8. Information Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

Mr. President:

At my request, our Hal Saunders did these two thoughtful memos on: [Page 18]

  • —the choice of ahead in the Middle East;2
  • —the meaning of Nasser’s Nov. 23 speech.3

My view is: the Arabs are still confused, humiliated, looking for revenge in part of their minds. But they have no long-term plan. Therefore, we must:

  • —struggle for an Arab-Israeli settlement:
  • —then follow through with policies to strengthen moderate Arabs so that, with the passage of time, the attractiveness of economic and social development gradually, slowly overtakes the passion for revenge.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. I, 6/65–3/68. Secret. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates that it was received at 11:55 a.m.
  2. Saunders sent a memorandum on this subject to Rostow on December 5. It was a covering memorandum for his assessment of the meaning of Nasser’s November 23 speech, and essentially summarized that memorandum. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 7.