57. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

102228. For the Ambassador. Request you seek early appointment with Kosygin to make following statement: (If Kosygin not available within next day or so, you should see Gromyko and ask him to transmit to Kosygin soonest.)

Begin Text. [Here follows the portion of President Johnson’s message to Chairman Kosygin dealing with the proposed non-proliferation treaty.]

On the question of arms to the Middle East, the Chairman will have received by now Ambassador Dobrynin’s report of his conversation with Secretary Rusk on January 9. This matter, too, is urgent and the President has asked me to stress his deep concern at the impact that continued arms traffic may have on the Middle East situation. We know from past experience that resort to arms is an ever-present danger in the Middle East. Not only does such action not resolve the problem, but it poses the danger of the spread of war beyond the confines of the area. The President has watched with growing concern the extensive delivery of arms to the area from the Soviet Union. The United States is under considerable pressure, as a consequence, to take matching action. Despite this pressure, my Government has exercised great [Page 122] restraint, most recently in its agreement to provide Israel with only limited numbers of aircraft, without new models, and only in continuation of our agreement with Israel of 1966. By agreeing only to this limited extension of the 1966 agreement and by deferring decision on the introduction of new advanced aircraft into the area, we have exercised restraint and it is the President’s earnest hope that this will be reciprocated by the Soviet Government. In this way our two governments could assist Ambassador Jarring in carrying out his vital mission and thus make a substantial contribution to prospects for a just and peaceful settlement in the Middle East. End Text.

For Ambassador Bruce: You should bring this message to the attention of Prime Minister Wilson prior his departure for Moscow.

Rusk
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 57, 1/16-24/68. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted in EUR/SOV by Malcolm Toon and in S/S by Walsh; cleared by Battle, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs John Leddy, Rusk, Secretary McNamara, and Bromley Smith at the White House. Repeated to London.