161. Memorandum from President Johnson to Secretary of State Rusk and Secretary of Defense McNamara 1

I would be grateful if you would make it known that I wish the articulation of our position with respect to NATO to be in constructive terms.

I see no benefit to ourselves or to our allies in debating the position of the French government.

That government has made known its position.

Our task is to rebuild NATO outside of France as promptly, economically, and effectively as possible.

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In so doing, we shall develop (as outlined in NSAM 345)2 proposals which would bind the Atlantic nations closer together; support, as best we can, the long term movement towards unity in Western Europe; and exploit the possibilities for easing East-West tensions.

Our discussions of the NATO problem should focus on the positive lines of action in which we are engaged.

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 4 NATO. Confidential; Nodis.
  2. Document 159.