341. Telegram From the President’s Special Consultant (Bundy) to President Johnson 1

CAP 67658. For the President from McGeorge Bundy.

We have had a relatively quiet holiday weekend so far and I see nothing that requires your decision in the next few days. Here is where things stand right now:

The General Assembly will probably vote today on the Yugoslav and Latin American resolutions, unless there is a successful compromise effort. We seem to have the votes to prevent a really bad result, and I think both the Department and the New York people are doing a fine job.
There is a tricky specific problem of a separate Pakistani resolution condemning Israel for actions in Jerusalem. We cannot vote for it in its present form, because it assumes that the Israeli measures do affect the international status of Jerusalem whereas our position is that they are merely administrative actions which do not have this effect. Ours is a much more practical way of keeping heat on the Israelis, and it has already produced a considerable withdrawal by Eban. Our record would be badly tangled from a legal point of view [Page 609] if we were to vote for the current Pakistani draft. Yet we would like to have a record of approving some such protest if possible. In this situation we are tying to get the Paks to accept a modification which would be consistent with our own position. Then we could vote for the resolution and make a little money with moderate Arabs. The situation is highly tactical and the decision to vote for the resolution or to abstain will have to be made on the basis of the fine print as the hours roll along. I think the Department is in good control of this one, and there is no difference on the objective.
We continue to look for little things that can give some encouragement to the more reasonable Arabs. In this connection I plan to approve a $2 million budget support grant to Jordan tomorrow. This action is consistent with the language we all used with Hussein and represents a commitment initially made some months ago after the November raid by Israel. It already has your approval as of that time and I believe its release now is consistent with your general directives to us. Nevertheless I inform you of it so that it can be held up if you wish.
We are also reviewing tourist policy, and there will probably be a recommendation for renewal of permission for the Lebanon as soon as we have a chance to check reactions to the General Assembly voting and as soon as the Embassy in Beirut is prepared to share responsibility for making such a recommendation. Newspapers today indicate that Lebanese authorities are admitting our tourists even though their passports are not valid for that country. They want the money. We still do not plan tourist permission for the countries which broke relations.
The most interesting contest on the scene at the moment is not the well-publicized skirmishing near Suez, but the Battle for Libyan oil. The Libyan Government had decided to renew shipments to the European continent, and the labor organization has called a general strike aimed particularly at shipments to West Germany. The result of the tug-of-war will have a great deal to do with the severity of any oil crisis this summer. It is a situation in which we have almost no influence, and in which the quieter we are the less likely we are to rock the boat. As I review the general problem in this holiday period, I am inclined to think this rule applies to the crisis as a whole and underlies your own success in dealing with it.
Finally, I should report that I have had a very good talk with Dean Rusk yesterday about my own future relation to this problem. We are in strong agreement on the right steps and we expect to have a recommendation for you in another couple of days. Our central purpose is to handle this so that you have the necessary machinery [Page 610] on hand at all times—but not so much of it that it gets in its own way.2

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, U.S. Position—Discussion. Secret. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 12:04 p.m. A handwritten note of July 4 by Jim Jones on the telegram indicates that the President approved releasing the $2 million mentioned in paragraph 3, agreed with everything in the message, and wanted to express his gratitude for the job Bundy had done. An attached note indicates that Bundy was notified at 2:20 p.m. July 4.
  2. A July 12 memorandum from Bundy to the Special Committee states that the President had agreed to his request to devote part of his time to the work of the Ford Foundation in New York, that Battle would serve as the Committee’s Deputy Executive Secretary, and that McPherson would be a member of the Committee. (Ibid., Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. VIII) An August 24 memorandum from Bundy to Rusk states that it was understood from recent conversations between them and the President that the Special Committee would remain available if needed and his appointment as Executive Secretary should lapse, but that he would remain available for consultation, and his appointment as Special Consultant should continue. (Ibid., Country File, Middle East, Vol. I)