The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major [Page IV] foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.
The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.
A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).
The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editor is convinced that this volume, which was compiled in 1994–1996, meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.
Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series
This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the 5 years (1964–1968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in 34 volumes a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson’s administration. This volume documents U.S. policy toward the Arab-Israeli dispute from January 1964 to May 1967.
Principles of Document Selection for the Foreign Relations Series
In preparing each volume of the Foreign Relations series, the editors are guided by some general principles for the selection of documents. Each editor, in consultation with the General Editor and other senior editors, determines the particular issues and topics to be documented either in detail, in brief, or in summary.
The following general selection criteria are used in preparing volumes in the Foreign Relations series. Individual compiler-editors vary these criteria in accordance with the particular issues and the available documentation. The editors also apply these selection criteria in accordance with their own interpretation of the generally accepted standards of scholarship. In selecting documentation for publication, the editors gave priority to unpublished classified records, rather than previously published records (which are accounted for in appropriate bibliographical notes).
Selection Criteria (in general order of priority):
- Major foreign affairs commitments made on behalf of the United States to other governments, including those that define or identify the principal foreign affairs interests of the United States;
- Major foreign affairs issues, commitments, negotiations, and activities, whether or not major decisions were made, and including dissenting or alternative opinions to the process ultimately adopted;
- The decisions, discussions, actions, and considerations of the President, as the official constitutionally responsible for the direction of foreign policy;
- The discussions and actions of the National Security Council, the Cabinet, and special Presidential policy groups, including the policy options brought before these bodies or their individual members;
- The policy options adopted by or considered by the Secretary of State and the most important actions taken to implement Presidential decisions or policies;
- Diplomatic negotiations and conferences, official correspondence, and other exchanges between U.S. representatives and those of other governments that demonstrate the main lines of policy implementation on major issues;
- Important elements of information that attended Presidential decisions and policy recommendations of the Secretary of State;
- Major foreign affairs decisions, negotiations, and commitments undertaken on behalf of the United States by government officials and [Page V] representatives in other agencies in the foreign affairs community or other branches of government made without the involvement (or even knowledge) of the White House or the Department of State;
- The main policy lines of intelligence activities if they constituted major aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward a nation or region or if they provided key information in the formulation of major U.S. policies, including relevant National Intelligence Estimates and Special National Intelligence Estimates as may be declassified;
- The role of the Congress in the preparation and execution of particular foreign policies or foreign affairs actions;
- Economic aspects of foreign policy;
- The main policy lines of U.S. military and economic assistance as well as other types of assistance;
- The political-military recommendations, decisions, and activities of the military establishment and major regional military commands as they bear upon the formulation or execution of major U.S. foreign policies;
- Diplomatic appointments that reflect major policies or affect policy changes.
Sources for the Foreign Relations Series
The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government engaged in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. Many of the sources consulted in the preparation of this volume have been declassified and are available for review at the National Archives and Records Administration. The declassification review and opening for public review of all Department of State records no later than 30 years after the events is mandated by the Foreign Relations statute. The Department of State and other record sources used in the volume are described in detail in the section on Sources below.
Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XVIII
The editor of the volume sought to present documentation illuminating responsibility for major foreign policy decisions in the U.S. Government, with emphasis on the President and his advisers. The documents include memoranda and records of discussions that set forth policy issues and options and show decisions or actions taken. [Page VI] The emphasis is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its execution rather than on the details of policy execution.
President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk were directly involved in the many discussions relating to the Arab-Israeli dispute, and the editor tried to document their roles in the policy deliberations and decisions as much as possible. Their meetings and correspondence with Arab and Israeli leaders, as well as their responses to pressures from both sides to provide sophisticated weaponry and their appointments of special emissaries to visit the troubled region, for example, are included in the documentary record.
Major topics covered in the volume include: 1) U.S. efforts to continue the preceding Kennedy administration’s policy of trying to foster more friendly relations with Gamal Abdel Nasser of the United Arab Republic (UAR) while maintaining good relations with Israel; 2) mounting tensions in the area, fueled by terrorist attacks on Israel and the flow of Soviet arms to the UAR, which undercut this approach and led to the U.S. decision to provide increasingly sophisticated armaments to Israel and Jordan; 3) the deteriorating U.S. relations with the UAR as a result of the UAR’s intervention in Yemen and Nasser’s criticisms of U.S. policies, which annoyed President Johnson and stirred Congressional opposition to economic assistance; and 4) the continuing U.S. efforts, despite these irritants, to pursue an even-handed approach to the Arab-Israeli dispute, prevent an arms race in advanced weapons in the area, and seek to defuse the increasingly frequent incidents on Israel’s borders from flaring into full-scale war. The volume concludes on the brink of the crisis that preceded the Six Day War; the crisis and resulting war are documented in volume XIX.
The editor included a selection of intelligence estimates and analyses seen by high-level policymakers, especially those that were made available to President Johnson.
The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.
Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of [Page VII] historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.
Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from this volume because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.
The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and, if so, this information has been included in the source footnote.
Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.
Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation
The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in [Page VIII] the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.
The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.
The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.
Under Executive Order 12958, specific information may be exempt from automatic declassification after 25 years if its release could be expected to:
- reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method, or reveal the identity of a human intelligence source when the unauthorized disclosure of that source would clearly and demonstrably damage the national security interests of the United States;
- reveal information that would assist in the development or use of weapons of mass destruction;
- reveal information that would impair U.S. cryptologic systems or activities;
- reveal information that would impair the application of state of the art technology within the U.S. weapon system;
- reveal actual U.S. military war plans that remain in effect;
- reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government, or seriously and demonstrably undermine ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States;
- reveal information that would clearly and demonstrably impair the current ability of U.S. Government officials to protect the President, Vice President, and other officials for whom protection services, in the interest of national security, are authorized;
- reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair current national security emergency preparedness plans; or
- violate a statute, treaty, or international agreement.
The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in [Page IX] the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.
The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 1996 and was completed in 1999, resulted in the decision to withhold about .3 percent of the documentation proposed for publication; 2 documents were withheld in full. The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate account of U.S. policy in the Arab-Israeli dispute from January 1964 to mid-May 1967.
The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, especially David C. Humphrey, Regina Greenwell, and Charlaine Burgess, who provided key research assistance. The editor also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of historians at the Central Intelligence Agency, particularly Scott Koch.
Harriet Dashiell Schwar collected documentation for this volume and selected and edited it, under the general supervision of General Editor David S. Patterson. Gabrielle S. Mallon prepared the lists of names, sources, and abbreviations. Rita M. Baker did the copy and technical editing, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the final declassification review. Breffni Whelan prepared the index.
Bureau of Public Affairs