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

135662. For Ambassador and Cooper Only.

This responds to your report of British concern about our insistence that draft specify that infiltration “has stopped.” We gather they are pointing to apparent inconsistency between this position and the future tense employed in the revised point 14 released here Thursday.2
You should give them the following:
As previous message made clear, we face immediate specific problem of possible three divisions poised just north of DMZ. We must be in position to insist that these cannot be moved into SVN just before their undertaking takes effect.
We recognize that revised point 14 spoke in future tense, but that formulation related to a different proposal, i.e., bombing cessation alone on our side, not bombing cessation plus troop augmentation which of course are two major commitments on our part.
British should be aware (as we realize State 1338343 did not make clear) that message conveyed to Hanoi was in same terms as final corrected draft, i.e., that we must be assured that infiltration has stopped. In the last 24 hours, we have information that Soviets are aware of contents of this message, presumably through their Hanoi contacts, so that change in tense in final draft given to Soviets did not come as surprise to Soviets or Hanoi and cannot have impaired British credibility.
In any event, our position on this point remains firm because of the special problem posed by the divisions north of the DMZ. We very much doubt whether Soviets or Hanoi will reject proposal for this reason. If they should come back on it, we would of course wish to be informed.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/SUNFLOWER. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Sunflower Plus. Drafted and approved by Bundy and cleared by Walt Rostow in substance and by Read.
  2. February 9.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 52.