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


  • Fowler
  • McNamara
  • Katzenbach
  • Vance
  • Wheeler
  • Helms
  • Llewelyn Thompson, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow
  • Eugene Rostow
  • Sisco
  • Clifford
  • W.W. Rostow
  • McG. Bundy
  • Harold Saunders

The President joined the meeting about 7:35 p.m.

George Christian came in at 7:40 p.m.

1. Israeli reply on Liberty.

  • Consensus: reaction sour. “Terrible note.”
  • —Release our note? Can’t decide until facts known.
  • —Consensus: Publishing exchange wouldn’t do any good. Release summary, if needed. Get Israelis to recall it.
  • —Dept. to provide draft summary statement on the facts to date.

2. Sisco’s summary of UN situation.2

USSR going to pull out all stops to develop UNGA as a propaganda forum.

  • —Add to agenda of special GA now in session, or
  • —New special session.
[Page 445]

We can’t prevent.

  • —Tradition of not opposing.
  • —General doubt on who fired first shot. USSR cld. get majority.
  • UNGA much less manageable for us.
  • —One alternative: USSR will probably try to get simple condemnation of Israel. Last time: 1951 when we got Chicoms condemned.
  • —Other possibility: drop “aggression” in favor of “withdrawal behind ADL, Gulf open, return to GAA’s.” We’d be in small minority.

McGB: More turnaround time? To sort ourselves out.


  • 23 May—the three problems
  • 5 June—move to new beginning
  • UNSC resolution—not attempt withdrawal until condition of peace, end of belligerence.

McGB: This may get us through this week, but we still don’t know our position.

Sisco: Does slow down UNSC.

Katz: We need a position that goes beyond UNSC. Political problems in Israel.

Fowler: Have we mentioned requirement for general acceptance of state of Israel?

McGB: We’ve backgrounded but have never made major policy point.

Sisco: UNGA has a corridor function. Might call FM’s.

WWR: How Hussein thinks he can settle his problems? USSR trying to keep Arabs together, prevent [sentence not completed].

3. Telegram to Eban .3

Should we pin them down formally at all?

  • —Shouldn’t we find out elements of thinking in GOI. (Clifford).
  • —EVR: part of process of approaching Russians. Is timetable overtaken if Gromyko coming to NY.
  • —Danger of freezing positions.


Meanwhile asking Barbour.

[Page 446]

President: “Purpose can be accomplished in another way without setting their feet in concrete.”4

Send this telegram to Barbour; ask him to do the job.

4. Arms 5


Pr: Dane?6

British: not optimistic, wldn’t join. Doubt UN registry wld have much effect.

Pres: Check with USSR. Why don’t we both agree? Dane.

—Went back to Eshkol’s statement that Israel stood alone. Noted USSR wld. soon get fed up with Israel’s braggadocio.

—Israelis are mobilizing sentiment against our protest.


Immediate shipments

  • —General
  • MIG airplanes
  • CIA: pace routine but not enough to change military knowledge.

If move on Dane, follow-up note to USSR.

5. Relief: 7

Let’s hold up

President wished USG didn’t have to do it.

6. Regional Planning.

  • —Fowler: reviewed history of development banks in ME
  • —We will proceed that way.

7. Contingency public statement on aid policy.

Hold over.

[Page 447]

8. Tourist ban

—Israel: pressure to let people go.

9. One other diplomatic move:

find out what King Hussein wants.

—Israelis (Jews) are really bitter toward him.

Pres. agreed.

Pr. When do we have to stand up and be counted in UN?

“Real question is whether ëterritorial integrity’ of all states”

10. President returned to our position: How do we get out of this predicament.

McN: We’re in a heck of a jam on territorial integrity.8

McGB: Eshkol on a spot.


For Isr on belligerence.
Isr has to give territory.

Clifford: We have to face up to our past statements.

Pr: Summarize as black a picture as we can of Sov. shipments. Tell Israelis, “It wasn’t Dayan that kept Kosygin out.”

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Minutes and Notes. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room of the White House. The notes are Saunders’ handwritten notes of the meeting. Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs Raymond L. Garthoff and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs-Designate Paul Warnke were also present. The meeting ended at 8:52 p.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) Rostow’s agenda for the meeting is ibid., National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. V. See also Document 270.
  2. A paper entitled “Developments at the United Nations Over the Next Week or Two,” drafted by Sisco on June 12, is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Special Committee Meetings.
  3. A draft telegram to Tel Aviv with a message from Rusk to Eban, with a covering note of June 12, is ibid.
  4. A marginal note at this point indicates that the President came in at 7:35 p.m.
  5. A June 12 memorandum from the Control Group to Rusk and Bundy on the subject “Restraints on Arms Shipments to Israel and the Arab States” recommended “that the US promptly raise with the Soviet Government our conviction that the two countries should seek an understanding on the problem of arms supply to the Arab States and Israel. Such a bilateral approach would supplement other efforts now underway to raise this issue with the Soviets as well as with others in the UN.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Special Committee Meetings)
  6. A reference to Danish representative at the United Nations Hans R. Tabor, who was President of the Security Council in June.
  7. A June 12 memorandum from the Control Group to Rusk and Bundy on the subject “Emergency Relief in the Middle East” is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Special Committee Meetings.
  8. A note written at the side of the page here reads: “Meeker: What has been our position on troop withdrawal in past situations following cease-fire?”