232. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1

Mr. President:

After reading the UPI 080A ticker,2 Evron asked to come in. He said that he and Harman were as deeply troubled as you must be and as I [Page 392] clearly was, by what he called “this nonsense.” He said that there were three ways in which it might be turned to some advantage:

  • —as further evidence to the Arabs and Moscow that there was no collusion between the U.S. and Israel; and
  • —as the occasion for the Israeli Embassy and Government to work even harder on the Jewish community here to explain that President Johnson’s policy has been correct and fundamentally helpful to Israel. He said that Finance Minister Sapir has been working on the West coast to this end.

Following your instructions, I was passive and simply reiterated your concern—which I had expressed yesterday—that there was great danger in Israel overplaying its hand, talking too much, and permitting the emotions of victory in the field to prevent them from doing what was wise for their own long-term interests.

He said that he had persuaded Eban to go back and go to work on planning the future settlement, including refugees, rather than stay in New York and enjoy the glory of the television cameras.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. V. Confidential. A copy was sent to McGeorge Bundy. A handwritten notation on the memorandum states that it was received at 1:30 p.m., and a handwritten “L” indicates the President saw it.
  2. Presumably the ticker described in telegram 209662 to Tel Aviv, June 9, which states that a UPI ticker was reporting that Eshkol had made a series of highly disparaging remarks on the U.S. Government attitude before the outbreak of the war. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR)