Document 18: Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State (1)

Vienna, May 15, 1965.

Secto 29. Mayflower. For the Under Secretary from the Secretary. Have just returned from Chancellor's lunch for visiting dignitaries. After lunch Gromyko and I and our wives were at a small table for coffee. I commented to Gromyko that we were in something of a dilemma about Southeast Asia. We felt there might be some value in a serious exchange of views between our two governments but that we did not know whether they themselves wished to discuss it.

He commented with considerable seriousness that the Soviets will not negotiate about Vietnam. He said there were other parties involved in that situation and that the United States would have to find ways of establishing contact with them, and he specifically mentioned the DRV. He said they will continue to support North Vietnam. and will do so "decisively". He then made reference to a fellow socialist country under attack.

I interrupted to point out that the problem was not that a socialist country was subject to attack but that a socialist country was attacking someone else. I said that American military forces are in South Vietnam. solely because North Vietnam. has been sending large numbers of men and arms into the South.

He denied these facts in the usual ritual fashion but added that in any event it was not up to the United States to be the judge between Vietnamese. I reminded him that he must know by now that a North Korean attack against South Koreans would not be accepted merely because both were Korean. He merely commented that there were important differences between those two situations.

He referred to Dobrynin's talk with me and said that the temporary suspension of bombing was "insulting". I said I could not understand this in view of the fact that Hanoi, Peiping and Moscow have all talked about the impossibility of discussions while bombing was going on.


(1) Source: Department of State, EA/ACA Files: Lot 69 D 412, Project Mayflower. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated to Moscow. No time of transmission is indicated on the source text, but it was received in the Department of State at 1:18 p.m.

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