16. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1

197664. 1. Action addressees unless overriding objection perceived should approach Governments at appropriately high level along following lines:

A.
In current dangerous situation in Middle East, USG has been urging restraint on Israel and considers it important that Arab states do likewise [Page 26]in Damascus and Cairo. We consider UNEF important instrument for stability and urge other governments to convey to UAR the hope that UNEF can continue play useful role it has fulfilled for over a decade.
B.
Main thrust of our policy is to work through and support United Nations efforts to preserve peace in Middle East. We are giving urgent consideration to steps that might be required in support of UN role.
C.
Since Soviet position will be important factor in present crisis, we are encouraged by report we have of statement by one Soviet representative to high official of another government that, while Soviets have supported Arabs against Israel on numerous occasions, they would not wish Arabs to force confrontation with Israel which could escalate into open hostilities. This position was supported by statement Soviet Charge Washington to Under Secretary Rostow on 18th that although Soviet sympathies on side of countries representing “National Liberation movements” Soviets desire area remain calm and rumors heard by USG that Syrian Government had been promised unlimited military as well as political support from the Soviet Union were unlikely.

2. For Jidda and Amman: We are concerned by reports that UAR forces occupying Sharm el-Shaikh. While recognizing sensitivity this issue for GOJ and SAG, we must convey to those governments sense of extreme importance we attach to maintaining free passage for all shipping in Gulf of Aqaba.

3. For Amman: Suggest for obvious reasons you omit para C above from your presentation.

Rusk
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 32–1 ISR–SYR. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Atherton; cleared in draft by Popper, in substance by Director of the Office of Inter-African Affairs Fred Hadsel, and by Under Secretary Rostow; and approved by Davies. Sent to Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Jidda, Kuwait, Algiers, Khartoum, Rabat, Tripoli, and Tunis and repeated to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Damascus, London, Paris, and Moscow.