378. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs (Sisco) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Ambassador Goldberg’s Meeting With the House Democratic Study Group

As the President requested, Ambassador Goldberg met with members of the House Democratic Study Group this morning. The turnout swelled to over 100 before the meeting was over, including many of the 77 members of the House who recently wrote to the President to urge that he not give up the current peace offensive.2

In his introductory remarks, Ambassador Goldberg outlined briefly the principal elements of the peace offensive,3 including your trip to Canada, Ambassador Harriman’s travels and his own to various capitals. The major part of his presentation was to detail the efforts made by the President to involve the United Nations in the Vietnam problem, starting principally with the speech made by President Johnson in San Francisco last summer.4

The thrust of the questions was directed at why the Administration has not used the UN more on the Vietnam matter. The following questions are illustrative: [Page 828]

Why not convene the Security Council and, if there is a veto, call for a special session of the General Assembly and present a resolution recommending that the Geneva Conference be convened and calling for free elections in Vietnam?
Why reject Thant’s suggestion that the Viet Cong be made a party at interest and be given a role in the Government?
Why not find a way to get North and South Vietnam into the UN?

There were several questions regarding the resumption of bombing of the North and in particular what our assessment was as to the effect of resumption on future prospects for negotiation with the other side.

In general, the questions were balanced and searching. The overall impression was an expression of concern that the Administration’s efforts should continue in pursuing its peace initiatives. No member of the group, either directly or indirectly, called for escalation.

Joseph J. Sisco
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 4. Confidential. Copies were sent to Rusk, U, G, FE, H, and S. The memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. For text of the January 21 letter signed by 77 House members, see the Congressional Record, vol. 112, pp. 897–898.
  3. For documentation regarding the peace offensive of December 1965–January 1966, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volumes III and IV.
  4. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book II, pp. 703–706.