132. Action Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1

Mr. President:

Recognizing that the approach to Eshkol in the letter previously submitted to you2 was too general, Nick, Gene, and Luke Battle have produced a formulation which comes to bear much more precisely on an urgent operational question. The language which Eban said he could accept when Jarring gave it to him on March 10 if Hussein had accepted, is at Tab A.3

The variation desired by Hussein to make it easier for him with Nasser involves the substitution for the bracketed passage (Tab A) of the phrase “their readiness to implement it.” The Jordanians indicate they would try to go with the Jarring text even if the Israelis do not accept the phrase. Goldberg suggests it as an additional phrase. Goldberg and State believe in any case that the provision in the next sentence [Page 261] of the phrase “promoting agreement in achieving such a settlement” covers the Israeli position.

In any case, this draft merely urges Eshkol to “consider” this variation of language. The reasons your intervention at this point is regarded as critical are twofold:

  • —there is an honest judgment that if we fail on this round-now that Hussein has indicated that he is prepared to accept the Jarring March 10 formulation—the Jarring mission will fail and we face a very bleak prospect;
  • —the conviction that Eshkol simply will not move unless you personally take a position. He has ignored one intervention after another by Goldberg and the Secretary of State.

I have read the critical passage to Abe Fortas, who now thinks that your intervention might make sense since it is sharply focused on a particular question.


Letter cleared4


Call me

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 70, 4/1-5/68. Secret.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 131.
  3. Not printed. The key passage in the formula passed by Jarring to Eban on March 10, which is bracketed for emphasis in Tab A, indicates that in order to achieve a settlement the contending parties “intend to devise arrangements under my auspices for the implementation of the provisions of the resolution.”
  4. The President checked this option.