179. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Komer) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Congressmen to Cambodia

I wonʼt bother you any further on this; it can be easily handled in the following way if you approve.

1.
Iʼve called Senator Aiken. He was most understanding when I explained how State and I had misinformed you. In fact, he was so pleasant that I told him how I was recommending we handle the matter. He completely agreed, and feels it makes great good sense not to slam the door on Sihanouk.
2.
Iʼve cleared with State a soft reply (Tab A)2 which neither rejects the Cambodian invite of three Congressmen nor accepts it—but simply pleads the press of Hill business at this time. This leaves us maximum flexibility and offends nobody.
3.
It seems to me better if the Vice President formally answers the Hill inquiries and, as President of the Senate, signs the letter to his Cambodian [Page 389] counterpart. This leaves you above the play. If you agree, I will so recommend to the Vice President.3
R.W. Komer
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Robert Komer, Vol. XXI, 3/2–30/66. No classification marking.
  2. Attached, but not printed.
  3. Johnson checked his approval and wrote the following note “Bob, Be sure to have H.H[umphrey] check out with all Senators who might be interested—Mansfield, Fulbright, Hickenlooper, Dirksen et al. L”. According to a memorandum to Humphrey from Komer, March 14, attached but not printed, Komer recommended to the Vice President the “soft” reply and informed him of the Presidentʼs desire that he check with key Senators who might be interested.