177. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon 1

209151. Following based on uncleared memcons2 FYI Noforn and subject revision.

Secretary and Under Secretary Rostow separately received Foreign Minister Hakim of Lebanon morning June 6. Following points made in addition to those made with Pachachi (State 206672):3
Secretary and Mr. Rostow made it clear that Egyptian reports involving US aircraft in fighting were completely unfounded. They said they were deeply disappointed that diplomacy had failed and hostilities had broken out and that they were working desperately for cease fire. Hakim said Israel would have to withdraw to positions it occupied prior to present hostilities for cease fire to hold. Mr. Rostow said this might be arranged if UN presence returned to Sharm el Sheikh. Mr. Hakim [Page 328] believed Nasser could not give up his right to exercise sovereignty over Strait of Tiran, although way in which he exercised this might be negotiable. As practical matter, oil tankers represented only difficulty and, Hakim claimed, other routes could be used at relatively little increase in cost to Israel.
Foreign Minister said Arab-American friendship might be one of first victims of “Israeli aggression”. The Arabs were convinced that only in event of Israeli military success would the US be non-belligerent, but that the US would intervene on the side of Israel if the Arabs were to gain the upper hand. The Arabs were united in their anger and humiliation and determined some day to bring an end to Israel as an aggressive, militaristic state. The Israelis might win a victory now, Hakim said, but it was time they started thinking about their future in the Arab world, which would depend ultimately on their reaching a modus vivendi with the Arabs. With the help of Soviet arms and their own growing population and economic power, the Arabs would ultimately redress past wrongs.
Secretary and Mr. Rostow stressed their determination achieve cease fire, but that USG could not alter its position re international character of Strait.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by David L. Gamon (NEA/ARN), cleared by Davies and Houghton, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to Baghdad, Jidda, Dhahran, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, and USUN. According to Rusk’s Appointment Book, the meeting took place at 11 a.m. on June 6. (Johnson Library)
  2. Memoranda of these conversations are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 132.