364. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

218. Ref: State 6581.2

Eban accompanied by Rafael informed Goldberg, accompanied by Sisco and Buffum, of Israel’s response to Secretary’s message. Eban said Israel’s response is positive and he wished us to know that Israel is prepared to enter into discussions with Jordanians at convenient time and place.

Eban said in their judgment Secy’s description of situation is more “enthusiastic” than Israeli. In this connection he recalled Hussein has made similar statements to other Western leaders (UK and Italy). Nevertheless he attached considerable importance that Hussein’s desire to make contact with Israel has been conveyed to US. Eban said question is whether this is genuine utterance on part of Hussein and whether in fact it will result in contact. Israel reserves its position on what may be true significance of Hussein’s private message. Eban said he assumed US would convey to Jordanians Israel’s positive reply and its willingness to enter into discussions at appropriate time and place, This was in form of quick oral reply on Israel’s part and Eban presumed there would be written reply forthcoming to US.

Eban then turned to question of immediate situation confronting us in GA on Jerusalem res. Since this matter was raised in Secy’s message to him, Eban said he wished to convey Prime Minister Eshkol’s plea and hope that US would not change its vote on Jerusalem question. Prime Minister feels US in position to play important mediatory role and he fears if we should vote for Pakistan res, Hussein would interpret this as identifying US with his position. Eban said he would hope that we would not abandon position of neutrality we had adopted.

Remainder of discussion devoted to statement Eban expects to make in GA hall on Jerusalem this afternoon. We are expecting text momentarily but statement will say that present situation in ME and all of questions relating to it are provisional until they are ratified by agreement. Eban will say that Israel is willing to examine alternative proposals. He will add specifically that administrative measures taken do not prejudice Israel’s intention to work towards solution in keeping with [Page 658] spiritual and universal interests. He will say that Moslem Holy Places should be in hands of traditional Moslem authorities near and far. Goldberg suggested that in place where Eban refers to administrative measures Eban should consider adding phrase “which are not of a constitutional nature” and thereby get closer to saying that what has been done does not constitute annexation. In addition Goldberg suggested where reference is made to spiritual interests that phrase “and other appropriate” be added so as to get at political and territorial aspects that are involved. Goldberg asked Eban whether he could say specifically that administrative measures taken in Jerusalem are interim or provisional. Eban’s response was that if he did this in such specific terms, “government in Tel Aviv would become interim.”

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Sandstorm/Whirlwind. Top Secret; Flash; Nodis; Sandstorm. Repeated Flash to Tel Aviv. Received at 3:44 p.m.
  2. Document 360.