223. Circular Telegram to All Posts1

209525. Subject: Middle East Sitrep as of June 7 [8].

Day marked by heavy fighting in Sinai, where by-passed Egyptian units attempted to fight way back to west side of Suez Canal. During course of day, Israelis claim to have closed off all possibility escape of Egyptian units except on foot. Also stated they intend stop few miles short of Canal in order avoid getting entangled in Canal’s [Page 380] problems. By end of day UAR Government notified SYG Thant it accepts cease-fire provided Israel does too. (Israel has already signified it would.) We have unconfirmed report from some Washington Embassy sources that Canal has been open today to shipping of various nations, though not US or UK.
Artillery and air bombardment of Syrian positions on heights overlooking Israeli border settlements commenced today. Syrians have been pounding Israeli settlements steadily since June 5, having reportedly leveled some of them, although settlers protected by shelters. Action expected to continue through night into tomorrow. Syrians have so far refused accept cease-fire.
Jordanian front fairly quiet. Israelis have not penetrated in any force east of Jordan River and have stated intention keep to West Bank. They may have bombed Mafraq airfield to prevent its further use by Iraqi planes. Jordan Government puts number of refugees streaming out of West Bank to outskirts Amman at 20–30,000.
U.S. Navy technical research vessel Liberty attacked by Israeli torpedo boats and aircraft today. Israelis immediately apologized for error to Embassy Tel Aviv. Secretary called in Israeli Ambassador Washington to protest in very strong terms, while also expressing appreciation for quick Israeli notification. Latest count dead at 10, with 50 or 60 injured. Crippled ship limping away under Sixth Fleet air escort.
In surprise propaganda coup, Israeli radio reportedly has been broadcasting what it describes as taped radiophone conversation between Nasser and Hussein June 6 which clearly indicates they fabricated story that US and UK aircraft assisting Israelis.
Tunisians have informed us they do not intend to break relations. Nor will they send any military assistance to Nasser if war does not drag on much longer. Sudan has interpreted its break of diplomatic relations not to include consular, commercial, economic, or cultural relations.
At UN this afternoon, US and Soviet resolutions introduced. US resolution calls for cease-fire to be put into effect by all parties, after which discussions to begin promptly among the parties concerned, using third party or UN assistance if they wish, looking toward establishment of viable arrangements on withdrawal of armed personnel, renunciation of force regardless of its nature, maintenance of vital international rights, and establishment of stable and durable peace in ME.2 Soviet resolution seeks to condemn Israel as aggressor and [Page 381] demands Israeli withdrawal behind Armistice Lines.3 Security Council recessed for day without vote on either resolution.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Lambrakis, cleared by Officer in Charge of UN Political Affairs Betty-Jane Jones and William D. Wolle (NEA/IAI), and approved by Davies.
  2. UN document S/7952; the text of the resolution as subsequently revised is printed in Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1967, pp. 948–949.
  3. UN document S/7951.