190. Message From Foreign Secretary Stewart to Secretary of State Rusk1

I have asked Pat Dean to deliver this message about the Arab/Israel situation because I am much concerned about the way events may move during the next few weeks both on the ground in the Middle East and also in New York. The very sharp exchange of fire on 4 June across the Jordan and the subsequent call for a Security Council meeting have underlined the ominous dangers which confront us all. I have in mind also that although the 21 May Security Council Resolution on Jerusalem2 did not set a deadline for the Secretary-General to report back to the Council on its implementation, events could easily cause Arab pressure to build up, perhaps very suddenly, for a return to the Council on this issue, particularly as we can presumably rule out any hope of the Israelis doing anything which could even remotely be represented as compliance with the Resolution. All too soon, therefore, we may be confronted with a call for sanctions against Israel, which would involve difficult and dangerous decisions for both our countries. In the circumstances, I attach the greatest importance to our exchanging views with each other and to our trying as far as possible to keep our ideas on how to proceed closely in line. There is the further point that we can expect an approach from Mr. Malik to Lord Caradon following up my agreement to Mr. Gromyko’s suggestion that the Russians and we should keep in touch on the Middle East. To avoid any possibility of these talks being exploited by the Russians adversely to our common interest, it seems highly desirable that we should make sure that we are working broadly on the same lines with you before matters of substance come up in any Anglo-Soviet meetings in New York. Another reason for our getting together soon is that Mr. Jarring indicated to Lord Caradon in a recent talk that he is now thinking in terms of consultation with the permanent members of the Security Council.

In these circumstances, it seems to me that it would be timely for us to exchange views on the Arab/Israel situation at an early opportunity. [Page 373] Our presence together in Reykjavik on 23 June for the NATO meeting might, if you would agree, provide a suitable opportunity for us to do this. If you agree that this would be helpful, I think it would be desirable if senior officials on both sides could go over the ground first, so that the main problems likely to arise during the next phase can be identified and possible ways of handling them can be reviewed as a basis for our own discussion. I should propose to ask Sir Denis Allen to go to Washington to discuss these problems with your people in the State Department and with representatives of our two U.N. Delegations during the latter part of the week beginning 17 June.

I should be grateful if you would let me know what you think about this.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR/UN. Confidential. Transmitted to the Department by British Ambassador Patrick Dean.
  2. On May 21 the UN Security Council considered a letter from the Jordanian Permanent Representative protesting actions by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem in contravention of UN resolutions. Pakistan and Senegal introduced a resolution deploring Israel’s failure to abide by the resolutions relating to Jerusalem, and declaring that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel to change the legal status of Jerusalem were invalid. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 13–0, with the United States and Canada abstaining. (UN doc. S/PV. 1426)
  3. A note attached to this message by Executive Secretary Benjamin Read indicates that Secretary Rusk told Ambassador Dean that he agreed to the proposal for U.S.-British talks on the Middle East.