81. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

5493. Goldberg-Eban Conversation May 26. Reference: State 203796;2 USUN 5492.3 Fol is uncleared summary main points from Goldberg conversation with Israeli FonMin Eban late May 26:

Eban had received encouragement from talk with President, noting goodwill toward Israel shown by President.
He stressed GOI desire avoid war
He said that if GOI had commitment to timetable or scenario on establishing innocent passage of Straits of Tiran within a few weeks, it could live with it. Main problem was that precise agreed sequence events lacking.
Eban observed that Israeli military not spoiling for fight.
He stressed that principle of free passage could not be abandoned since this would be surrender. While he recognized difference between proposal SYG believed to have made in Cairo and proposal he made today (USUN 5492)4 for two week moratorium on GOI flagship move and UAR moratorium on stopping other ships, he said GOI could not explicitly accept conditions on right innocent passage its ships. Noted that Liberian tanker headed for Elath now near Straits but no Israeli flagship due for some time.
Expressed gratification for undertakings in last para ref Deptel.5
In response Eban questions, Goldberg refrained from interpreting key passage President’s statement6 (ref Deptel) which he said spoke for itself.
While Eban could not predict GOI reaction to it, Goldberg strongly reminded him of necessity further consultation before any die cast and Eban recognized such necessity.
Eban observedJohnson had only pronounced lofty phrases signifying nothing about what French would do about Straits. French however giving GOI for first time all military equipment they asked for and were not pressing on money aspect. Goldberg informed Eban about Seydoux statement that France would not support SC res on innocent passage because wished avoid any commitment take action to uphold it.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated to Tel Aviv Immediate, and to London and the White House. Received at 4:08 a.m.
  2. Telegram 203796 to Tel Aviv, repeated to USUN, May 27, summarized the meetings with Eban, including his meeting with the President. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 5492 from USUN, May 27, transmitted the text of a memorandum from Eban on the 1957 U.S. “commitment on free passage in the Straits of Tiran.” (Ibid.)
  4. The citation is incorrect. Telegram 5494 from USUN, May 27, transmitted the portion of the text of the Secretary General’s May 26 report to the Security Council that concerned his talks in Cairo, assessment of the situation, and possible courses of action. The report is cited in footnote 6, Document 72.
  5. The last paragraph of telegram 203796 to Tel Aviv reads: “Israelis agreed to cooperate in improving intelligence cooperation, and we undertook to look into possible liaison arrangements through DOD.”
  6. Telegram 203796 quotes a slightly revised version of Document 74, with one sentence added at the end of the first paragraph: “It is our considered judgment, based upon information from many sources, that an imminent surprise attack is not indicated.”