190. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Califano) to President Johnson1

Abe Fortas called and asked me to pass along two points to you:

He thought you should refrain from getting into the “neutrality” issue any more, particularly through an argument on the Neutrality Act. He believes we have taken care of that issue with the American-Jewish community and he has deep reservations about the applicability of the Neutrality Act to this situation.
He believes that once there is a cease fire, the United States should not try and draw up blueprints for restructuring the Middle East. His view is that we should let the Israelis and Arabs negotiate this out, and save ourselves until the last half of the ninth inning in the negotiations.

With respect to the second point, Abe believes the post-cease fire situation is going to be the trickiest from the viewpoint of domestic [Page 342] politics as well as international politics. He indicated that he would like to talk to you at some point about this, but he does not want to bother you.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Califano Memos. No classification marking. The President looked at the memorandum in Califano’s office around 10:45 a.m. and told Califano to talk to Bundy about it “confidentially.” (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary)