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John F. Kennedy Administration: Feldman Expresses Concern Over Direct Negotiations Resolution Circulated At UN

(October 2, 1962)

This is a memorandum from the President's Deputy Special Counsel Myer Feldman to President Kennedy reporting of a meeting with Ambassador Harman emphasizing U.S. concern over the direct negotiations resolution at the UN.

I called Ambassador Harman to re-emphasize our concern over the direct negotiations resolution now being circulated by Israel at the United Nations. I reminded the Ambassador of the commitment by his Foreign Minister not to introduce the resolution and to prevent any other nation from introducing that resolution. Ambassador Harman acknowledged this commitment, but made these points:

1. It was also agreed that Israel could continue its efforts to solicit support for the resolution.

2. If the United States took a position on vital questions that might be introduced in the United Nations which made it necessary to introduce the direct negotiations resolution, they would have to do so.

When I pressed Ambassador Harman to state specifically what Israel regarded as matters vitally affecting them which would require resort to the direct negotiations resolution, he mentioned these three:

1. The custodian resolution--which we have always opposed.
2. The reconstitution of the PCC--which we have always opposed.
3. The Johnson Plan.

The Ambassador said that if the Johnson Plan was not supported by the United States it would not be presented to the United Nations. He did agree, however, that it would be appropriate to discuss other solutions to the refugee problem. Israel regards the Johnson Plan as non-negotiable but is perfectly willing to discuss other solutions, including the kind of proposal I described in Jerusalem, if the poll of refugees was attended by a cessation of Arab propaganda and the consent of the Arab States to resettlement. They would also accept the numerical limitations I indicated of one in ten being repatriated.

In any event, I said, if Israel planned to introduce the direct negotiations resolution, we would regard it as very serious if we were not informed in advance. Ambassador Harman promised to convey this information to his Foreign Minister.

In summary, I would say that we have a firm commitment that the direct negotiations resolution will not be introduced provided we do not insist on the Johnson Plan.

Myer Feldman

Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII. DC: GPO, 2000.