146. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

208026. Middle East Crisis.

Ambassador Dean called on Under Secretary Rostow this afternoon at Rostow’s request.

Rostow assured Ambassador British Government notified immediately if we had indication Israeli decision to force Strait alone. Dean stressed UK would not support such unilateral Israeli action. UK recognized that under international law and 1957 arrangements, US/UK position was that Israel justified in striking back if Israeli ship turned back by armed force. UK position, however, was that unescorted probe was invitation to Egyptians to fire. UK support for escorted probe based on judgment that UAR would not fire.
Rostow reported clearance obtained today on constituting international naval force. Instructions going out today2 and Ambassador Harriman would make some special approaches coming week. Entire effort would be coordinated with UK Ambassadors.
Some countries had minor problems of wording in maritime declaration. Dean and Rostow agreed that to save time, such countries might make slight alterations in the wording of the declaration and then file separate declarations under common covering letter to the UN. (Further instructions on this are to follow.)
Joint naval planning with UK EmbOff starts Tuesday,3 with London group Wednesday.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Eugene Rostow’s Special Assistant Alan R. Novak, and approved by Rostow.
  2. A memorandum of June 9 from Deane R. Hinton of EUR/RPE to Walsh states that at the time of the outbreak of hostilities, an instruction to the Embassies in a number of countries was awaiting approval by the Secretary. Hinton’s memorandum is filed with what he describes as a draft history of the MADEC operation. The attachment is headed: “The Middle East Crisis: Activities of the Task Force Subcommittee on the Maritime Declaration.” It includes a brief chronology and 24 attachments. (Ibid., Middle East Crisis Files, E. 5190, Box 14, History of MADEC) Other files on the Maritime Declaration effort are ibid., Box 13.
  3. June 6.