34. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1

301. President announced August 25 that NASA Administrator Webb will invite Soviet Academy of Sciences to send “a very high level representative” to observe launching Gemini VI (October). President explained we “continue to hold out to all nations including the Soviet Union the hand of cooperation in the exciting years of space exploration which lie ahead for all of us.”2

This invitation is part of continuing US efforts seek ways to improve relations with USSR where possible. Presence Soviet scientist at Gemini VI launch would dramatize public, open nature of our space program. Hopefully it would lead to further moves toward US-Soviet cooperation this field. It should be noted invitation extended without condition of reciprocity.

Invitation tangible step toward declared US goal of international cooperation in peaceful exploration outer space. This goal set before launching of first US manned orbital flight. In January 1961 State of Union message, President Kennedy invited all nations including USSR join with us in preparation for probes outer space. In reply to Khrushchev’s congratulations for John Glenn flight February 1962, Kennedy stated he welcomed and shared Khrushchev’s statement that US and USSR should cooperate in space exploration, and in subsequent letter made specific proposals. US–USSR agreement signed December 1962 providing for space cooperation in fields of meteorology, geomagnetic survey and a passive communications satellite.

In his State of Union message January 1964, President Johnson urged peaceful exploration outer space “in cooperation with other powers if possible.” In phone conversation with orbiting astronauts McDivitt and White June 1965 President said: “We can pray that time will come when all men of all nations will join together to explore space together, and walk side-by-side toward peace.”

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Above may be drawn upon in discussions with foreign officials and press representatives.

Rusk
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SP 10 US. Limited Official Use. Drafted by William H. Edgar (EUR/SOV) on August 25 and cleared in draft by Martin Rosenberg (FE), Peter T. Higgins (AF), Peter D. Constable (NEA), Margaret E. Beshore (ARA), James B. Freeman (P), and James W. Milner (SCI). Cleared in substance by David H. Henry (SOV), Llewellyn Thompson (S/AL), Richard M. Moose (S/SO), Thomas W. Wilson (IO), and Bromley Smith (White House); and approved by Richard H. Davis (EUR).
  2. For text of the President’s announcement, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book II, pp. 917–927. The text of the invitation is in a letter from Webb to Keldysh, August 26. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Charles E. Johnson Files, Cooperation in Space, US–USSR #2, Box 14)