59. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

135627. 1. This responds to your telecons relaying message from Wilson about resumption of bombing.2

2. As you know, we did not want to make any commitments to extend the Tet bombing stand-down. You also know that our basic position remains not to stop bombing in return for mere willingness to talk.

3. However, we have great respect for your opinion and accept your recommendation not to conduct military actions against the North until Kosygin leaves. It must be absolutely clear to Wilson that we would then go ahead and that we will not consider a further deferral.

4. Wilson should not refer to resumption of bombing on his own initiative. If Kosygin asks about it, we suggest that Wilson reply that he is not familiar with details of allied military plans but that US attitude on this point has been made clear.

5. Wilson should be left in no doubt that we cannot prolong suspension of bombing in absence of firm word on infiltration. He should also know that when we say “stop infiltration” we mean “stop infiltration.” We cannot trade a horse for a rabbit and will react to bad faith on this point. We are losing lives today because such commitments in Laos Accords of 19623 were treated with contempt by Hanoi and Co-Chairmen and ICC could do nothing about it

6. About Wilson trip to Hanoi, we see little point in it. We thought two Co-Chairmen had concluded that best prospects lie in bilateral contact between US and Hanoi. Further, we could not become involved in a visit which would raise problem of another unrequited suspension of bombing.

7. Wilson is of course already aware that the South Vietnamese and we are resuming operations in the South tomorrow (112300 Zulu) and that we have been carrying on bombing operations in Laos throughout.

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8. Septel will contain our comments on the question of tenses in our proposal.4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/SUNFLOWER. Top Secret; Flash; Nodis; Sunflower Plus. Drafted by Bundy, cleared by Read, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Moscow.
  2. Documents 53 and 56.
  3. For text of the Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos and a 20-article Protocol, signed on July 23, 1962, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 1075–1083. For documentation on the negotiation of the accord, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, volume XXIV.
  4. Document 60.