70. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1

Mr. President:

Herewith our Military Attachés in Tel Aviv state their belief that “Israel is approaching a decision in favor of a preemptive attack”; and they explain why.2

[2–1/2 lines of source text not declassified]3

One underlying problem is, of course, that the Israelis feel that the longer a confrontation over Aqaba is avoided—and the issue is kicked around in the UN—the more their rights in the Straits will become eroded.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. II. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified].
  2. The attachment conveying this assessment was telegram STRIKE 4553 from CINCSTRIKE, May 26, 0801Z.
  3. [text not declassified]