233. Editorial Note

On June 5, 1967, war broke out between Israel and the United Arab Republic, Syria, and Jordan. At 7:40 a.m. on June 6, Radio Cairo began broadcasting the charge that U.S. aircraft had participated in the Israeli attacks. (Telegram 8565 from Cairo, June 6; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR) The same day, Iraq was the first to announce that the flow of oil to the United States and the United Kingdom was cut off in light of “military assistance to the enemy,” and called on the other Arab oil producers to follow through on their resolutions of the previous day (see Document 232). When the Charge denied the charge, the Iraqis said that the information about U.S.-U.K. intervention had come from the UAR and Syria. The Embassy commented: “In this whole tortured business, this is possibly kind of action President Aref might take to protect oil installations of Iraq. We had been in touch privately with certain government officials earlier who have indicated they powerless deal with allegation of US involvement since all actions on this score clearly coordinated and linked with Cairo.” (Telegram 2099 from Baghdad, June 6; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, PET 17–1 IRAQ)

Aramco officials in Saudi Arabia also urged Oil Minister Yamani to issue a statement stressing Aramco’s cooperation to prevent sabotoge. “Yamani confirmed SAG aware U.S. and British have not been aggressors but must await appropriate time to acknowledge publicly.” (Aramco cable of June 8, transmitted under cover of a memorandum from Saunders to Bundy, June 8; Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, NSC Special Committee Memos—McGeorge Bundy)

Also on June 6, according to oil company sources in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti Government insisted on immediate take-over of shipping communications and was preparing to prevent shipment of oil to the United Kingdom and United States. The oil companies did not, however, expect that their assets would be confiscated. The Kuwaiti Government, the Embassy concluded, would “prefer that we not evacuate.” (Telegram 1262 [Page 424]from Kuwait City, June 6; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, PET 6 KUWAIT) Two days later, the Embassy reported that the “Amir expressed pride in GOK ’cleverness’ in demonstrating its Arabism by prompt and full cooperation. By cutting off oil shipments to US–UK, sabotage had been averted. He hoped oil cut-off would be temporary and have minimum bad effect on Kuwait.” (Telegram 1286 from Kuwait City, June 8; Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Kuwait)

Despite compliance with the embargo, which was announced on June 7, the Libyan Government voiced similar sentiments: “GOL desires operators and experts to stand fast in Libya to reopen production and export when that becomes feasible.” (Telegram 1136 from Tripoli, June 7; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, PET 17–1 LIBYA)

Documentation on U.S. policy with regard to the Arab-Israeli war and the charges of U.S. involvement is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XIX.