471. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1
At breakfast this morning, Sect. Rusk and Arthur Goldberg agreed that we should shift off our present position on to a draft like the attached.2 This draft, while stating certain broad principles would, [Page 900] operationally, take the issue of negotiations out of the hands of the U.S. and USSR and put it in the hands of a mediator. There is quiet agreement that the mediator would be Ambassador Jarring, now Swedish Ambassador to Moscow.
The reasons are the following:
- The Soviet Union has been trying to achieve an interpretation of our earlier Joint Resolution which would lean heavily favorable to the Arabs, unfavorable to Israel; that is, it would lean heavily on troop withdrawals and will have everything else fuzzy.
- Arthur, on the other hand, has been trying to get everything so clear beforehand that in fact it would pretty nearly constitute a settlement.
- In the face of this situation, Sect. Rusk and Arthur want to put in the attached new resolution which calls for no act at the beginning; reiterates your 5 points; contains basic language incorporating Arab as well as Israeli principles; but throws the work into the hands of a mediator.
- The resolution would be introduced not by the U.S. but by some other party; perhaps the Finns and Swedes would float it, or the British.
- Arthur would have the task of talking with the Russians about this and explaining that this resolution, in effect, is a way of doing what they have urged; namely, to have a resolution which each party could, for the time being, interpret in his own way until they became gripped of a negotiating process via an intermediary.
- Your 5 principles are put into this draft because Riad, the Egyptian, has said that they “have no objection” to your 5 principles. We think the Israelis will buy this; and it may be that the Arabs will also, because they have been saying that the U.S. position has been hardening;” but we shall see.
My own feeling is that if we were to pursue the US/USSR resolution on Arthur’s track of making it explicit, this could only be done if the US/USSR were, in fact, the mediators in this crisis, getting into all details, and especially into the sequence of negotiation of the various issues in the Middle East. It may be the part of wisdom to get the U.S. and USSR out of that position, working on the flanks of a mediator, if we can get a consensus on this procedure.
With respect to detail, it is unlikely that the “arms race” phrase will survive; and the paragraph on the second page beginning with “affirming” may be either modified, or go.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 7. Secret. The handwritten notation “For 11 a.m. meeting” appears at the top of the page. The President met from 11:05 to 11:32 a.m. on October 13 with Bundy, Rusk, Goldberg, Rostow, Battle, Sisco, and Pedersen to discuss a possible draft resolution on the Middle East. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) No record of the meeting has been found.↩
- In addition to the attached draft resolution, an unsigned, undated memorandum from Rusk to the President is also attached. It recommended that he authorize Goldberg to initiate consultations with the United Kingdom and with other delegations on the basis of the draft resolution.↩