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138. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

Mr. President:

You asked for an analysis of the attached document to the President from Kosygin.2

1.

There are three points of substance: [Page 394]

  • —A. The Soviet leaders report that the Vietnamese leaders have “told [Page 395]us as well about the seriousness of their intentions.”
  • —B. “The most recent facts… convincingly prove …”

I presume this refers to the Hanoi cave-in on “without conditions” and acceptance of three days, at our insistence and, perhaps, Soviet urging.

—C. “It seems to us that doubts … are without foundation.”

2.
Taken by themselves, these statements do not amount to a great deal; although it is significant that, for the first time, Moscow is responsive to our request that they commit themselves about the intent and integrity of Hanoi.
3.
However, when the Soviet reply is placed side by side with the attached memorandum,3 which I gave last night to Dobrynin and which stimulated the Soviet reply, the two documents taken together represent something more substantial in dealing with the leadership, etc., than the Soviet document taken by itself.
4.
My own assessment—which is also General Taylor's, who has gone over this with me—is that this is about all we might expect from the Soviet Union at this juncture.
Walt

Attachment

Note From Chairman Kosygin to President Johnson 4

The progress made at the meetings in Paris between representatives of the DRV and the United States on the halt of the bombings of the DRV, on the opening of political negotiations and on the participants of these negotiations, is being noted with satisfaction in Moscow.

The representatives of the United States in Paris have had more than once an opportunity [to get convinced in]5 to become sure of the seriousness of intentions of the Vietnamese side in the search for mutually acceptable solutions. The Vietnamese leaders have repeatedly told us as well about the seriousness of their intentions. The most recent facts, in our view, convincingly prove that the Vietnamese side is doing everything possible to put an end to the war in Vietnam and reach a peaceful settlement on the basis of respect for the legitimate rights of the Vietnamese people.

In this connection, it seems to us that doubts with regard to the position of the Vietnamese side are without foundation (groundless).

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Walt Rostow, Chlodnick File. Secret; Eyes Only; HARVAN Double Plus.
  2. Attached is a translation of the Russian text of the note.
  3. Document 130.
  4. No classification marking.
  5. Brackets in the source text.