After the exciting events that took place between June 22 and June 25, 1967, people throughout the United States and indeed in all parts of the world, for a few days at least, began to revise the answer by locating Philadelphia as eighteen miles north of Glassboro and Atlantic City as fifty miles southeast of the Summit Town. Plain folk, living in hundreds of America's small towns, appreciated and enjoyed the quiet satisfaction the reversal in geographical directions brought to the little community. For Glassboro had emerged from the shadows cast by its well-known neighbors to bask in the spotlight of world attention.
Glassboro acquitted itself magnificently as the world watched. A Baltimore Sun staff correspondent, writing a feature story with a June 24, 1967, dateline, claimed that "the talks in Holly Bush, a house on the campus of Glassboro State College, were organized on what was undoubtedly the shortest notice ever given for world leaders." Major credit for this achievement must go to President Thomas E. Robinson, for it was his fifteen-year determination to push expansion, rarely looking back or standing still, that made available both facilities and a crisis-toughened staff-assets that met a situation seldom if ever encountered by an educational institution. Not often does a college president, on a moment's notice, learn that his facilities will be needed as a meeting place for a conference on which the eyes of the world will be focused. Subsequent events proved that Glassboro’s expansionist President had not built in vain.
But before delving into these events, let us pause first to find what life was like in the town and at the college before they rocketed into history. More important, let us unravel the world happenings which took place in the fateful spring of 1967-events which inevitably brought President Lyndon Johnson and Premier Aleksei Kosygin together at a place called Holly Bush.
In the TownRegardless of what the calendar may say, summer begins in South Jersey with Memorial Day. On that warm, sunny Tuesday, May 30, 1967, four bands marched in Glassboro's Memorial Day parade, which included veterans, scouts, soldiers from Fort Dix, and a series of decorated floats. The parade tooted its way down Main Street to the home of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, where Congressman John E. Hunt, recalling four wars of the past fifty years, mourned, "It looks very much as if our one-time allies seem to be full of uneasy suspicions that. we have some hidden and ulterior motives in every move we make."
But this was, on the surface, almost the sole indication of Glassboro concern with the national and international problems . In this small community there were no Viet Nam protesters, no draft card burners. Rather it was county and local affairs which seemed to occupy people: plans for a Girl Scout picnic; plans for the fall United Fund drive; the repaving of Carpenter Street in front of the new high school where, reflecting the decline of the railroad, an underpass would be converted into a grade crossing.
Much of the emphasis was on youth. At least twenty graduates of the new high school had their pictures in the local paper with their college acceptances and plans. The week after Memorial Day was a busy one for those high school graduates: a baccalaureate service; a class night; and finally commencement itself, at which Robert Beach was valedictorian, and Anita Pearlstein, salutatorian. A few days later the high school musicians, with banner carriers and twirlers, took off in two buses for a five-day band festival at Virginia Beach, Virginia. Announcement was made that Michael Self and Carl Nienstedt Jr. were selected to attend Boys' State, while Barbara Brown and alternate Sheila Harris were chosen as Glassboro High School's representatives to Girls' State. Summer playgrounds opened at the schools, with arts and crafts, games, and swimming. Nevertheless there was enough disorderly conduct by the young to prompt the chief of police to threaten strict enforcement of the local curfew of 10:00 P. M. for all under seventeen, while the local office of SCOPE was seeking jobs for young people who might get into trouble in their summer leisure.
Among Glassboro's older people there were the usual births, deaths, and marriages. Carole Wilde was wed by Rev. Robert Howe to his son, Robert, Jr. Mrs. Marion Boyd Burns, a former Glassboro resident, was killed when her car crashed into a train at the crossing on South Delsea Drive. Mr. and Mrs. William Bill proudly announced the birth on June 4 of a son, William Howard.
The town council was seeking state reimbursement for taxes on state-owned land in the community, property which, including the college, made up one-fifth of the total area. The council was also concerned with the purchase of new fire and trash trucks. It listened to residents of South Glassboro protest plans for a land-fill project in their area. Dr. Louis K. Collins was being · congratulated as the 175th president of the State Medical Society, and Cornelia Parks was the new president of the county Soroptimists Club. Christ Pentecostal Church installed its new pastor, Rev. Samuel K. Totaro, Sr.; and Dr. Calvin H. Wingert retired as minister of the Bethlehem United Church of Christ. The St. Anthony Society of St. Bridget 's R.C. Church held its annual week end carnival, including a parade, kiddie-rides, baseball throws, bingo, and a giant fireworks display. Democratic and Republican clubs both held meetings concerned with community planning.
On the CampusAt the college, classes for the year had ended the Monday before Memorial Day ; and the week of final examinations began right after. The spring term had drawn to its close with the usual flurry: the Men 's Athletic Association banquet honoring the championship baseball and tennis teams, the annual' Open House for parents and friends featuring concerts by the college chorus and band, a recital by the modem dance group, and a series of student-produced one-act plays: The seniors crossed the Delaware to hold their dinner-dance at the BellevueStratford Hotel in Philadelphia and went off to Malaga for their final picnic. Students packed the college gymnasium for the most popular event of the year, a concert by five Negro Youths, The Temptations. A much smaller audience heard Will Geer in "An Evening's Frost." At an honors convocation Ruth Oliver was named "Distinguished Senior of 1967" with a dozen or more other students getting various awards. At a senior assembly twenty students were handed scholarships which totaled $3,100. Carol Radich was named to visit Norway for the summer on a traveling scholarship in comparative education. Bob Loughran was elected president of the Student Government Association for the coming year. A group of juniors ended a year of tutoring fourteen poor readers at St. Bridget's elementary parochial school. The college choir was recording a series of selections to be sent to high schools all over the nation.
The whole campus was excited over the college baseball team. For the first time in the history of the college it had won every game on its schedule. It went on to capture the area title, despite one loss. While their fellow-students were suffering through examinations, the baseballers flew out to St. Joseph 's, Missouri, to compete in the Small College World Series. There, in games dampened by rain, the "Profs " were runners-up for the national title. They made history by winning a double-header, with Ken Lange, a junior from Vineland, pitching both games. In the final of the series, however, they lost to the New Mexico Highlanders. When they flew home on Sunday, June 11, more than one hundred supporters from the college and community, including Dr. Robinson, welcomed them at the Philadelphia Airport.
The sending-forth of the college seniors followed the usual pattern. At the convocation they heard Dr. Harol Benjamin, Glassboro's own distinguished professor of education. Graduation itself, on June 6, was marked for the first time by the absence of a speaker, to allow time for individual presentation of diplomas to 733 graduates. The day before graduation all male graduates, except those who had already been in the service, received notices reclassifying their draft status as 1 A.
On Thursday, June 8, the college term ended, and there was the usual lull before the start of summer school. However a two-week workshop on drugs and narcotics was being held on campus. Director Charles G. Walker had scheduled registration for the biggest summer session in the history of the college. Glassboro's summer theatre company was gathering to rehearse for the four plays it would present in July. On the campus two new buildings, one for fine and industrial arts and a new dormitory for 300 students, were nearing completion for use in the fall; and a second story was being added to the library. Bringing closed circuit television to Glassboro, technicians could be seen stringing wires between Bunce Hall and the Campus School.
Plans were being made for the year ahead. Approximately 1,100 freshmen were scheduled to start college in September. The college was getting ready for re-evaluation during the coming year by the Middle States Association; a steering committee of faculty and students was being organized, with seven sub-committees for the self-study which is an important part of the process. The next year would see the start of three new graduate programs for Learning Disability Specialists, Outdoor Education, and School Psychologists. At a meeting of the whole faculty before it scattered for the summer, President Robinson discussed the future of the college under New Jersey 's new Chancellor and Board for Higher Education.
The road that led Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin and President Lyndon B. Johnson to this peaceful community and its college was long and tortuous.
Background in the Mid-EastIt started, one might say, twenty years before, when the United Nations partitioned what had been British Palestine into Jewish and Arab states over the loud protests of the Arabs. Only a few months later Israel declared its independence; and Arab Armies from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi-Arabia tried without success to "push the Jews into the sea." A UN truce finally ended the fighting, and Israel emerged, _ in 1949, in the form it was to keep for about two decades. It contained land area approximating Massachusetts but with half that state's population.
Geographically violating all logic, Israel was shaped like a gerrymandered congressional district. It consisted of a long strip of coast at the eastern curve of the Mediterranean Sea, stretching east to the Jordan river at the north, and to the Dead Sea southward. In the center, however, the strip was almost split by a bulge which belonged to Jordan; at the narrowest this part of Israel was only twelve miles wide. The Jordanians held the old city of Jerusalem, though adjacent to it, divided by the Mandelbaum Gate and with Jordan on three sides, was the new Jerusalem, a modern city where, for sentimental reasons, the Jews maintained their capital.
Further south a long triangle of the Negev desert dipped down to the port of Elath on the Gulf of Aquaba. Stretching up along the Mediterranean coast was an intrusion from Egypt's Sinai Desert territory called the Gaza Strip, where thousands of Arabs displaced from the new Jewish nation still waited, many in UN refugee camps, for the day when they could return. Some of these refugees were organized by Egypt into a Palestine Liberation Army. The United States, Britain, and France, in 1950, had guaranteed the permanence of the new Israel-Arab borders; nevertheless, there were perpetual clashes between Jews and Arabs, from Egypt to the south, Jordan and Syria to the east, and Lebanon to the north.
In 1954 Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser rose to the top of the unstable government of Egypt as an ultra-nationalist "strong man." He forced the British to abandon their military bases in the Suez Canal Zone. Denied arms by the western powers, he obtained them from Russia and other communist countries. In 1956 he nationalized the Suez Canal. At that point Israel, Britain, and France struck back. Israel launched an attack across the Sinai Peninsula that quickly reached the southern section of the canal while British and French forces landed at its Mediterranean entrance. Russia and the United States intervened, however, and there was a cease-fire and a general withdrawal to the old lines. A UN Emergency Force took positions in Egypt to prevent border incidents, d the United States reaffirmed its border guarantees, promising Israel, in addition, to support its right of free passage through the Strait of Tiran, which provided a narrow entrance to the Gulf of Aquaba and Elath.
In the decade after 1956 Israel continued to grow in strength and prosperity, although it was still a small nation of some 2,650,000 inhabitants. It was firmly oriented toward the west, and there was always an element of strain in its relations with Soviet Russia. Meanwhile the Arab world of Israel's neighbors remained in turmoil. Nasser made attempt after attempt to establish his and Egypt's leadership of the 53,000,000 mid-eastern Arabs, but these failed in the face of the intransigence of Arab leaders and their mutual jealousies.
In the Arab states, however, the extremists, often left-wing, captured the governments of Iraq and Syria and brought them into fairly close alignment with Egypt. In Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi-Arabia more conservative governments survived, although always threatened by extremist groups spurred by Nasser and his friends. The one thing which all the Arab nations had in common seemed to be their hatred of Israel and its Jews. The UN Emergency Force maintained some calm along the Egyptian-Israeli borders, but along the boundaries with Jordan and Syria, where there were no UN forces, there were frequent clashes and disputes, with cross-border raids and occasional gun, tank, and air battles.
Events Get Out of Hand
Briefly that was the situation in the Mid-East powder keg up to the middle of May, 1967. In the ensuing months events unfolded with the inexorability of a Greek tragedy, happenings that led eventually to the Johnson-Kosygin meeting at Holly Bush.
The Arab states, since 1948, had never recognized the right of Israel even to exist. Nor had they admitted any end to the previous state of war. Now Nasser needed, as dictators so often need, a whipping boy to take the Egyptians ' minds off their own suffering economy and to bring other Arab states more securely under his leadership. The whipping boy was to be Israel and its Jews. In recent months there had been aggravating incidents along Israel's borders with Jordan and Syria. In mid-May ·Nasser started to move large bodies of troops toward Egypt's borders with Israel. Suddenly he demanded that the 3400-member UN Emergency Force, which had kept peace along those borders, be withdrawn. In a move that would be widely criticized, UN Secretary-General U Thant agreed to withdraw it. Actually he had little choice, since Egyptian troops were taking over positions while he was still considering Nasser's request. Withdrawn along with the others were the thirty-two UN troopers stationed at Sharm el Sheik, the heights from which Egypt could control the Strait of Tiran, less than a mile-wide entrance to the Gulf of Aquaba from the Red Sea.
At the head of the of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aquaba spread like a thumb and forefinger around the Sinai Peninsula. The former, long a major shipping lane, leads, of course, to the Suez Canal, life-line between the Mediterranean and the Far East. Since it had taken over the canal, Egypt had denied its use to the ships of Israel, the very existence of which it was refusing to recognize. Thus Israel's sea communications were totally divided: to the west it shipped through Haifa and Tel Aviv; toward the east its sole port was Elath, at the far northern end of the Gulf of Aquaba. Through Elath it received, in bi-weekly ships, its all-important oil from Iranian ports on the Persian Gulf, the oil then being piped north across the Negev desert to industrial centers. In twenty years Elath had grown from a negligible village to a significant small port.
On May 22 Nasser announced that the Strait of Tiran, through which all ships to Elath must pass, was closed to the vessels of Israel and to all ships bearing strategic materials to it. He said, "The Israeli flag will no longer pass the Gulf of Aquaba." Israel's prime minister replied that interference with Israel's ships at Tiran would be regarded as an act of war.
The closing of the Strait of Tiran posed grave problems for the United States and other nations. The United States, as Israel promptly reminded us, had committed itself years before to "free and innocent passage through the Gulf of Aquaba." Nevertheless the United States, heavily involved in Viet Nam, had no desire to move quickly and alone. The Egyptians had already sent a mission to Moscow asking Soviet support, of which they already felt assured; and President Johnson did not want to add further strains to United States-Soviet tensions over Viet Nam and nuclear threats. Johnson, therefore, asked Israel for at least ten days to see what negotiation might do. His plan was for joint action by several sea powers to keep the Tiran Strait open, perhaps by sending a flotilla up the Gulf of Aquaba. He found little international support for his proposal, however, and the ten days passed without any solution. It is a curious fact that, while the closing of the Tiran Strait provided the casus belli for the Israel-Arab war, it is doubtful whether any ship was actually barred from the strait, though there were rumors of the turning back of one United States-owned Liberian freighter.
Then ten days following its closing, however, greatly increased tensions on other fronts. Nasser and his Egyptian voices became more strident in their denunciation of Israel and in threats against it. Nasser promised "total war" if war came. He said: "We feel confident that we can win and are ready now for a war with Israel." He moved more ad more troops to Israel's borders. Syria made similar threats and set its armies along the Syrian-Israeli line. On May 30 King Hussein of Jordan flew into Cairo to sign a defensive agreement under which Jordan's troops would be part of the Arab forces. This was, in some respects, the final step leading to war, since Hussein and Nasser had been, up to this point, far from friendly. Only a few days before their pact, Nasser denounced Hussein as a United States intelligence agent, and relations between Syria and Jordan were almost as strained as those between Jordan and Israel. Jordan's adherence to the Egyptian-Syrian group solidified the Arab threat to Israel.
Israel took the defense pact and the subsequent entry of troops from Iraq into Jordan as definite signs that the Arabs meant business. Israel, facing some 80,000 troops massed on two sides, moved into a state of partial mobilization.
The situation, therefore, in these earliest days of June was: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi-Arabia were massing their forces against Israel, promising and threatening a war that would exterminate the Jews. Egypt, by closing the Strait of Tiran, had given Israel an excuse for war, if excuse was needed since the Arab states had never recognized any end to previous struggles. Israel itself was tensed for war, with large sections of its population under arms.
It must be remembered that Israel had only a small professional army, and any substantial mobilization of citizen soldiers brought normal life almost to a halt. For this reason Israel obviously could not stand a long war not even a prolonged mobilization; either would deal an economic death blow. Nevertheless Israel's leaders were still divided somewhat into hawks and doves. Premier Levi Eshkol and Foreign Minister Abba Eban were hesitant about being the first to strike a blow, and they were being urged not to be first by their western friends. Pressures on them to move quickly were heavy, however, and on June 2 General Moshe Dayan was named minister of defense. This move was virtually a commitment to war. Dayan was a popular national figure who had master minded Israel 's 1956 offensive. His book about that struggle was almost a text for Israel's current war plans.
Pending the actual outbreak of hostilities, there were a few other significant events. One was the sending of a Soviet fleet from the Black Sea out into the eastern Mediterranean. This move was clearly meant to be a show of sympathy and support for the Arabs and a counter-balance to the American Mediterranean fleet which had drifted to the east. Another was the dispatch of the American aircraft carrier Intrepid through the Suez Canal, as a sort of an American declaration for the freedom of international waters.
From Moscow came the ominous warning that aggression unleashed against the Arabs would meet with strong Soviet opposition. It seemed now that only a miracle of diplomacy could prevent a United States-Soviet confrontation, the first since the Cuba Missile Crisis of 1962. Fortunately for the world, the miracle happened early on June 5 only hours after the Israeli-Arab argument had changed from the shouting to the shooting stage. Deep in the White House basement, the hot-line teletype machine began clattering out a coded message from Moscow. It was a communication from Premier Kosygin assuring President Johnson that Russia had no intention of intervening in the Mid-East hostilities. The President replied promptly, assuring the Soviet leader that neither did the United States have any plans for becoming militarily involved. If there was to be a shooting war, at least it would not go by the name of World War III.
But war there was. It is generally assumed now that Israel weary of living under threats, began hostilities. Israel has never convincingly denied the charge. Early on Monday, June 5, the Israeli planes struck at the Arab air fields and virtually destroyed the Arab air forces-mostly on the ground. There is no need here for any detailed account of the "Six-Day War." With control of the air established, the Israeli tanks and armor fanned out in Jordan and across the Sinai Peninsula, and in three days almost reached the Suez Canal, the Strait of Tiran, and the Jordan River. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Gaza Strip were captured. The Egyptian soldiers proved poor fighters. They fled back across Sinai or meekly surrendered. he Jordanians fought better, but they also collapsed. On the fifth day of the war Israel turned on Syria, which had previously done little more than continue shelling Israel's borders. In two days the Israeli troops had passed the Sea of Galilee and were threatening Damascus. The territory dominated by the Jews had grown in less than a week from 8,000 square miles to 26,000.
The Six-Day War
While all of this was taking place, there had been frantic efforts back at the United Nations to halt hostilities. Even before the actual fighting started, the UN Security Council had been called into session. It was offered two resolutions, one from the United States urging a cooling-off period, the other from Egypt blaming Israel for the trouble. Despite long speeches and frequent adjournments for consultation, the fifteen-nation council could agree on neither; and there was expectation of a Soviet veto should the United States resolution find substantial support. The Soviet Union was still giving its Arab friends encouragement. Voting was repeatedly postponed.
On the very day the war broke out, the Security Council went into emergency session in an attempt to draw up a cease-fire resolution. As Israeli troops won quick victories, however, even this ran into snags. The Arabs, with Soviet support, insisted that any resolution must call for Israel's withdrawal to pre-hostility lines. Since this offered no answer to the Aquaba blockade, the United States opposed it; and, while the stalemate lasted, the Israeli armies moved further into Arab territory.
To explain their initial losses, Egypt and Jordan suddenly charged that the United States and Britain had aided the initial air attacks on them. Though this was promptly denied, most of the Arab nations broke off diplomatic relations with the Western powers; and there was a sudden exodus of Americans and British from the middle-eastern countries. At no time, however, did the Russians appear to believe the charge, for they had on-the-spot intelligence from their own fleet. Within days the charge was wholly exploded in a most embarrassing manner, when Israel released a transcript of a Nasser-Hussein conversation in which the carnard had been planned. Nevertheless Arab hostility to the western states stayed high.
The UN stalemate over the cease-fire lasted for two days. Suddenly, on the evening of _the second day, the Russians gave way, realizing that every delay was costing their Arab friends both ground and prestige. A simple UN call for cease-fire was agreed to in the Security Council. Israel promptly said it would accept the cease-fire if its enemies did. The Arabs, however, could not grasp the extent of their defeat, or perhaps they still hoped for concrete Russian aid. Even Jordan's acceptance of the cease-fire was negated by the fact that the Jordanian troops were under Egyptian command and Iraqi troops were fighting on Jordan's land. Egypt and Iraq rejected the cease-fire indignantly, and, therefore, the Israeli troops continued to press forward, The Soviets now became one of the most vigorous advocates of the UN cease-fire call, and Egypt and Syria suddenly accepted it. The Egyptian representative had to read the telegram of acceptance while he still held a twenty-page speech denouncing it.
Even as the firing ceased, however, the lines for the struggle over peace proposals began to harden. In public statements the Russians insisted that Israel pull back to the pre-war lines and condemned the Jews as the aggressors. The Soviets promptly introduced a resolution into the Security Council making these demands. The United States was silent on these two issues, although the general sentiment seemed to be that the right of passage through the Gulf of Aquaba and some genuine peace between Israel and its neighbors should be part of any peace package.
The Soviet attitude was expressed in a statement issued from Moscow by the USSR and its six European satellites on the very day the war ended. It said, "If the Government of Israel does not stop the aggression and withdraw its troops beyond the truce lines, the socialist states will do everything necessary to help the peoples of the Arab countries administer a resolute rebuff to the aggressor, to protect their lawful rights, to extinguish the hotbed of war in the Middle East, and to restore peace in that area." The statement noted that the conflict was caused by Israeli aggression, "which is the result of the collusion of certain imperialist forces and first of all the United States against Arab countries." Russia put teeth in these charges by breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel.
The Diplomatic AftermathThe ending of the war was followed by a week end lull. In those few days several things became apparent. One was the extent of the Israeli victory and the Arab defeat. A second was the loss of Soviet prestige both in the world at large and among its Arab allies in particular. People everywhere could see that Russia had encouraged the Arabs in their threats against Israel. It had provided them with arms variously valued at one to three billion dollars. Russian planes had been destroyed on the ground and its armor was strewn across the Sinai desert. Whether the fault was with the arms themselves or with the Arab use of them, the fact remained that, against the planes and armor which Israel had bought from the United States and France, the Soviet hardware had lost. The Arabs were disillusioned with their Soviet backers. Their early bravado h1=1d been buttressed with Soviet assurances. Now in Cairo there were riots against Russia as well as against the western powers. Soviet leaders believed that something had to be done to restore their world prestige and to regain, if possible, the trust and friendship of the Arabs.
On Monday, June 12, the world began to learn what the steps would be. Russia had decided to ask for a meeting of the UN General Assembly to condemn Israel's aggression. To do so was a major reversal of Russian policy. Russia had strongly protested when the United States had turned to the Assembly in the Korean crisis. Now, however, the Soviets saw a good chance of getting a favorable vote in the Assembly, while it was becoming increasingly apparent it could not sway the Security Council. Even if it should fail to carry its resolution into the Assembly, that body would provide a new and wider forum in which the Soviet spokesmen could be pro-Arab and anti-Israel. Russia seemed determined to win at the debating table the victory that had eluded the Arabs on the battlefield.
On Tuesday, word came from Moscow that Premier Aleksei Kosygin himself would attend the Assembly; and on Wednesday, Secretary U Thant began to poll the 122 Assembly members on the Soviet request for an Assembly meeting. At the same time, to make official the inability 'of the Security Council to reach agreement, the Soviet Union forced a vote there on its condemnation of Israel. Its resolution received only four votes of the nine it needed; the other eleven members abstained. Within a matter of hours, however, it had the sixty-two votes required for an Assembly meeting. However, the United States and Israel voted against the session.
The man who was coming to represent Russia was technically the number two man in the Soviet system. In its hierarchy the Premier ranks below the Party Secretary. It was generally accepted, however, that Leonid Brezhnev and Kosygin were a two-man team at the head of the Soviet state, as against the individual leadership that had belonged to Stalin and Khrushchev. But until he came to Glassboro, Kosygin had seemed a grey figure. There was no doubt of his ability; his career testified to it. He had been in the Red Army at fifteen, managed a textile plant, and by 1938 was mayor of Leningrad. Then he rose rapidly in the party. He became a member of the Central Committee, the deputy premier under Stalin, a member of the Politburo, and deputy premier under Khrushchev. He obviously combines a gif t for political survival along with his other assets. These appeared to be high intelligence, a cold efficiency, and devotion to economic progress. He was described as a Russian version of a General Motors head.
Even before there was thought of his coming to the UN, there were cries that the world situation called for something like a summit meeting. On June 4, in the New York Times, C.L. Sulzberger demanded "a bilateral conference of American and Russian leaders to review the entire complex of problems today threatening peace." When it began to appear that Kosygin would really be in New York; dispatches from both Moscow and Paris indicated world expectation that he and Johnson would meet. The day before his arrival the White House was quoted as saying that President Johnson would be "happy to meet him and any other world leader coming to the UN session." Top U.S. officials in Washington conferred with the Soviet ambassador about such a meeting. It was obvious, however, that specific plans would have to wait until after the UN Assembly sessions took shape.
President Johnson cancelled his plans for a week end in Texas, a week end important to him because of the impending birth of his first grandchild. There was talk that he too might go up to New York and be the American spokesman at the UN. By Sunday, however, it was clear that he had decided against this because the UN was now the Soviet show-place and this meeting was a Russian meeting. Instead Johnson determined-with a sense of timing and publicity values-to make his presentation of the issues in a speech early Monday morning with full television coverage before the UN could get under way. Thus he would have the advantage of the first word.
At 9:30 A. M. then, on Monday morning, June 19, President Johnson outlined the American position in a five point program for a Middle East settlement. He called for: (1) the recognized right of national life, (2) justice for the refugees , (3) innocent maritime passage, (4) limits on wasteful and destructive arms race, and (5) political independence and territorial integrity for all. It was nearly an hour later that Premier Kosygin took the floor at the UN. The Russian as expected urged that the UN condemn Israel and reimburse the Arab nations for their war losses. He criticized sharply United States support of Israel and castigated the U. S. role in Viet Nam. The acid was in his text, rather than in his delivery of it. There was a minimum of drama in the cold grey man on the UN podium, reading his prepared speech without any touch of table thumping. Television viewers were far more impressed with Abba Eban, who followed him with an orator 's skill and sense of dramatic effect.
Listeners to both Johnson and Kosygin were inclined to feel that both speeches were for the record, and that the answer still lay in a private conference between the two men. A United Press commentator phrased it this way: "If permanent peace is to come to the Middle East, it must come primarily through the efforts of two men, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin."
But to the surprise and disappointment of millions, nothing seemed to happen. The United States had invited Kosygin to come to Washington, but Kosygin obviously feared that he might lose prestige by going all the way to meet Johnson and that his doing so would offend his Arab friends and bring bitter comment from his Chinese enemies. Repeatedly he stressed that he had not come to New York, but to the UN. He suddenly turned coy and told reporters that he would be leaving "very soon" and did not know whether he could see Johnson before he went. President Johnson, on the other hand, having dodged the UN meeting, was obviously not going to New York. And there was np agreement on what the two leaders would discuss if they did meet. The Russians apparently wanted to talk only about the Middle East; the Americans felt that conversations should also cover Viet Nam, a treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and an agreement to limit the deployment of anti-ballistic missiles.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk scurried up to New York on Tuesday to try to arrange a meeting. There was widespread pressure for it. The Christian Science Monitor, under the line Let Johnson and Kosygin Meet, editorialized that "for the two leaders not to meet would be nothing more or less than a grievously wasted opportunity." Even on Thursday, however, the Woodbury Times, published only a few miles from Glassboro, headlined its story, SUMMIT BOGS ON MEETING SITE.
Nevertheless, on Wednesday evening, Secretary Rusk finally met for dinner with the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko. They assured the press that a summit had not been the main topic of their talks, but the world at large discounted their statements. There was a general feeling that the two leaders must meet and that to squabble over a place of meeting was unworthy of two great nations. Only a nudge was needed to make everything fall into place.