346. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas1

CAP 67681. Bob Anderson called to report the following, which I shall be taking up with Mac Bundy and our other Middle Eastern hands.

The intelligence available to the oil companies suggests that the future of Jerusalem may be the critical and truly explosive problem in the Middle East. Arabs regard the Syrian Heights as a Syrian problem; the West Bank as a Jordanian problem; Gaza as an Egyptian problem; but the Old City of Jerusalem is capable of stirring the mobs in the streets to the point where the fate of our most moderate friends in the Middle East will be in jeopardy and the basis laid for a later holy war.
Specifically, they report:
  • —Feisal is worried about his own future on this issue;
  • —The Lebanese Government is similarly worried;
  • —Anti-Americanism is rising due to our abstaining on the Pakistan resolution on Jerusalem.
Bob underlined that no government should rely on private intelligence sources; and we should make up our own mind in this matter. He understands that you made a public statement on the Jerusalem question; but he believes we must do more both to press the Israelis and to clarify our own position.
He also told me that he has come to the conclusion that the European oil problem is going to turn out to be more serious than in 1956–57, due to increased European requirements and the unavailability of Mediterranean oil. (On the latter, however, an item has just come over the ticker saying that Libya will resume shipments to France, Japan, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, that would narrow the major problem down to Britain and Germany.)
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Committee, Whirlwind. Secret. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 4:40 p.m. A handwritten note by Jim Jones on the telegram, July 6 at 5:30 p.m., recorded Johnson’s instruction: “Be sure Anderson gets w/Bundy immediately & see what steps we should be taking.” Another note, July 6, indicates that Jones told Rostow.