199. Notes of Meeting1

NOTES OF THE PRESIDENT’S MEETING WITH TUESDAY LUNCHEON GROUP

THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING WERE

  • The President
  • Under Secretary Katzenbach
  • Secretary Clifford
  • Ambassador Ball
  • CIA Director Helms
  • General Wheeler
  • General Taylor
  • Walt Rostow
  • George Christian
  • Tom Johnson

[Here follows discussion unrelated to the Middle East.]

MIDDLE EAST

The President: George Ball is our Middle East man.

Ambassador Ball: We’re getting in a trap in the Middle East. Jarring will come back with nothing.

The Russians and the UAR will come back into the Security Council asking for sanction.

If we veto, we’re dead in the Middle East. I cannot today give you a proposal.

An American position must be made. It will take intense diplomacy.

Under Secretary Katzenbach: The British want us to take joint initiative.

The President: Aren’t they in a deep internal crisis?

Under Secretary Katzenbach: Yes. To push them may create a crisis in their Cabinet.

Under Secretary Katzenbach: You may want to send Arthur (Ambassador Goldberg) to Tel Aviv.

[Page 389]

The President: Would he go?

Ambassador Ball: He would go.

The President: I am against the trip. Can’t you give Jarring some imaginative innovations?

What about Battle or Sisco?

Ambassador Ball: Battle was Ambassador to the UAR.

Under Secretary Katzenbach: Sisco would be good.

Ambassador Ball: Jarring is a poor guy to work with. He won’t push anybody.

The President: What about Vance?

Under Secretary Katzenbach: He would be fine. Also McGeorge Bundy would be good.2

[Here follows discussion unrelated to the Middle East.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings, June 25, 1968-1:20 p.m.-Tuesday luncheon. Top Secret. Drafted by Tom Johnson.
  2. In his notes on this meeting, Walt Rostow summed up the discussion on the Middle East as “some indecisive talk.” He added: “Will talk about it when Sec. Rusk gets back.” (Ibid., National Security File, Files of Walt W. Rostow, Meetings with the President, May-June 1968)