226. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

5850. Pass White House for Walt Rostow from Thompson.2

Following are some personal suggestions for line President might use in opening discussion with Kosygin.
Regret first meeting takes place against current background and that Chairman will not have opportunity see more of our country. Hopes someday conditions will permit him to see Soviet Union. Hopes Chairman has good impression from what he has seen of US but New York international city and not typical.
President very conscious of heavy responsibility resting on our two countries in an atomic age because of their size and influence.
Unfortunately more than one government trying to cause trouble between us in short-sighted view of their narrow selfish interests. Important that we be frank with each other and have the kind of relations which will enable us to frustrate efforts of troublemakers. We believe in real co-existence and not mere absence of war between us. We must find way to prevent quarrels between other countries from involving us.
No desire and time available too short to engage in ideological discussion but one point worth mentioning. Soviets have advantage in fact they free to use leftists including Communist Parties in Western world to carry on ideological struggle. This possibility denied to US but this does not concern us. Since we do not consider that whole world has to have same system. What does concern us is that Soviets seem to see pattern of anti-Soviet behavior in our policies everywhere in the world. For example they seem to consider our policies toward Vietnam and Syria and UAR in same category. Essential difference is that Syrian and UAR Governments came into power largely by actions their own people. What we oppose in Vietnam and in some countries in Latin America is outside intervention to determine character of regimes in those countries.
Nasser seems to think we were trying to bring him down and there are some indications Soviet Government thinks downfall of Syrian Govt was objective of our policy. This quite untrue. We gave far more economic and military aid to Arabs than to Israel including very substantial economic aid to UAR. What many of these countries fail to understand is that while we do not wish to dictate their policies on basis our aid, our aid programs are in final analysis dependent upon what the Congress will provide and it is naturally affected when governments we are aiding engage in vicious attacks upon us. Some of the Arab countries that have broken relations with us have indicated they expect us to continue our economic aid. Soviets must have experienced some of same attitudes.
The most important thing in my view for President to get across is our desire to resolve current problems and work for better relations. We would be glad to see Soviet Union prosper. Essential that we not devote our energies to working against interests of the other or to let other small countries try to solve their problems by engaging the two of us in a head-on collision.
In Middle East we should work to remove the causes of tension in that area-in disarmament at least a freeze and later reduction-in the atomic field move quickly to try to prevent proliferation which now particularly important in Middle East. Most critical current problem remains problem Vietnam which we sincerely wish to settle.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL USUSSR. Secret; Nodis. Passed to the White House.
  2. Rostow forwarded the text of the telegram to the President under a covering memorandum dated 8:30 p.m., June 22. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, USSR, Hollybush II) Thompson attended a White House meeting with the President on June 23 from 8:45 to 9:42 a.m. Also attending were Rusk, McNamara, Katzenbach, Rostow, Bundy, and Christian. No record of the discussion has been found. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)