227. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

2585. Ref: State 104325;2 Moscow 2579.3

I delivered to Gromyko President’s message to Kosygin at 12:45 today. After reading message, Gromyko asked me if I had anything to say orally. I replied I had nothing to add to what I had said in my conversations with Kuznetsov, about which I assumed Gromyko was informed.
Gromyko said he would, of course, transmit message to addressee, and Soviet leadership and government would be informed of its contents. By way of preliminary comment, however, he said he hoped US Government would take sober position in this matter and not succumb to momentary sentiments which, as also indicated in President’s message, now evident in US. Situation, facts as well as consequences, should be weighed very carefully. He said that for obvious reasons he did not wish to discuss at this time possible Soviet answer to message.
Stressing that he was now speaking outside context his preliminary remarks, Gromyko expressed deep regret US vessels took such liberties. Asserted US military command apparently sees nothing wrong in US vessels coming close to shores, cities, and installations of other countries. US military command seems to be in habit of disregarding interests other states. For example, Soviets had sent numerous notes to US containing specific data about location, time, and identification numbers US aircraft which had buzzed Soviet ships but in each case US gave standard reply that Soviet information not in accordance with facts. This reduced government-to-government communications to level where they could not be regarded as serious.
Repeating I had little to add to what I had told Kuznetsov, I pointed out US concerned about pattern of incidents along DMZ in Korea, with latest such incident having been infiltration 31 North Ko rean [Page 521] agents into South Korea. Coming on top of this, Pueblo incident could not but add to seriousness with which we viewed situation.
Gromyko asserted other side had information and facts re infiltration of agents in Korea which were of entirely opposite nature, but he did not wish dwell on this. He concluded by stating President’s message would be studied and reply conveyed to us in due course.
In response my question when Kosygin due back from India, Gromyko said Kosygin would be in India another two or three days and might stop for day or two in Afghanistan on his way back.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Received on January 26 at 8:46 a.m.
  2. Document 224.
  3. In telegram 2579 from Moscow, January 26, Thompson informed the Department of State of his scheduled appointment with Gromyko to present the President’s message and asked that the matter not be publicized, since the Soviets were “more inclined to be helpful if they are not exposed to the charge of collusion with us or of twisting the arms of their little brothers.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US)