Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eisenhower, II

As he expressed doubts about the sincerity of Kosygin’s motives, so too did the President doubt the Soviet premier’s interest in Middle East peace.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

President Johnson: Pleasant. No vitriolic stuff; no antagonistic stuff; no bitter stuff. Two or three little low blows below the belt every now and then. When you’d meet him the same way, why, he [Kosygin] would get back to a normal level.

He made clear that they didn’t want any confrontation with the United States, didn’t want to fight us, didn’t want to go to war. But on the Middle East, just one simple instruction—looked like he couldn’t move one inch away from it on anything: there must be complete, absolute withdrawal of all troops, period. Nothing else with it.

That that’s going to be the [UN] resolution. They could pass that in the General Assembly; they wanted us to support it there. And in the Security Council. And nothing else. And that unless and until that’s to be done, there’s going to be a big and a great war, and those people will be fighting for ten years. That they would have to support the Arab nations.

That he couldn’t understand why we’d want to support the Jews—three million people when there are a hundred million Arabs.

I told him that numbers did not determine what was right. We tried to do what was right regardless of the numbers, and we felt like that we’d have to take in maritime passage, that we’d have to consider where they were before they closed the Gulf [of Aqaba], and if they were going to go back to the Armistice Line. Were they going to have to go back to the Gulf of Aqaba, as it was?

He said, “Well, that would have to be done later. It would take two or three years to work out all these other things.”

Wouldn’t give an inch on that.

No comments: