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John F. Kennedy Administration: Harman Expresses Israeli Views on Johnson Plan

(November 30, 1962)

This is a telegram from the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations reporting of a meeting with Harman to discuss the Johnson proposals on refugees.

In reply Harman's urging earliest consultation re text draft resolution, we emphasized New York proper locus for discussion this or other tactical-procedural problems; consultation re draft resolution, which must in any case be matter of multilateral concern, premature until we have Israel's reply re USG package proposal.

We said USG objective is not to add to legislative history of para 11 at this session but since citation this para probably inevitable as result of Arab insistence we think it safer have an innocuously-placed citation in our draft from the beginning.

We estimated chances of blocking Arab proposals to be at least as good as last year provided there is created proper appreciation of need for PCC's continuing its work and obligation of GA protect this.

We further made it clear Johnson is an independent agent and even if Israel accepts proffered package we cannot dictate his report but only use what influence we have with him to urge merits of a non-substantive report at this time. Harman argued strongly of need to squelch further references to idea of refugee "preference poll" futility of which USG must now understand. We said PCC must be free after debate consider any and all courses of action, including free expression refugee preference; certainly no one wishes push individual refugee across borders against his will.

Harman sought assurance PCC would not transmit or publish Johnson report at this time regardless of content. We refused give such assurance, again emphasizing that first step is hearing Israel's reply and subsequent step is Johnson submitting non-substantive report.

Harman said Israel might have some difficulty re direct negotiations resolution which has developed head of steam. We pointed out we had earlier expressed to Israel concern on just this point and had received firm reply Israel could control situation.


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