237. Editorial Note

From 10:21 to 11:11 a.m. on November 26, 1968, President Johnson met with Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense Clifford, Walt Rostow, Assistant Press Secretary Johnson, and Senator Fulbright. The issues discussed included European security, the Middle East, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the proposed summit with [Page 703]Soviet Premier Kosygin, and Vietnam. Rusk made the following comments on the opening of the expanded peace talks: “The logjam is broken. We expect Saigon to send a delegation to Paris. In Paris, we worked out an arrangement with Hanoi where we had agreed language with Thieu to announce this, but when the horse came to the hurdle he would not jump.” Relating the Vietnam peace negotiations to the overall arms control process, Rusk noted: “In Southeast Asia, we are in a position to demand a lot from the Soviets. We did what they asked us to do—stop the bombing of a fellow Socialist Republic.” He added that, as a consequence, “We think it would be good for the President and Kosygin to meet.”

Later in the discussion, Clifford cautioned: “We wish to maintain close working arrangements with South Vietnam. We must keep up reconnaissance to protect our men. We must know if they are moving substantial number(s) of troops and supplies north of the DMZ. Some black Monday they might pour over the DMZ and kill many of our men. We have stopped bombing for 26 days—now it is time for them to produce.” He also advised: “We have a momentum going now. It started with the decision to stop the bombing. Now we will have the Paris talks. If we could get talks with Soviets, there is a momentum toward peace.” The complete meeting notes are printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XIV, Document 323.