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

CAP 67478. At a meeting early this morning with Secretaries Rusk and McNamara they agreed to recommend to you that we dispatch the carrier Intrepid through the Suez Canal.

As you know, it is slated to take up a position off Viet Nam.

Bob McNamara would feel more comfortable if it were on the other side of the Canal if needed in connection with a crisis at the Gulf of Aqaba. Both Secretaries believe it would be useful to test the Egyptians on the transit of a U.S. warship very soon. They do not expect Nasser to refuse transit.

Whether the Intrepid stayed in the Red Sea (or Indian Ocean) or proceeded to Viet Nam could be decided after it had transited to Canal and in the light of the situation at that time.

Dispatch Intrepid through Canal2

Hold in Mediterranean

Discuss before decision

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. II. Secret. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 11:04 a.m.
  2. None of the options is checked. A handwritten note of May 29 on the telegram in Jim Jones’ handwriting reads: “If everybody agreeable—go on with it. Pres. told Walt.” JCS telegram 6600, May 29, instructed USCINCEUR to direct the Intrepid to proceed to Southeast Asia via the Suez Canal. (Ibid., NSC Histories, Middle East Crisis)