
- Top Secret; Sunflower.↩
- Document 40.↩
- The urgency was due to the fact that resumption of aerial bombardment was scheduled for 6 p.m. February 11; the latest that the President could counter-order the resumption would be at 10 a.m. that same day.↩
- In a memorandum to the President, February 11, 8:35 a.m., Rostow wrote: “I know it’s clarified in my mind, but what I think we have now is not an A–B proposal but an A–B–C–D proposal that makes sense and which we can justify to ourselves and before the world. A. Ho informs us that infiltration has stopped. B. On the basis of his assurance, we stop bombing the North. C. We surface in Saigon as a military fact that infiltration appears to have stopped and Hanoi either:—keeps silent; or—says we never did infiltrate, we are not infiltrating now, and invites people in to see. D. When that condition has been achieved and announced, we announce that further augmentation of our forces will not take place.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Sunflower [1 of 2])↩