262. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1
The attached letter to you from Kosygin will require careful consideration tomorrow.
The key points appear to be:
- Kosygin’s statement that “we have grounds to believe” that a full cessation of bombing would “promote a breakthrough.”
- Such a U.S. act would not involve “a loss for the interests of their safety” or for U.S. prestige.
- Soviet commitment that they have urged, in effect, “unofficial contacts” on Hanoi.
- The final reference to the “decisive significance” of the “essence of the position” taken.
Obviously, we must come to grips with Moscow bilaterally to clarify these matters.
But it could be a breakthrough.
It may, incidentally, explain the one week delay in Paris.2
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Kosygin . Secret; Nodis. A notation on the memorandum reads: “Shown to Pres. 6/5/68.”↩
- Reference is to Le Duc Tho’s delayed arrival at the Paris talks.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- The message was transmitted by Dobrynin. This official translation of Kosygin’s message, as undertaken by the Language Services Division of the Department of State and which does not differ in substance from this unofficial translation, is LS No. 2450, June 5. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, Pen Pal Correspondence, Kosygin) Copies were sent to Secretary Rusk and Under Secretary Katzenbach.↩