Lyndon Johnson Administration: State Department Documents from the 1967 War
(June 5-8, 1967)
149. Memorandum for the Record/1/
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified].
Washington, November 17, 1968.
Walt Rostow's Recollections of June 5, 1967
The following is a transcript of a tape recorded talk with Walt Rostow on November 17, 1968:
This is Walt Rostow. I have in front of me Hal Saunders' reconstruction of the log for Monday, June 5, 1967./2/ I shall make some observations on what I remember of that morning. I should preface everything that I am about to say with an acute awareness of the inadequacy of memory, as one looks back on fast-moving events in a single day.
/2/Reference is to a "Chronology: To 5 June 1200 GMT" that Saunders put together summarizing the reports that were received that morning. A version with Saunders' handwritten insertions is ibid. The final typed version is ibid., Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. III.
I recall, as the log verifies, that I received about 2:50 a.m. from the Sit Room a report that there were press accounts coming in over the ticker of the opening of hostilities in the Middle East. I told our people to check NMCC and others for official confirmation and then call me back. At 2:55 a.m., I received confirmation and told them I would come in. I dressed and arrived in, I should think, about 3:20 a.m.
I immediately called Secretary Rusk who I believe had already been informed. I do not believe he was yet in his office. One of the questions raised with Secretary Rusk was whether I should inform the President immediately. He suggested that we wait perhaps an hour before informing the President so that we could have a clearer picture of what it was all about and would be in a position to give the President some facts on the situation. Hal Saunders came in very shortly after I did, and he went to work--I believe Art McCafferty also came in early--putting into some kind of order the flow of facts from ticker and intelligence sources of all kinds.
When I called the President at 4:35 a.m./3/ I remember I simply gave him a straight factual report which he took in with very few questions and no comment. If I am not mistaken, he ended up as he often does any factual report by simply saying, "Thank you." I have in front of me a piece of paper from which I first called the President on Monday, June 5./4/ There are some notes at the top, which would suggest that perhaps I called Evron in the morning to see if he knew anything. I don't think there is any record of that call. I have a note saying that we expect the matter to go quickly to the Security Council. I have a UAR statement which probably reflects some Tel Aviv or Jerusalem ticker, saying that the UAR opened an offensive and Israel was containing that offensive. That was the earlier Israel report. But what I have then is reports by Middle East time: 8:00 a.m.--Cairo--Sirens heard. 8:05 a.m.--Israeli army report--tanks were engaged. 8:22 a.m.--Israeli Defense spokesman statement, I can't now make sense out of. At 9:00, Cairo claims it is attacked. I remember having some trouble about what time it was in Cairo. Daylight saving time threw us off and I don't know whether we ever did get it straight as to whether it was 9:00 or 8:00. There was an hour's difference, as I recall.
/3/No other record of this conversation has been found.
Then I go down--I have noted a little more fully there were Tass announcements I guess on the Cairo attack. 8:00, and then there is a more full Israeli account at 9:01, indicating that Cairo has been attacked. Then we got something very important and solid. We got indications from intelligence of a whole series of airfields described by the Egyptians as unserviceable. [Editor's note: NSA chronology suggests this was not available until Rostow's second call to the President.]/5/ That was the first hard military evidence of what the Israelis were up to. It obviously represented a most purposeful and apparently efficient attempt to move against the UAR airbases. At 9:38 Eastern time we get the Jordanians indicating that the airfields and targets there had also been attacked. Well, in any case, what I just ran through is a picture of what the reports were with the President ending up with the hard information of intelligence that the Israeli airforce was all over the place, taking out UAR and Jordanian airfields. That's the nature of the piece of paper I talked to and what we then had by about 4:35 our time, of which as I say you had essentially some press reports out of Cairo and Israel but hard intelligence indicating a systematic and purposeful and effective attack on Arab airfields.
/5/All brackets in the source text.
The log says that I reported to the President again at 6:15/6/--with more facts I would assume. According to the log I spoke with the President three more times--at 6:42, 6:49, and 6:55. I am confident that in the course of these calls the President instructed me to bring in the following men in the morning to discuss the Middle East crisis: Mr. Dean Acheson, Mac Bundy, Clark Clifford, George Ball. I telephoned all of them, but Ball was in Chicago and we did not ask him to return since the President wanted a meeting that morning.
/6/See Document 152
I decided it was important to have an immediate objective assessment of how the war had begun and who had initiated it on the basis of the intelligence and asked Clark Clifford to come in early and make that assessment as Chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. Clifford came in, I think about 8:30, although I don't see that in the log. I immediately asked him to work with Saunders on the evidence to form a judgment for the President on who had initiated the war (see attachment)./7/
/7/No written report by Clifford on this subject has been found. Saunders wrote in a December 19, 1968, Memorandum for the Record "it soon became very clear that the Israelis had launched a pre-emptive strike, pure and simple. However, it must be remembered that, in those early hours, the first thing the Foreign Liaison Officer of the Israeli Defense Ministry told us (0710 GMT) was that Egyptian armored forces had advanced at dawn and that there was a large number of radar tracks of Egyptian jets moving toward the Israeli shoreline and Negev. We had to deal with this Israeli assertion." (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3) Saunders' memorandum states that he asked CIA to produce a paper on the question of who had initiated the war; see Document 169.
Aside from just assembling the intelligence, my memory focuses on (1) the President's instructions to assemble these men from outside the Government, (2) initiating on my own the request to Clifford to make the assessment as to the initiation of the war, and (3) the word that the "hot line" was up. That came from McCafferty to me and I believe we informed the President. I suspect at either 7:58 or 8:07. Actually, the word we used for the hot line was MOLINK. And so the first word I had from McCafferty was not that the hot line was "up", but that "MOLINK was up."
Then there was the gathering in the Sit Room to deal with the hot line message which had come in from Kosygin./8/ I note, although I wouldn't have remembered it, that the message was in about 8:15 and reply out by about 8:47. None of the outside men had arrived by that time according to the records.
Just as an illustration of how inadequate memory is, when you called it to my attention this morning, I had forgotten that we issued an early press statement/9/ and I may have been involved or not. I simply don't remember. Secretary Rusk may have done it with Christian. It does have in it this thought which had been running through our minds even before the war actually broke out that it was time to shoot not simply for a cease-fire, an attempt to stop the war, but for a solid peace in the Middle East. That had been the thought in our minds as we watched this dreadful crisis, as we watched the tenuous chewing-gum-and-string arrangements of 1967 collapse. We found ourselves nevertheless with the Straits of Tiran closed and with a quite unambiguous Presidential commitment from President Eisenhower on Tiran backed up however by a most uncertain UN arrangement which Secretary General could evade. I think that whole experience forced on us a realization of how precarious were the 1957 arrangements. It was before the war itself that we had come to the conclusion that somehow we had to have something more solid in the Middle East if we were ever to have a secure Middle East, so the thought had been in our minds for some weeks.
/9/See Document 152.
My next recollection is of the meeting in the Cabinet Room at 11:36 to 12:45, according to the log./10/ We had Secretaries of State and Defense, Mr. Acheson, Mr. Bundy, Mr. Clifford, Tommy Thompson, George Christian, Luke Battle and myself. I frankly do not recall a great deal about that conversation but I believe it was at that time that Mr. Clifford rendered his initial evaluation of how the war started and--to put no fine point on it--his view was that the Israelis had jumped off on minimum provocation in a very purposeful effort to deal with air power and then go after the UAR armies which of course had assembled in the Sinai. It was his judgment at the time as I recall that it was a straight Israeli decision to deal with the crisis by initiating war, although we were all conscious of the provocations at the Straits of Tiran and mobilization in the Sinai.
/10/See Document 163.
I might just say parenthetically that President Johnson has never believed that this war was ever anything else than a mistake by the Israelis. A brilliant quick victory he never regarded as an occasion for elation or satisfaction. He so told the Israeli representatives on a number of occasions. However, at the time, I should say that, war having been initiated against our advice, there was a certain relief that things were going well for the Israelis. In part, because it was an intelligence judgment very carefully canvassed in the previous weeks that the Israelis would win briskly. The sense was that they would win pretty briskly even if the Egyptians had started the war. Also behind that satisfaction was not merely a question of our intelligence being right, but it did look as though we would not be put in a position of having to make a choice of engaging ourselves or seeing Israel thrown into the sea or defeated. That would have been a most painful moment and, of course, with the Soviet presence in the Middle East, a moment of great general danger. So we did indeed know from these airfield accounts right from the beginning that the most essential military act--the neutralization of the Arab air--had probably gone well for the Israelis.
There was an interesting moment, as I remember it. Mr. Acheson looked back on the whole history of Israeli independence and, in effect, said that it was a mistake to ever create the State of Israel. Mr. Clifford, of course, had been deeply involved in the early US recognition of Israel.
I am reasonably sure that there was discussion of the position we should take at the United Nations Security Council at that meeting. I don't remember a great deal about the rest of the day, although the log says that I was very active and I dare say I was. I don't remember anything about the Cabinet Room meeting later in the day. /11/
/11/The President met in the Cabinet Room from 6:12 to 6:58 p.m. with Vice President Humphrey, Dean Acheson, McGeorge Bundy, Clark Clifford, Secretaries McNamara and Rusk, Richard Helms, Walt Rostow, and George Christian. Battle, who had been meeting with members of Congress on Capitol Hill, joined them at 6:45 p.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No other record of the meeting has been found.
Sometime during the day we began an organization of Mac Bundy's role--I think it was the first day but I couldn't be confident. As to the reason why the Bundy Committee/12/ was set up, I think that the President wanted to make sure that his staff was fully capable of handling two wars at one time. I think that was the basic problem. He wanted a senior and respected man who knew how the White House, State and Defense worked to operate full time on the Middle East affair. He knew that with all the rest of the things going on in the world, including the war in Vietnam, that I probably could not [handle both]. I fully agreed, for what happens in a situation of war, even so minor a war as the short India-Pak engagement, is that the whole network of international ties which operate in this highly interconnected world get reshaped. In this case we had the Arab states breaking relations with us; we had AID relations falling in; we had Americans in danger in different places; we had the whole UN exercise going on; we had oil and Suez and dealings with the British and other interested parties; and it was just a hell-of-a-lot of business of the most particular kind that had to be monitored.
Now the truth was, of course, that we had, I think, two interdepartmental committees centered at State, one at the Under Secretary level and one at the Assistant Secretary level. They were working quite well. When Mac undertook his responsibility, he recognized that we were pretty well staffed up and organized, as indeed we had a duty to be since we had been wrestling with the Middle East crisis short of war for some weeks. Nevertheless, I am sure the President's instinctive judgment was correct that one full-time senior staff man over here to manage this was the course of wisdom. In any case, it worked awfully well. Hal Saunders was assigned to Mac. I was kept fully informed. Mac operated with a great economy of effort, working well and collegially with the interdepartmental committees at State which did the basic staff work and he then handled its presentation to the President. For an improvised effort providing for the bringing in of a new Senior man, I can't imagine anything working more smoothly. I really didn't have any problems with it. It was a great pleasure and it was good to have Mac with us again.
/12/The Special Committee of the National Security Council, with McGeorge Bundy as Executive Secretary, was established on June 7. Saunders, who served as Bundy's principal staff assistant, wrote in a memorandum of July 16, 1968, that the first main job of the Committee was to provide high-level crisis management during the war and immediately afterward and that the Committee's second achievement, although not envisioned at the time of its creation, was to play a leadership role in establishing the postwar U.S. position. (Ibid., National Security File, Special Committee of the National Security Council, Introduction to the Files of the Special Committee of the National Security Council)
I regret that in that fast-moving day that I don't remember more. It was a day of action and I note that I sent the President at the end of the day a summary based on an Israel Defense Ministry assessment of Arab losses in Mid-East air battles--that was at 9:05./13/ I seem to remember (I would have to check it in my own telephone log) that sometime during the end of the day I called Eppie Evron [Israeli Minister] with whom I had been in close touch on the various matters--a man of diplomatic integrity with whom I had been able to talk most frankly about Middle East problems. I spoke to him and in line with previous conversations told him that, if I were an Israeli official, I would begin to think about peace in the Middle East and about the settlement of the refugee problem and other fundamental problems. To this day, Eppie has always resented it a little in an amiable way that I did not tell him that we had solid information that the Israeli air operations had been successful. He had had a hard lonely weary day about how the war was going and he's always teased me a little that I could have saved him some hours of anxiety if I had shared our intelligence with him.
/13/Rostow forwarded press reports and a map with a covering memorandum that reads: "Mr. President: Herewith the account, with a map, of the first day's turkey shoot." (Ibid., National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3)
I don't know when I knocked off in the evening, but it was a tolerably long and memorable day of which I now realize how little one actually remembers.
Harold H. Saunders
At 5:09 a.m. on June 5, 1967, Secretary of State Dean Rusk telephoned President Johnson. He read a draft message to Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko, saying that he thought it was better to send a message of this sort without waiting until the question of responsibility for the war was clarified. The President agreed. (See Document 157.) Johnson asked Rusk whether it seemed to him "reasonably sure that these tanks kicked it?" A reference to an Israeli report indicates that a UAR armored force had initiated the fighting. Noting that the fighting occurred initially over Egypt, Rusk said it was "a little hard to sort out", but they had intelligence that five Egyptian airfields in the Sinai were not operational. He added that he would put more weight on the Israeli claim that there had been a large number of Egyptian aircraft headed for Israel from the sea, but he thought it was too early to say. He continued, "My instincts tell me that the Israelis probably kicked this off, but I just don't know yet. And I don't think we ought to make a preliminary judgment on that because it's just hard to say." Johnson asked if the Israelis were saying the Egyptians "kicked it off." Rusk replied that each side was claiming publicly that the other started it but that no direct message had been received from Eshkol or Eban. He thought the Israeli claim of a tank advance looked "just a little thin on the surface" but he thought they would soon have more information. He stated that the Department had asked U.S. representative on the NATO Council Harlan Cleveland to keep a group of permanent members available for consultation, and he noted that the Security Council would meet and would probably call on both sides for an immediate cease-fire. He repeated, "My guess is the Israelis kicked this off." He suggested that they might want to arrange a meeting of the Congressional leadership to bring them up to date on the situation. Johnson agreed, and the conversation concluded. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a telephone conversation between Johnson and Rusk, June 5, 1967, 5:09 a.m., Tape F67.11, Side B, PNO 1) According to the Johnson Library, the dictabelt, with a June 7 note stating that it might have been made the previous day, was found with post-Presidential material. The date and time were taken from the President's Daily Diary. (Ibid.)
151. President's Daily Brief/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 6, Appendix A. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified]. This information, which has been excerpted from a Presidential Daily Brief ("PDB"), was improperly declassified and released. The declassification and release of this information in no way impacts or controls the declassification status of the remainder of this PDB, other PDBs, or the PDB as a series.
Hostilities began early this morning. Both sides report heavy fighting in the air and between armored forces along the Israeli border with Egypt. Israeli planes raided airfields in Cairo and other areas beginning at about 8:00 AM local time (2:00 AM Washington time).
Cairo has just been informed that at least five of its airfields in Sinai and the Canal area have suddenly become "unserviceable." Israel's war plans had put high priority on quick action against the Egyptian Air Force because of the threat to its own more vulnerable airfields and vital centers.
Reports are still fragmentary, but the signs point to this as an Israeli initiative. Over the weekend it became apparent that Israeli leaders were becoming increasingly convinced that time was running against them. The new Israeli cabinet was meeting late yesterday with Ambassador Harmel present, and reconvened early today.
Cairo radio is calling on Egypt's Arab allies to attack Israel. [2 lines of source text not declassified]
The big US Wheelus base is becoming more and more exposed to nationalist pressures as the Arab war fever sweeps over this desert kingdom. Cairo is going all out to intensify the pressures, and responsible Libyans are worried; they see no way they can convincingly refute the propaganda that the base is being used to support the Israelis.
The Libyan foreign minister has been in Cairo this weekend, and Wheelus surely must have been discussed during his talks with Nasir.
3. Soviet Union
[1 paragraph (7 lines of source text) not declassified]
[1 paragraph (5-1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]
[Omitted here is a section on an unrelated subject.]
The US Embassy in Benghazi flashed word at 4:30 AM EDT that it was being attacked by a large mob. It is burning its papers.
Damascus radio announces that Syrian planes are bombing Israeli cities and that "we have joined the battle."
At 6:15 a.m. on June 5, 1967, Walt Rostow telephoned President Johnson and read to him a draft Presidential statement Rusk sent to the White House, expressing distress at the outbreak of fighting in the Middle East, noting that each side had accused the other of aggression, stating that the facts were not clear, and calling on all parties to support the UN Security Council in bringing about an immediate cease-fire. Rostow said he had read the statement to McNamara, who approved. The President agreed that the statement was all right. Rostow said that the evidence on who had started the fighting was not definitive, but that there was an interesting report from Cairo of indications of unusual activities in the UAR forces before the first Israeli strike at 9 a.m. Cairo time, including a report that a large number of pilots in uniform had been seen at the Cairo airport at 4:30 a.m. Rostow commented that this was "not much but it's something, the only evidence that this is a UAR put-up job." He added that McNamara was inclined to feel the same way because of the reports, and because he thought a UAR public announcement of the plan to send UAR Vice President Mohieddin to visit the United States would be a "good cover." Rostow reported that Foreign Minister Eban said the Israelis had been attacked and he then gave orders to counter-attack. Rostow said that according to Eban, the Israelis were drafting a message to Johnson that would state Israel had no intention of taking advantage of the situation to enlarge its territory and hoped that peace could be restored within its present boundaries and that the conflict could be localized; in this regard, the message would ask U.S. help in restraining any Soviet initiative.
Rostow returned to the subject of the press statement. The President told him to send it to George Christian, and he would talk to Christian about when to release it. He suggested that McNamara and Rusk go to Capitol Hill and brief the leadership there rather than having them come to the White House. He also suggested "we might ask some of our good friends that might be helpful to come in from the outside and give us some help here." He told Rostow he thought that "just for public appearance's sake" they should ask former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. He wanted Rostow to ask Rusk and McNamara what they thought of this idea "just on your own without [it] coming from me." In addition to Acheson, Johnson suggested asking former Under Secretary of State George Ball, Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board Clark Clifford, and former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy. He definitely wanted Bundy to come. He wanted Rostow to call Bundy and tell him the President would like to talk to him about this and other matters and "I wish he'd come down here and be prepared to stay as long as he can." (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a telephone conversation between Johnson and Rusk, June 5, 1967, 5:09 a.m. Tape F67.11, Side B, PNO 1) This conversation was on the dictabelt with the earlier Rusk conversation. (See Document 150.) The date and time were taken from the President's Daily Diary.
The press statement, with minor changes and an additional paragraph stating that the President would meet with Rusk, McNamara, Walt Rostow, and George Christian at 8:30 a.m. and that Rusk and McNamara would brief Senate and House leaders, was issued by Christian shortly after 7 a.m. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1967, page 949. The report from Cairo to which Rostow referred was transmitted in telegram 8504 from Cairo, June 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) The report of Ambassador Barbour's conversation with Eban is in telegram 3928 from Tel Aviv, June 5; ibid.
153. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 6:22 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Flash. Drafted by Atherton and approved by Davies. Repeated Flash to USUN, and to Rabat, Tunis, London, Moscow, Cairo, Paris, Algiers, Beirut, Damascus, Tripoli, Tel Aviv, Khartoum, Baghdad, Kuwait, Jidda, Jerusalem, CINCSTRIKE, CINCEUR, and COMSIXTHFLT.
208031. Ref: Amman 4055./2/
/2/Telegram 4055 from Amman, June 5, reported that King Hussein had called all chiefs of mission to meet with him at 0730Z. He told them, "In view of the Israeli aggression against the UAR, Jordan is now at war. Our forces have been put under UAR command." He stated that within the last hour, Jordanian radar had picked up the arrival of 16 aircraft at Israeli airfield Ramat David; 8 had taken off from an aircraft carrier 20 miles west of Tel Aviv and 8 from an aircraft carrier 80 miles west of Tel Aviv. He stated that the Jordanians had not been able to identify the aircraft and did not know if they had participated in the fighting. (Ibid.)
You may inform King Hussein there are no U.S. aircraft carriers in or anywhere near area cited reftel and no U.S. aircraft have entered area of present hostilities or any country involved therein./3/
/3/Telegram 050944Z from COMSIXTHFLT to Amman, June 5, stated that during the current Middle East situation, no Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers had been closer than 400 miles to Israel and no aircraft from Sixth Fleet carriers had flown closer than 300 miles to Israel or Sinai. (Ibid.) Telegram 208038 to Amman, June 5, stated that further checks had indicated no British or French carriers in the area cited and suggested that Jordanian radar might have picked up returning Israeli bombers. (Ibid.)
154. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Rusk and the British Ambassador (Dean)/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 7:08 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192. No classification marking. Transcribed by Jane M. Rothe.
Telephone Call From British Ambassador Dean
D. has a message from George Brown asking what steps Sec. proposes to take. Sec. said at that moment there will be a strenuous effort in the Security Council--Sec. just had a message that a cease-fire had been agreed to in Jerusalem for 12:00 noon. Sec. said this seems to cancel out a lot of other things we have been working on. D. said B. thought it was a good idea to have an appeal in the name of the SYG to cease hostilities--Sec. said he thought an SC resolution on that could be passed quite quickly. Sec. said we have been in touch with Moscow telling them we were astonished--we thought we had commitments on both sides not to start anything and that we all should get behind the Security Council about a cease-fire. We have no idea who started it--this is still murky and we cannot yet make a judgment.
Sec. called D. back as soon as he hung up. Sec. said he wanted to be sure that George Brown understands we had no inkling of this from either side and that there is nothing behind the scenes that he doesn't know about.
At 7:57 a.m. on June 5, 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara telephoned President Johnson. He said:
"Mr. President, the Moscow hot line is operating and allegedly Kosygin is at the other end and wants to know if you are in the room in which the receiving apparatus is located. Now, we have a receiving station over here in the Pentagon and you also have a hook-up over in the Situation Room in the White House. My inclination is to say that you--to reply that you can be in the room if he wishes you there within a few minutes. Here is what has come in:
Dear Mr. President, having received information concerning military action between Israel and UAR, the Soviet Government is convinced the responsibility of all the great powers is to attempt to end the military conflict immediately.' Then the question, 'Are you in the room?'"
Johnson said he could be there in 10 minutes. Then he asked McNamara, "And what, what do you think they'll want to do then?" McNamara paused, then replied, "I don't know. I don't know. I, from this, I think they would want you to indicate that you agree the responsibility of all the great powers is--" Johnson broke in, "We've done that in our message to them, haven't we?" He was referring to Rusk's message to Gromyko (see Document 157), which McNamara had not seen. Johnson then asked about procedures. They agreed that McNamara and Rusk would be at the White House in 20 minutes. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a telephone conversation between Johnson and McNamara, Tape F67.11, Side B, PNO 3) This conversation was on the dictabelt with the earlier Rusk and Rostow conversations; see Documents 150 and 152. The date and time were taken from the President's Daily Diary. (Johnson Library)
The message (Document 156) was the first substantive message sent on the "hot line," established August 30, 1963, to provide a channel for rapid communication between U.S. and Soviet leaders. Between June 5 and June 10, there were a total of 20 hot line messages. The messages were filed in a notebook kept in the President's desk. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67; copies are ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 7, Appendix G)
None of the outgoing messages include drafting information, and no records were made of the meetings at which they were drafted. According to a memorandum of conversation between McGeorge Bundy and Nathaniel Davis on November 7, 1968, recording Bundy's recollections of the meetings, they were "pretty frenetic, with drafts, redrafts, and more redrafts." Bundy said the President watched the drafts with great care, and Rusk did a great deal of the drafting, especially of the earlier messages. He said there were "no real debates in the hot line meetings in the sense of choosing up sides with one group in favor of this language and another group in favor of that." (Ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, 1967, Vol. 7, Appendix G) Some drafts of outgoing messages and variant translations of incoming messages are ibid., Rostow Files, President-Kosygin Correspondence.
156. Message From Premier Kosygin to President Johnson/1/
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. No classification marking. The message is labeled "Translation," with a typed notation that a sight translation was made at 8:05 a.m.; the message was received by the President at 8:15 a.m.; a rough translation was made at 8:30 a.m.; and a final, official translation was provided at 10:08 a.m. There is no indication of the transmission time or time of receipt, but a typed notation on a copy of the message in Russian states that it was transmitted by Soviet Molink at 7:47 a.m. and received by U.S. Molink at 7:59 a.m. According to an English translation attached to the Russian copy of the message, the complete message begins: "The Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Kosygin, wishes to know whether President Johnson is standing by the machine. I would like to convey to President Johnson the following information." (Ibid.)
Moscow, June 5, 1967, 7:47 a.m.
Dear Mr. President,
Having received information concerning the military clashes between Israel and the United Arab Republic, the Soviet Government is convinced that the duty of all great powers is to secure the immediate cessation of the military conflict.
The Soviet Government has acted and will act in this direction. We hope that the Government of the United States will also act in the same manner and will exert appropriate influence on the Government of Israel particularly since you have all opportunities of doing so. This is required in the highest interest of peace.
157. Message From the White House to Premier Kosygin/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 8:15 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. Secret. A typed notation on the source text states it was transmitted by U.S. Molink at 8:15 a.m., and received by Soviet Molink at 8:33 a.m. It is addressed "To Chairman Kosygin, From The White House." A copy addressed "To Comrade Kosygin, Chairman Council of Ministers, USSR, From President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson" is ibid., Rostow Files, President-Kosygin Correspondence. According to Llewellyn E. Thompson, the U.S. telegraph operators apparently had asked the Moscow operators the proper way to address Kosygin and were told, "Comrade Kosygin." Ambassador Dobrynin, who had been at the Moscow end of the line, told Thompson afterward that he had been quite startled, and that the Russians wondered if the President was making a joke, or making fun of them in some way. Dobrynin, however, told Thompson he guessed what had happened. (Memorandum of conversation between Thompson and Nathaniel Davis; ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 7, Appendix G)
Dear Mr. Kosygin,
Preliminary to President's arrival we are repeating message dispatched earlier from Secretary Rusk for delivery to Foreign Minister Gromyko./2/
/2/The message was sent in telegram 208030 to Moscow, June 5 at 5:25 a.m. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) Chargé John C. Guthrie reported in telegram 5349 from Moscow, received at 9:34 a.m. and passed to the White House at 9:55 a.m., that he had delivered the message to Gromyko, who said the Soviet Government was convinced that the great powers should do everything to end the fighting, expressed certainty that the United States could exert influence on Israel, and stated that the Soviet Union had done and would do everything possible to facilitate the end of the fighting. (Ibid.)
"We are astonished and dismayed by preliminary reports of heavy fighting between Israeli and Egyptian forces. As you know, we have been making the maximum effort to prevent this situation. We were expecting a very high level Egyptian Delegation on Wednesday and we had assurances from the Israelis that they would not initiate hostilities pending further diplomatic efforts. We feel it is very important that the United Nations Security Council succeed in bringing this fighting to an end as quickly as possible and are ready to cooperate with all members of the Council to that end."
158. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State/1/
Tel Aviv, June 5, 1967, 1205Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Received at 8:44 a.m. Walt Rostow sent a copy to the President at 10:40 a.m. with a brief memorandum stating that Eshkol "builds his case mainly on the general environment, but refers to bombardment of three Israel towns as the trigger." (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. III) At 11:10 a.m. Rostow sent Johnson telegram 3937 from Tel Aviv, June 5, that reported a meeting among General Amit, Barbour, and Special Counsel to the President Harry C. McPherson, Jr. Rostow's brief covering memorandum commented that Amit's argument was consistent with Eshkol's: that there had been artillery fire on three Israeli villages and UAR air incursions, and then the Israelis had "punched all the buttons." Rostow added, "At least that's his story." (Ibid.) For McPherson's report of his visit to Israel, see Document 263.
3935. 1. Following message from Prime Minister to the President has just been handed to me for delivery:
"Dear Mr. President: After weeks in which our peril has grown day by day, we are now engaged in repelling the aggression which Nasser has been building up against us. Israel's existence and integrity have been endangered. The provocative troop concentrations in Sinai, now amounting to five infantry and two armored divisions: the placing of more that 900 tanks against our southern frontier; the massing of 400 tanks opposite Elath with the object of sundering the southern Negev from Israel; the illegal blockade in the Straits of Tiran; the insolent defiance of the international and maritime community; the policy of strangling encirclement of which the first stage was the intimidation of Jordan and the most recent--the placing there of Iraqi troops and Egyptian commando regiments, the imminent introduction of MIG 21 aircraft under Iraqi command in Mafraq; Nasser's announcement of 'total war against Israel' and of his basic aim to annihilate Israel; the order of the day by the Egyptian Commander General Murtagi calling on his troops in Sinai to wage a war of destruction against Israel; the acts of sabotage and terrorism from Syria and Gaza; the recent air encroachments culminating in this morning's engagements and the bombardment by Egypt of Kisufim, Nahal Oz and Tsur Maon in Israel territory--all of this amounts to an extraordinary catalogue of aggression, abhorred and condemned by world opinion and in your great country and amongst all peace loving nations.
As you know, Mr. President, nothing effective had been done or attempted by the UN against a ruthless design to destroy the state of Israel which embodies the memories, sacrifices and hopes of an ancient people, which in this generation lost 6 million of its people brutally murdered in a tragedy without parallel in history.
Mr. President, I am grateful for the friendship expressed in your letters; for your appreciation of our steadfastness and calm; for your policy of protecting the territorial integrity of Israel and other nations; for your undertaking to provide effective American support to preserve the peace and freedom of Israel and the Middle East; and for your undertaking to pursue vigorous measures to keep the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba open as an international waterway to ships of all nations.
These are impressive commitments. Your letter mentions the obstacles which have so far made action difficult. We rely on the courage and determination of our soldiers and citizens. Indeed maximum self-reliance is the central aim of our national revival. My information is that our defense is reaping success. But our trials are not over and we are confident that our small nation can count on the fealty and resolution of its greatest friend.
We seek nothing but peaceful life within our territory, and the exercise of our legitimate maritime rights.
I hope that everything will be done by the United States to prevent the Soviet Union from exploiting and enlarging the conflict. The hour of danger can also be an hour of opportunity. It is possible to create conditions favorable to the promotion of peace and the strengthening of forces of freedom in the area.
At this critical moment I should welcome the closest consultation between our governments at all levels.
Israel appeals, Mr. President, to your friendship, your fidelity and your leadership."
159. Message From President Johnson to Premier Kosygin/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 8:57 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. Secret. A typed notation on the source text indicates it was approved by the President at 8:47 a.m., transmitted by U.S. Molink at 8:57 a.m., and received by Soviet Molink at 8:59 a.m. The message is addressed "To Chairman Kosygin. From President Lyndon B. Johnson." A copy is addressed "Personal from the President to Chairman Kosygin." (Ibid., Rostow Files, President-Kosygin Correspondence) President Johnson met with Rusk, McNamara, Walt Rostow, and George Christian from 8:17 to 9:25 a.m. in the White House Situation Room. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) There is no record of the meeting. A draft in Rusk's handwriting with Rostow's handwritten revisions is ibid., National Security File, Rostow Files, President-Kosygin Correspondence.
Dear Mr. Kosygin:
I welcome your message. We feel that it is the duty of all great states to secure a speedy end to the military conflict, as indicated in Secretary Rusk's earlier message to Foreign Minister Gromyko this morning. We are strongly supporting action to this end in the United Nations Security Council which meets within the hour and trust you will do the same. I have already made a personal appeal to all the governments in the area concerned and you may be assured we will exercise all our influence to bring hostilities to an end. We are pleased to learn from your message that you are doing the same.
Lyndon B. Johnson
160. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 9:49 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted and approved by Eugene Rostow and cleared by Battle. Repeated Flash to Tel Aviv and Priority to London, Rome, Brussels, Paris, and The Hague.
208049. Israeli Representative here asks us to convey earnest desire of his government not do any harm to Jordan. They hope that hostilities between the two countries can be avoided or kept to a minimum./2/
/2/Telegram 523 from USUN, June 5, reported that UN Under Secretary Ralph J. Bunche had informed Goldberg of a report by UNTSO Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Odd Bull that he had conveyed an Israeli message to King Hussein that no action would be taken against Jordan unless Jordan started it, in which case Israel would hit back hard. (Ibid., Office of the Executive Secretariat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190, Arab-Israeli Crisis, Box 6, Chron, USUN) Telegram 1106 from Amman, August 26, reports that King Hussein told Burns he received two messages from the Israelis on June 5, the first through General Bull that morning, after the Jordanian Air Force had already taken off against Israel, and the second through the U.S. Embassy that evening. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 15-1 JORDAN)
161. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 5:07 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Wolle, cleared by Davies and Grey, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated Priority to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, London, Paris, Moscow, USUN, Khartoum, Baghdad, Jidda, Kuwait, Algiers, Tunis, Rabat, and Tripoli.
208222. 1. Under Secretary Rostow called in Israeli Chargé Evron morning June 5. Told him we had had urgent and quite constructive exchanges with Soviets in recent hours. Soviets, while casting no blame on Israel, had urged USG use strongest good offices with Israel to achieve cease-fire. Soviets said they would move in same direction. We told Soviets we knew nothing in advance of hostilities that have broken out, that we would move rapidly as possible to urge cease-fire on all parties in interest of restoring peace. Evron asked if Soviets in these exchanges had commented on their position re Strait of Tiran. Rostow replied they had not.
2. Rostow asked Evron cable GOI soonest urging rapid cease-fire. Evron undertook do so.
3. Queried how hostilities originated, Evron said he had seen Israeli military statements, report of Eban-Barbour conversation, and statement by MinDef Dayan saying UAR armor had moved to cut off southern Negev. He understood radios Damascus and Amman claiming everything is finished and Haifa in flames. Over past 2 or 3 days he had seen Israeli military reports showing further buildup UAR armor in central part of southern border. "That is how it started" said Evron.
4. Rostow noted that Eban told Barbour GOI has no intention taking advantage of situation to enlarge Israeli borders. Evron commented there is no question of this and commented there had been no desire by GOI to change territorial status Sharm el-Sheikh area, where sole issue is free passage.
5. Rostow said would appreciate Evron informing him in greatest possible detail how events of morning had started. USG had great interest in this aspect. Evron undertook do so. He said Israel in position tell how it started because it had received first blow.
6. Evron said DG Israeli Foreign Ministry called in Soviet Ambassador June 5 to tell him what happened. Ambassador took usual line but meeting had not been stormy.
7. Evron said Ambassador Harman due back in Washington afternoon June 5.
162. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 4:35 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Bergus, cleared by Battle and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Joseph Palmer II, and approved by Eugene Rostow.
208191. 1. Undersecretary Rostow asked Chiefs of Mission of following Arab states call at 10:30 a.m. today: UAR, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen.
2 Rostow noted that this was a deplorable occasion. Stated he wished inform Ambassadors of USG position toward events which we regretted. The outbreak of hostilities represented the failure of diplomacy. USG had been active with all governments directly concerned, especially the UAR and Israel, using all of our influence to promote restraint and to prevent the firing of first shot. We had looked forward to visit of Vice Pres Mohieddin to Washington. We regret that he has now asked to postpone this visit but are gratified that he has not cancelled it. We welcome him at anytime.
3. Rostow then read full text President's June 5 statement re Middle East crisis./2/ Rostow continued that this morning a resolution would be presented in the Security Council/3/ containing these three elements: 1) call upon on governments for cease-fire; 2) call upon all governments to cooperate with United Nations; and 3) request UNSYG to keep Council promptly and fully informed.
/2/See Document 152.
/3/The UN Security Council met in emergency session on the morning of June 5, but no resolution was introduced.
4. Rostow also asked that all Arab governments give full protection to US diplomatic establishments and citizens in their countries. We had received disturbing reports from some cities of riots. We hoped that all governments would take adequate and effective measures protect American lives and property.
5. UAR Ambassador Kamel, as dean of diplomatic representatives present, responded by agreeing that this was a deplorable and sad situation. Kamel then read from message from UAR Foreign Office accusing Israel of having fired first shot and trying deceive world opinion. Kamel continued that Israel attacks on third country shipping in Suez Canal indicated Israel's desire drag third parties into conflict. Kamel said that Arabs had stated they would not start hostilities. Arabs had kept their word. Arabs had also felt that whatever differences had existed, normal channel for their solution was U.N.; hence they had participated in the Security Council's deliberations. Arabs felt that Israelis starting hostilities while matter was before Security Council was dangerous action because it was an affront to the United Nations Charter. Kamel noted Arabs had appealed to USG time after time to use its influence to restrain Israel. Israel had now begun shooting. The Arabs would defend themselves. Kamel said the Israelis have proved they did not respect the UN Charter or the effort of the Security Council and had destroyed diplomatic efforts that USG and Arabs were making. Kamel asked rhetorically whether USG believed that imminent arrival UAR Vice Pres was a sign of hostility or a signal that UAR wished intensify diplomatic efforts.
6. Kamel also upbraided leading US newspapers as well as Senators and Congressmen for their constant repetition of theme that "time was working against Israel." Such behavior could only be interpreted as either encouragement or endorsement of Israeli attack.
7. Kamel referred to visits to US of Lebanese and Iraqi FonMins and visit of UNSYG to Cairo. There had been no time to reap the fruit of any of these efforts.
8. Kamel stated Arab diplomats were unable to respond to USG appeal for cease-fire as they un-instructed. However, Arabs had been attacked and they were defending themselves.
9. As to protection of US citizens and property in Arab countries, Kamel said Arab governments would do their utmost to respect and protect Americans, not only because of requirements of international law but because the Arabs are a hospitable and dignified race. He admitted that some mistakes could take place but all ambassadors present would immediately appeal to their governments to redouble their efforts.
10. In response Rostow said that we had tried over last weeks to put train back on track. Arab states knew USG's good intentions. US
wanted to be friends to all the people in the Near East and this would remain our desire. We supported the territorial integrity and political independence of all the states in the area. This policy had redounded to benefit Egypt in 1956 and Lebanon in 1958. Thus we pursued an even-handed doctrine.
11. Mr. Rostow stated he had heard with interest UAR Ambassador's charge that Israel had begun hostilities and we would like to study any documentation on this point which Arab states may wish to bring to our attention. This was an important, if not decisive, subject in the context of the rule of law and supremacy of the United Nations. The most important thing before us now was a cease-fire. As President Johnson had said, we wished to see "end to fighting and a new beginning of programs for peace and development of the area." We were aware of difficulties such problems as Aqaba. The best of lawyers could disagree on such problems. Our efforts to resolve these problems by peaceful means had failed but they must and would be resumed.
12. Kamel warned that Israel was doing its utmost to bring US in on its side. He urged US not to become a third party. All Arabs would be watching US action, direct and indirect, open or behind scenes in this regard. Kamel stated other "friendly powers" would also be watching,
13. Rostow stated that we had pursued even-handed policy in dispute based on two main elements: 1) the international character of the Gulf of Aqaba and 2) our opposition to aggression. USG was not involved in deplorable events but had only tried to prevent them.
14. Kamel urged, view postponement Mohieddin visit, that President Johnson receive Arab ambassadors to clarify USG policy for them.
15. Kuwaiti Ambassador Al-Ghoussein raised Palestine problem. Said he hoped USG would give this serious thought in hope that permanent solution might now be achieved. Rostow replied that more permanent and lasting solution was desire of all of us.
163. Memorandum Prepared by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Battle)/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190, Box 16, State Memos. Secret. Rusk's initials appear on the memorandum indicating that he read it. Marginal notations indicate the persons to whom action on the various items was assigned. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room from 11:36 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Those present were the President, Acheson, Battle, Rusk, Thompson, Bundy, Clifford, McNamara, Walt Rostow, and George Christian. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No other record of the meeting has been found. Bundy recalled later that the meeting was "mainly concerned with the awful shape we would be in if the Israelis were losing. We didn't really know anything about the situation on the ground. When, in the course of that day, it became apparent that the Israeli Air Force had won, the entire atmosphere of the problem changed. It was in a way reassuring when it became clear that the fighting was the Israelis' idea and that the idea was working. That was a lot better than if it had been the other way around." (Memorandum of conversation, November 7, 1968; cited in Document 155.) See also Document 149.
ACTION ITEMS RESULTING FROM MEETING AT WHITE HOUSE JUNE 5, 1967
At the meeting with the President this morning, he expressed the desire for the following steps to be taken:
1. He wishes to have an assessment of various Embassies in key countries with respect to the current positions of governments to which they are accredited concerning the current Middle East crisis. He would like to know the best estimate of the likely position these countries will take on, among other things, the Maritime Declaration if we decide to move forward with it.
2. He would like to be sure that USIA is given guidance on the proper handling of its output and that we be looking carefully at the matter of what we say to the press at this point. He does not believe there should be anything more than his statement on the record but endorsed the idea of Secretary Rusk having a backgrounder the latter part of this afternoon. He wanted to be sure that news programs in the States were monitored carefully and that we tried to correct misstatements contained within them. He mentioned particularly the tendency to link Vietnam to the Middle East crisis implying in various ways that we had to choose between these two problems and would have to limit our activity in one place or the other to meet the needs of both.
3. He wishes to see us endorse what I am told is a call by the Pope to make Jerusalem an open city.
4. The President wants to be sure we have looked into the oil problems related to the Middle East. It was agreed that we need a "Mr. Oil" in the U.S. Government. The fact that Mr. Walter Levy has been available to us is known and appreciated, but the consensus of the meeting appeared to be that "Mr. Oil" should come from within and should be available full time and indefinitely.
5. We must look into the question of what we do if the Israelis ask us for spare parts or resupply of arms during coming days./2/
/2/A June 5 memorandum from Walt Rostow to the President states that the point he had wished to make that morning was: "if we are pressed by Israel for spare parts, etc., we should go hard to the Russians on their equivalent supply to the Arabs." (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. III)
I suggest that S/S assign action responsibility for the various items listed above. Perhaps the Secretary would like to see a copy of this list of action items, and he should be reminded that he has agreed to have some kind of backgrounder this afternoon.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the possibility of a further meeting tonight was mentioned although neither time nor the list of those to attend was decided upon.
At the Department of State press briefing at noon on June 5, 1967, a reporter asked Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey if he would reaffirm that the U.S. position was neutral. McCloskey replied: "Indeed, I would: I would be more than happy to. We have tried to steer an even-handed course through this. Our position is neutral in thought, word, and deed." The reporter asked, "Do you feel we can continue to maintain a neutral position, no matter what happens in the Middle East?" McCloskey replied, "That will be our effort." (Memorandum from Joseph Califano to the President, June 5; Johnson Library, Appointment File, June 1967, Middle East Crisis)
Special Assistant to the President Joseph Califano called Secretary Rusk at 4:25 p.m. to tell him McCloskey's statement was "killing us with the Jews in this country" and to ask if Rusk could "swamp McCloskey with a statement of his own." Rusk replied that he might be able to say something at his background press briefing at 5 p.m., but that what was meant was that the United States was not a belligerent and its citizens in the area were entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens of a neutral country. It did not mean the United States did not have a deep concern for the situation and was not working hard in the Security Council to find solutions. (Notes of telephone call from Califano, June 5; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls) Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Califano called Rusk at 4:45 p.m. to discuss the matter further. Clark expressed concern that the Neutrality Act might compel the President to issue a neutrality proclamation, which would be "unthinkable." They agreed that Rusk should emphasize that the thrust of U.S. policy was to restore peace in the area and to bring about a cease-fire. (Notes of telephone call from Clark and Califano, June 5; ibid.; Memorandum from Califano to the President, cited above) In a statement released to the press later that day, Rusk referred to President Johnson's May 23 statement reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the support of the independence and territorial integrity of all the nations of the Near East. He stated that the United States was not a belligerent in the current fighting but that this did not mean indifference; the United States was making a maximum effort in the Security Council to bring about a cease-fire. In response to a question, he stated that the U.S. Government had not made any determination as to who had initiated the violence. (Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1967, pages 949-950)
165. Minutes of the Tenth Meeting of the Middle East Control Group/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 5 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190, Box 17, Minutes/Decisions of the Control Group, Folder 1. Secret; Nodis. No drafter nor participants are listed in the minutes. A memorandum of the meeting by Hoopes is in Washington National Records Center, RG 330, ISA Files: FRC 76-140, A/I/S, 2-12-6, 1967 Crisis Special File.
I. Policy on Arms Shipments and Economic Aid
It was agreed:
1. Arms Shipments
a. The subject of arms shipments should be kept under constant review by the Control Group.
b. For the time-being, end items which have left the depots should be permitted to proceed.
c. The possible supply of A4Es and a Hawk battery to Israel will remain under review.
d. Press guidance should be formulated indicating that (1) arms shipments are being carefully reviewed and (2) end items which have left the depots are being permitted to proceed./2/
/2/At its June 6 meeting, the Control Group adopted the following guidelines for arms shipments to Near East countries with which the United States had diplomatic relations: arms shipments under government-to-government agreements, grant or sale, that had left the depots would not be impeded; existing Munitions Control licenses would be reviewed; all new government-to-government requests and all new requests to Munitions Control would be subject to careful review; and the Israeli request for 143 used half-track personnel carriers, 25 A4Es, and a Hawk battery would remain under review. No new licenses were to be issued and shipments under approved licenses were to be blocked to countries that had broken relations with the United States. (Minutes of eleventh Control Group meeting; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190, Box 17, Minutes/Decisions of the Control Group, Folder 1)
2. Arms Negotiations
a. Negotiations of arms agreements with Morocco, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iran should be delayed for at least the next 48 hours.
b. Henry Kuss would be instructed not to sign new agreements with NE countries without specific authorization.
3. Food Assistance
a. PL-480 food shipments should not be halted.
b. Practical delivery problems to the immediate area of the conflict will probably foreclose shipments until peace is restored.
4. Economic Aid
a . Shipments of end items for on-going projects should continue.
b. No new project agreements should be concluded until the legal ramifications of the conflict are clarified and a policy decision to proceed has been made. Instructions to this effect should be sent to pertinent posts.
II. Instructions to US Carriers
It was agreed:
1. The question of issuing instructions to US carriers operating into the Near East is to be carefully staffed-out and a report submitted to the Control Group.
2. The FAA should be requested to permit the five chartered Flying Tiger flights to proceed with military end items for Israel. In view of the dangers to direct flights into Israel, the material should be off-loaded at an agreed trans-shipment point; such as Rome.
III. Evacuation Plans
It was agreed:
1. Existing instructions to posts should be carefully reviewed and up-dated as necessary.
2. The Task Force should review the evacuation problem in each Near East Country and submit specific recommendations to the Control Group in respect to each.
IV. UN Situation and Outlook
Having received a report on the situation and outlook in the UN,
It was agreed:
The Task Force should submit tomorrow preliminary proposals for a ceasefire and peace settlement. The assistance of Julius Holmes should be sought.
V. Maritime Declaration
It was agreed:
1. Consultations should continue with appropriate governments about the problem addressed by the Maritime Declaration.
2. A current assessment of the number of governments prepared to endorse a Maritime Declaration under the changed conditions which now prevail should be submitted to the Control Group./3/
/3/At its June 6 meeting the Control Group decided to suspend operations pertaining to the Maritime Declaration. (Ibid.)
VI. Evacuation of UNEF and UNRWA from Gaza
While noting the request of the Brazilian Embassy for assistance in evacuating the Brazilian UNEF contingent, it was agreed that the responsibility for this unit rests with the UN. The matter is to be referred to the Secretary General by IO.
It was agreed:
1. The Task Force assisted by CIA should submit to the Control Group an assessment of Israeli military and political objectives, noting that they may be extensive.
2. An assessment of the Wheelus Field situation is to be prepared by lSA and submitted to the Control Group.
VIII. Contingency Planning for Viet-Nam Fuel Requirements
Mr. Vance informed the Control Group that contingency contacts for fuel supplies for Viet-Nam will be signed in a few days. In view of the difficulty in obtaining storage facilities in Taiwan and Japan, additional tankers will have to be reserved under charter.
166. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 5:45 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. III. Secret. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates it was received at 5:50 p.m.; a handwritten "L" indicates it was seen by the President.
Our first thought is that the key to ending the war is how well the Israelis do-or don't do-on the ground. Up to a point this is correct; but it is not wholly correct because what the Israelis are after is not some abstract military victory, but a settlement which, if possible, insures that this will not happen again in another 10 years. Therefore, our behind-the-scenes work with the Russians and others should consist not merely in negotiating a cease-fire; because a cease-fire will not answer the fundamental questions in the minds of the Israelis until they have acquired so much real estate and destroyed so many Egyptian planes and tanks that they are absolutely sure of their bargaining position.
Therefore, we should begin in New York or elsewhere, talking with the Russians and, if possible, with the Egyptians and others about the terms of a settlement:
--Eilat open to oil;
--observers on both sides of the line;
--a Soviet commitment to work with us to damp down the arms race;
--a turn in the road on refugees;
--a Middle East development bank that would bring the Iranians and Turks into the diplomacy of the area; etc.
So long as the war is roughly moving in Israeli's favor, I believe we can shorten it by getting at the substance of a settlement at the earliest possible time.
167. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Representative to the United Nations (Goldberg) and Secretary of State Rusk/1/
June 5, 1967, 8 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls. No classification marking. The notes of the conversation were prepared in the Secretary's office. Rusk was in Washington; Goldberg was in New York.
TELEPHONE CALL FROM AMB GOLDBERG
G said he had seen Fedorenko. (Sec said he would have others with him listen.) G said they came close to our formulation. G said they were meeting in 20 minutes. He read the draft resolution, indicating the bracketed portions were what Goldberg would add:
"The Security Council, gravely concerned at the outbreak of hostilities and with the menacing situation in the area, having [considered the report]/2/ and heard the statement of the Secretary General on the developments in the area (1) calls upon the governments concerned to take the necessary measures for an immediate cease-fire and prompt withdrawal, without prejudice to the respective rights, claims or position of anyone, of their armed personnel behind the armistice lines [and to take other appropriate measures to insure disengagement of forces and to reduce tension in the area]; (2) requests the Secretary General to keep the Council promptly and currently informed about the situation."
/2/These and following brackets are in the source text.
G said he had told Fedorenko that if we were going to have withdrawal, we should have it. Sec suggested saying "avoid use of violence in the area." Sec asked what about unconditional cease-fire? G thinks we could get "unconditional". He didn't know how our Israeli friends would like that. Sec said we wanted to be sure we had a case. G said we got "prompt withdrawal" not "immediate withdrawal". The Israelis have a frigid attitude toward any declaration supporting withdrawal. Sec asked about the Straits problem and what the Egyptians could do. G said this doesn't decide the Straits question; their prior formulations did. G said "prompt withdrawal"* was a plus. Sec said there were 2,300 UNEF still on the ground. G said he didn't know how much longer we could stand against a unanimous resolution. He said Israelis were out to get Nasser. G said he had been very frank. Sec said if Rafael/3/ got rough, let him know the US has its own position and its own responsibilities and we didn't know what was going to happen this morning. G said politically the price for settlement was that the Gulf be opened. Sec said resolution wouldn't settle the matter. It provides a base for a beginning. Sec said to see what he could do along these lines.
/3/Israeli Representative at the United Nations Gideon Rafael. For his recollections of these events, see Destination Peace: Three Decades of Israeli Foreign Policy: A Personal Memoir (New York: Stein and Day, 1981).
(Katzenbach, Sisco, GRostow, McCloskey present.)
168. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967, 11:09 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate. The telegram indicates the text was received from the White House. It was approved for transmission by Walsh; the message conveyed in the telegram was apparently drafted by Walt Rostow.
208406. Ref: State 202732./2/ For the Charge--You should transmit following message dated June 5, from the President to the Prime Minister:
/2/The reference is in error; telegram 202732 to London, May 26, transmitted the text of Prime Minister Wilson's May 25 message to the President (Document 62).
I appreciate your comments/3/ on the unfortunate developments in the Near East. We had feared that someone might feel compelled to strike. We had no advance indication that a decision had been taken./4/ We believed, in fact, we had at least a clean week for diplomacy.
/3/A message from Prime Minister Wilson to President Johnson, delivered to Rostow during the 11:30 Cabinet Room meeting, noted that in their last talk on June 2, "you expressed your sombre belief that war between Israel and the Arabs could not be avoided, despite the efforts we had been making and discussing together earlier that day." Wilson urged, "What we need is a clear demand from the Council for a cease-fire: after which a fresh attempt to thrash out a longer term settlement might be made." Wilson thought that since it was unlikely that the Security Council would be able to agree, members would need to plan for other possible contingencies, underlining the importance of their meeting the previous week. He added, "I am indeed glad that you and I were able to go over the ground so exhaustively so that, in this situation of confusion and uncertainty, we at least are clear in our minds about each other's attitude." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence File, UK, Vol. 6, PM Wilson Correspondence)
/4/In an earlier draft the two preceding sentences read: "We had feared that the Israelis might feel compelled to strike, but we had had no advance indication from them that they had actually taken a decision to do so in the face of what they judged to be further Arab provocations." Walt Rostow sent the revised draft to the President for "one more look", noting that he had changed the first paragraph "so that we did not put flatly into the record a judgment that Israel had kicked this off from a standing start." Johnson approved the revised draft. (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3)
Arthur Goldberg has had a difficult time in the Security Council. Like you, we had hoped for a quick cease-fire resolution. But we have had to deal with a determined effort to have the Council call for a withdrawal of forces in terms which would legitimize Nasser's action at the Strait of Tiran a subject on which we have both taken unequivocal positions.
We have done everything we could to get an even-handed Security Council pronouncement. We shall work with your people in New York to encourage helpful UN action. If the Soviets, and the French, are more forthcoming than they have been, both of us will want to build on that development to work toward a satisfactory settlement.
Meanwhile, I hope we can keep in closest touch as the military situation develops and put the best minds available to both of us to work on the contingencies that may arise and the constructive possibilities that may unfold.
I think you know the deep satisfaction I derived from our discussions.
Lyndon B. Johnson
169. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Current Intelligence/1/
Washington, June 5, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Situation Reports. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified]. The memorandum was not prepared on letterhead and bears no drafting information, but a copy bears the handwritten notation "CIA/OCI memo." (Ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3) See footnote 7, Document 149.
The Arab-Israeli War: Who Fired the First Shot
1. An analysis of presently available information suggests that Israel fired the first shots today. The Israelis, however, claim they were responding to a movement by Egyptian air and armored forces "toward" Israel which they interpreted as an attack. Cairo says flatly that Israel attacked Egypt.
2. The Egyptian army's foreign liaison officer informed the US Defense Attaché in Cairo that Israel started raiding the Suez Canal Zone and El-Arish Airfield in northeastern Sinai at 9 a.m. Cairo time (2 a.m. EDT). An announcement on the Israeli army radio service at 9:05 Cairo time (2:05 EDT) said the Israeli army was clashing with an Egyptian armored force "moving toward Israel." An Israeli army spokesman later announced that the Egyptians had "opened an air and land attack." He said Egyptian armored forces moved at dawn "toward" southern Israel and that Israeli forces "went out to meet them." He also said that Egyptian jet aircraft were seen on radar "coming toward the country's shores," and that a similar air movement was occurring along the Sinai border. Air clashes developed, he added, when Israeli planes flew to meet them.
3. Israeli Foreign Minister Eban told Ambassador Barbour that Egyptian ground forces began the fighting by shelling Israeli border villages. An official Israeli report passed to the US Embassy, however, said Egypt's 4th armored division plus a mobile task force had teamed up "with the apparent intention" of striking across southern Israel toward Jordan. The report said Israel armored forces had moved to engage the Egyptian armor, and that Israel had attacked Egyptian airfields.
4. [9 lines of source text not declassified]
170. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 2:53 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis; Flash. Drafted by Davies; cleared in substance by Houghton, and approved for transmission by Robert D. Yoder of the Operations Center. Also sent Flash to Tel Aviv and repeated Flash to Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Kuwait, Jidda, and USUN.
208420. Ref: Amman 4084./2/
/2/Telegram 4080 from Amman, June 6, reported that King Hussein had advised the Embassy that unless the Israelis stopped their attack on Jordan immediately, Jordan and his regime would be finished. He said Jordan had no offensive capability and its army was in the process of destruction, and there was fighting in Jerusalem, endangering the Holy Places. He asked the U.S. Government to arrange an immediate cease-fire. (Ibid.) Telegram 4081 from Amman, June 6, reported that the King had not said "cease-fire" but rather "I must have immediate end to the violent attacks." (Ibid.) Telegram 4084 from Amman, June 6, reported that the King could not afford to accept a unilateral cease-fire; he wanted a decrease in punitive destructive actions. He wanted to reduce his own military effort but could not do so unless the Israelis responded. (Ibid.)
For Tel Aviv.
You should immediately impart information Amman's 4080 to highest available level Israeli Government urging that Israel agree immediately take steps move toward cease fire with Jordan imparting information either through UNTSO or USG channel. You should urge strongly slackening of attacks against Jerusalem while efforts to bring about cease fire proceed. Information paras one and two Amman's 4084 may be used. Immediate offer to accept Pope's appeal that Jerusalem be considered open city by both sides might provide basis for mutual cease fire Jerusalem and environs. We urging this on Jordan./3/
/3/Barbour reported in telegram 3953 from Tel Aviv, June 6, that he had passed to the highest level Israeli authorities the U.S. position as instructed in telegram 208420. (Ibid.)
Inform King Hussein actions being taken and urge similar actions by Jordan. Our understanding has been Israel willing respond to restraint by Jordan. We have asked Israelis to slacken off and urge Jordan to take all possible steps make this possible. In strongest terms urge acceptance open city appeal. You should urge Hussein publicly rebut canard re aircraft carriers./4/
/4/At 7:40 a.m., Radio Cairo began broadcasting the charge that U.S. aircraft had participated in Israeli attacks and air defense and that King Hussein had given Nasser evidence of this. (Telegram 8565 from Cairo, June 6; ibid.) Telegram 4086 from Amman, June 6, reported that after hearing the broadcast, the Embassy had contacted King Hussein, who said he had made no such statement. The Embassy had been informed that the report was given to Nasser by the UAR Commander of the Jordanian Army, Lieutenant General Abdul Munim Riyadh. (Ibid.)
171. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 4:06 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Unclassified; Flash. Drafted by Houghton, and approved by Davies. Also sent Flash to Damascus, Rabat, Khartoum, Tunis, Baghdad, London, Kuwait, Tripoli, Jidda, Algiers, Paris, Beirut, Moscow, Amman, Jerusalem, and Cairo.
208426. 1. Cairo radio has made false charge US aircraft provided fighter cover over Israel during raids by Israeli aircraft on UAR June 5, and played role against Jordanian forces./2/ Charges are absolutely false. No US aircraft carriers have been in or near area of hostilities nor have US aircraft./3/
/2/See footnote 4, Document 170, and Document 153 and footnotes 2 and 3 thereto.
/3/Telegram 208427 to USUN, June 6, states that at 3:45 a.m. the Department had denied the charges and protested vigorously to Ambassador Kamel, requesting immediate action to terminate the broadcasts. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) Nolte had already telephoned the Foreign Minister to give him a categorical denial that U.S. planes or ships were involved in any way in the fighting, and Political Counselor Richard B. Parker had given a categorical denial to Abdul Aziz in Mohieddin's office. (Telegrams 8567 and 8569 from Cairo, both dated June 6; both ibid.)
2. You should categorically deny charge at highest level and issue public denial. Both State and Defense Departments have already issued denials./4/
/4/A press release issued by the Department of Defense on June 5 stated that reports that Sixth Fleet aircraft had flown to Israeli airfields or had participated in the conflict were erroneous; all Sixth Fleet aircraft had been and remained several hundred miles from the area of conflict. (Telegram 208283 to Amman, June 5; ibid.) Secretary Rusk stated at the White House at 9:05 a.m. on June 6 that the charges were "utterly and wholly false." He also stated, "We know that they and some of their friends know where some of our carriers are. We can only conclude that this was a malicious charge, known to be false, and, therefore, obviously was invented for some purpose not fully disclosed." (Circular telegram 208457, June 6; ibid.; Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1967, pp. 950-951)
172. President's Daily Brief/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 6, Appendix A. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified]. Regarding the release of this PDB, see footnote 1, Document 151.
1. Arab States-Israel
Cairo may be prepared to launch a campaign urging strikes against US interests in the Arab world. Both Egyptian and Syrian domestic broadcasts this morning called on the "Arab masses" to destroy all US and "imperialist" interests in the "Arab homeland." Last night Cairo radio claimed it had proof of US and British participation in the "aggression."
Demonstrations have now taken place against US embassies and installations all over the Arab world.
Arab oil-producing countries, meeting in Baghdad, say they will stop selling oil to any country which takes part in or supports Israel in the fighting. Baghdad radio said this morning that the pumping of Iraqi oil has been stopped "because of US and UK attitudes."
In the fighting, Israel has gained an early and perhaps overwhelming victory in the air, but the progress of the war on the ground is unclear. If Israeli claims regarding damage to Arab combat aircraft are valid, they have destroyed the entire Jordanian inventory of 21, two thirds of the Syrian inventory of 69, and 250 of some 430 Egyptian planes.
Arab counterclaims of 158 Israeli planes destroyed seem grossly exaggerated, but actual losses to the Israeli force of about 270 aircraft are not known.
Firm information on ground action remains sparse. The Israelis claim they have captured the "outer positions" of Kuntilla in southeastern Sinai and reached the outskirts of al-Arish in northern Sinai.
In Jordan, King Husayn said this morning that Israel is pushing ahead in a "punitive fashion." He ended with a plea that the US intercede.
173. Message From Premier Kosygin to President Johnson/1/
Moscow, June 6, 1967, 5:34 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. No classification marking. The source text is labeled "Translation," with a typed notation indicating a sight translation was made at 5:50 a.m.; the message was received by the President at 5:50 a.m.; a rough translation was made at 5:54 a.m.; and a final, official translation was provided at 6:23 a.m. A typed notation on a copy of the message in Russian states that it was transmitted by Soviet Molink at 5:34 a.m. and received by U.S. Molink at 5:43 a.m. (Ibid.)
Dear Mr. President,
Military activities in the Near East continue, moreover their scope is spreading.
The Soviet Government is convinced that a decisive demand for an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of troops behind the armistice line would be in the interests of re-establishing peace. We express the hope that the Government of the United States will support the stated demand in the Security Council. We are supporting it.
Everything possible should be done so that positive decision be taken today on this matter by the Security Council.
174. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 8:55 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Drafted by Under Secretary of State Katzenbach and approved for transmission by Deputy Executive Secretary Herbert B. Thompson. Repeated Flash to Amman.
208438. Amman's 4095./2/ You should inform GOI of Jordanian desire for immediate cease-fire and urge GOI that it would be in their interest to make necessary arrangements immediately and directly rather than through UN. This would split Jordan off from other Arab states. It may be preferable that cease-fire remain secret temporarily if King is to maintain control./3/
/2/Telegram 4095 from Amman, June 6, reported that King Hussein had asked the British, French, U.S., and Soviet Ambassadors to arrange a cease-fire, either acting unilaterally or through the United Nations. He said UAR Commander of the Jordanian Army General Riyadh, (Lieutenant General Munim Riyadh), told him he had three alternatives: cease-fire, military evacuation of the West Bank, or continued fighting with loss of the West Bank. When Burns returned to the Embassy, the Prime Minister called to say without an immediate cease-fire, they would be unable to maintain law and order in Jordan. (Ibid.)
/3/Telegram 3967 from Tel Aviv, June 6, reported that Barbour had passed the message to the Prime Minister and had urged Israeli acceptance, arguing the need to end the bloodshed. Barbour commented that because of Jordan's initiation of hostilities in Jerusalem and attacks on civilian areas, it was probably too late to arouse any Israeli interest in preserving King Hussein's regime. (Ibid.)
175. Message From President Johnson to Premier Kosygin/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 10:21 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. Secret. A typed notation on the source text indicates it was approved by the President at 10:03 a.m.; it was transmitted by US Molink at 10:21 a.m. and it was received by Soviet Molink at 10:43 a.m. The President met with Vice President Humphrey, Rusk, McNamara, Katzenbach, Bundy, Walt Rostow, Clark Clifford, and Llewellyn Thompson from 6:40 to 8:54 a.m. in the White House Situation Room. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
We continue to believe that the fighting in the Near East should be stopped as soon as possible. We were disappointed that the UN Security Council lost a full day yesterday in its effort to call for a prompt cease-fire. I understand that our representatives in the Security Council will be discussing this matter further this morning. The matter is urgent.
I was puzzled, Mr. Chairman, by what has been said by the Soviet Press and Radio since our exchange of messages yesterday morning. It does not help to charge the United States as a participant in aggression, especially when our only role has been to press for restraint at every step of the way.
I know you are not responsible for Cairo. But you should know that we were astounded that Cairo, just a few hours ago, alleged that U.S. carrier aircraft had participated in attacks on Egypt. This wholly false and obviously invented charge has led to attacks on our representatives in various Arab localities in violation of the most elemental rights of legation. Since you know where our carriers are,/2/ I hope you can put Cairo right on this matter and help us eliminate that kind of needless inflammation.
/2/Telegram 61037Z from COMSIXTHFLT to CINCUSNAVEUR stated that Soviet ships had been shadowing the U.S. carriers in the Mediterranean constantly since June 2 and could confirm that the U.S. carriers had remained at least 200 miles from Egypt, Syria, and Israel. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190)
We have expressed to your government our views on the Strait of Tiran in my letter to you of May 28 and Secretary of State Rusk's letter to Foreign Minister Gromyko of the same date./3/
/3/Documents 88 and 90.
In this personal exchange I should like to emphasize one point which goes beyond general principles about international rights of passage through narrow waters. President Eisenhower, in 1957, was faced with the problem of obtaining the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Sinai. In pressing for a withdrawal which was earnestly desired by Egypt, President Eisenhower committed the United States to international passage of the strait. President Nasser's declaration of May 22 that he would close the strait runs squarely into a commitment we undertook while supporting Egypt, quite apart from our interests as a maritime nation.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I suggest that we both do our best to obtain prompt action by the Security Council. The Resolution, submitted by Ambassador Goldberg to Ambassador Fedorenko last night,/4/ meets the points raised in your communication to me, as well as the realities discussed above. We earnestly hope you can give it your support.
/4/Goldberg reported his 9 p.m. meeting with Fedorenko in telegram 5632 from USUN, June 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR/UN)
For your convenience, the key paragraph in this Resolution is the following:
"Calls upon the Governments concerned to take the necessary measures for an immediate cease-fire and prompt withdrawal, without prejudice to the respective rights, claims or position of anyone, of their armed personnel behind the Armistice Lines, and to take other appropriate measures to ensure disengagement of forces, to refrain from acts of force regardless of their nature, and to reduce tension in the area."
Lyndon B. Johnson
176. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 11 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. No classification marking. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates that is was received at noon, and a handwritten "L" indicates the President saw it.
Arthur Goldberg called this morning to tell me he had received a telephone call from Jerusalem from Chief Justice Agranat. (They entered the Chicago bar the same year.) The message is via Goldberg to you from Prime Minister Eshkol. There are two points.
1. Eshkol "hopes you understand" the action taken by Israel; that it resulted from a judgment that their security situation had so deteriorated that their national existence was imperiled.
2. Eshkol strongly hopes that we will take no action that would limit Israeli action in achieving freedom of passage through the Gulf of Aqaba. They understand your difficulties in achieving this result; and are prepared to handle the matter themselves.
I shall, of course, make this message available to Secretaries Rusk and McNamara. We should be back with a recommendation about the second point later in the day.
177. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 10:40 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by David L. Gamon (NEA/ARN), cleared by Davies and Houghton, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to Baghdad, Jidda, Dhahran, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, and USUN. According to Rusk's Appointment Book, the meeting took place at 11 a.m. on June 6. (Johnson Library)
209151. Following based on uncleared memcons/2/ FYI Noforn and subject revision.
/2/Memoranda of these conversations are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR.
1. Secretary and Under Secretary Rostow separately received Foreign Minister Hakim of Lebanon morning June 6. Following points made in addition to those made with Pachachi (State 206672):/3/
/3/See footnote 2, Document 132.
2. Secretary and Mr. Rostow made it clear that Egyptian reports involving US aircraft in fighting were completely unfounded. They said they were deeply disappointed that diplomacy had failed and hostilities had broken out and that they were working desperately for cease fire. Hakim said Israel would have to withdraw to positions it occupied prior to present hostilities for cease fire to hold. Mr. Rostow said this might be arranged if UN presence returned to Sharm el Sheikh. Mr. Hakim believed Nasser could not give up his right to exercise sovereignty over Strait of Tiran, although way in which he exercised this might be negotiable. As practical matter, oil tankers represented only difficulty and, Hakim claimed, other routes could be used at relatively little increase in cost to Israel.
3. Foreign Minister said Arab-American friendship might be one of first victims of "Israeli aggression". The Arabs were convinced that only in event of Israeli military success would the US be non-belligerent, but that the US would intervene on the side of Israel if the Arabs were to gain the upper hand. The Arabs were united in their anger and humiliation and determined some day to bring an end to Israel as an aggressive, militaristic state. The Israelis might win a victory now, Hakim said, but it was time they started thinking about their future in the Arab world, which would depend ultimately on their reaching a modus vivendi with the Arabs. With the help of Soviet arms and their own growing population and economic power, the Arabs would ultimately redress past wrongs.
4. Secretary and Mr. Rostow stressed their determination achieve cease fire, but that USG could not alter its position re international character of Strait.
178. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State/1/
Cairo, June 6, 1967, 1640Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 17 US-UAR. Confidential; Flash. Passed to the White House, DOD, CIA, USIA, NSA, COMAC, and CINCSTRIKE at 11 p.m.
8618 1. Called at 6:30 this evening to FonMin for meeting with El Feki. He announced "withdrawal of recognition" by UARG of USG. No time limit put on exodus, continuation of administrative section under friendly power permitted. Nes and Bartos will pursue details with Chief of Protocol later this evening.
2. Basis of withdrawal is US air support for Israel in current hostilities, not only initially, but "replacing Israeli losses as they occur" according to Cairo Radio./2/
/2/Battle met with Ambassador Kamel at 2:30 p.m. on June 6 and stated in the "strongest terms" that there was no truth to the UAR charges. He expressed regret that the UAR Government had chosen to break relations on such a charge and stated that the United States would treat the UAR and its diplomatic representation on a reciprocal basis. (Telegram 208613 to Cairo, June 6; ibid., POL 17 US-UAR) Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen also broke relations with the United States on June 6. Documentation is ibid., POL 17 US-ALG and equivalent files.
3. Thus endeth my meteoric mission to Cairo.
4. Request designation of protecting power immediately.
179. Memorandum From Nathaniel Davis of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. Confidential. Rostow sent this memorandum to the President at 4 p.m. with a covering memorandum commenting: "If the Israelis go fast enough, and the Soviets get worried enough, a simple cease-fire might be the best answer. This would mean that we could use the de facto situation on the ground to try to negotiate not a return to armistice lines but a definitive peace in the Middle East." A copy was sent to Saunders.
The Situation in New York--Tuesday, June 6, 1:15 p.m.
Ambassador Goldberg met with friendly Security Council members this morning and then with Fedorenko. He found Fedorenko wanted a resolution which called for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal behind the Armistice line--but without our language: "without prejudice to respective rights, claims or the position of anyone," and without our language about refraining from acts of force regardless of their nature (which the Russians interpret as an attempt to undo the blockade of the Straits of Tiran).
Fedorenko has now gone back to Moscow for further instructions and the next Goldberg-Fedorenko meeting is scheduled for 3:00 or 3:30. Tabor hopes to be in a position to reconvene the Security Council by 4:30, but there is no assurance of that. (The Ticker has a story it will not be before 6: 00 p.m.)
Gideon Rafael, the Israeli Representative, has made clear he takes exception to some of our resolution language, and his Government will maintain a "frigid attitude" toward it. What Israel wants is a simple cease-fire. (This was our original position yesterday--and obviously in Israeli interest in light of their gains.)
Fedorenko saw Seydoux, the French Representative, after talking with Goldberg. Foreign Minister Eban of Israel is expected in New York this afternoon.
The continuing delay in convening the Security Council is very much in Israel's interest so long as Israeli forces continue their spectacular military success. We shall undoubtedly be accused of stalling. In point of fact we are not, and the Russians are contributing to the delay more than we are. The Russians suffer a genuine disadvantage in having slower and more distant communications than we do. They have shown signs of trying to adjust their position to the changing situation on the ground in the Mid-East, but their adjustments have not caught up with the deteriorating position of their allies--as of the moment at least. The result is that the hours go by. The delay serves Israel, damages the Soviet position and still further discredits the United Nations.
The President held his weekly luncheon meeting from 1:25 to 3 p.m. on June 6, 1967, with Secretary Rusk, Secretary McNamara, George Christian, and Walt Rostow. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No record of the discussion has been found. The agenda prepared by Rostow for the meeting listed the Middle East as the first topic of discussion, with "Jordan," "Oil," and "Forward planning and strategy" as subtopics. Rostow's handwritten notes on his copy of the agenda indicate that they discussed the creation of the NSC Special Committee, which was announced on June 7. The words "Cuba missile crisis" are followed by the names "Mac," "Clark," and "Dean." This is followed by a list of names, led by "DR, chair," and "MB[undy], ex sec." The words "Oil Dictator" appear next to the name "Arthur Dean," with "Gene Black" written underneath. Below are the words "Canal" and "oil." The words "UN observer" appear with the word "carriers" underneath. Battle's and McCloskey's names appear with the note, "Tighten rein." The words "think out" are attached to "Forward planning and strategy." Notes on an attached page include the words "Arthur Dean--oil--Gene Black?" and the name "Levy" (oil expert Walter Levy). The notations "UAR" and "Algeria" suggest that the news that both countries had broken relations was received at the meeting. (Ibid., National Security File, Rostow Files, Meetings with the President, January-June 1967)
Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria announced the suspension of oil deliveries to the United States and United Kingdom on June 6. A Conference of Oil Ministers from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, the UAR, Syria, Lebanon, and representatives from Bahrain, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi declared in a June 5 communiqué that Arab oil should be denied to countries committing aggression or participating in aggression against any Arab state, including any armed attack by any country in support of Israel, and that the direct or indirect involvement of any country in armed aggression against the Arab states would make the assets of its companies and nationals inside the territories of the Arab countries subject to the laws of war. The text of the communiqué is in airgram A-804 from Baghdad, June 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) For related documentation, see the compilation on the 1967 oil embargo in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XXXIV, Documents 228-268.
181. Memorandum From Nathaniel Davis of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. IV. Confidential.
The Situation in New York, Tuesday, June 6 at 5:15 p.m.
Goldberg and Fedorenko met a few minutes ago. Goldberg pressed our understanding that our resolution would provide for free passage of the Straits of Tiran. Fedorenko demurred--particularly if this understanding were to be explicit. Goldberg then proposed a cease-fire and "steps toward withdrawal." Fedorenko didn't like that.
Fedorenko then suggested returning to Tabor's original resolution. This called for an immediate cease-fire and cooperation with the UN to put the cease-fire into effect. Fedorenko objected to the UN machinery aspect.
Goldberg finally suggested a resolution which calls upon the governments concerned, as a first step, to take forthwith all measures for an immediate cease-fire and for a cessation of all military activities in the area./2/ (This last reference to all military activities could apply to the Straits.)
/2/Transmitted in telegram 5638 from USUN, June 7. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR/UN)
Fedorenko and Goldberg agreed to a quick referral of this language to their governments.
Goldberg and Fedorenko are scheduled to meet again within the next fifteen minutes to confirm their agreement if possible./3/
/3/New York has just called, confirming agreement. [Footnote in the source text. Goldberg reported on his three June 6 meetings with Fedorenko in telegram 5644 from USUN, June 7. (lbid.)]
The Soviet attitude has shifted further in light of military action on the ground, and they are now pressing hard for UN action as soon as possible to stop the fighting.
If we and the Soviets can agree on language, Hans Tabor, the President of the Security Council, must then consult other members whose noses are somewhat out of joint because of the long delay and the focus of the discussions between the Big Two. The Security Council is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. (It will probably convene at least half an hour late.)
182. Message From Premier Kosygin to President Johnson/1/
Moscow, June 6, 1967, 6:07 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. No classification marking. The source text is labeled "Translation," with a typed notation indicating a sight translation was made at 6:12 p.m.; the message was received by the President at 6:15 p.m.; a rough translation was made at 6:17 p.m.; and a final, official translation was provided at 6:38 p.m. A typed notation on a copy of the message in Russian states that it was transmitted by Soviet Molink at 6:07 p.m. and received by U.S. Molink at 6:10 p.m. (Ibid.)
Dear Mr. President,
We have considered your proposals. We have issued the necessary instructions to the Soviet Representative in the Security Council. We express the hope that you will also issue corresponding instructions to your representative about the adoption today of resolutions concerning the immediate cessation of military actions with the withdrawal of troops behind the armistice line.
183. Message From President Johnson to Premier Kosygin/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 8:23 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. Secret. A typed notation on the message indicates it was approved by the President at 7:45 p.m., it was transmitted by US Molink at 8:23 p.m., and it was received by Soviet Molink at 8:28 p.m. The President met in the Situation Room from 6:29 to 7:15 p.m. with Rusk, McNamara, Thompson, Katzenbach, Bundy, and Walt Rostow. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) Thompson recalled later that during the 8 hours that had elapsed since Johnson's message that morning (Document 175), Fedorenko had agreed to a simple cease-fire, that is, according to Thompson, "to a resolution Kosygin now wanted to get away from." Thompson recalled some discussion in the Situation Room whether they should take advantage of Fedorenko's agreement to a simple cease-fire or stick to the terms of Johnson's earlier message. He thought they would have been prepared to accept the earlier formulation, but everyone agreed they should "take advantage of what had happened in New York." See Document 245.
Our two Ambassadors in the Security Council have been in close consultation throughout the day. We understand that our Ambassadors agreed to a very short resolution calling for a cease-fire as a first step. We authorized our representative to agree on behalf of the United States Government. The Security Council has just adopted this resolution unanimously./2/ We shall do our best to assist the Security Council's further efforts to restore peace in the Near East on a lasting basis.
/2/Resolution 233 (1967); the text is printed in Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1967, pp. 947-948. The key negotiations at USUN on June 5 and 6 leading to the adoption of the resolution are summarized in telegram 5740 from USUN, June 15. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR/UN)
I trust we can work together in the days ahead to help solve the problems before us in the Near East and elsewhere.
Lyndon B. Johnson
184. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 9:34 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 19-8 US-ISR. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Drafted by Political-Military Adviser Colonel Edgar J. Fredericks (NEA/RA); cleared in substance by Davies, Director for Operations Joseph J. Wolf (G/PM), and Director of Foreign Military Rights Affairs Philip E. Barringer (DOD/ISA), and in draft by Atherton; and approved for transmission by Sober.
208743. Ref: Paris 19726/2/ and 19871./3/
/2/Telegram 19726 from Paris, June 2, reported that U.S. military authorities had asked the Embassy about the previously approved sale to Israel of 200 half-track personnel carriers, 57 of which had been sold and delivered and the remaining 143 of which were in French military depots and were yet to be sold. Unless it was otherwise instructed, the Embassy planned to inform the U.S. military that the vehicles should be sold. (Ibid.)
/3/Telegram 19871 from Paris, June 5, stated that the Israeli purchasing mission was pressing hard for the sale of the personnel carriers and that in view of the outbreak of hostilities, the Embassy was advising U.S. military authorities not to complete the sale pending instructions from Washington. (Ibid.)
1. Begin FYI. For variety of reasons we prefer hold up on previously-authorized sale of remaining 143 half-tracks to Israel at this sensitive time. While sale unlikely to alter military arms balance in current hostilities there could be political risks in associating US with transaction of "visible" military hardware at this moment. We intend however to keep issue under review. End FYI.
2. You should find pretext which not related to Middle East crisis to delay acting on Israeli request.
185. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, June 6, 1967, 9:41 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted by Battle and approved by Rusk.
208748. For the Ambassador from the Secretary.
1. I believe that the GOI must look to its own interest in the Arab world. The presence of Jordan and the King has been a stabilizing influence which I do not believe the Israelis should lightly see go down the drain.
2. I hope you will find a way to suggest most forcefully to the Israelis that they arrange in the aftermath of the Security Council resolution an immediate cease-fire at least de facto with Jordan./2/ I leave to you the nature of the approach and caution you that we do not want to get in a position of trying to direct Israeli tactics, particularly military ones. In the light of unfounded charges of the last couple of days, any such implication would be dangerous indeed. I do, however, think you may be able carefully to handle this as a matter in interest to the Israelis (to say nothing of our own).
/2/Telegram 4112 from Amman, June 6, received at 9:40 p.m., reported that Jordanian Prime Minister Juma had telephoned to request U.S. good offices in advising the Israelis that the Jordanian Government desired an immediate cease-fire. (Ibid.) Telegram 208784 to Tel Aviv and Amman, June 6, instructed the Embassy in Tel Aviv to convey this information to the Israeli Government and instructed the Embassy in Amman to inform the Prime Minister and express the hope that the Jordanian Government could notify the United Nations officially at an early date of its acceptance of a cease-fire. (Ibid.)
186. President's Daily Brief/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 6, Appendix A. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified]. Regarding the release of this PDB, see footnote 1, Document 151.
1. Arab States-Israel (As of 5:30 AM EDT)
At this point, the shooting continues despite the UN ceasefire resolution. Early this morning Israeli planes were hammering Jordanian positions outside Jerusalem. There also was some firing in the city last night.
The Israelis appear to hold substantial portions of the Sinai Peninsula, and Cairo is ordering the Egyptian force at Sharm ash-Shaykh on the Straits of Tiran to withdraw. In fact, there are strong indications that the Egyptians may be withdrawing most, if not all, of their forces from the Sinai.
Although the Soviets are airlifting in some spare parts for Egyptian tanks and aircraft, there are no indications of any major Soviet military moves.
[6 lines of source text not declassified]
In last night's Security Council meeting, Fedorenko demanded withdrawal of forces after a ceasefire, but this performance seems intended to put the best face possible on the retreat. [6 lines of source text not declassified]
The US Embassy in Cairo was not set on fire as reported in this morning's Washington Post.
187. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 7:46 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash. Drafted and approved by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Stuart W. Rockwell and cleared by Rusk. Repeated Flash to Tel Aviv.
208800. 1. FYI. In response our urgings they cease fire Israelis have answered to effect JAA still fighting all along the line. Most importantly, shelling of Jerusalem from Mar Ilias has not stopped, and heavy fighting going on Nablus-Toubas area. Israelis believe either King or Government no longer in control or are deliberately following tactic of deception. Latter conclusion Israelis believe supported by fact Hussein still apparently talking about secret rather than open cease-fire./2/ End FYI. You should inform Hussein we strongly urging Israelis cease-fire but they state JAA still fighting, and that shelling of Jerusalem from Mar Ilias continuing. If true we urge JAA cease fire totally and especially that attacks on Jerusalem be stopped in order reinforce our efforts, which being undermined by continuing JAA firing.
/2/Barbour reported this Israeli response in telegram 3976 from Tel Aviv, June 7. He reported that Eshkol's views on Jordan were along the same lines as Rusk's and that Eshkol would lay Rusk's position before the Cabinet when it met that day, but that Israeli information did not jibe with that reflected in recent telegrams from Amman. He commented that if the Jordanians were serious in wanting a cease-fire and if the King and the government were able to make the cease-fire stick, the most effective thing they could do would be to stop shelling Jerusalem, which was especially important to the Israelis and where damage had been great. (Ibid.) Telegram 4119 from Amman, June 7, reported that the Jordanian Foreign Minster had told the British, French, and Soviet Ambassadors that although Jordan had ordered its army to cease firing as of 2400Z, the Israeli army was continuing to attack Jordanian locations on the West Bank; he appealed to the four powers to exert every influence with Israel to end the attacks. (Ibid.) Telegram 4121 from Amman, June 7, reported a similar appeal from King Hussein. (Ibid.)
2. If Jordan has not formally notified SC of its acceptance cease-fire you should urge it to do so.
3. For Tel Aviv: Inform GOI of action we taking in Amman and reiterate our concern for cessation of hostilities with Jordan.
188. Message From Premier Kosygin to President Johnson/1/
Moscow, June 7, 1967, 8:18 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. No classification marking. The message is labeled "Translation," with a typed notation indicating a sight translation was made at 8:29 a.m.; the message was received by the President at 8:34 a.m.; a rough translation was made at 8:36 a.m.; and a final official translation was provided at 9:20 a.m. A typed notation on a copy of the message in Russian states it was transmitted by Soviet Molink at 8:18 a.m. and received by U.S. Molink at 8:23 a.m. (Ibid.)
Dear Mr. President,
According to available information, Israel is ignoring the Resolution of the Security Council, summoning all governments concerned to take as a first step all measures towards an immediate cease-fire and cessation of all military actions in this area.
Such a situation calls for the Security Council to use its authority to guarantee the implementation of its own decision.
In this connection, we have proposed an immediate reconvening of the Security Council to take effective measures for an immediate cessation of military actions and the re-establishment of peace.
189. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 9:50 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. IV. Secret. A handwritten "L" on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Copies were sent to Rusk, McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, and Clark Clifford.
Herewith some thoughts as of this morning.
I. The Israeli Situation and Bargaining Position. It looks as though, with the assistance of Arab delay in implementing the Security Council resolution, the Israelis will end up controlling the west bank of the Jordan river, the whole Jerusalem area, and the whole of the Sinai Peninsula, including the east bank of the Suez Canal. They will also have in their hands the administrative control of perhaps two-thirds of the Arab refugees, depending on how many flee the west bank. Depending a bit-but not much-on whether and how fast the Soviet Union is prepared to replace Arab aircraft and tank losses, the Israelis for the moment are in a position to dominate militarily the region, including a capacity, if necessary, to move across the Suez Canal to the west bank.
II. The Arab Situation. The Arabs initially decided to turn down the Security Council cease-fire resolution. It is unclear exactly what they have in mind. It is possible that they may accept it shortly and are merely trying to appear for the moment not excessively eager or hasty. But it is also possible that they may be trying to maintain Arab unity on the Baghdad pledge of the oil-producing powers; that is, to deny pro-Israel western nations mid-East oil. Having lost in the field, Nasser may be trying to preserve something of his position and leadership by using the leverage of oil, pressure on other Western economic interests, and possibly the use of the Suez Canal.
III. The Central Issue. The struggle now moving from the battlefield to economic pressure and politics is probably this: whether the settlement of this war shall be on the basis of armistice arrangements, which leave the Arabs in the posture of hostilities towards Israel, keeping alive the Israel issue in Arab political life as a unifying force, and affording the Soviet Union a handle on the Arab world; or whether a settlement emerges in which Israel is accepted as a Middle Eastern state with rights of passage through the Suez Canal, etc.
IV. U.S. Objective. The U.S. objective is evidently to try to move from the present situation to as stable and definitive a peace as is possible. This will require Israeli concessions--as well as important moves by others--on the refugee issue. It also involves:
--A transition from the present Arab radical mood towards that of Arab moderates.
--Probably a larger Middle Eastern role for Turkey and Iran.
--Regional arms control arrangements, optimally to be worked out within the region itself.
--The beginnings, at least, of systematic regional cooperation in economic development, including, perhaps, a regional plan for development of water resources.
--The emergence of a spirit of regional pride and self-reliance to supplant the sense of defeat and humiliation engendered in the Arab world in the wake of the failure of Nasser, his strategy, and his ideological rhetoric.
V. First Tactical Moves. It is obvious that if the result we wish to achieve is to be brought about, by definition it requires the U.S. to be in a position of quietly stimulating and encouraging the Middle Eastern forces which might wish to move in this direction but not appearing to dominate or dictate the solution. In an only slightly lesser degree, this is also true for the United Nations. The UN role should be to set a framework within which these things become possible but not to become excessively involved in detail. U.S.-USSR understandings, quietly achieved, could play an important role in this outcome; but, as during these days, it is clear that the outcome in our interest is directly contrary to Soviet strategy over the past years; they have suffered a setback of the first order of magnitude; and they will only react in ways consistent with our interests if the political forces on the spot, as well as the military situation, leave them no other realistic alternative.
In the light of this assessment, here are some initial possible tactical moves:
--Quiet discussions with the Israelis about the concept of a definitive Middle Eastern settlement along the lines in paragraph III, above.
--Quiet approaches to, say, President Sunay,/2/ the Shah, the King of Morocco, President Bourguiba,/3/ suggesting this approach.
/2/Turkish President Cevdet Sunay.
/3/Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba.
--Quiet beginnings of discussions with moderate Arabs along these lines, as opportunity offers. In this connection, men like Eugene Black, Robert Anderson, Raymond Hare, Kermit Roosevelt might be helpful.
--Encouragement of arrangements which tend to split the Arab world, e.g., a Jordan-Israeli cease-fire; the revival of U.S. diplomatic relations with one or another Arab state to break the solidity of the bloc; efforts to break one or another Arab oil-producing state out of the Baghdad understanding; etc.
--A willingness to broaden the mandate of Jack Valenti's mission to the whole field of water in the Middle East--or the assignment of, say, Eugene Black to some such enterprise as a supplement to Jack's present mission.
At the heart of this approach, however, is a broad and imaginative movement by Israel on the question of refugees. The Johnson plan is a good initial base; but they, we, and others ought to get at this fast. They will--and should--make acceptance of these arrangements contingent on a general peace settlement; but they should move quickly, from their present position of strength and political unity in Israel, to an explicit willingness to play their part in a refugee settlement.
190. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Califano) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 10:15 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Califano Memos. No classification marking. The President looked at the memorandum in Califano's office around 10:45 a.m. and told Califano to talk to Bundy about it "confidentially." (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
Abe Fortas called and asked me to pass along two points to you:
1. He thought you should refrain from getting into the "neutrality" issue any more, particularly through an argument on the Neutrality Act. He believes we have taken care of that issue with the American-Jewish community and he has deep reservations about the applicability of the Neutrality Act to this situation.
2. He believes that once there is a cease fire, the United States should not try and draw up blueprints for restructuring the Middle East. His view is that we should let the Israelis and Arabs negotiate this out, and save ourselves until the last half of the ninth inning in the negotiations.
With respect to the second point, Abe believes the post-cease fire situation is going to be the trickiest from the viewpoint of domestic politics as well as international politics. He indicated that he would like to talk to you at some point about this, but he does not want to bother you.
191. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/
Amman, June 7, 1967, 1408Z.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash. Repeated to the White House and Tel Aviv. Received at 10:57 a.m. Passed to DOD, CIA, USIA, NSA, COMAC, and CINCSTRIKE, and USUN at 11:15 a.m.
4125. Ref: Deptel 208001./2/
/2/Reference is apparently to Document 187.
1. Hussein, as we reported twenty-four hours ago, is prepared to have open cease fire.
2. For past several hours Radio Amman has been announcing GOJ acceptance of cease fire. Israelis monitor these broadcasts and thus have no basis to assume GOJ still desires secret cease fire.
3. GOJ formally notified Security Council of its acceptance of cease fire early this morning through El-Farra.
4. Israeli suggestion that King deliberately following tactic of deception hardly supportable. Israeli military intelligence well aware Jordanian losses. IDF briefings to DATT Tel Aviv have covered losses in detail./3/
/3/A number of telegrams reporting such briefings are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR.
5. There is possibility King and government not in communication with all JAA units. However, should Israelis be sincerely prepared for cease fire we assume that, particularly in Jerusalem area, way could be found to use receptive government radios to announce cease fire at set time.
6. I recognize IDF goal may well be total destruction of Jordanian army. I consider that JAA destruction, if achieved, would have disastrous effects on this regime and on area stability as whole. I am gravely concerned about resultant effects on public order and on safety large American community still in Kingdom.
7. For all these considerations I consider it imperative we spare no effort to arrange this cease fire. Jordanians willing follow any formula we may suggest to achieve this. I respectfully urge that President telephone PriMin Eshkol to bring cease fire into effect soonest./4/
/4/Howard Wriggins of the NSC staff sent copies of this telegram and telegram 4127 from Amman to Walt Rostow at 3:40 p.m., with a brief memorandum recommending that the President send an urgent message to Eshkol. Attached were a draft memorandum from Rostow to the President and a draft Presidential message to Eshkol. Rostow apparently did not forward the proposal or the telegram. (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. IV) Telegram 4127 from Amman, June 7, reported that Chief of Staff Khammash had advised the Embassy that Jordanian units in the Jerusalem area were cut off and subject to heavy bombardment, that the Jordanian army was trying to evacuate the West Bank, and that withdrawing columns were being strafed and bombarded. Khammash urged immediate Israeli compliance with the cease-fire and stated that the Jordanian military position was hopeless. The record copy is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR.
192. Telegram From the Commander of the Sixth Fleet (Martin) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff/1/
June 7, 1967, 1503Z.
/1/Source: Joint Chiefs of Staff Files, 898/392. Secret; Flash. The telegram does not indicate the time of receipt. Repeated to CNO, CINCUSNAVEUR, USCINCEUR, CINCUSAFE, DIA, and DIRNSA. Filed as an attachment to the Report of the JCS Fact Finding Team: USS Liberty Incident, 8 June 1967. (See footnote 2, Document 337.)
71503Z. A. COMSIXTHFLT 070626Z Jun 67./2/
/2/Telegram 70626Z from COMSIXTHFLT to JCS stated that there had been no direct or indirect communications between COMSIXTHFLT and any Israeli source either military or non-military and none reported by any COMSIXTHFLT subordinate command. (Joint Chiefs of Staff Files, 898/392)
1. This applies ref A.
2. Prior to 052015Z Jun 67 SIXTHFLT aircraft were engaged in normal training operations in the Sea of Crete and south of the western end of Crete. No air operations were authorized east of lat 30E or within 100 miles of the Egyptian coast. These restrictions provided a minimum approach distance for aircraft to the coasts of Israel and Syria of no less that 240 miles and to the coast of Egypt from Alexandria west of no less than 100 miles. At 052015Z Jun 67 the operating area for SIXTHFLT units was expanded to include all of the eastern Med except that no operations, either surface or air, were permitted within 1  miles of Israel, Syria, or Egypt or within 25 miles of Cyprus.
3. On 5 May [June] both carriers were operating in positions which were in excess of 400 miles from Israel or Sinai. Flight operations on America were conducted from 0915Z until 1235Z and on Saratoga from 0828Z until 1313Z. Flight operations were conducted for training purposes and were routine in all aspects. On 6 Jun limited UR operations were conducted during the day for routing purposes. No night operations were conducted by either carrier.
4. All SIXTHFLT CVA pilots who participated in air operations on 5 and 6 Jun have been queried concerning their track lines and any voice communications either transmitted or received. At no time were the airspace restrictions set forth in para 1. above violated, i.e., on 5 Jun no SIXTHFLT CVA aircraft approached the Israel or Sinai coastline closer that 240 miles and on 6 Jun no SIXTHFLT CVA aircraft approached the Israel, Syria or Egypt coastlines closer than 100 miles. Tracks flown were actually farther from Israel/Syria/Egypt than the above limiting figures. During these flights no SIXTHFLT pilot either transmitted or received any radio transmissions from stations either in or under the control of any country in the Mideast engaged in the current conflict, either directly or indirectly by relay. In short, on 5 and 6 Jun no SIXTHFLT aircraft overflew Israel, Syria, or Egypt and no communications were established by SIXTHFLT pilots with any radio stations controlled or utilized by any of these countries.
5. No flight operations are scheduled for 7 Jun for either Saratoga or America. The limitations set forth in para 2 above continue in effect.
193. Message From President Johnson to Premier Kosygin/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 11:18 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, USSR, Washington-Moscow "Hot-Line" Exchange, 6/5-10/67. No classification marking. A typed notation on the source text indicates it was approved by the President at 11 a.m.; it was transmitted by US Molink at 11:18 a.m.; and it was received by Soviet Molink at 11:25 a.m. The message was drafted by Rusk and apparently revised by the President, Walt Rostow, and Bundy. A draft marked "Sect. Rusk, 10:10 a.m., draft," along with a copy of the message as sent, which was similar but somewhat revised, is ibid., Country File, USSR, Hollybush, Vol. III. The President met with Walt Rostow and Bundy for a part of the time between 10:25 and 10:45 a.m. discussing "the wording of some communication." (Ibid., President's Daily Diary)
We are instructing our Ambassador at the United Nations to agree to an immediate meeting of the Security Council when one is suggested by your Ambassador.
Our Ambassador reports that the Security Council was informed last evening by Foreign Minister Eban that Israel would accept a cease-fire, while noting that he did not know of the reaction of the Arab side. He also reported that the Arab Ambassadors were silent on this point. At the time of this message, we ourselves are not clear as to their attitude, with the possible exception of Jordan.
We are taking steps to see that the resolution of the Security Council is implemented by all concerned. We are prepared to work with all others to establish a lasting peace in the region.
The wholly false reports and invented charges that United States aircraft participated in attacks on Egypt have resulted in mob action against American embassies and consulates and a break in Diplomatic Relations by seven Arab countries with the United States. This despicable act on their part and failure to give adequate protection to American officials and private citizens in Arab countries will lead to a very serious deterioration in the situation. I repeat the hope that you will be able to counsel moderation where it is needed.
Lyndon B. Johnson
194. Memorandum for the Record/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 12:05-1 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings File, Vol. 4. Secret. Dated January 7, 1969. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room. The time and place of the meeting are from the President's Daily Diary. (Ibid.) A list of those present is ibid., National Security File, NSC Meetings File, Vol. 4. A handwritten memorandum, June 7, that Rostow apparently gave to the President during the meeting, conveys a message from Moyers that Eban had told Feinberg he was going to take the position of no withdrawal without a definitive peace, and he would be seeing Goldberg to ask for U.S. support. Feinberg thought this was the way for the President to retrieve his position after the McCloskey statement. (Ibid., Appointment File, June 1967, Middle East Crisis) Rostow evidently received this message in a telephone call from Moyers at 12:28 p.m.; he left the NSC meeting to return Moyers' call. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary
National Security Council Meeting, Wednesday, June 7, 1967
The following is a record from my notes made during the meeting, but, because of the fast moving events in the Middle East, not transcribed until today.
Secretary Rusk opened the discussion of the situation in the Middle East by reporting that Nasser had suffered a "stunning loss." He had miscalculated the military situation and Soviet support. There was widespread disillusionment with Nasser in the Middle East./2/ The Soviets seemed to have been guilty of encouraging him. The Arabs in the UN felt that the USSR had let them down. Israel was riding high and its demands will be substantial. Israel will probably demand a peace treaty with the Arabs with the following objectives:
/2/At 9 a.m. that morning, Rostow sent the President reports from the London press that Nasser's position was threatened by the developments in the war, with a brief covering memorandum that commented, "If Nasser goes, we indeed do have a new ball game." (Ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis)
a. Clear resolution of the state of belligerence.
b. Getting rid of the UN truce supervisory machinery. Israel will accept no arrangements that derogate its sovereignty.
c. At the beginning it seemed that Israel was not seeking territorial acquisition, but Ambassador Barbour feels they will want Sharm el-Sheikh and straightened out borders./3/
/3/Barbour estimated in telegram 3988 from Tel Aviv, June 7, that the Israelis would insist on final peace treaties with their neighbors with firm, accepted frontiers and would not accept any international supervisory organizations. He thought they would not want to absorb the West Bank but would want to hold on to the areas of the Sinai, including Sharm el-Sheikh, from which they withdrew under pressure in 1957, and that they would expect other adjustments to widen the narrow belt between Jordan and the sea and to improve their strategic position toward Syria. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)
Looking ahead, the Secretary spoke of the importance to us of removing belligerent rights, resuming international guarantees, and regional economic and social developments to absorb intra-Arab and Arab-Israeli quarrels. If we do not make ourselves "attorneys for Israel," we cannot recoup our losses. We do have something to bargain with in that Israel must be grateful to the US and Israel requires continuing US support.
The Secretary reviewed the question of "who did what?" He said we had a primary obligation to ourselves to maintain peace. What we would have done had we been in Prime Minister Eshkol's shoes is another question. Eban had laid bare Israeli thinking and we understood it. In any case, the situation on June 8 appeared "more manageable than five days or three days ago." The air battle had been significant.
Mr. Helms said that the Russians had badly miscalculated, even more so than in the Cuban missile crisis.
Mr. Katzenbach said that arrangements for evacuation of Americans were in progress everywhere except in Jordan. We still were holding off in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Gaud reported that we had had aid programs in six of the fourteen Arab countries (plus Israel)-Sudan, Jordan, Tunisia, the UAR, Morocco, Israel--and a pipeline of one sort or another to twelve. He had stopped obligations to all of these countries. He had frozen everything for those countries who have broken diplomatic relations. In addition there are US contributions to the world food program, UNRWA and voluntary agencies which we had not stopped. The pipeline of unliquidated obligations added up to about $130 million. The President asked Mr. Rostow to pull all of this information together and to see how it sorted itself out.
With regard to our aid through international or private agencies, Secretary Rusk said it would be serious to pull out of the FAO. On the other hand, with American personnel coming out of countries like the UAR, voluntary agency programs might have to give for the time being.
The discussion turned to the question of military equipment. The Vice President said the Congress was watching the flow of arms shipments very carefully. Mr. E.V. Rostow noted Soviet shipments to the Arabs.
The President said "he was not sure we were out of our troubles." He could not visualize the USSR saying it had miscalculated, and then walking away. Our objective should be to "develop as few heroes and as few heels as we can." It is important for everybody to know we are not for aggression. We are sorry this has taken place. We are in as good a position as we could be given the complexities of the situation. We thought we had a commitment from those governments, but it went up in smoke very quickly. The President said that by the time we get through with all the festering problems we are going to wish the war had not happened.
Ambassador Thompson said he could figure out no explanation for the Soviet misjudgment. The Russians should have known the Arabs' capability. He felt the end of belligerence should be relatively easy to handle with the USSR. Barring a direct threat to Cairo, he felt the Soviets would probably stay out of war.
Secretary Rusk felt that, in Moscow, those advising caution may be strengthened.
General Wheeler reported briefly on the air war, noting that the Israelis had caught a large portion of the UAR air force on the ground. He also pointed out that the striking nature of the Israeli success reflected great superiority in maintenance, leadership, training and discipline rather than numerical superiority.
The President then went on to read a statement later released to the press (attached),/4/ establishing a Special Committee of the National Security Council to deal with the Middle East crisis, with McGeorge Bundy to serve as Executive Secretary and as a special consultant to the President and with Secretary Rusk as chairman.
/4/For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book I, p. 599. The President stated that the members of the Special Committee, in addition to Rusk and Bundy, would be Fowler, McNamara, Wheeler, Helms, Clifford, and Walt Rostow. He stated that he would meet with the Committee as necessary, as would Vice President Humphrey and Goldberg.
Secretary Fowler discussed briefly the effect of hostilities on the money markets of the world. In sum, he felt there was nothing to indicate any massive movement of funds. He said we were not interfering.
At the President's request for comment, Mr. Bundy said the following about his new assignment. He would be in familiar company and would do his best. He needed the help of people who had been working in the crisis and would require the support of a small staff. He knew his job was primarily to take the best possible advantage of work already going on.
Secretary Rusk concluded by suggesting that there be a meeting of the new committee at 6:30 p.m.
195. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 3:55 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. No classification marking. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates it was received at 4:07 p.m., and seen by the President.
Herewith a plea from Mrs. Krim./2/
/2/An unsigned summary of a message from Mathilde Krim, June 7, is attached. It states that there was still resentment in the Jewish community over the McCloskey statement; there were reports of anti-American feelings in Israel because Israelis felt they had won the war not with the United States but in spite of it; and there was danger that a rally the next day in Lafayette Square would be an anti-Johnson, rather than a pro-Israel demonstration. Mathilde and Arthur Krim recommended a Presidential statement saying that the United States would not resume relations with Nasser's government and calling for a peace conference to establish a peace based on recognition of Israel by the Arab nations as a member of the community of nations in the Middle East. A similar message from Mathilde Krim had been sent to the President in a 1:25 p.m. memorandum from Marvin Watson. (Ibid., Appointment File, June 1967, Middle East Crisis) The President read portions of it to Rusk during a 2:42 p.m. telephone conversation. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) Arthur and Mathilde Krim were friends of the President and leading Democratic Party activists.
When I talked to Abe Feinberg and gave him your points, his response was much the same: he couldn't be more loyal, but the average U.S. Zionist doesn't understand.
One thing to consider is letting it be known how intensively you worked on the Russians. Without going into any details whatsoever--and never mentioning the hot line--I suggested the importance of your role in the outcome to: Max Frankel, Joe Kraft, and Joe Alsop today.
Lord knows what they'll say tomorrow!!
196. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 5:42 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash. Drafted and approved by Davies. Repeated to Amman, Moscow, London, Paris, Jerusalem, USUN, CINCSTRIKE, COMSIXTHFLT, CINCEUR, and DIA.
208985. You should make strongest presentation of dangerous situation so graphically portrayed in Amman's 4128/2/ to highest available level GOI. You should stress influx refugees to East Bank and rapid disintegration Jordan security forces now constitute real threat to regime and to large American and foreign community in Jordan. We are taking action with Eban/3/ but you should make most vigorous plea for Israeli acceptance cease-fire offer and immediate public notice this action./4/
/2/Telegram 4128 from Amman, June 7, reported that Prime Minister Juma had told an Embassy officer that the Jordanian army on the West Bank was retreating on foot and under fire. Juma charged that there had been continuous, massive Israeli violations of the cease-fire for the preceding 18 hours. He said the Jordanians were convinced the Israelis had agreed to the cease-fire to entrap the Jordanian army, and the U.S. failure to stop the attack raised serious doubts as to U.S. intentions. He said that 150 Israeli tanks were moving through northern Israel toward the Jordan border, apparently en route to Syria, and if they crossed the border, Jordan would have no choice but to resist. He declared that unless Israeli attacks ceased immediately there was "no hope for the Jordan regime or for any further American influence in the country," and he pleaded that the President take immediate action. Burns commented that if the United States could not stop the Israeli military action, the 1,200 Americans in Amman and on the West Bank could be subject to mob violence, and the regime would probably be unable to protect them. (Ibid.)
/3/Goldberg reported in telegram 5650 from USUN, June 7, that he had contacted Eban in the late afternoon and urged him to ensure an immediate cease-fire. Eban said he understood that orders to this effect had been given shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern time but that he would contact Tel Aviv to be certain they were being carried out. (Ibid.) Goldberg called Rusk at 8:05 p.m. and said Rafael had just stated the Israelis were sending a letter to the Secretary-General announcing that a cease-fire with Jordan was in effect. (Notes of telephone conversation, June 7; ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls
/4/Barbour reported in telegram 4003 from Tel Aviv, June 8, that he had made the representations requested in telegram 208985, even though word of the cease-fire made them out of date. (Ibid., Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)
197. Notes of a Meeting of the Special Committee of the National Security Council/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 6:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Minutes and Notes. No classification marking. The meeting was held from 6:32 to 7:55 p.m.; the President left the meeting from 7:03 to 7:32 p.m. Rusk arrived 10 minutes late because he had been on Capitol Hill. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) The notes are Saunders' handwritten notes of the meeting. The only formal records of the Special Committee meetings are memoranda for the record summarizing the committee's decisions, drafted by Saunders and based on his notes. Very brief notes of the meetings by Helms are in Central Intelligence Agency Files, DCI Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 11, Folder 12, DCI (Helms) Miscellaneous Notes of Meetings, 1 Jan 1966-31 Dec 1968.
Katz: Jordanian problem
McGB's Other reasons.
Wh. Iraqi brigade. One reason Israelis fired up is to get at Iraqi & Egypt. troops.
150 Israeli tanks (brigade) crossed & heading toward Damascus.
Get at Syrians
Pr: Want to take most competent people in & outside small working group to det. what probs are & what needs be done. Perhaps some help in solving probs of Viet. Russian Am. trouble--trade out. But enough probs ahead.
Want regular meetings initially--decisions to this meeting--ahead of anything else. Not anything else more important.
McGB. Sparkplug. When he speaks, he speaks for me.
McGB: Ongoing work.
Special requirements just down road./2/
/2/"This is more operational than I had judged from first talk." is written in the margin next to the three points below.
1. Continuing intelligence assessment of--not just tanks--but of attitudes in ME to what's going on. DCI (ways of asking questions: what are people now likely to think.) Keep on top of pol. thinking without getting in way of day to day business.
2. Keeping depts. in touch in economic relationship.
--Solomon: oil coord.
--Deming: money link
3. Information coordination: pressures to say I'll be in touch with Depts.
Not deal with day-to-day fires.
1 . How we & USSR relate to one another. Short-run picture not appetizing.
DR: Congr.: Get on Israeli bandwagon. Isr. success.
Resupply problem. We sympathetic to Israel's needs. Israel will be in with bills, we ought to meet.
1. West Bank
2. Seize & operate Canal.
Divided opinion on how deal with those that have broken [relations].
--Withdraw charge before we resume.
Relieved that we didn't have to get military involved.
No criticism except on "neutrality"--Javits.
No blank check--Jav., R. Kenn.
Sym: give our airmen in Viet some freedom.
Pr.: What will bill be?
Wh. 800 op tanks left.
Damascus: Phase III. Balance has changed.
Sources of supply.
DR: Morse: close: force prev. resupply Arabs.
Pr: [Illegible.] Viet. Sovs?
Pr: Sovs. Rebuild.
Helms: Sovs have taken awful prestige blow. These come pretty hard.
a. Sovs going to come back hard.
b. Leadership could be affected.
c. It didn't read sit. in Viet. any better than ME.
--No rocket rattling (1956, 8)
--Does this strengthen moderates or Hawks?
CPs in ME dead.
Arab reaction in UN.
Missile crisis--Test Ban Peacemaker./3/
/3/"Cld they retrieve by delivering in Viet or NE." is written next to these points.
DR: We can't make Isr. accept puny settlement.
Arms: Sov. arms limitation bureaucracy.
NY: Linking withdrawal to peace settlement.
Isr: GAA: badly when face Arabs together. Remember 1949./4/
/4/The words "Hussein. [Illegible.] Viable? Alternatives" appear in the margin.
Refugees & pol. desolation.
Paradox: now they have 700,000 refugees.
Mtg, late in day.
Wkdays at 6:30, always stop before. Sit. room.
Sats at 11:00. (Not commit to this Saturday yet)
DR: Policy questions urgent:
1. Do we coop. with multilat. agencies, WFP, WHO, FAO, UNWRA./5/
/5/"$14 m. cash. $8 m. kind." is written in the margin next to this point.
McGB: prepare good just.
2. Gin up supplementary emergency problems.
McN--Egypt on the ropes.
Fowler--Econ. rehab. prog. for Egypt. Can't do it for Nasser.
WWR: Regional development bank. Unleash Gene Black. Break Nasser.
--Special reg. fund in World Bank.
Katz: Med. aid.
--Appropr. Hard to get fr. Congr.
--Pressure to cut UNWRA.
UN: How to handle tactical problem.
[illegible]: What about UAR?--Pres. of Sec. Council & SYG to go out.
Arms: Our 155's that shelled./6/
/6/"Where we have control we have acted." is written next to the points on arms. Bundy's June 8 memorandum for the record recording decisions at the June 7 meeting includes only one point, which reads as follows: "After discussing the importance of keeping close watch on our shipments of military equipment to Arab countries, it was agreed that we must be able to demonstrate that we have acted to halt shipments over which we still have control. We can do nothing about those shipments now on the high seas (many of which have already passed to the recipients' title) and should prepare a good brief explaining our allowing them to proceed." (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Minutes and Notes)
Pr.: Not going to be blackmailed.
Stop arms to Arabs; resupply Isr.
Cliff.: Good case on past shipments. Defy anyone make good case.
198. Memorandum From Larry Levinson and Ben Wattenberg of the White House Staff to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 7:45 p.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, Appointment File, June 1967, Middle East Crisis. Confidential. A handwritten "L" on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. The President called Levinson at 8:40 p.m. and said he had received the memorandum and was disappointed in some of his Israeli friends and their reactions to what was being done during the crisis. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary)
We talked to David Brody of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith, and he reported this reaction from the Jewish community in America:
Monday there was sharp disillusion and dismay at the McCloskey statement concerning "neutrality in word, thought, and deed." The row-back by Secretary Rusk did not fully catch up with the original statement--certainly not among the Jewish rank-and-file (who hissed at a Union meeting in New York Monday when the "neutrality" statement was announced). The Jewish leadership understands that the statement was not your policy, but they feel that it did indicate to them a real feeling in the State Department--that Israel was just another country on the map and that there was little concern for the humanity of the situation there.
On the other hand, they are pleased so far with the American position in the U.N. regarding the cease-fire, and the fact that no withdrawal was stipulated, and, of course, they are highly pleased with the military turn of events.
The major concern today among Jewish leaders now is this: that Israel, apparently having won the war, may be forced to lose the peace--again (as in 1956). They were concerned that the U.N. would attempt to sell Israel down the river--and that only the U.S. could prevent that. Today, that is what American Jews are looking to the President for: assurances of a real, guaranteed, meaningful peace in the Middle East, and that Israel not be forced to a roll-back as they were by the Dulles-Eisenhower position in 1956.
(Brody feels that Israel will not withdraw from some parts of the newly occupied territory no matter who demands what.)
There will be a mass meeting of American Jews tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in Lafayette Park. Brody thought it would clear the air and help your position with the Jewish community if you sent a message to the gathering. Brody believes that if you do send a message it ought to stress the "peace, justice and equity" theme of your Tuesday statement, ought not to mention "territorial integrity," ought to dramatize your personal understanding and depth of feeling for the humanity involved and your desire to see a lasting and permanent peace in the Middle East.
Events are moving very rapidly--but as of this hour, from a domestic political point of view, it seems to us that this would be a highly desirable action. It would neutralize the "neutrality" statement and could lead to a great domestic political bonus--and not only from Jews. Generally speaking, it would seem that the Mid-East crisis can turn around a lot of anti-Viet Nam anti-Johnson feeling, particularly if you use it as an opportunity to your advantage.
199. Telegram From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, European Command (Lemnitzer)/1/
Washington, June 8, 1967, 0110Z.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 7, Appendix H. Top Secret; Immediate. Repeated Immediate to CNO, CINCLANT, CINCLANTFLT, CINCUSNAVEUR, COMSIXTHFLT, CTF 64, USS LIBERTY, HQ-NSAEUR, NSAEUR OFF GERMANY, DIRNSA, DIRNAVSECGRU, ADIRNAVSECGRU, DIRNAVSECGRULANT, DIRNAVSECGRUEUR.
7347. Subj: USS Liberty (U).
Refs: a. JCS 7337/072230Z Jun 67;/2/ b. COMSIXTHFLT 071503Z Jun 67 (Notal)./3/
/2/JCS telegram 7337 to USCINCEUR, 072230Z Jun 67, modified the instructions in JCS 6724 (Document 118) to provide that the Liberty should approach no closer than 20 NM to the UAR and 15 NM to Israel. (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 7, Appendix H)
1. (U) Cancel ref a.
2. (TS) Reg Liberty comply new op areas defined last sentence para 2 ref b, until further notice, i.e., not closer than 100 NM to Israel, Syria, Egypt and 25 NM to Cyprus./4/
/4/The U.S.S. Liberty did not receive this message. See Document 217.
200. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/
Washington, June 7, 1967, 9:41 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 17 US-ARAB. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Bergus and Rusk, cleared by Palmer and Davies, and approved by Rusk. Sent to Algiers, Baghdad, Damascus, Khartoum, Nouakchott, and Beirut and repeated to Bujumbura, Conakry, Bamako, Rabat, Mogadiscio, Dar es Salaam, and Tripoli.
209138. 1. Chief of Mission should approach FonOff soonest and state he under high level instruction make following points:
a. USG regrets fact host government has chosen break diplomatic relations with US.
b. History will record fact that basis for breaking relations is utterly false allegation that USG participated as belligerent in hostilities on side of Israel. We wish make it of record that USG did not initiate break. We wish also to record our readiness to see relations fully restored when host government and we agree that a basis exists for normalizing relations.
c. We need to know in some detail what host government has in mind about arrangements now to be contemplated. These might range from a limitation to a mutual recall of ambassadors all the way to a complete withdrawal of all official personnel on both sides.
d. In this connection Ambassador may wish to point out that discussion of post-break diplomatic representation is going on between Washington and Cairo in dignified and responsible manner and on basis reciprocity. Egyptians have accepted the maintenance of a number of diplomatic officers and supporting administrative personnel as part of embassy of mutually agreed third power. Egyptians have also agreed re maintenance of our consulates in Alexandria and Port Said. From expressions received from Egyptian FonOff officials, it is clear UAR wishes to avoid total rupture of all means of official communication between our two governments. Despite current status US-UAR relations, there is mutual interest in both governments in retaining contact on basis dignity and reciprocity.
201. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, June 8, 1967, 3:38 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash. Drafted and approved by Brewer of the NEA Task Force. Repeated Flash to Amman and USUN.
209172. 1. Embassy Amman has just reported Israeli armored battalion crossed Mundesseh Bridge (opposite Wadi Shuaib) at 0530 Zulu June eight. Israelis also reportedly shelling Jordanian position at Ramtha in recent hours. King and Prime Minister frantically demanding why GOI violating cease-fire in this fashion./2/
/2/Burns reported this in telegram 4134 from Amman, also sent as Critic 1 from Amman, both dated June 8. (Ibid.)
2. Request you immediately contact highest available Israeli official to convey foregoing and stress we believe cease-fire must be entirely observed lest Jordanian regime disintegrate immediately which we assume not an Israeli objective. We had understood Israel had accepted cease-fire and that it was effective on June seven at 2000GMT June 7. Continued firing would clearly call in question Israel representative's June seven letter to UNSC President in foregoing sense.
3. Report results Flash, repeated to Amman./3/
/3/Barbour reported in telegram 4002 from Tel Aviv, June 8, that on the basis of Amman's telegram 4134, he had urged the Foreign Office to check with the Israeli command, which replied the report was not correct; there was no Israeli force on the East Bank, the Israelis had no intention of putting forces there or advancing from their West Bank positions, and no Israeli shelling was going on. (Ibid.)
202. President's Daily Brief/1/
Washington, June 8, 1967.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 6, Appendix A. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified]. Regarding the release of this PDB, see footnote 1, Document 151.
Arab States-Israel (As of 5:00 AM EDT)
The UN's ceasefire order is being disregarded. Egypt has officially announced it will not comply, and Nasir has personally so informed most other Arab governments. The Israelis may have broken their ceasefire agreement with Jordan.
Early this morning the Jordanian prime minister told our embassy that Israeli tanks were moving into northwestern Jordan. The ultimate aim of such a movement might be to attack Syria. The embassy also says fighting on the Israeli-Jordanian front picked up during the night. [3 lines of source text not declassified]
On the Sinai Peninsula, the Israelis have apparently accomplished most of their military objectives. Yesterday the Israelis approached the Suez Canal so rapidly that they probably cut off the major portion of the retreating Egyptians.
Embassy Cairo believes that public realization of the Arab defeat has generated strong feeling against Nasir, and foreign diplomats in Cairo consider the Egyptians are in a state of panic over the military debacle. [3 lines of source text not declassified] Senior Iraqi officials in New York are said to believe Nasir is desperate and might do almost anything to maintain his position.
Mobs in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, have damaged US installations, and our consulate in Aleppo has been attacked and burned. As the extent of the defeat sinks into the Arab countries, danger to US citizens still there may increase. Refugees from the fighting in Jordan's West Bank are already streaming into Amman, where they could cause disorder directed at Americans.
Arab States-Israel (As of 5:30 AM EDT)
The Israelis have just announced (according to the press) that Egyptian armored forces have counterattacked "in force" in an effort to fight their way out of the Sinai Peninsula. This could refer to Egyptian troops trapped in the rapid Israeli advance.
203. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, June 8, 1967, 6:31 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash. Drafted and approved by Brewer and cleared by Katzenbach. Repeated Priority to Amman, Athens, Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem, London, USUN, and CINCSTRIKE.
209182. Ref: Jerusalem 1053./2/
/2/Telegram 1053 from Jerusalem, June 8, reported that at 1000 local time, UNTSO stated that the Israelis had just launched an intensive air and artillery bombardment of Syrian positions opposite the central demilitarized zone, as an apparent prelude to a large-scale attack in an effort to seize the heights overlooking the border kibbutzim. (Ibid.)
UNTSO report reftel deeply disturbing. You should urgently approach Fonoff at highest level to express deep concern this new indication military action by GOI. If reported bombardment correct, we would assume it prelude to military action against Syrian positions on Syrian soil. Such a development, following on heels Israeli acceptance SC cease-fire resolution would cast doubts on Israeli intentions and create gravest problems for USG representatives in Arab countries. You should stress we must at all costs have complete cessation Israeli military action except in cases where clearly some replying fire is necessary in self-defense./3/
/3/Barbour replied in telegram 4007 from Tel Aviv, June 8, that he was raising the matter and expressing concern in accordance with telegram 209182, but he noted that Syrian shelling of the kibbutzim and settlements below the Syrian heights had been continuous and incessant, with continuous threat to their populations. He commented that he would not be surprised if an Israeli attack took place or had already done so. (Ibid.)
204. Editorial Note
On June 8, 1967, at 8:03 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (1203Z; p.m. local time), the U.S.S. Liberty was attacked and hit by unidentified jet fighters, which made six strafing runs. Twenty minutes later the ship was attacked by three torpedo boats. One torpedo hit the starboard side. At the time, the Liberty was heading northwest in international waters, a little more than 13 nautical miles from the Sinai coast, approximately 25 miles northwest of El Arish. (Proceedings, U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry; Naval Historical Center, Operational Archives Branch, Immediate Office Files of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1969 Files, Box 110, Liberty Incident, 8 June 1967, Court of Inquiry; Chronology of Events, Naval Security Group File on U.S.S. Liberty; Naval Security Group Files, Box 702, CNSG Pre-76 Inactive Files 168, NAVSECGRU File on U.S.S. Liberty) At 1235Z, a message from the U.S.S. Saratoga to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, repeated to the Commander, Sixth Fleet, relayed a message from the Liberty: "I am under attack. My posit 31.23N 33.25E. I have been hit. Request immed assistance." (Telegram 081235Z from U.S.S. Saratoga to CINCUSNAVEUR, June 8 Naval Historical Center, Operational Archives Branch, U.S.S. Liberty Incident, Message File, Vol. II)
At 1250Z, the Commander, Sixth Fleet, ordered the U.S.S. America to launch four armed A4s, with fighter cover and tankers, which were to proceed to 31-23N 33-25E to defend the Liberty, and the Saratoga to launch four armed A1s with the same mission. (Telegram 081250Z from COMSIXTHFLT to USS Saratoga and USS America, June 8; ibid.) At 1316Z the Commander, Task Force 60, reiterated the order to the America and the Saratoga, adding, "Defense of USS Liberty means exactly that. Destroy or drive off any attackers who are clearly making attacks on Liberty. Remain over international waters. Defend yourself if attacked." (Telegram 081316Z from CTF 60 to USS America and USS Saratoga, June 8; ibid.) At 9:11 a.m. (1311Z), the Commander in Chief, European Command, notified the National Military Command Center by telephone that the Liberty was under attack, had been hit by a torpedo, and was listing to starboard. (See Document 219.)
Information concerning the U.S.S Liberty and its mission is in William D. Gerhard and Henry W. Millington, Attack on a Sigint Collector, the U.S.S. Liberty (National Security Agency/Central Security Service, 1981), in National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History Historical Collection, Series VIII, Crisis Files, Box 16. Files of message traffic pertaining to the Liberty are in the Naval Historical Center, Operational Archives Branch, U.S.S. Liberty Incident, Message File; ibid., Immediate Office Files of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1969 Files, Box 113; National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History Historical Collection, Series VIII, Crisis Files, Box 16; ibid., NSA Archives, Accession No. 45981, U.S.S. Liberty Correspondence and Messages, 1965-1968; and Naval Security Group Files, Box 896, U.S.S. Liberty Pre-76 Inactive Files, Box 1, USS Liberty 5750/4, Chronological Message File.
205. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/
Washington, June 8, 1967, 9:50 a.m.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. No classification marking. A handwritten "L" on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Rostow telephoned the President at 9:49 a.m. This memorandum apparently confirmed information Rostow had given him in that telephone conversation. At 10 a.m., Johnson telephoned Secretary McNamara. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No record has been found of either of these conversations.
We have a flash report from the Joint Reconnaissance Center indicating that a U.S. elint (electronics intelligence) ship, the Liberty, has been torpedoed in the Mediterranean. The ship is located 60-100 miles north of Egypt./2/
/2/At 10:15 a.m., National Security Agency Director General Marshall S. Carter telephoned Naval Security Group Director Captain Cook to request that he telephone Secretary McNamara with information about the Liberty and the number of personnel aboard. At 10:30 a.m., Deputy Naval Security Group Director Captain Thomas briefed McNamara by telephone about the Liberty, its mission, its location, and the personnel aboard. McNamara asked whether the Joint Chiefs of Staff had directed the ship's withdrawal to 100 miles from shore. Thomas could not confirm this. (Chronology of Events, Naval Security Group File on U.S.S Liberty, Naval Security Group Files, Box 702, CNSG Pre-76 Inactive Files 168, NAVSECGRU File on USS Liberty)
Reconnaissance aircraft are out from the 6th fleet.
We have no knowledge of the submarine or surface vessel which committed this act.
We shall keep you informed.
Sources: Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967, U.S. Department of State