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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 23, 1966


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    Report on comments made by the United States military attaché, Colonel Fitzgerald, on the Soviet Union's potential leading role in negotiations to end the Vietnam War.
    "Memorandum, P. Ivashutin to CC CPSU on US Military Attaché Colonel Fitzgerald," August 23, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SCCD, F. 5, Op. 58, D. 262, LI. 237- 38. Translated for CWIHP by Mark H. Doctoroff.
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(For the [General] department CC CPSU )

Colonel Ch.G. Fitzgerald, the military attache at the USA Embassy in the USSR, has lately, in his talks with the officers of the Foreign Affairs department of the Ministry of Defense, been methodically and insistently maintaining the idea of the important role the USSR could play in settling the Vietnam conflict, as the initiator and an active mediator of negotiations.

In this respect he considers that the USSR “is to blame” for the fact that the war drags on and on: “When two forces meet head on—in this case the U.S. and the Vietnamese communists—a third force is needed, which could help them come to an agreement.  Only the Soviet Union could be this third power.”

In his speculations about the ways the Vietnamese conflict could be settled, Colonel Ch. Fitzgerald made the following points:

— Peace in Vietnam can be achieved through negotiations, between the USA, North Vietnam, the Vietcong, and the government of South Vietnam.  The main obstacle to organizing the negotiations is the government of North Vietnam, though in the present situation negotiations would be most beneficial to North Vietnam.  At the same time we understand that the war in Vietnam is profitable for the USSR, because it attracts the attention of the Chinese, otherwise you would have had a lot of trouble and unpleasantries with them on frontier  questions and other issues.

— The main goal of the USA in the situation as it has developed is to maintain its prestige — to leave Vietnam “beautifully” [krasivo].  That’s why the American government is persistently looking for ways to organize the negotiations.  This was the mission of the senator Mike Mansfield when he came to the USSR, but unfortunately he failed to find understanding from the Soviet representatives.  Not long ago the President appointed A. Harriman as his special assistant, with his task being to find paths to negotiations.  He has been appointed to use every tiniest possibility to achieve this goal.

— The President’s declaration during his press conference in Texas after his meeting with the Commander [of] American troops [Gen. William] Westmoreland, that the American people must know that there will be no quick victory, is just an assertion of his former position.  This is not new for us, we are used to it.

Colonel Ch. Fitzgerald expresses his personal attitude to the American aggression in Vietnam evasively: “I’m a soldier and am therefore obliged to maintain the policy of my government and follow the directions of my command, but as a man I may sometimes be ashamed for the undermined prestige of the USA.”

(signed) P. Ivashutin

“23” August 1966

No. 46722