362. Memorandum From the President’s Special Consultant (Bundy) to President Johnson 1


  • Revised agenda for Special Committee, 12:15, Cabinet Room

Since we drafted our first agenda yesterday, the situation has changed on a number of points and there is really only one matter which needs immediate decision—it is our voting posture in the General Assembly on Jerusalem. The Secretary of State’s position has just been stated in a memorandum to you which was sent up to you a little while ago by Walt Rostow, and I attach a copy at Tab A.2 Unless things change in some unexpected way, I think there will be general support for his recommendation of an abstention with a fairly strong statement in explanation.

Unfortunately the statement itself will pose tough problems. I drafted a possible statement yesterday at the Secretary’s request, and he found it a bit strong. I am now trying a softer version for size on people who know how Israel and her friends may react. I am not optimistic at the moment that we can find language which suits the Arabs and does not outrage the Israelis, but I am still trying.

The only other action item for today is one on which a confirmation of your view would be helpful. There are diplomatic grumblings which suggest that one or two of the less violent states which have broken relations (such as the Sudan) might want to re-establish relations if we on our part would re-establish some of the previously existing economic aid programs.3 While this would not be a good bargain with Egypt or Syria, it would make sense with their more marginal allies, and my hope is that you may authorize the Department to tell its diplomats that states like the Sudan which come back into sensible relations with us will find us back in sensible relations with them.

The most important Middle Eastern item at the moment, of course, is Hussein’s feeler, but I do not suggest that it be discussed in the Special Committee. I hold to the view I suggested to you last night, namely that we should undertake to pass communications back and [Page 654] forth but should not appoint ourselves as umpires. If we are in the main line of communications, we can judge for ourselves when the moment is right to press one side or another for a concession. Meanwhile, we can and should be asking ourselves how much of an economic blessing we could give, or get the World Bank to give, to a real settlement. This may be of great importance to both sides as they look at the detailed future of the Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. VIII. No classification marking. Sent through Walt Rostow.
  2. Rusk’s July 13 memorandum to the President, with Rostow’s covering memorandum, is not attached but is filed ibid. A draft statement on Jerusalem and a brief agenda for the Special Committee meeting are attached to Bundy’s memorandum.
  3. “OK” is written in the margin in an unidentified handwriting.