250. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Israeli Attack on USS Liberty


  • Under Secretary Rostow
  • Ambassador Harman

Ambassador Harman was called in by Under Secretary Rostow2 who made the following points:

(a) USG wants complete explanation of how Israeli attack on USS Liberty occurred. (b) We want complete documentation from GOI re opening of hostilities. (c) USG would appreciate any information either public or private concerning Israeli/Syrian conflict, especially reports from UN observers. Rostow noted reports of UN observers were of critical importance during Korean conflict. Allegations that GOI failed to honor cease-fire agreements having an impact on many governments. These reports linked to politics of problem and would do no harm for GOI to think of White Paper on entire Syrian episode.

In discussion on status of Jerusalem, Harman indicated capture of Jerusalem had been difficult problem for GOI. Israel had deliberately refrained from using air power and as result suffered many casualties. Prime Minister Eshkol called in leaders of various religious communities and told them each group could determine arrangements for safeguarding own holy places.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret. Drafted by Grey on July 4 and approved in M on July 4.
  2. This meeting apparently preceded or followed the meeting between Under Secretary Katzenbach and Ambassador Harman; see Document 249. Rostow also met with Harman that afternoon; see Document 257.