267. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Leddy) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Rostow)1


  • Your Lunch with Dobrynin, February 22

Since his return to Washington on February 6, after a four-week visit to Moscow, Ambassador Dobrynin has resumed his contacts with US officials. He luncheoned with Secretary Rusk on February 15 and made an appointment with Ambassador Goldberg for this week. In his meeting with the Secretary, Dobrynin gave no indications of having special instructions as a result of his Moscow stay, and it is likely that he seeks a tour d’horizon with you to bring his exploration of current thinking in the Executive Branch up to date.

I have attached State 117306 (Exdis) which summarizes Dobrynin’s talk with the Secretary.2 In addition, the following topics may arise.

Strategic Weapons Talks. The latest exchange was between George Bunn and Vorontsov in which the latter repeated Dobrynin’s earlier comment to Thompson that the USSR might give a favorable reply if the Korean problem is settled peacefully.3

Soviet Embassy Bombing. The Police Department has not turned up any suspects in the pre-dawn explosion today at the Soviet Embassy. No one was injured but the explosion broke many of the Embassy’s windows and caused extensive damage in one of its front rooms. Meanwhile, full-time police protection has been extended to include the Soviet Information Department and Consular offices in Washington.

Secretary Rusk has expressed personal indignation and regret over the incident, both orally and in a hand-delivered letter to Ambassador Dobrynin,4 at the same time offering the Department’s assistance. The Chief of Protocol has similarly expressed regrets.

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Soviet Minister Counselor Yuri N. Chernyakov called on Deputy Assistant Secretary Stoessel this afternoon to protest formally the bombing and call for a rapid investigation and for severe punishment of those responsible. Mr. Stoessel rejected a contention in the note that measures on the part of US authorities for protection of the Embassy were “completely inadequate.” He voiced our profound regret over the incident, noting our acceptance of the principle that the host state should make reimbursement for damages to foreign chanceries. At the same time Mr. Stoessel strongly objected to a TASS English language report that the explosion occurred with the “connivance of US authorities.”5

Possible Law of the Sea Conference. In response to the declared Soviet willingness to hold a bilateral meeting of experts to discuss issues that might arise in a possible Law of the Sea Conference, we had intended to inform them that we were ready to host the meeting in late February. However, before our response could be given the Pueblo incident intervened. We are now considering whether it would be advantageous to proceed with the talks at this time. Meanwhile, we have answered frequent Soviet inquiries by simply stating that the matter is still under consideration.
Chancery Sites. Having reached oral agreement in principle for the exchange of Mt. Alto and the Moscow site, we have submitted to the Soviets in Moscow a proposed lease agreement which they are now considering.
Moscow-New York Flights. The intermediate stop question remains the chief unresolved issue. We are awaiting a Soviet response to our suggestion that Warsaw and Prague either be added to the list of intermediate stops already discussed (Stockholm, Copenhagen, London and Montreal) or that they be designated as exclusively for Aeroflot while others would be exclusively for Pan American. (FYI—The Soviets have proposed East Berlin as an intermediate stop which is unacceptable to us.)6
Consular Convention. On February 2, Dobrynin mentioned to Thompson that the Pueblo affair and Vietnam had set back progress on bilateral questions. Thompson believes he may have had in mind the [Page 640] Soviet delay in ratification of the Consular Convention. The Convention was signed June 1, 1964, and approved by the Senate in February 1967.
USUSSR Exchanges Agreement. Although the last USUSSR Exchanges Agreement expired December 31, 1967, the Soviets have not yet agreed to a timetable for negotiation of a renewal agreement for 1968–69. We are approaching the time when further delay will affect exchanges program activities. This would include arrangements to place graduate students for the 1968–69 academic year, as well as the tour of a Bolshoi Ballet group tentatively booked by Hurok to open about April 20. Under similar circumstances in 1966, we told the Soviets that no tour could take place without a new agreement and we intend to act similarly this time.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL USUSSR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted on February 21 by V. I. Toumanoff (SOV).
  2. Dated February 17. Topics included Vietnam peace negotiations, North Vietnamese troops in Laos, Cambodian neutrality, the Jarring Mission to the Middle East, flights by U.S. and Soviet planes armed with hydrogen bombs, and the Pueblo incident. (Ibid.)
  3. Dobrynin’s comments to Thompson noted here and in paragraph 6 were reported in telegram 2671 to the Department of State, February 2. (Ibid.)
  4. Transmitted to Moscow in telegram 118819, February 21. (Ibid., POL 23–8 US)
  5. On May 6 James Pratt of SOV turned over to Yuly Vorontsov of the Soviet Embassy a check for $12,105 to cover repairs for most of the bomb damage. Pratt indicated that the investigation of the bombing was continuing but that so far there were no results to report. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., POL 17 USSR-US)
  6. The intermediate stops issue was resolved in an April 30 amendment to the U.S.-USSR Civil Air Transport Agreement that permitted Pan American World Airways and Aeroflot each to make an intermediate stop between New York and Moscow at either Montreal, London, Copenhagen, or Stockholm. (Telegram 154257 to Moscow, April 27; ibid., AV 9 USUSSR)