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

2684. Ref State 109851.2

I believe Soviets who want Koreans attend Budapest meeting and who consider their own prestige engaged by our show of force will not bring strong pressure on North Koreans unless we tell them we are withdrawing our recently added naval forces from the area. From my recent talk with Dobrynin3 I am sure there is strong division here between civilian and military leaders and on issue of this kind very unlikely Presidium would overrule military. If President could tell Kosygin he was taking his advice Soviets would bring most intense pressure on Koreans but of course effectiveness cannot be guaranteed. If however, Koreans failed in such circumstances to return ship and crew and we took forceful action believe Soviets would not intervene.
If this cannot be our policy present text is fine.
Although I realize South Koreans want reassurance, Gromyko is right in saying our ships ineffective against infiltrators. Removing our additional forces would certainly cause Soviets to press North Koreans to reduce this activity and almost certain lack of Soviet support would prevent any bigger adventures.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US. Secret; Immediate;Nodis.
  2. In telegram 109851 to Moscow, February 4, Rusk sent Thompson the draft text of a proposed letter from President Johnson to Kosygin. (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 260.