388. Text of Telegram From the Representative to the United Nations (Goldberg) to President Johnson and Secretary Rusk 1

For President Johnson and Secretary Rusk from Goldberg (Geneva, 676).

As you know, the Outer Space Committee has recessed Space Treaty negotiations which will be reconvened in New York before or early during the forthcoming General Assembly. In addition to detailed reports which the delegation has made concerning the negotiations, I wish to make the following comments:

On the whole, we can regard the negotiations to date as reflecting great credit upon the United States, for the following reasons:

Negotiations came about as a result of initiative taken by the President on May 7, in calling for negotiations looking to a treaty.2 This was initially resisted by Soviets who finally had to go along under the pressure of world opinion. This fact recognized and emphasized during the course of negotiations here in Geneva.
The attitude of the U.S. delegation in accordance with Department instructions has been forthcoming and this too has resulted in very favorable claim on world opinion both diplomatically and in the world press. Intelligence reports confirmed that it is the shared opinion among the delegations irrespective of ideology that Soviets have been placed at a disadvantage by reason of forthcoming and conciliatory attitude of the U.S. delegation.
In final statements by delegates winding up this phase of deliberations, only Hungary and Bulgaria fully supported Soviet reservations which for time being blocked a treaty. It is interesting that statements by Poland and Romania did not expressly support key Soviet reservation on equal access and reporting. Unless the Soviets remain unwilling because of Vietnam to conclude an agreement in General Assembly, I see no reason why a final treaty text cannot be speedily concluded once the Committee reconvenes in New York.

My own analysis of Soviet actions here is that Morozov, the Soviet representative, was acting under instructions not to make a final agreement in [Page 846] Geneva but to reserve a few points as a delaying maneuver. It is my impression that Soviets were unwilling because of concern about Chinese criticism to make it appear that they were agreeing with us too readily on an international treaty of this importance. An alternative explanation is that Soviet delegation at Geneva was concerned about the possibility of a government shake-up and desired to confirm their instructions in Moscow personally before making final agreement. Although present government was confirmed by Supreme Soviet during last stages of our negotiations in Geneva, Morozov in private conversation with me several times referred to the necessity of consulting with “new” government.

Whatever the cause, it will be very difficult for the Soviets in the light of the great support the U.S. received in the Committee among other delegations including all non-aligned countries to block an acceptable treaty draft at General Assembly.

Finally, I want to convey to the Department the excellent cooperation I received from all members of the U.S. delegation, particularly Meeker, Reis, Helman (State Department); Thacher (USUN); Sohier (NASA); Graybeal (ACTA [ACDA]); Moroncew (ACTA [ACDA]); and Captain Cole (DOD).

They were a superb and hardworking team and contributed greatly to the progress we made in Geneva.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Celestial Bodies Treaty. Confidential. The copy printed here was retyped in the White House for the President.
  2. For text of the President’s statement, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, Book I, pp. 487–488.