69. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 1

135749. Deliver to Ambassador 7 a.m.


At PM Wilson’s request the USG authorized Wilson at 1830 EST Sunday night to present following proposition to Kosygin in London forthwith:2

Begin Text

If you can get a North Vietnamese assurance—communicated either direct to the United States or through you—before 10:00 am British time tomorrow that all movement of troops and supplies into South Viet-Nam will stop at that time, I will get an assurance from the US that they will not resume bombing of North Viet-Nam from that time. Of course the US build up would also then stop within a matter of days.

This would then give you and me the opportunity to try to consolidate and build on what has been achieved by bringing the parties together and promoting further balanced measures of de-escalation. End Text.

While likelihood of DRV reply before 10 a.m. GMT is obviously exceedingly slight, direct or indirect dilatory reply from Hanoi might [Page 149] be a likelier possibility. We know that you and Guthrie will be available and on maximum alert throughout remaining time before resumption, now scheduled for 11 a.m. EST Monday3 morning, to flash us any word from DRV which you may receive.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET/SUNFLOWER. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Sunflower. There is an indication on the telegram that the President approved it.
  2. According to a February 12 memorandum from Read to Rusk, Wilson’s proposed text was: “If you (Kosygin) can get an assurance from Hanoi, communicated directly to the US or through the Soviets, before 10:00 a.m. GMT tomorrow, that no arms or people will move across the 17th parallel (extended from Gulf of Tonkin through Laos), I (Harold Wilson) will get an assurance from the US that the US will not resume bombing from that time. Having gotten such an assurance from the DRV, the US would stop further augmentation of its forces in the South.” Wilson was prepared to accept a U.S. variation of this proposal, according to Read. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Sunflower & Sunflower Plus)
  3. February 13.