114. Memorandum by Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1
Just to keep thoughts flowing to you, attached are two papers which add up to a debate:
- First are some hasty reflections on where we are and the proposition that circumstances may create a situation where we would want to [Page 209] modify our course. These are irresponsible thoughts, but they badly need stating, especially when you read the parade of horribles in the Task Force’s economic paper.2
- Second is a memo on my luncheon conversation today with one of King Faisal’s sons.3 In effect, he suggests an umbrella under which we might preserve a chance to split the moderates-along the lines we were discussing this morning.
The first is an argument for letting Israel go. The second is an argument for avoiding Israeli involvement at all costs.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. II. Secret. Saunders sent the memorandum and its attachment to Walt Rostow with another memorandum, which states that Saunders wanted to ensure that “we consider a quite different alternative than you were discussing this morning.” It also notes that “we may face a situation where no one will come in with us on the regatta” and in that case, Saunders hoped they would “at least stop and reconsider.”↩
- Reference is apparently to Document 115.↩
- This memorandum recorded a conversation with Saudi Prince Mohammed and another Saudi visitor, both of whom urged that any U.S. action to open the Strait of Tiran must be based on international law rather than on the basis of helping Israel, or no Arab moderate could support it.↩