176. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

Mr. President:

Arthur Goldberg called this morning to tell me he had received a telephone call from Jerusalem from Chief Justice Agranat. (They entered the Chicago bar the same year.) The message is via Goldberg to you from Prime Minister Eshkol. There are two points.

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Eshkol “hopes you understand” the action taken by Israel; that it resulted from a judgment that their security situation had so deteriorated that their national existence was imperiled.
Eshkol strongly hopes that we will take no action that would limit Israeli action in achieving freedom of passage through the Gulf of Aqaba. They understand your difficulties in achieving this result; and are prepared to handle the matter themselves. I shall, of course, make this message available to Secretaries Rusk and McNamara. We should be back with a recommendation about the second point later in the day.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. No classification marking. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates that is was received at noon, and a handwritten “L” indicates the President saw it.