89. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson in Texas1

CAP 67467. This Flash has just come in. It looks as though they have decided not to go to war at this time.2

Cabinet meeting which began at 1500 hours local has recessed subject to call if necessary. Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of Knesset now in session. PM Eshkol will address Knesset tomorrow probably in afternoon or early evening.
Bitan of FonOff has just responded my inquiry with above info and has added that, while “problem not yet solved, of course” decisions have been taken “along your line.”3
He busy drafting documents confirming this position which he hopes be able hand me for transmission to Washington in next three hours or so.4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. II. Secret. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 12:14 p.m. A handwritten “L” on the telegram indicates that it was seen by the President.
  2. The remainder of the telegram quotes the text of telegram 3832 from Tel Aviv, May 28. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 ISR)
  3. Barbour reported in telegram 3834 from Tel Aviv, May 28, that the Cabinet decision was “to postpone military action for few weeks in favor of continuing effort to ascertain whether diplomatic activity can solve crisis.” (Ibid., Office of the Executive Secretariat, Middle East Crisis Files, 1967, Entry 5190, Box 6, Arab-Israeli Crisis, Chron, Tel Aviv)
  4. In telegram 3835 from Tel Aviv, May 28, Barbour transmitted the text of draft paragraphs that Prime Minister Eshkol intended to include in his speech to the Knesset. (Ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR) Telegram 204024 to Tel Aviv, May 28, conveyed suggested changes, primarily to eliminate any suggestion of the content of Eban’s conversation with Johnson. (Ibid.) The text of Eshkol’s statement before the Knesset on May 29 is printed in Israel’s Foreign Relations: Selected Documents, 1947–1974 (Jerusalem: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 1976), pp. 774–777.