258. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

Mr. President:

These intercepts2—showing some honest ambiguity about the ship after the attack—suggest that there may have been a breakdown of communications on the Israeli side; that is, the tactical base which first received word that the ship was American may not have flashed that information to other air force and naval units.

We shall, of course, analyze this affair further.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, CIA Intelligence Memoranda. Top Secret; Trine.
  2. Attached is a preliminary version of the material discussed in Document 284. Other copies of this material in preliminary and later versions are in the National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, Historical Collection, Series VIII, Crisis Files, Box 16; Naval Security Group Records, NSG Box 896, USS Liberty, Pre 76, Box 1, USS Liberty, 5750/4, Chronological Message File; and Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/NE Files, Job 68–S–626, Box 1, Folder 5, Israeli Air Including Attack on Liberty, and ibid., Folder 8, USS Liberty and Other Naval Activity.