157. Message From the White House to Premier Kosygin 1

Dear Mr. Kosygin,

Preliminary to President’s arrival we are repeating message dispatched earlier from Secretary Rusk for delivery to Foreign Minister Gromyko.2

“We are astonished and dismayed by preliminary reports of heavy fighting between Israeli and Egyptian forces. As you know, we have been making the maximum effort to prevent this situation. We were expecting a very high level Egyptian Delegation on Wednesday and we had assurances from the Israelis that they would not initiate hostilities pending further diplomatic efforts. We feel it is very important that the United Nations Security Council succeed in bringing this fighting to an end as quickly as possible and are ready to cooperate with all members of the Council to that end.”

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow “Hot-Line” Exchange, 6/5–10/67. Secret. A typed notation on the source text states it was transmitted by U.S. Molink at 8:15 a.m., and received by Soviet Molink at 8:33 a.m. It is addressed “To Chairman Kosygin, From The White House.” A copy addressed “To Comrade Kosygin, Chairman Council of Ministers, USSR, From President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson” is ibid., Rostow Files, President-Kosygin Correspondence. According to Llewellyn E. Thompson, the U.S. telegraph operators apparently had asked the Moscow operators the proper way to address Kosygin and were told, “Comrade Kosygin.” Ambassador Dobrynin, who had been at the Moscow end of the line, told Thompson afterward that he had been quite startled, and that the Russians wondered if the President was making a joke, or making fun of them in some way. Dobrynin, however, told Thompson he guessed what had happened. (Memorandum of conversation between Thompson and Nathaniel Davis; ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 7, Appendix G)
  2. The message was sent in telegram 208030 to Moscow, June 5 at 5:25 a.m. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR) Chargé John C. Guthrie reported in telegram 5349 from Moscow, received at 9:34 a.m. and passed to the White House at 9:55 a.m., that he had delivered the message to Gromyko, who said the Soviet Government was convinced that the great powers should do everything to end the fighting, expressed certainty that the United States could exert influence on Israel, and stated that the Soviet Union had done and would do everything possible to facilitate the end of the fighting. (Ibid.)