535. Letter From President Johnson to Premier Kosygin 1

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I have studied your message on the Middle East which Ambassador Dobrynin handed to Secretary Rusk this afternoon. I wish to comment immediately upon one point in your message because of its bearing upon the situation in the Security Council tomorrow.

Our delegation at the United Nations has, on instruction from me, tried to find a Security Council resolution with which both sides in the Middle East could cooperate. We attach great importance to this point since both you and we have learned that peace in the Middle East can not be imposed from the outside. We think it most unlikely that there could be a resolution which both sides would approve enthusiastically. But we have felt that it ought to be possible to draft a resolution which both sides could find tolerable. It was this purpose which lay behind the United States draft.

The United Kingdom Delegation has, however, made an additional effort and has combined several elements of various resolutions in an attempt to find a result which would enlist the cooperation of both sides. The UK draft could, we understand, obtain this cooperation. Under the circumstances, therefore, we hope very much that you can support the United Kingdom resolution in order that a UN Representative can begin the peacemaking process promptly. In our view, further delay would be highly undesirable and would prejudice chances for the peaceful solution which you and I desire.

The draft resolution which was appended to your message could not obtain the necessary cooperation of the parties. This present reply does not enter into various points raised in your message. Because of the urgency of time I am sending this immediate response to solicit your support of the United Kingdom draft. It would be our intention to use our influence in the capitals concerned to support the efforts of a United Nations Representative to find a peaceful solution in the Middle East. I am encouraged to believe that your and our views as to the general nature of that peaceful solution are not far apart.

Sincerely yours,2

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence File, USSR, Kosygin Correspondence, Vol. I. No classification marking. The text was transmitted in telegram 71850 to Moscow, November 20. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR/UN)
  2. Printed from an unsigned copy.