260. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 1

2682. 1. Gromyko called me to Foreign Office at 9:15 tonight and handed me message from Kosygin to President containing relatively mild complaint at concentration our naval forces off Korea. Translation follows in septel.2

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2. I said since message addressed to President I wished make only two personal observations. First was that I understood our vessels were located off South and not North Korea and I understood Enterprise had never come within two hundred miles of Wonsan.3

3. Second was that I had pointed out to him before the Pueblo was not the only recent incident in this area and I mentioned specifically the thirty-one infiltrators who had attempted to kill the President of South Korea. Naturally this had made the South Koreans somewhat nervous.

4. Gromyko said a hundred miles or so didn’t change situation, there were mutual charges about incidents along DMZ and aircraft carriers were of no use against infiltrators. I replied that the point was South Koreans were legitimately concerned that these incidents might presage some further actions by North Korea.

5. I asked Gromyko if he had any information on last meeting at Panmunjom. He said he had only brief report but understood our representatives had agreed to meet again.

Thompson
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Cactus.
  2. Transmitted in telegram 2683 from Moscow, February 3. (Ibid.)
  3. Thompson made a similar point during a discussion with the Soviet Ambassador to the United States, Anatoli F. Dobrynin, while the latter was in Moscow. He reported that Dobrynin expected that the Pueblo crisis could be resolved provided that the United States “took no further action to increase tension” and warned that the “threat of force made Soviet intervention difficult and if force were actually used Soviet Union would have to react.” Dobrynin also thought it unlikely that the North Koreans would settle the matter without demanding an apology from the United States. (Telegram 2672 from Moscow, February 3; ibid.)