453. Memorandum of Conversation1

NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT’S MEETING WITH

  • Secretary Rusk
  • Secretary McNamara
  • Mr. Rostow
  • CIA Director Helms
  • George Christian

The President called on Secretary Rusk to review the discussions at the United Nations.

Secretary Rusk: While at the United Nations I had sessions with the editorial boards of Newsweek, McGraw-Hill, and the Wall Street Journal. Those meetings were most profitable.

On the Middle East question, Gromyko had no taste for going through the General Assembly again. The provisional draft is still the basis for talks.

There is considerable movement on the Arab side but not enough. Egypt is not close to settling the Suez problem. The Arabs want our views on territory. I told them it was not for the United States to come up with a blueprint made in Washington. I referred them to our five points.

In my opinion we are going to have to wrestle with Israel.

The President told about the New York State poll which shows strong Jewish support.

Secretary Rusk: We still have a good deal of time to work out a formula on the Middle East. It is my feeling that we should put it in the Security Council rather than in the General Assembly. We do not have enough votes to go to Israel and say that this proposal is something that you should accept.

The Turkish Ambassador said something which was very disturbing. He said Moscow sent a message to Egypt that the Arabs should [Page 862]take a very modest stand. And if Israel does not respond to this position, the Soviets say they will give aid to the Arabs going far beyond economic aid.

Some of the members—India for example—said that we should be a mediator. For the moment we are working on the basis of the President’s five points.

[Omitted here is discussion of unrelated matters.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings, October 3, 1967. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Tom Johnson. Filed with a covering memorandum from Johnson to the President. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room at the White House.