130. Information Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1
With the indicated typographical changes, I gave the attached to Dobrynin tonight. I told him they were rough notes and an oral communication, [Page 372]not in any sense formal governmental message. On the other hand, he should understand that they accurately reflected how the President feels at the moment.
I then explained bluntly the President’s dilemma in having to take such a major step at such a critical political period in the U.S. with nothing more from Hanoi or Moscow than assent by silence. I indicated the importance that the President attached to some positive indication from the Soviet Union that there was reason to believe that it was Hanoi’s intent to honor the understanding on the DMZ and the cities. I said this was not a matter of our forces being able to protect themselves, but it did relate to the full consequences in the U.S., in Vietnam, and on the world scene of our having to resume the bombing.
Dobrynin indicated that he understood the problem; that he did not know what positively the authorities in Moscow might be able to say to the President at this time, but he would solicit an early response, if a response could be given.
Dobrynin then reviewed the time factor involved if we were to hold to a first meeting on November 2.
I underlined the urgency of a response from Moscow, as he left.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Chlodnick File. Secret; HARVAN Double Plus.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- No classification marking. A notation on the attachment reads: “As dictated by the President.”↩
- November 2.↩
- For the June 5 letter, see
Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. VI, Document 262. For the October 25 letter, see Document 122.↩