335. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

5985. Hussein Approach on GA Res.

During dinner which he was hosting for departing Japan Amb Matsui, Goldberg received call from Bundy indicating King Hussein wished consult US urgently on non-aligned res calling for withdrawal Israeli forces. Since he could not leave, Goldberg sent Buffum to Waldorf who was received immediately by King accompanied only by Chief Protocol Rafai.

King said he had been meeting during evening with other Arab leaders. Based on these discussions, he said he was greatly concerned that if non-aligned res fails, this would play into hands of extremists. Conclusion that would be drawn, he argued, would be that UN offers no hope for Arab case and that there would be strong tendency to look outside UN for solution, giving Communists ready-made opportunity to exploit. He said he knew we were working against this res, that its chances of adoption were narrow and hoped we could find way to modify our position so that it would be permitted to pass.

Rafai sought to maintain that since res contained para calling for ultimate SC consideration of other aspects of problem this should help meet our concern about issues related to withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Buffum said he wished to inform King frankly that we were in fact solidly opposed to non-aligned res since it was unrealistic and would not be implemented by Israel. In our view, withdrawal issue, which is important principle that we support, is intimately related to another equally fundamental issue, namely, termination of belligerence. US did not consider it reasonable to expect a state which commanded a militarily superior position in wartime would abandon that position while its opponents continued to say that the war goes on. Pronouncements by certain Arab leaders that Israel has no right to exist and that they are intent on Israel’s destruction makes it obviously impossible for Israel to withdraw.

At same time, Buffum said we recognized Arab states can probably not issue formal renunciation of state of belligerency, nor would they be [Page 593] likely to sit down in the same room and negotiate with Israelis. Judging from many general debate statements, large number of delegations shared this view. It seemed to us that a practical way to get at the problem would be to have the UN despatch a special emissary to the area and seek to work out agreed arrangements with the states concerned which would result in withdrawal of Israeli forces. Buffum indicated that number of UN dels, according to our information, were developing a third party res which would reflect the foregoing concept.

King did not demur at any of these points. He said that he recognized Israel would not withdraw troops immediately upon adoption of non-aligned res, but he felt that once this principle established private arrangements could be worked out satisfying Israel’s security requirements permitting it to withdraw.

Buffum responded that we did not read situation this way; that we considered equitable approach would be to mention both withdrawal and termination of belligerence and let UN rep proceed to work out the details.

Hussein then suggested we submit our ideas as amendments to non-aligned res. Buffum replied that we had already made these same points in previous discussions with some of sponsors, particularly Indians, and they had not been accepted. It was clear to us, he said, that necessary 2/3rds vote to secure adoption of amendments could not be obtained over Arab objections. Accordingly, Buffum suggested, if King considered these points legitimate, most effective way they could be incorporated would be for Jordan to propose them to its Arab colleagues privately. Buffum said Arabs had come to look on our approach as pro-Israel and that Jordan itself obviously in far better position to advance these ideas if it really interested.

Hussein acknowledged this was true and said he would be in touch with his Arab colleagues to see if revision of res could be obtained to meet our views. He asked that we use our influence not to have other texts introduced tomorrow until we had consulted with Jordanian del first. Buffum agreed. King expressed appreciation for consultation.

Late evening, Rafai called Buffum to say first contacts already undertaken with other Arabs and looked promising. He said King was determined to use his newly-won status in Arab world for constructive purposes. He felt, based on first discussions, that revised text would go in which included provision for UN rep and which would make “appropriated references” to UN Charter. Buffum said that exact language would be determining factor and that we attached great importance to equating termination of belligerency with withdrawal of forces. Buffum added that if Jordan desired our affirmative vote it would provide us text before it is tabled and not present us with fait accompli as [Page 594] non-aligned mbrs had done. Rafai said this could be worked out with Jordanian del tomorrow and expressed hope that at least text would be improved substantially enough so that we would no longer have to oppose it, even though we might decide to abstain.

Rafai asked that we not reveal tomorrow morning that we had advance indication what changes were being considered in non-aligned text.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Received at 12:17 a.m. Passed to the White House at 1:05 a.m. Rostow sent the text to the President in CAP 67610, June 30, noting that Hussein was trying to reconcile the simple withdrawal resolution with non-belligerence. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 32)