256. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council Special Committee on the Middle East Crisis (Bundy) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Your conversation with Howard Rambin (Texaco) and Al Nickerson (Mobil) 7:30 PM, July 10

My guess is that these two gentlemen are coming in not to talk about the current oil problem, but to ask for U.S. public statements that they can use with their friends in Saudi Arabia. Texaco at 30% and Mobil at 10% are large partners in the Arabian-American Oil Company. The Saudi Finance Minister, Yamani, is coming to New York next week and my guess is that they would like to be able to show him some U.S. statement or action for which they can claim partial credit.

The fact is that we agree with their analysis in large part and would like to make a statement that would have something in it for the moderate Arabs this week, perhaps at the end of the General Assembly debate. We have been drafting such a statement for several days and I attach at Tab A the latest version.2 What it aims to emphasize are certain points that the Arabs need to hear, about withdrawal, Jerusalem, and our opposition to the unilateral changes of frontiers, all in the context of a re-affirmation of your basic June 19 statement.3 (We have not yet tried this statement on friends of Israel, but I think nearly all of it would go down fairly smoothly.)

In this situation I think you may want to take the lead with these people and not let them think that they can crowd you. You might start by telling them that right from the beginning you have had the moderate Arabs high in your thoughts. Our five principles are in their real interests and in their quiet moments they admit it. Moreover you have talked with the Kuwait Foreign Minister and with King Hussein and with Hassan of Morocco, and with just about anyone that Rostow or Bundy or anyone else forces you to stick on your calendar. You have written letters to Saudi Arabia and Iran.

You seized the first opportunity to make a strong statement on Jerusalem, (they may follow other oil men in telling us that our abstention [Page 462]on the Pakistani resolution was too bad) and you can pre-empt this one too by saying that we did our damnedest to get the moderate Arabs to accept one little modification that would have allowed us to support it and could not get any cooperation out of them. Cooperation on these matters is a two-way street.

I think you will want to give all this to them in a quiet and sympathetic tone because the oil companies continue to behave quite well and they do have a case. But it is also true that the moderate Arabs will always have a sore point as long as their fundamental grievance is that we are not directly arrayed against Israel.

Finally, if you want to remind these gentlemen of the basic sentiments of the American people on this issue you may find it helpful to have the attached Harris poll.4 Harris told me last week that in all his years as a pollster he had never seen a more sweeping and definite registration of overwhelming support for one side of a question. What is even more striking is that the reservations of the American people are precisely those which we ourselves have registered—on Jerusalem and on refugees.

McG.B. 5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Special Committee Files, Country File—Arab Nationalism. No classification marking.
  2. Not printed. No indication has been found that this statement was ever delivered by the President.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 252.
  4. Not found.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.