236. Notes of a Meeting of the Special Committee of the National Security Council1


  • Rusk
  • McNamara
  • Wheeler
  • Katzenbach
  • E.V. Rostow
  • Helms
  • Kitchen
  • Battle
  • Clifford
  • W.W. Rostow
  • McGB
  • Bator
  • Saunders
  • VP in at 6:50

DR: Not proceed now on basis that Nasser is out.2 Khalifa-Wayne Hays-Lodge-Battle

Battle: to phone Lodge; to see Hays

DR: Telegram to Hassan: Cleared.3

Helms: [1 line of source text not declassified] Put if off for several days.

USS Liberty

DR: Senate For. Relats: Put in a bill for damages to USS Liberty.

Senators outraged.

McGB: Respond to offer.

Battle: Israel make offer of damages public. Then we’ll take posture of responding and figure out bill.

Clifford: My concern is that we’re not tough enough. Handle as if Arabs or USSR had done it. Manner egregious. Inconceivable that it was accident. 3 strafing passes, 3 torpedo boats.

Set forth facts.

Punish Israelis responsible.4

DR: Do what is normal.

No repetition.

Battle: action.

“This incomprehensible attack.”

DR: US Naval vessels not visit Saudi ports. Approved.

[Page 399]

Sen. Clark: You have once-in-lifetime to pull out of this situation a disarmament agreement that goes pretty far.

Negotiation: Israelis diminish. Russians back in business5


McGB: We have a subcommittee. Pres. said full steam ahead. Agenda today: arms shipments. Sovs promising resupply.6

McGB proposal: Interim order: We will do everything we can to stop everything to contiguous countries (Leb & Jor) and to those that have broken relations. Look at rest on Monday.

McGB: Stop talking about “the Arab world.” Help them come apart. Say this in appropriate committees. We’re going to start sorting these people out a bit.7

Economic Problems:


How to stop AID, Ex-Im, CCC. To countries that have broken relations.
How to locate.8

Central point. We have legal auth. to stop everything that is not on the high seas. By Monday, be in position to stop.

Alg. $100,0009 on high seas.
UAR $85,000 on high seas.
Saud $1,000,000 on high seas.

Title II & III

II—int’l agencies

III—US agencies, easier to stop.

7 ships 9,600 tons—CRS


8 ships to Alg.

DR: Not consistent with dignity of US.

DR: Backgrounder. Steer questions to participants. US–USSR.10

[Page 400]

Message to Eshkol:

Turk amb—Syrians had come to him.

Call Harman again.

DR: Message from LBJ to Eshkol to be read in UNSC by Amb. Goldberg.11

Pres: “I had a firm commitment from Eshkol & he blew it.

“Now he says he did it all himself.

“That old coot isn’t going to pay any attention to any imperialist pressures.”

A suggested draft letter from the President to Eshkol stressing the importance of immediate compliance with the latest Security Council resolution, which Goldberg had suggested, is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. V.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Minutes and Notes. No classification marking. The President, Vice President, and Senator Joseph S. Clark of Pennsylvania were present from 6:53 to 6:59 p.m. The President returned to the meeting at 7:12 p.m. Except for a brief absence from 7:34 to 7:38 p.m., he was present until 7:53 p.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) The notes are Saunders’ handwritten notes of the meeting. A June 9 memorandum for the record by Bundy, headed “Minutes of NSC Special Committee,” records three decisions by the committee. It states that the committee approved telling King Hassan “that now is not the time for a visit to Washington”, approved acceding to a request by King Faisal that no U.S. naval vessels visit Saudi Arabian ports in the immediate future, and agreed that Helms’ rejection of an offer [text not declassified] was the right response but that the matter might be reconsidered. (Ibid., National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Minutes and Notes)
  2. Nasser announced his resignation in a radio and television address on June 9 but withdrew it the following day after massive demonstrations in Cairo. Battle told Rusk in a telephone conversation at 4:58 p.m. on June 9 that he did not think Nasser was “out of the scene” yet. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls) For text of Nasser’s June 9 speech, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 520–523.
  3. In telegram 209982 to Rabat, June 9, Rusk instructed Ambassador Tasca to tell the King that Rusk and the President appreciated his offer and attached great importance to his advice but doubted that a visit at that time could achieve much of a substantive nature. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Office of the Executive Secretatiat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190, Box 17, Middle East Crisis Material)
  4. Saunders’ marginal notation next to Clifford’s remarks reads: “President subscribed 100%.”
  5. A marginal notation next to Clark’s comments reads, “6:50–6:56.”
  6. A page inserted at this point, between the 2 pages of Saunders’ notes, contains the following note in an unknown hand: “Pres. view that it is not appropriate to treat all the Arab countries [alike?]”.
  7. A marginal notation at this point reads: “Pres. out. 7:30.”
  8. A marginal notation next to Bator’s comments reads: “Pres back.” A note boxed off next to this line reads: “Israel: leaves stuff in pipeline. Not putting anything in.”
  9. A boxed note next to the figures reads: “McGB formula: Moving as fast to stop as banks being open permit.”
  10. A marginal notation at this point reads: “Pres. left at 7:50 p.m.”
  11. This comment by Rusk appears at the top of the second page of Saunders’ notes. In a box just below it is: