The President' s Reply to a Message From Pope Paul VI on Vietnam.
I deeply appreciate your message, which is a great source of spiritual support. I devoutly share your wish that the suspension of hostilities over the Lunar New Year may be extended and may open the way to negotiations for a just and stable peace.
The Governments of the United States and the Republic of Vietnam, together with others, are devoting intensive efforts to this end. As you know, the Government of Vietnam has twice signified its readiness to discuss an extension of the truce with representatives of the other side.
We are prepared to talk at any time and place, in any forum, with the object of bringing peace to Vietnam; however I know you would not expect us to reduce military action unless the other side is willing to do likewise.
We are prepared to discuss the balanced reduction in military activity, the cessation of hostilities, or any practical arrangements which could lead to these results.
We shall continue our efforts for a peaceful and honorable settlement until they are crowned with success.
With great respect,
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
Note: The President wrote in response to Pope Paul's message of February 7, the text of which follows:
"Our heartfelt appeals for the return of peace in Southeast Asia have always found a favorable reaction on your part, Mr. President, and that of your countrymen and this fact strengthens our hope in this hour of anxious waiting. We sincerely wish that the celebrations of the New Lunar Year so dear to the Vietnamese people with the suspension of the hostilities by all the parties engaged in the conflict, may open finally the way to the negotiations for a just and stable peace putting an end to the great sacrifices brought on by a war protracted now for years. We know quite well the obstacles to achieving such a goal but we have no doubt in your dedication, Mr. President, to a constant search for a way to peace. Therefore, we ask you to increase even more your noble effort in these days of truce for this great cause and we pray Almighty God to crown your endeavors for peace with every success. We assure you, Mr. President, of our sentiments of highest consideration."
Lyndon B. Johnson, The President' s Reply to a Message From Pope Paul VI on Vietnam. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237474