284. Letter From the Under Secretary of State (Katzenbach) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Nitze)1

Dear Paul:

You will recall that you earlier wrote me about the desirability of reaching an understanding with the Soviets on ways to avoid incidents at sea.2 I would like to bring you up to date on our efforts.

Following up on our initial approach, we proposed in an April 16 note to the Foreign Ministry3 that private discussion be held on this subject. On August 13, having had no response, we called in the Soviet Embassy political counselor and presented a memorandum expressing our concern and once again proposing talks.4 We also used [Page 679] the occasion to pass on our account of the May 26 crash of a TU–16 which had been buzzing our ships in the Norwegian Sea.

While we may yet get a favorable reply, my people believe the Soviets are simply not ready to talk on this one yet.


  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 USUSSR. Secret; Limdis. A typed note on the letter reads: “Signed Original sent 8/19/68.”
  2. Document 266.
  3. For text, see airgram A–233, April 9, 1966. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files, 1964–66, POL 33–6, USUSSR)
  4. Not found.