179. Memorandum From Nathaniel Davis of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1
- The Situation in New York—Tuesday, June 6, 1:15 p.m.
Ambassador Goldberg met with friendly Security Council members this morning and then with Fedorenko. He found Fedorenko wanted a resolution which called for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal behind the Armistice line—but without our language: “without prejudice to respective rights, claims or the position of anyone,” and without our language about refraining from acts of force regardless of their nature (which the Russians interpret as an attempt to undo the blockade of the Straits of Tiran).
Fedorenko has now gone back to Moscow for further instructions and the next Goldberg-Fedorenko meeting is scheduled for 3:00 or 3:30. [Page 330] Tabor hopes to be in a position to reconvene the Security Council by 4:30, but there is no assurance of that. (The Ticker has a story it will not be before 6: 00 p.m.)
Gideon Rafael, the Israeli Representative, has made clear he takes exception to some of our resolution language, and his Government will maintain a “frigid attitude” toward it. What Israel wants is a simple cease-fire. (This was our original position yesterday—and obviously in Israeli interest in light of their gains.)
Fedorenko saw Seydoux, the French Representative, after talking with Goldberg. Foreign Minister Eban of Israel is expected in New York this afternoon.
The continuing delay in convening the Security Council is very much in Israel’s interest so long as Israeli forces continue their spectacular military success. We shall undoubtedly be accused of stalling. In point of fact we are not, and the Russians are contributing to the delay more than we are. The Russians suffer a genuine disadvantage in having slower and more distant communications than we do. They have shown signs of trying to adjust their position to the changing situation on the ground in the Mid-East, but their adjustments have not caught up with the deteriorating position of their allies—as of the moment at least. The result is that the hours go by. The delay serves Israel, damages the Soviet position and still further discredits the United Nations.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis, Vol. 3. Confidential. Rostow sent this memorandum to the President at 4 p.m. with a covering memorandum commenting: “If the Israelis go fast enough, and the Soviets get worried enough, a simple cease-fire might be the best answer. This would mean that we could use the de facto situation on the ground to try to negotiate not a return to armistice lines but a definitive peace in the Middle East.” A copy was sent to Saunders.↩