67. Telegram From Prime Minister Wilson to President Johnson 1

T. 33/67. Thank you for your message CAP 670432 which I have carefully studied.

I fully take your point about the grave danger that if there were an interval between the cessation of bombing and the stoppage of infiltration, Hanoi might rush three or four divisions through the DMZ into South Vietnam before their promised stoppage of infiltration took effect. This I agree could happen even if the interval between Phase A and Phase B were only two or three days.

I have been turning over in my mind an alternative way of securing the required guarantee, namely that the prior two-way assurance should contain a timetable if possible underwritten by or communicated through the Russians. What might be provided is that you would agree in advance to stop the bombing in return for their prior assurance that they would stop the infiltration, say six hours afterwards, or an even shorter timetable if that was considered necessary. I’m not asking you to comment on this at this stage but if the conditions are right tonight I might see what mileage I can get out of it with Kosygin. It would of course be aired as a possible idea without committing you in any way. Indeed I would make it clear I have not attempted to ascertain your views on it. I’ll let you know of course how things go.

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By the way. You misunderstood me I think about a power of attorney. Clearly that would be out of the question. That was not my phrase. The key words were ad referendum, repeat ad referendum.

We will keep you informed on how things go this evening.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Sunflower & Sunflower Plus. Secret. Received at the White House at 9:54 a.m. Also sent to London as telegram 135731. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/SUNFLOWER)
  2. Document 66.