375. Notes of Meeting1


  • Secretary Rusk
  • Secretary McNamara
  • Walt Rostow
  • McGeorge Bundy
  • George Christian

The President asked Secretary Rusk and Mr. Rostow if an agreement had been made on the Unger announcement.2 They replied affirmatively. The President gave the announcement to George Christian for release to the press on Wednesday.

McGeorge Bundy presented a document to the group on “U.S. and Jordan-Israel Settlement.”3 The document was discussed.

Secretary Rusk said he did not know if the U.S. wanted to be a secret mediator. He suggested somebody else, Sweden or Switzerland, would be more appropriate in getting the parties to a “meeting of the minds.”

The President said he would be receptive to finding somebody to put it together before “we can’t put it together again.” The President said he thinks the U.S. should do it. The President said if you can get somebody to front for you that is well and good.

McGeorge Bundy said he agreed with the President. He emphasized the urgent need to “get at it with the Israelis.”

The President said he felt we were going to be in a war out there before we know it. Secretary Rusk said he agreed with that.

The President said, “The clock is ticking. There is no question but what the Arabs have no confidence in us. We can’t sit and let these things go.”

The President said the question before the group is who is the best person to undertake the task as a mediator with the U.S. behind him.

The President said thatJohnson is saying to the Arabs to confiscate all of the holdings in their area and that they (France) will come in [Page 686] and help. The President said that report came to him from Robert Anderson on Monday night.

The President said it did not appear the Arabs were willing to sit down and talk. McGeorge Bundy said that King Hussein is prepared to do that, and that his position is unique in that regard.

The President wanted to know who the nominee of the group was to undertake this role as mediator. Bundy recommended the U.S. because “Israel will not listen to anybody else except us.” The President asked about Prime Minister Pearson of Canada and Prime Minister Wilson of Great Britain. The President said he wished that we could find something for Wilson to do. Walt Rostow said that Oliver Franks could do it.

The President said that he agreed that we must act quickly. The issue now is who will coordinate all of this. Bundy said that the group would meet together and come back with a scenario for the President on how to proceed. The President asked Secretary McNamara and Secretary Rusk to “watch this very carefully.”

On the matter of armed shipments to the Middle East countries, Secretary Rusk [said] that there was going to be a very tough time on this issue with the Congress.

The President said, “We must tell them (the Congress) that we will be out of business in that area if we don’t make a sale.” The $6 million of economic aid was approved. The $1.8 million in non-lethal aid was approved.

[Omitted here is discussion of unrelated subjects.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings, Box 1. The document bears no classification marking but is marked Literally Eyes Only. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
  2. Leonard Unger’s appointment as Ambassador to Thailand was announced on July 19.
  3. Document 374.