37. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

3752. Deptel 3598.2 It has been decided at highest levels not to press for Senate action on ratification Consular Convention until beginning next year.3 Decision accords with Senator Fulbright’s assessment [Page 95] that while he could muster necessary vote to secure ratification, Senate consideration in pre-election period would precipitate harmful debate on US-Soviet relations. On balance it is felt here that postponement in itself will not noticeably prejudice prospect for step-by-step improvement bilateral relations and that acrimonious debate now would be less to long-term advantage than passage later with larger majority and fewer negative side effects.

With timing and form at its discretion Embassy authorized advise MFA of above decision.4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, CON 4 USUSSR. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted by Owen; cleared with Thompson, Meeker, SOV, and H; and approved by Richard H. Davis.
  2. Dated June 11, it reported that the consular convention had been forwarded to the White House on June 8 with the expectation that the President would submit it to the Senate in a few days. It also advised the Embassy in Moscow not to raise the question of consulates until the Senate acted, which the Department of State expected to be before adjournment. (Ibid.)
  3. The President apparently made the decision at a Tuesday lunch meeting on June 23. In a June 23 memorandum for Rusk, in which he suggested agenda items for the luncheon, Read stated: “Fulbright recommends against pressing for Senate approval this year. Ambassador Thompson and EUR think we should defer to Fulbright on timing.” (Ibid., S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164, Secretary-President Luncheon Meetings)
  4. The Embassy informed the Foreign Ministry on June 26. (Telegram 3907 from Moscow, June 26; ibid., Central Files 1964–66, CON H USUSSR)