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

2270. Embtel 2270.2

On further reflection and after rereading entire file recent messages on Article 19 exercise, I have come to conclusion that perhaps we should make final high-level approach to Sovs before showdown in GA, not in Moscow but in Washington. I continue to believe, as indicated reftel, that postponement is not in our interest and obviously in putting suggestion outlined below I assume we are both willing and able block any GA ground swell in favor of postponement.

As Amb Stevenson points out in USUN 3107,3 Fedorenko’s unyielding posture would seem rule out any change in Sov position. Same was certainly my conclusion after my last discussion of subject with Gromyko Jan 15. However, seems possible Soviets may still not be persuaded we prepared to face showdown or that we could bring UNGA around to this if we wished. In this light, recent lower-level approaches (reminiscent of Soviet behavior at time Cuban crisis) and hints by Sov spokesmen from time to time that we should bypass Fedorenko may have been feelers, indicative what Soviets might be prepared to do if question really came to crunch.

I suggest, therefore, that Secretary may wish to summon Dobrynin in final effort break log-jam. At such meeting, I would think it essential that Dobrynin be told unequivocally that Sovs have choice between fair settlement (on terms put by Stevenson) or showdown with inevitable implications for our bilateral relations and that they must make up minds without delay. Posing problem in this way could not be read by Sovs as weakness and while approach may net us nothing it may conceivably smoke out ultimate Sov position.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, UN 10–4. Confidential; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to New York and passed to the White House.
  2. Dated February 6, it read: “I agree with Ambassador Stevenson conclusion no point pursuing UN finance question further with Gromyko here. Personally feel forward prospects for agreed solution negative and showdown in UNGA better now than after adjournment present session without settlement this question.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Article 19, Vol. 2)
  3. Dated February 5; it reported on Stevenson’s discussions with Fedorenko regarding a compromise on the Article 19 issue. (Ibid.)