The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editors are convinced that this volume, which was compiled in 1997–1998, meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of [Page IV] the 5 years (1964–1968) of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in 34 volumes a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson’s administration. This volume documents U.S. policy immediately before, during and after the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XIX

The editor of the volume sought to include documentation illuminating the foreign policymaking process of the U.S. Government, with emphasis on the highest level at which policy on a particular subject was determined. The documents include memoranda and records of discussions that set forth policy issues and show decisions or actions taken. The emphasis is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its execution rather than on the details of policy execution.

Major topics covered in this volume include: 1) the U.S. search for a peaceful solution to the crisis that erupted in the Middle East in May 1967, including efforts to persuade both sides to avoid military action, and attempts after Egypt’s closure of the Strait of Tiran to obtain international action to guarantee the right of passage by ships of all nations through the Gulf of Aqaba; 2) the U.S. desire to avoid involvement in the war that broke out on June 5 and to see it end swiftly, including the halting of military shipments to both sides, U.S. support for UN Security Council resolutions calling for a cease-fire, and U.S. efforts to persuade Israel to comply with the resolutions; 3) the U.S. response to the decision by Egypt and some other Arab states to break off relations with the United States and to Egyptian charges of U.S. involvement in Israel’s air strikes against Egypt; 4) U.S. concern with the possibility of Soviet involvement in the war and the exchange of hot-line messages between President Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin in which Johnson assured Kosygin of the U.S. desire for a swift end to the conflict and requested that the Soviet Union urge restraint on Egypt and Syria; 5) the U.S. response to the June 8 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in international waters; 6) U.S. support for a comprehensive peace settlement in which Israel would exchange the territories it had conquered for recognition and secure borders, including U.S. attempts to persuade Israel against taking steps that might tend toward making its occupation of the occupied territories permanent; 7) the concern of Johnson administration officials with massive Soviet aid to Arab countries after the war and its effect on the military balance in the Middle East; 8) U.S. efforts to bring about a compromise UN Security Council resolution linking withdrawal of Israeli forces with mutual recognition and an end to belligerence, leading to the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 242 on November 22, 1967.

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Lyndon Johnson made the major foreign policy decisions during his presidency, and the editor sought to document his role as far as possible. Although the foreign policy record of the Johnson administration is voluminous, not all internal discussions between Johnson and his advisers were documented. The record of Johnson’s involvement as well as that of Secretary of State Rusk in the policy process often had to be pieced together from a variety of sources.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from this volume because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. [Page VI] This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and, if so, this information has been included in the source footnote.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.

Declassification Review

The Information Response Branch of the Office of Information Resources Management Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 1999 and was completed in 2003, resulted in the decision to withhold 12 documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 12 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 15 documents.

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The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate account of U.S. policy toward the Middle East immediately before, during, and after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, especially Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess, who provided key research assistance. The editor also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of historians at the Central Intelligence Agency, especially Scott Koch, and the assistance of historians at the National Security Agency and the Naval Security Group.

Harriet Dashiell Schwar collected documentation, selected, and edited the volume, under the general supervision of former General Editor David S. Patterson. Gabrielle Mallon prepared the lists of names, sources, and abbreviations. Vicki E. Futscher and Rita M. Baker did the copy and technical editing and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the final declassification review. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

January 2004