286. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

CAP 82080. This afternoon Dobrynin handed to Sec. Rusk a hand-written note (which I shall preserve) as follows:

“There is positive attitude in Moscow to the wish of President Johnson to meet within the Soviet Union with the Soviet leaders for exchange of opinions on the questions of mutual interest.

There is no doubt that for the leaders of the two greatest states of the world there is what to exchange opinions about—in the field of relations directly between our two countries as well as in the field of pending big international problems. And there has piled up quite a few of such problems, as is known.

So far as the question of the time of the visit of President Johnson to the USSR is concerned, we suggest that this visit takes place in the first decade (ten days) of October.

As the Secretary of State will recall, in our talk on July 1,2 he said about a possibility of an unofficial visit of President Johnson to Leningrad to meet there with the Soviet leaders.

It is acceptable to us. There is no objections in Moscow—if the American side desires it—to an announcement in the nearest time about the coming visit of President Johnson to the Soviet Union.

We can suggest in this case the following text of an announcement for the press:

“Concerning the coming visit of the President of the USA L. Johnson to the Soviet Union.

An agreement has been reached that the President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson will visit the Soviet Union in the first decade [week] of October 1968 for the exchange of opinions with the leading figures of the USSR on the questions of mutual interest.”

If you wish to see Sec. Rusk this evening, he is available and standing by. I will only refer to this message but not discuss its contents if I can get you on the ground in Detroit.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Rostow Files, Trip to Soviet Union. Top Secret; Sensitive; Literally Eyes Only For the President; Flash.
  2. See Document 278.
  3. The President departed the LBJ Ranch at 4:08 p.m. on August 19, flew to Detroit to deliver a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and then to Washington, arriving at the White House at 11:08 p.m. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary)