Washington, May 11, 1965, 8:19 p.m.
3103. Strictly eyes only for Ambassador from Secretary.
Highest levels have determined that we should undertake short
trial cessation of bombing against DRV in order to test Communist
reactions. I have seen Dobrynin tonight as reported septel. (2)
You should make earliest possible arrangement
see DRV Ambassador Moscow to convey parallel message as set forth
below. We are using you as channel to avoid using Soviets as intermediaries
and also to insure that message is accurately and directly delivered.
We leave appropriate method of arranging contact to you and are
not concerned if Soviets should become aware you are making such
contact. You should of course make maximum effort avoid any attention
by any third party.
Message you should deliver should be oral but
confirmed by written piece of paper which you should hand to Ambassador
with request he deliver message to Hanoi. Message is as follows:
Begin text. The highest authority in this Government
has asked me to inform Hanoi that there will be no air attacks
on North Vietnam for a period beginning at noon, Washington time,
Wednesday, May 12, and running into next week.
In this decision the United States Government
has taken account of repeated suggestions from various quarters,
including public statements by Hanoi representatives, that there
can be no progress toward peace while there are air attacks on
North Vietnam. The United States Government remains convinced
that the underlying cause of trouble in Southeast Asia is armed
action against the people and Government of South Vietnam by forces
whose actions can be decisively affected from North Vietnam. The
United States will be very watchful to see whether in this period
of pause there are significant reductions in such armed actions
by such forces. The United States must emphasize that the road
toward the end of armed attacks against the people and Government
of Vietnam is the only road which will permit the Government of
Vietnam and the Government of the United States to bring a permanent
end to their air attacks on North Vietnam.
In taking this action the United States is well
aware of the risk that a temporary suspension of these air attacks
may be misunderstood as an indication of weakness, and it is therefore
necessary for me to point out that if this pause should be misunderstood
in this fashion, by any party, it would be necessary to demonstrate
more clearly than ever, after the pause ended, that the United
States is determined not to accept aggression without reply in
Vietnam. Moreover, the United States must point out that the decision
to end air attacks for this limited trial period is one which
it must be free to reverse if at any time in the coming days there
should be actions by the other side in Vietnam which required
But my Government is very hopeful that there will
be no such misunderstanding and that this first pause in the air
attacks may meet with a response which will permit further and
more extended suspension of this form of military action in the
expectation of equally constructive actions by the other side
in the future. End text.