261. Summary Notes of the 591st Meeting of the National Security Council1

The 23rd UN General Assembly

The President: The purpose of the meeting of the Council is to review the issues before the current United Nations General Assembly and to discuss our position on these questions. Secretary Rusk will comment in general on the General Assembly meeting and Ambassador Ball will deal with the specific problems.

Secretary Rusk: Suggested that Ambassador Ball lead off and he would comment later.

Ambassador Ball: The session of the General Assembly meeting in New York will probably be the most routine in UN history, barring some unforeseen event. (See copy of State Summary of UNGA issues attached.)2

The following major issues will be raised:

[Here follows discussion unrelated to the Middle East.]

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2. The Middle East

We have the last clear chance for an Arab-Israeli settlement in the next few months.
Ambassador Jarring will be in New York and will be meeting with Arab foreign ministers and the Israeli foreign minister. The work on the Middle East will be done in hotel rooms, not in the United Nations Assembly.
Currently, the Arabs appear to the public to be readier to settle than the Israelis.
There is very small chance for settlement unless we push on the Israelis and the Russians push on the Arabs. Even if this were done, a settlement is doubtful because the two sides are so far apart. This is a sad prognosis.
Unless action comes within the next few weeks, Jarring will be ending a year of activity without results. If he cannot advance toward accomplishing the objectives of the November 22 resolution, he may quit. The problem then becomes even more difficult for us because it will be returned to the UN Security Council. The subject is complicated by the U.S. election.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to the Middle East.]

Bromley Smith
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings File, NSC Meetings, Vol. 5, Tab 13, the 23rd UNGA. Top Secret; Sensitive; For the President Only. Drafted by Bromley Smith. An attached list indicates that among those attending, in addition to the President, were Rusk, Ball, Sisco, Clifford, Nitze, Fowler, Helms, Wheeler, Walt Rostow, and USIA Director Marks.
  2. Not found attached.