93. Memorandum From Nathaniel Davis of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1


  • Security Council Resolution on the Near East

You asked me to check that our tactics and resolution in New York are consistent with the Secretary’s message to Gromyko. The Secretary told Gromyko we should favor a Security Council resolution whose effect would be to call a moratorium for at least two weeks on closing the Straits and preserve the position before Nasser announced his policy.

I called Joe Sisco. His reaction was that we are supporting the Danish resolution2 and this furthers the line the Secretary took with Gromyko. I also checked informally with New York and the situation is as follows: The Danish resolution supports paragraph 14 of the Secretary General’s report—calling for a breathing spell, urging all parties to exercise special restraint, to forego belligerence and to avoid all other actions which could increase tension, to allow the Council to seek solutions.

In Ambassador Goldberg’s speech today3 he plans to interpret the resolution as supporting innocent passage and calling on the UAR not to interrupt shipping. We are trying to get other delegates to make the same interpretation. We plan no mention of any time limit such as two weeks.

The issue may hinge on the interpretation more than the resolution itself. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Argentina, Brazil and Japan have all indicated support for the resolution, so the prospects for at least nine votes are good. Whether we can make our interpretation stick is not so sure.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. II. No classification marking. A copy was sent to Saunders. Davis noted at the bottom of the page: “If you think these tactics should be changed, we would have to move fast!”
  2. Telegram 5500 from USUN, May 27, reported on the proposed Danish draft resolution. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR/UN) The resolution was never introduced.
  3. Goldberg urged the Security Council on May 29 to support the Secretary-General’s call for a breathing spell and his appeal for all the parties concerned to exercise restraint and forego belligerence. Goldberg argued that “foregoing belligerence” must mean foregoing any blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba during the breathing spell. For text of his statement, see Department of State Bulletin, June 19, 1967, pp. 920–924.