438. Notes of a National Security Council Meeting1


  • National Security Council Meeting in the Cabinet Room
  • Wednesday, September 13, 1967


  • The Vice President, Secretary McNamara, Under Secretary Katzenbach, General J.P. McConnell, Leonard Marks, Ambassador Goldberg, Under Secretary Paul Nitze, CIA Director Dick Helms, Secretary Henry Fowler, Joe Sisco, Bromley Smith, Walt Rostow and George Christian

The President opened the meeting calling on Under Secretary Katzenbach.

Katzenbach pointed out that Secretary Rusk will be going to the United Nations for the usual meetings of Foreign Ministers. He said these are very helpful and useful to have these bilateral discussions, although it is very wearing on Mr. Rusk. Katzenbach said that the [Page 825] Africans are better than they used to be. They held together well, and they are more realistic than they used to be. Katzenbach said the President’s announcement of the U.N. Delegation with new and different people is very helpful politically both to the United Nations and to this Administration domestically. Katzenbach said that Joe Sisco briefed the NATO people on the Middle East and this was helpful, but he is not sure that they will stay considering the pressure the NATO countries are under. On Vietnam, Katzenbach said Goldberg has been having discussions with the U.N. delegates.

The President said he appreciated what Katzenbach said about the United Nations delegation. The President then called on Goldberg for discussion of the major issues facing the United Nations General Assembly.

Goldberg said there are about 100 items on the General Assembly agenda, many of these are repetitious. The principal issues listed by Goldberg were Middle East, Vietnam, non-proliferation, Chinese representation, oceanography and African problems.

Goldberg began with the Middle East saying that there are some signs of moderation in the Arab camp, and some signs of hardening in the Israeli camp. He said this presents a problem for us. Israel has serious internal problems and it is difficult for any Israeli spokesman to be “sweetly reasonable.” Goldberg pointed out that Israel takes the President’s statement of June 19 and uses those portions it likes and omits those portions it does not like. On the withdrawal issue, they have referred to the President’s statement on June 19. Goldberg said he believes the United States has a sound policy. We don’t charge the Israelis with aggression. Goldberg said it will be more difficult in the next session to hold the line against a resolution in line with our desire for peace in the Middle East. He said he believes Israel feels now that they would have been better to support the Latin proposal we supported which also included a withdrawal provision. They were with us tactically in getting the Latin Resolution voted, but they now say that was merely a tactical support, Goldberg said. Goldberg said the minimum conditions for a sensible peace in the Middle East is a commitment by the Arab states that they are not in a state of war with Israel. If the Arab states do this (and Goldberg pointed out that the Khartoum Conference did not say this) we may have to part with the Israelis on formulation… . Goldberg said the Israelis have not faced up to the demographic problem… .2

[Omitted here is discussion of other subjects.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Meeting Notes File, NSC Meetings. Secret. Prepared by Assistant to the President Jim R. Jones. The President joined the meeting at 12:32 p.m. and departed at 12:58 p.m.; the notes record only that part of the meeting. Notes of the entire meeting by Bromley Smith are ibid., National Security File, NSC Files, NSC Meetings, Vol. V, Tab 57; and by Nathaniel Davis are ibid., Agency File, United Nations, Vol. VIII.
  2. Davis’ notes state, “In conclusion, Goldberg noted that the other side had badly misplayed its cards in the special General Assembly and we could, perhaps still count on the stupidity of our adversaries. The President laughed and said that in other cases as well this sometimes proved an asset indeed.”