259. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas1
CAP 81241. Herewith Harriman recommends that we postpone consideration of bombing between 19th and 20th parallels until we see what the Hanoi Politburo man Le Duc Tho brings with him at Wednesday’s meeting.2
- In light of Le Duc Tho’s arrival in Paris today we recommend that considerations of bombing between 19 degrees and 20 degrees be deferred.
- Although we, of course, do not know what instructions Tho may be bringing, there is possibility that because of his position, more flexibility may be introduced into our discussions, including possibility of private conversations.3
- In these circumstances, bombing between 19 and 20 degrees might thwart these possibilities and therefore it would be well to test the water.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 80. Secret; Harvan. Received at 1:54 p.m. at the LBJ Ranch.↩
- June 5.↩
- In Intelligence Note No. 418 to Rusk, May 31, Hughes noted INR’s speculation that Tho was being sent to Paris for two reasons: to shore up the delegation (believed to have been handled poorly by Thuy) and to allow for “greater maneuvering” and thus a shift “either toward movement, or to stonewall for a long period of time with greater effectiveness than the delegation has shown to date.” The assessment of Tho was that while he was “reported to be a hard-liner, a member of the pro-Chinese wing of the Party,” he also “favored a less doctrinaire and violent policy than Le Duan in South Vietnam.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 VIET)↩