June 25, 1967 – Message From Glassboro – The Johnson/Kosygin Summit
From the Wikipedia Page on Glassboro:
The Glassboro Summit Conference, usually just called the Glassboro Summit, was the 23–25 June 1967 meeting of the heads of government of the United States and the Soviet Union—President Lyndon B. Johnson and Premier Alexei Kosygin, respectively—for the purpose of discussing Soviet Union–United States relations in Glassboro, New Jersey. During the Arab–Israeli Six-Day War diplomatic contact and cooperation increased, leading some to hope for an improvement in the two countries’ relations. Some even hoped for joint cooperation on the Vietnam War. Although Johnson and Kosygin failed to reach agreement on anything important, the generally amicable atmosphere of the summit was referred to as the “Spirit of Glassboro” and is seen to have improved Soviet–US relations.
In their first meeting held on 23 June 1967 there were only four people present, Alexei Kosygin and Lyndon B. Johnson and their respective interpreters. The main subjects discussed between the two was the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and the Soviet-US arms race. Towards the end of the meeting, Johnson said he was willing to discuss a peace settlement regarding war in Vietnam; literally meaning dividing the country in half, one part communist another part capitalist. He assured Kosygin that the only reason for American bombing in North Vietnam was because of North Vietnamese intervention into South Vietnam. Johnson offered the Soviets to supervise the democratic election in South Vietnam in the aftermath of the war. Kosygin responded by returning to the original subject; the crisis in the Middle East. During their afternoon meeting, Kosygin told Johnson that he was recently in contact with Phạm Văn Đồng, the Prime Minister of North Vietnam, and that they had discussed the possibilities on putting an end to the war. The North Vietnamese reply came during Kosygin’s lunch with Johnson. Kosygin compared the Vietnam War with the Algerian War which ended when Charles de Gaulle’s France signed a peace treaty signifying the end of French colonization of Algeria; he believed this would happen to the United States if the war continued. He also made it very clear that the North Vietnamese would not give up their goal of a unified Vietnam that easily.
Johnson was worried of North Vietnamese betrayal, saying he would be “crucified” politically in the United States if the North Vietnamese decided to send their troops into South Vietnam if and when the United States stopped bombing them. Kosygin said, relieving Johnson of his worries, that a North Vietnamese delegation could meet anywhere in the world to discuss a peace settlement with the Americans.]
Ironic that on this day in 1950, the Korean War began; a fact maybe not made apparent on either party – but it was a reminder that the Cold War had been with us for quite some time. And even though the summit failed to reach agreement on most issues, it was considered to be an ice-breaker and a potential model for what future summits could accomplish if such an amicable atmosphere prevailed.
Here is a half-hour re-cap of the days events, followed by an abbreviated version of Meet The Press featuring Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, along with news of the day.