22. Editorial Note

President Johnson met from 5:38 to 6:59 p.m. on May 19, 1967, with Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense McNamara, Special Assistant to the President Walt Rostow, and White House Press Secretary George Christian. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) According to Rostow’s notes of the meeting, they agreed that Ambassador to France Charles E. Bohlen and Ambassador to the United Kingdom David K.E. Bruce should ask the French and British Governments what they were prepared to do concerning the Middle East situation, with a view to reviving “as much of the tripartite as we can.” Rostow’s notes continue: “President wants to make sure Arabs know what our declarations are.” The agenda for the meeting had listed U.S. contingency plans among the items for discussion under “Middle East,” but Rostow’s notes state, “Wasn’t much discussion about contingency plan.” The bulk of the discussion concerned Vietnam. (Notes of meeting with the President, May 19, and agenda for meeting; ibid., National Security File, Rostow Files, Meetings with the President, January–June, 1967) A May 1966 paper entitled “Politico-Military Contingency Planning for the Arab-Israeli Dispute” was sent to Rostow on May 19 with a covering memorandum from Art McCafferty. The paper stated that it was unlikely that U.S. forces would be committed to combat participation in Arab-Israeli hostilities but that they might have essential roles to fill defending U.S. interests, protecting U.S. nationals, discouraging Soviet intervention, and possibly providing logistics support for UN military operations. (Ibid., Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. I)