172. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • UN Security Council Consideration of Jerusalem

The UN Security Council for the past several days has been giving further consideration to the question of Jerusalem; Jordan has been pressing for a Security Council resolution that would call upon Israel to rescind measures which Israel has taken in Jerusalem over the past months which Jordan believes are prejudicial to an ultimate settlement.

Ambassador Goldberg reports that, while he has worked hard in trying to convince Jordan and other Security Council members to avoid further formal action by the Council, it will be necessary for the United States to acquiesce in a resolution if we are not to be almost totally isolated in the Security Council. Both we and Ambassador Goldberg are agreed that a Security Council proposal calling on Israel to rescind past measures would be strongly objected to by Israel and would be totally [Page 338] disregarded. We therefore have taken a strong stand against such a proposition. However, with prospects better that there will be discussions under Ambassador Jarring’s auspices in New York on the question of an over-all settlement, we believe the Council’s work should be directed towards a resolution consistent with our policy and past public pronouncements and one which would not prejudice either side’s position on Jerusalem. Ambassador Goldberg made a strong statement in the Council to which the Israelis reacted favorably, stressing that the Council should not pronounce itself substantively on the Jerusalem issue in such a way as to prejudice an ultimate settlement or prejudge the final and permanent status of Jerusalem. He also stressed that the Jerusalem problem, like other aspects, should be part of the over-all agreement between the parties.

The U.K. has drafted a resolution based on the approach taken by Ambassador Goldberg in this statement, which we believe the U.S. should support.2 Caradon, the U.K. representative, believes it may be necessary to include references to previous General Assembly resolutions and to add some specificity, in particular references to exploitation of land and legislative and administrative actions, in order to achieve agreement in the Council. While we should continue major efforts to avoid such language, we believe we could agree, if necessary, to support an appropriate preambular reference to past General Assembly resolutions as well as more specific language regarding actions in the City. References to past Assembly resolutions would avoid an explicit obligation on the part of Israel to rescind earlier measures as called for in those resolutions. Israel would have preferred no formal Security Council action, and in particular would prefer to avoid reference to the previous Assembly resolutions. While we cannot be categoric, we are inclined to feel the Israelis would not make a major issue of a U.S. vote for such a resolution, however, particularly in light of the fact that we would be totally isolated if we did not do so. We note, for example, that their attitudes regarding the present proceedings in the Security Council have been largely in tactical terms in the context of Goldberg-Tekoah talks. No major demarches have been made here.

Ambassador Goldberg concurs in this memorandum.

Recommendation

That you authorize giving discretion to Ambassador Goldberg to support a resolution along the lines described above.3

Dean Rusk
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret.
  2. This draft is attached but not printed.
  3. President Johnson wrote in the margin next to this paragraph: “OK L.”