MOSCOW, Aug. 5, 1964 (UPI) - The U.S. retaliatory strike against North Viet-Nam today confronted the Kremlin with a dilemma - whether to support the Viet-Namese, members of the rival Peking camp, or to risk new Chinese charges of "cowardice" by not acting Most diplomats expected Russia to give North Viet-Nam moral support despite the fact that the two nations stand on opposite sides of the world Communist rivalry.
But in the long run, they said, the Soviet action will be determined by considerations of avoiding the escalation of the Viet-Namese conflict into a major war.
It is believed the Soviets will renew their proposal for a new conference on Southeast Asia with this aim in mind, while supporting Viet-Nam in the United Nations Security Council.
Technically, Moscow is pledged to come to the aid of any Communist country under attack. But these pledges were made before the ideological dispute with Peking.
Recently, both Chinese and the Russians have indicated they regard their 1950 mutual defense treaty as nothing more than a scrap of paper, and the Soviet newspaper Izvestia quoted Peking Foreign Minister Chen Yi as having said China cannot rely on the Soviets to come to its aid in case of war.
In other developments:
In Bangkok, Thailand, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization met in a special session today to discuss American military clashes with North Viet-Nam.
In London, Britain threw its support behind the United States' "right of self-defense" against Communist attacks in the Gulf of Tonkin.
In Sydney, Australia, External Affairs Minister Paul Hasluck said today the American strikes against Communist North Viet-Namese air bases in retaliation for torpedo-boat attacks were "completely justified." Australia, the only foreign country beside the U.S. to have combat advisers in South Viet-Nam, became the first country besides South Viet-Nam to support the American action officially.
In Paris, French President Charles de Gaulle received a message from President Johnson explaining reasons for U.S. action in North Viet-Nam. The NATO Council also met.
In Tokyo, Japanese demonstrators formed in front of the U.S. Embassy with "Yankee Go Home" signs. The Tokyo stock market rose slightly, possibly in expectation of another Korean War-type boom.