140. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1
208004. 1. Secretary called in Israeli Chargé to present President Johnson’s reply Prime Minister’s letter (sent separately).2 Noted letter did not attempt repeat everything that had been said previously but was designed summarize where we are at moment. He reviewed current efforts within Security Council and discussions re Maritime Declaration. Then stated U.S. had nothing further on Russian position on important aspects current issues. He asked Eshkol [Evron] whether GOI had info this matter. Eshkol [Evron] replied in negative, indicating, however, he had Eshkol’s letter to Kosygin which he would provide us after translation. There were in opinion GOI indications USSR prodding Egyptians but still no reflection their attitude on Straits. It was agreed U.S. and GOI would keep in close touch regarding Russian intentions.
2. Secretary briefed Charge in general terms talks Prime Minister Wilson in which Middle East problems had figured prominently. Clear from these discussions that U.S. and U.K. were mobilizing support on Declaration and considering carefully contingencies that might follow. In addition, U.S. and U.K. looking carefully into economic, financial, and other aspects problem. Clear that U.K. regards matter as serious issue to which it is giving most urgent attention. From U.S. point of view, important question was how involve as many governments as possible in plans for future. Secretary assumed GOI talking to France and Canada. French position at present unsatisfactory which was perhaps not too surprising. One key question was what France would do if merchant vessel transited Straits and UAR fired first shot. De Gaulle statement not precise on point.
3. Evron pressed Secretary re time factors current plans to which Secretary replied U.S. working very hard several tracks. Should know by about Monday what Security Council can do. We are trying speed up consideration Declaration with target for mid-week to know how much support we have. Moreover, Department spending much time with [Page 266] Congressional groups to inform them of situation. So far response in Congress constructive and encouraging but indicates strong feeling U.S. should deal with problem multilaterally.
4. Evron agreed transmit letter Prime Minister soonest.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Battle on June 3 and approved by Rusk.↩
- Document 139; the text was transmitted in telegram 207955 to Tel Aviv, June 3, which states that Rusk gave the letter to Evron that afternoon. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR) Rusk met with Evron from 5:15 to 5:40 p.m. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book)↩