1961-1963, Volume XVIII, Near East, 1962-1963|
Released by the Office of the Historian
209. Telegram From the Embassy in Saudi Arabia to the Department of State
209. Telegram From the Embassy in Saudi Arabia to the Department of State/1/
Jidda, April 7, 1963, 1 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Cairo, London, USUN, and Taiz.
819. From Bunker. Cairo telegram 1655 to Department;/2/ Jidda telegram 816 to Department./3/ View Faysal's remaining strong objections to certain aspects disengagement proposals as expressed to me in first meeting April 5,/4/ I made following three slight revisions before second meeting April 6 which I believed went part way to meet Faysal's concern and yet would be acceptable to Nasser (reference Eight point program agreed to by Nasser, see reference Cairo telegram):
/3/In telegram 816 from Jidda, April 6, Bunker reported briefly on his April 5 conversation with Faysal. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)
/4/Memoranda of Bunker's conversations with Faysal on April 5, 6, and 9 were transmitted to the Department of State in airgram A-742 from Cairo, April 10; airgram A-743, April 10; and airgram A-770, April 20. (All ibid.)
1. Added clause to number one proposal as substitute for proposal number three: "Prevention by SAG of efforts of Iman's adherents . . ." as follows: "and prohibition of the use of its (Saudi Arabia's) territory by Royalist leaders to carry on the struggle in Yemen."
2. Added following sentence to proposal number two: "the UAR would refrain from taking punitive action against the Yemeni Royalists on the basis of resistance mounted by the Royalists prior to commencement of disengagement."
3. Altered middle clause Point 5 (apropos stationing of impartial observers in DMZ) from "who would be available as the occasion requires for use outside the DMZ" to "who would be free to travel outside the DMZ."
Again I met with Saqqaf separately before session with Faysal. Former expressed optimism my changes would be approved by Faysal but felt Faysal would continue insist upon time limit for withdrawal.
I opened second meeting with Faysal by reiterating imperatives of prompt SAG disengagement on basis our proposals; commitment of President's prestige and USG moral and power backing behind disengagement operation; and President's undertaking hold UAR firmly to his statement of intention to withdraw its military forces from Yemen expeditiously. Faysal called attention to concessions he had already made since I had begun my mediation efforts and said that he had done so from desire be reasonable and because of appreciation of the position of "our friends, the Americans and their noble objective". He said his previously expressed objections to certain aspects our proposals motivated not by desire quibble but based on necessity seek clarification. When he gave his word, he stuck by it. Therefore, all details of any undertaking he entered into had to be fully clarified in advance. I then showed Faysal the changes I had made since our previous meeting, stating that I had endeavored to go as far as possible in direction alleviating concerns he had expressed. I could not guarantee that Nasser would accept these changes but if Faysal approved, I would do my utmost obtain Nasser's acquiescence. I noted that re change in Point 1 I had avoided specific reference to the Imam or his family (as had been his desire) while expressing the same concept. Faysal asked what types Hamid Al-Din activities were to be proscribed in Saudi Arabia. I gave examples of subversive operations of all kinds, arms smuggling across border, clandestine communications, sub rosa movement into Yemen by Royalists and radio propaganda. Comment: Revised Point 1 is actually more comprehensive than former Point 3 which applied only to Imam's family and I believe should be more satisfactory to Nasser. End comment.
Re additional sentence in Point 2, Faysal said still did not meet requirement that UAR refrain from any kind offensive action against Royalists once disengagement started. I pointed our difficulties distinguishing between defensive and offensive actions view different interpretations placed by two sides and said that from humanitarian viewpoint (which Faysal had emphasized in first meeting) sentence I had appended should be fully satisfactory. Comment: Addition to Point 2 meets Faysal's apprehension his cessation act without placing some form limitation on UAR military activity abandons Royalists to their possible annihilation by UAR troops in revenge for previous opposition to Central Government.
I had earlier commented to Faysal that since I was sure Nasser had no intention take this form of punitive action, I was hopeful he would accept. End comment.
Re change in Point 5, Faysal thought did not go far enough. Suggested alternative wording "one of whose responsibilities would be to travel freely outside the DMZ." This I accepted. Comment: Believe this change merely expresses a little more explicitly actual and necessary role of UN observers. End comment.
We had long hassle over Faysal's insistence we incorporate time limit for withdrawal UAR forces. I expressed view preferable leave open-ended since Nasser unlikely agree to timetable suitable to SAG and in any case President's undertaking hold Nasser to expeditious withdrawal provided most effective lever. Faysal asked what I thought was reasonable timetable. Replied this extremely difficult answer but a possible rule of thumb was for UAR remove forces at same rate they introduced. Latter appeared to have taken four and a half to five months. Faysal characterized this as unreasonable, recalled semi-facetiously has [sic]; he had withdrawn his Wahhabi forces from Yemen in 1930's in fifteen days. I replied only USG military experts could provide authoritative estimate re reasonable withdrawal period and reiterated fact commitment President's prestige to expeditious UAR disengagement adequate insurance.
Finally Faysal commented movingly that as gesture confidence in President, USG, "your joint excellencies and assembled brethren" he prepared to acquiesce to fullest extent in proposals as presented and amended. I assured Faysal that his noble sentiments were not misplaced and USG valued highly its special relationship with SAG. Faysal stated "this country's rulers have demonstrated their nobility of purpose by deeds rather than words." I said we wished support Faysal's endeavors wherever possible.
I asked Crown Prince whether he still desired have USG squadron aircraft once disengagement underway. Faysal replied that he did "in principle" but that he preferred that details be discussed by our respective military experts. I said in that case I would leave matter to Ambassador Hart deal with in consultation with our respective military advisors. I reminded Faysal of our additional undertakings expedite training his air force and develop expanded air defense training program. Faysal said this should also be taken up by the military.
In conclusion I informed Faysal that view UN involvement in disengagement operation I would appreciate Faysal's sending message to UN SYG indicating his complete willingness receive UN SYG's representative, presumably Dr. Bunche. Faysal expressed view such message had already been sent through SAG UN delegate. I indicate U Thant still under impression his representative not entirely welcome and suggested dispatch second message. Deputy Foreign Minister Saqqaf interjected to state clarifying telegram would be sent to Baroody and Faysal nodded approval. Comment: Faysal has come long way since my first talk and am convinced we can count on him play his part entirely satisfactorily in disengagement operation. I now intend return Cairo for final talk with Nasser and have asked Ambassador Badeau make appointment for Tuesday, April 9. Hopeful minor changes I have made here can be sold to Nasser though may take a little doing. If succeed with Nasser, will fix date for commencement of disengagement.
Re Faysal's elliptical response to dispatching squadron, I have clear impression he wishes have this squadron soonest. This view reinforced by post-meeting comment made to Sabbagh by Faysal's closest advisor, Rashad Pharaon. I am asking Ambassador Hart take up with CHUSMTM and Prince Sultan in order confirm this impression.
Faysal has placed all his faith in us re this exercise and there is no question USG must use full force its influence and suasion get Nasser carry out in good faith and expeditiously his part of bargain once final agreement achieved. Otherwise, we will have suffered serious loss of confidence, honor, prestige and good will in this country. End comment.
Following is full recapitulation disengagement proposals approved by Faysal:
1. Termination by the SAG on a date to be determined of its support and aid to the royalists and prohibition of the use of its territory by royalist leaders to carry on the struggle in Yemen.
2. The UAR to begin withdrawal of its troops simultaneously with suspension of Saudi aid to the royalists. The UAR would continue a phased withdrawal of its forces, in the course of which the UAR forces would be withdrawn from field activities to their bases pending their departure from Yemen. The UAR would refrain from taking punitive action against the Yemeni royalists on the basis of resistance mounted by the royalists prior to commencement of disengagement.
3. Cessation of United Arab Republic attacks on Saudi territory.
4. Establishment of a demilitarized zone extending for a distance of 20 kilometers on either side of the demarcated Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border from which military forces and military equipment would be excluded.
5. Stationing of impartial observers on both sides of the border in the demilitarized zone, one of whose responsibilities would be to travel freely outside the demilitarized zone to certify the suspension of Saudi support activities and the outward movement of UAR forces and equipment from Yemeni airports and seaports.
6. Cooperation of the United Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia with the United Nations Secretary General's representative or other mutually acceptable mediator in reaching agreement on process and verification of disengagement.
7. Agreement by the UAR to exercise its good offices on Sallal to desist from further inflammatory speeches against neighboring countries and to reaffirm his desire to live at peace with his neighbors. (Note: Faysal prefers that this point be of a bilateral nature between USG and UAR and not be incorporated in final agreement involving UAR and SAG)./5/
/5/Following this meeting, Saqqaf contacted Bunker and urgently requested that in point 2 the word "expeditiously" be inserted after "withdrawn." (Telegram 824 from Jidda, April 8; ibid.) Nasser subsequently agreed to the proposals printed here with the addition of "as soon as possible" in point 2 and the rephrasing of point 5 to read: "one of whose responsibilities would be to travel outside the demilitarized zone as the occasion requires." (Telegrams 1706 and 1707 from Cairo, April 9; ibid.) Faysal accepted the modifications. (Telegram 831 from Jidda, April 10; ibid.)
210. Memorandum From the Director of the Near East, South Asia and Africa Region, Bureau of International Security Affairs, Department of Defense (Fuqua) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nitze)/1/
Washington, April 9, 1963.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 67 A 4564, Middle East 1963 000.1--. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Stoddart.
Ambassador Bunker met with Prince Faysal on 6 April and secured Faysal's agreement in principle to termination of Saudi support of the Royalists in the Yemen subject to reciprocal concessions on the part of the UAR (i.e. phased withdrawal of UAR forces from the Yemen and termination of UAR attacks on Saudi territory). The complete details of Bunker's meetings with Faysal and other key Saudi officials are set forth in Jidda 820/2/ and Jidda 829 (both dated 7 April)./3/ However, other salient points accepted by Faysal included creation of a de-militarization zone extending 20 kilometers on either side of the Saudi-Yemeni border. Impartial observers, presumably UN, would be stationed on both sides of the DZ to observe and verify the disengagement of forces. No military forces or equipment would be permitted inside the DZ.
/2/Dated April 7. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US)
/3/Reference is to telegram 819 from Jidda, Document 209, which was incorrectly numbered telegram 829 when it reached the Department of State.
In covering the foregoing with Faysal, Ambassador Bunker reports that Faysal still desired to have the U.S. deploy a USAF squadron once the disengagement was initiated. Faysal stated that he preferred that the details of the deployment be worked out by the respective Saudi-U.S. military experts. Subsequently Saqqaf (Deputy Foreign Minister) informed Bunker on 7 April that Faysal wished to officially request deployment of the squadron to Saudi Arabia at least 10 days before "the standing day" of the 2 May Haj pilgrimage, the preferred time to pay obeisance at Mecca. According to Saqqaf, the Crown Prince believed the squadron would provide the required measure of reassurance to the Saudi people.
The Department of State has responded (State to Cairo 2328, 8 April)/4/ to the foregoing by informing Ambassador Bunker, who is now in Cairo, that we can not meet the deployment deadline requested by the Saudis. State's position is based on the fact that the prior conditions of deployment were contingent upon the actual fact of disengagement and not their promise. Additionally, State believes that it would be premature to move the squadron before the required follow-on actions are taken to consummate Faysal's agreement as set forth above. This will require further negotiations with Nasser (who has yet to be informed of the proposed movement of the squadron), Sallal, Prime Minister of the Yemen, and the UN in New York. In short, we are in mid-passage with somewhat brighter prospects then heretofore for resolution of the Yemeni affair and the attendant UAR-Saudi involvement therein. However, there is still some hard and perhaps painful negotiating ahead./5/
/4/Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN)
/5/A handwritten note by Strong dated April 8 reads as follows: "On the air squadron to Saudi Arabia, the Pres., PT says, does not want any early action. He wants disengagement to get going & then put it in. I told PT this is our view, we have 2 weeks before `ten days prior to May 2', and we could easily split the difference to April 27, meaning 19 days. I am trying to make sure the Pentagon doesn't start cranking all over again right now." (Ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 116, Bunker Mission & UN Effort Other than tels)
Stephen O. Fuqua, Jr./6/
Brigadier General, USA
/6/Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.
211. Editorial Note
On April 10, 1963, the Department of State transmitted to the Mission to the United Nations guidance for a forthcoming meeting with Secretary-General U Thant concerning the U.N. role in the Yemen disengagement agreement. U Thant was to be fully briefed on the terms of the UAR-Saudi agreement, negotiated by Bunker, and encouraged not to seek Yemen's formal adherence to the agreement, because Saudi Arabia would object. Rather, Yemen could acquiesce orally to the agreement. The guidance also contained specific suggestions for the size, composition, location, and equipment of the neutral observer mission that would police the Saudi-Yemeni demilitarized zone and verify Saudi Arabia's suspension of aid to the royalists and the withdrawal of UAR forces. The Department also indicated U.S. willingness to provide logistic support for the mission, but indicated a preference that the UAR and Saudi Arabia or perhaps the Arab League fund the mission, or that funding be taken out of the U.N. budget. (Telegram 2563 to USUN, April 10; Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)
On April 12, Bunker met with U Thant in New York and urged that the United Nations proceed with speed in setting up the U.N. machinery to verify the disengagement. U Thant agreed to move quickly once he had obtained concurrence from Yemeni President Sallal to the agreement. (Telegrams 3749 and 3759 from USUN, April 12; ibid.) On April 29, U Thant reported to the Security Council that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Republic, and Yemen had confirmed their acceptance of the disengagement agreement and that financing for the U.N. mission would come from a special U.N. emergency fund. (U.N. Document S/5298)
212. Special National Intelligence Estimate/1/
SNIE 34 - 63
Washington, April 10, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, Box 891, NSAM 228. Secret. Submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board. According to a note on the cover sheet: "The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and NSA." All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on April 10, except the Atomic Energy Commission Representative and the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who abstained because the subject was outside their jurisdiction.
THE IRANIAN SITUATION
To assess the situation in Iran and probable internal developments during the next few years.
A. Within the past year, the Shah has reasserted the strong personal leadership from which he had withdrawn during the Premiership of Amini. He has shifted emphasis in the economic field from long-term, centralized planned development to a policy which places chief emphasis on a radical land reform program designed to build up mass political support. His reforms seem to be bringing him new popularity among the peasantry and parts of the urban proletariat, but have alienated the traditional religious, landed, and wealthy elite, and he has not gained the support of the educated urban elements. He can probably count on the support of the military and security forces, which can probably deal with any internal security problems likely to arise. (Paras. 4-5, 7, 10)
B. The Shah's reforms have started basic changes in the social, economic, and political character of Iran. Economic and political development over the next few years is likely to be confused and erratic. Forces have been set in motion which it will be difficult to organize and direct. However, we believe that his chances of remaining in control are good and he may even be able to make some modest political and economic progress. (Paras. 13-15)
I. Changes Since May 1961
1. In May 1961, growing discontent over the autocratic and generally conservative rule of the Shah through a series of puppet Prime Ministers led to outbreaks of public disorder in Tehran. The Shah met this challenge by appointing as Prime Minister Dr. Amini, a respected political moderate. The program of the Amini government was essentially one of evolutionary reform and development. At the same time Amini sought to expand the base of the Shah's government by eliciting the support of the moderate middle class and the intellectuals while retaining the loyalty of the peasants and the military. A much publicized campaign against corruption raised the standards of bureaucratic honesty and greatly reduced high-level corruption. A modest land reform program was started under Minister of Agriculture Arsanjani. Comprehensive economic planning was to be carried out by the refurbished Plan Organization which would exercise great power over the allocation of funds and resources, including those for the military. The Shah delegated broad powers to the Prime Minister and retired into the background himself.
2. The chief accomplishments of the Amini government were in the economic field. Its efforts to check inflation were largely successful; it built up the country's foreign exchange reserves, established a central bank, and strengthened other economic institutions. However, these measures provoked a business recession and a drying up of private investment.
3. Amini's program was unable to capture the support it sought. The conservative elite opposed it, as had been anticipated. The urban intellectuals and middle class and others making up the pro-Mossadegh National Front were unwilling or unable to overcome their prejudice against any program sponsored by the Shah. The land reform program was limited in scope. Amini had no independent political support and in July 1962, when a cabinet dispute broke out over a budgetary issue, the Shah allowed the government to fall.
4. The Shah resumed a position of strong and open leadership. He appointed Alam, an old friend and trusted retainer, Prime Minister, retained the popular Dr. Arsanjani, symbol of the land reform movement, as Minister of Agriculture, and after tentative and unsuccessful overtures to the National Front, made a radical bid to establish a personal political base among the peasantry and the urban proletariat. His principal instruments were a drastic speedup in the land reform program and promises of profit-sharing arrangements for the urban workers. In connection with land reform, the government undertook to establish a system of cooperatives to provide the many functions of management, credit, water control, etc., traditionally performed by the landlords. The Shah granted suffrage to women. The traditional religious, landed, and wealthy elite made common cause with the National Front in opposing the Shah's revolutionary innovations, but the Shah, with the help of the military, demonstrated the opposition's inability to stop his program.
5. The Shah's concentration on the land reform program and his decision to seek to create a popular base have resulted in reduced emphasis on long-term economic development. With the departure of Amini, the Plan Organization has been downgraded to the position of a technical planning and advisory bureau of the Prime Minister's office. Several key planners have quit and primary responsibility for economic development projects has been returned to the established ministries, with budgetary control in the hands of the Ministry of Finance. The total cost of the Plan itself was reduced by about 25 percent.
6. The Shah's reform program, although far from completion, has already basically changed the traditional social structure of Iran. Having set in motion what he likes to call his "White Revolution," the Shah, in recent weeks, has deliberately slowed down its headlong pace, apparently to reduce some of the opposition and to cope with the administrative problems which have arisen. In this process the aggressive and ambitious Arsanjani was replaced with the efficient and moderate General Riahi.
7. The execution of the Shah's program--and indeed his continuance in power--are dependent on the continuing support of the armed forces and the security apparatus. In the past this support has been forthcoming. There is some dissatisfaction among senior officers who have been or may be adversely affected by the reform program. A number of middle and junior officers favor reform but doubt the ability and the steadfastness of the Shah in carrying it out. However, the new five-year plan for US military assistance negotiated last year has generally satisfied senior military officers. On balance, we believe that the bulk of the officer corps and the security services will continue to support the Shah./2/
/2/See Annex. [Footnote in the source text. The Annex, "Iranian Military and Internal Security Forces," is not printed.]
II. Probable Developments
8. The requirements of the land reform program and the Shah's desire to avoid unpopular new fund-raising measures are likely to bring about further modifications in the Third Five-Year Plan. Implementation of many projects will probably be delayed as a result of loss of some of the key development officers, competition between the ministries for control of individual projects, and the lack of administrative skills in the ministries. The planned allocation of 60 to 80 percent of oil revenues for Plan development projects will almost certainly be raided. During the first six months of the present Plan, when 55 percent of oil revenues were to go to the Plan, only about 40 percent in fact did so. In general, short-term political factors are likely often to determine priorities in the allocation of resources. The abrupt changes of direction in Iranian economic policy during the past few years and the radical nature of the Shah's present program have frightened domestic investors. Under these circumstances, Iran is likely to experience difficulty in obtaining foreign capital. The present business recession and the low-level of private investment are likely to continue for some time.
9. For at least two or three years agricultural production will probably decline as a new rural social and economic pattern emerges in the wake of the land reform program. The extent to which the cooperatives can be adequately staffed and made to work effectively will be critical; marketing and distribution will probably be disrupted. The winter of 1963-1964, and perhaps also that of 1964-1965, is likely to be difficult, and there may be periodic shortages of food, if not actual privation, in some areas.
10. Economic problems will have important political implications. The key question in Iran over the next few years is whether the Shah will be able to control the political forces he has unleashed. The land reform program has caught the imagination of the hitherto lethargic peasants, and their impatience with gradual processes has already been demonstrated in sporadic refusals to accord landlords their legal rights. The aspirations of the urban workers have been excited by the profit-sharing promises of the Shah, but no one in the government as yet seems to know how these promises are to be carried out. At the same time, almost all of the politically experienced, educated urban groups, as well as the landlords and mullahs, will continue hostile in varying degrees to the Shah and his program.
11. The tribes present other problems. The Iranian Kurdish tribes will probably continue to be agitated by the active autonomy movement among their brothers in Iraq, and their geographical proximity to the Soviet Union would make a rebellion particularly dangerous. What will frustrate the Iranian Government is the fact that the future attitudes of the Iranian Kurds will be influenced to a considerable extent by events beyond the boundaries and the control of Iran.
12. Tribal dissatisfaction in other parts of Iran, particularly in the southwest, is part of an ancient struggle between the tribes and the central government. Tribal leaders are aware that their interests are not only contrary to those of the Shah but even more so to those of the new popular reformers such as Arsanjani. Sporadic dissidence and disorder are likely to continue. The Communists and perhaps the UAR might attempt to exploit this. However, the power of the tribes was broken long ago by the Shah's father and most of them are presently impoverished and disunited. The Iranian military has considerable experience in controlling them. Although the modernization of the Iranian tribes is likely to be a long, sad, and brutal business, it is unlikely to pose any serious threat to national stability.
13. In general we believe that political and economic development over the next few years is likely to be confused and erratic, reflecting the profound dislocations which are taking place in Iranian society. Economic development will continue, but it will be difficult to carry out effectively a comprehensive development program without the positive support of the bulk of the intellectuals and the urban middle class. The prospect for the Shah's gaining the support of these elements is not bright. The political climate of the near future is unlikely to be conducive to the re-establishment of control over development by such a mechanism as the old Plan Organization. Progress is likely to fall short of the expectations of the rural and urban masses. The Shah's popularity is likely to decline, and more radical figures such as Arsanjani could emerge as mass leaders. Moreover, there is always a chance that local or regional events will cause a resurgence of the Shah's preoccupation with military affairs.
14. On balance, however, we think it likely that the Shah will be able to surmount the threats to his position and programs during the next few years. Foreign exchange reserves are satisfactory and oil revenues will almost certainly continue to rise. Development investments of past years will be making their benefits felt in the economy. The Shah has long demonstrated a remarkable ability to play his enemies off against one another and to neutralize any of his allies who threaten to become rivals. He is already successfully facing down the mullahs and the great landlords, and the National Front shows promise of continued disunity and ineffectiveness. We think it unlikely that these disparate elements can succeed in forming a cohesive opposition. This lack of organization among his opposition, plus his own greater popularity with the masses, and his control of the security forces and provincial administrative apparatus, traditional means of manipulating elections, makes it likely that the elections, now promised for this spring or summer, will return a Majlis prepared to support his policy. The election will probably be accompanied by sporadic disorders, but we believe the government will be able to handle them.
15. For the time being at least, the Shah's position has been strengthened. Barring assassination, his chances for remaining in essential control of the situation appear relatively good, and he may even be able to make some modest progress both politically and economically. While he has set in motion forces which will be difficult to control, he appears to have taken the first steps towards bringing Iran more in line with the political realities of the modern world and has begun to attack the archaic social and economic conditions which have made Iran's long-term stability precarious.
16. The recent political and economic changes in Iran have not had any significant effect on the country's foreign policy, nor do we believe they are likely to do so in the future--at least as long as the Shah believes that he can continue to rely on the US to support him personally and protect Iran's national security. Nevertheless, the Shah is not a man to take direction readily from outside sources, however sound and well-intentioned; many of his people, radical and conservative alike, are xenophobic; and the degree to which Iranian developments can be influenced by foreign advice will probably remain small.
213. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, April 13, 1963, 11:30 a.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Strong and Barrow on April 11; cleared by Quinn (DOD), Newman, Davies, Lloyd, and Smith (White House); and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Jidda, London, and Taiz.
2403. Eyes only Ambassador. Request you get following information to Nasser soonest: Now that Ambassador Bunker has obtained cooperation of both SAG and UARG in disengagement arrangement, USG planning undertake further training exercise in Saudi Arabia previously discussed with and approved by Faysal. Within next week or so a survey mission will be sent to Saudi Arabia to examine facilities and lay groundwork for arrival in late April of an air squadron. Purpose is twofold: 1) to carry out USAF training program for conducting long distance moves under difficult circumstances and, 2) to conduct training exercises with Saudi air force in cooperation with USMTM. This activity related to our continuing interest in internal stability and security of Saudi Arabia and our overall efforts through the years to improve Saudi forces. In low key public and private explanations United States will make brief but similar explanations. Impending prospect of liquidation of Yemeni conflict, which has been enhanced by UAR's full cooperation with Ambassador Bunker makes this exercise possible without implication it related to Yemeni conflict. It is to avoid such implication we have delayed implementation./2/
/2/The Joint Chiefs of Staff informed CINCNELM of the content of these instructions in telegram JCS 9491, DTG 151800Z Apr 63. A copy sent to the Department of State is ibid., POL 27-5 SAUD-US. Badeau reported in telegram 1759 from Cairo, April 17, that he had delivered the substance of this telegram to Nasser on April 16. (Ibid., DEF 6-3 US)
214. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/
Washington, April 13, 1963, 5:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 PAL/UN. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford on April 12, cleared by Strong and Sisco, and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, and Tel Aviv and repeated by pouch to London, Ankara, Baghdad, Paris, Jerusalem, and USUN.
464. First talk in present bilateral discussion phase of Arab refugee initiative has now been held in Arab host country capitals and Jerusalem. While initial guidance (Deptel 402 to Amman, etc)/2/ for most part sufficient cover continued discussion we wish Ambassadors carry on, following observations may be helpful, particularly in provoking parties into more new thinking:
For Amman: Accordance final para Embtel 463,/3/ we hope you will resume exchange views with Hussein at early date. We would like if possible get him away from generalities and into such specifics as (a) those suggested numbered section two of Deptel 402 (re Arab skepticism as to Israel's permitting serious degree repatriation and effect on Arab leaders' thinking if there could be reasonable assurances made on this point); (b) probable ultimate repatriation-resettlement option ratio of refugees in Jordan if confronted with honorable individual choice pursuant Paragraph 11 and present realities; (c) how he would wish see compensation aspects of a UN compensation-resettlement-repatriation program handled to avoid inflation and assist those refugees choosing settlement in Jordan to obtain gainful employment; (d) estimate of number refugees Jordan might ultimately be able absorb given continued generous foreign assistance both to Jordan for economic development and to the resettling refugee to help him take up productive role in society. FYI: Resistance to treatment of refugee problem separated out from over-all Arab-Israel problem has been recurrent theme of Hussein's since inception PCC initiative. Point to be pressed with him is that refugee situation is getting worse not better as numbers increase through birth and USG each year experiencing sharply increased difficulty in getting funds for continued support of UNRWA even at present levels. If we do not move decisively in search for honorable solution which preserves Jordanian and Near East stability, initiative could very soon pass from our hands with, we fear, consequences far less favorable for the individual refugee and disruptive of stability. End FYI.
/3/Dated April 8. (Department of State, Central Files, REF PAL)
For Beirut: We look forward to Ambassador and FonMin Takla continuing useful talks begun by Charge Wilson and President Chehab April 5 (Embtel 913)./4/ In answer Chehab's concern, GOL can be reassured as to USG's continuing intention heed Lebanon's special confessional problem in any approach to solution.
/4/Dated April 5. (Ibid.)
For Cairo: Re Embtel 1723,/5/ we hope you will be able see Nasser as soon as unity and Yemen developments permit. We were interested that Hilmi so promptly picked up our reference to possibility some third party might play role in conveying between the parties attitudes and positions that could not realistically be taken publicly nor directly. We mentioned this because in a situation where each side demanding public prior assurances other cannot possibly give but where expectations on specifics of an operational solution might just possibly be reconcilable, it obvious that there might be useful honest broker role for third party. We not thrusting USG into this role now or in future. Nor, on other hand, would we decline it if these talks should show possibility that current divergencies could be appreciably narrowed. We would be interested in Nasser's view of how current unity movement likely bear on bilaterals and in thoughts he may have as to how these might be most profitably pursued in light changes taking place. Point for Hussein re initiative passing from our hands should also be stressed with Nasser, not as threat but as reflection political realities in US.
/5/In telegram 1723 from Cairo, April 11, Badeau reported that he had presented U.S. ideas on the Palestine refugee question to General Hilmi, Director of the Palestine Department in the UAR Foreign Ministry. (Ibid.)
For Damascus: Unless unity developments cause Syrian leaders preclude further talks with Embassy, we would like hear Bitar's promised further comments (Embtel 719)./6/ He may be assured that it precisely in "spirit of exchange of information and ideas"--not imposition of our thinking or a predetermined proposal for solution--that we seek joint examination this problem.
/6/Dated April 5. (Ibid.)
For Tel Aviv: Regardless of source publicity which followed April 2 talk, we wish strong effort made avoid such publicity in regard future sessions.
We hope next talk can continue along lines indicated basic instruction.
Re points which arose in April 2 talk (which in general we concur was moderately hopeful in tone):
1. Agreement between parties: we commend your line that direct agreement not possible. PriMin's statement that understanding between Israel and US and between Arabs and US would be adequate is, hopefully, indication of GOI awareness of the realities on this point. In future discussion, however, care should be taken not to leave impression that we think it possible, even with USG in-between, to obtain Arab agreement on all specific elements on which Israel says it must have clear-cut prior understanding. (This is not to say, of course, that we unwilling to talk to Arabs, as we do to Israel, about realities of refugee problem and its possible solution.)
2. Good example of (1) is PrimeMin's stipulation that once agreement reached, there will be no more refugee problem in UN, in press, on radio, etc. Whereas it might well be possible get Arabs agree that refugee issue would not be raised in UN once an operation for solution under way, and while we have earlier agreed with Israel that Arabs would have to understand Israel's cooperation would cease if there were propaganda incitement to repatriation, it unrealistic think such an operation could be conducted under total seal of silence and that there would be no further mention of refugee problem in press or radio. We assume, but would like clarification, that PriMin did not intend his remarks in this all-inclusive way. (If he did, he going well beyond his stipulation to US representative last August that Nasser understand propaganda incitement to repatriation would terminate Israel's cooperation.)/7/
/7/See Document 24.
3. Re number bona fide refugees, you may say Department concurs your delegation appropriate EmbOff hear Israel's detailed calculations, and we ourselves looking into this urgently. We agree there some, perhaps considerable, inflation in refugee rosters, and for that reason have strongly encouraged their rectification. But fundamental to present discussion, and to any progress, remains question of upper limit Israel will agree it can safely take back in context of solution in which remainder will be resettled.
4. Re Jewish refugees, these have not been covered by UN resolutions. FYI: Fortunately PriMin did not attempt make this stick as a condition; should he do so, you should firmly reject it.
5. We pleased receive PriMin's reiterated assurances compensation will not be an obstacle.
6. "Family Reunion": Since Yahil not PriMin referred to this and you very effectively rebutted, it would probably be unwise enhance status of this concept in current talks by further reference at your initiative. However, if Israelis again raise it, you should say we could not regard scheme limited to family reunion concept as practicable and viable.
215. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, April 18, 1963, 3:45 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong and Barrow; cleared by Harriman, Sisco, Little, McCullough, Cleveland, and McGeorge Bundy; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Jidda, London, and USUN.
2474. Request following letter be delivered to Nasser from President./2/
/2/In a separate letter to Faysal, sent on April 18, President Kennedy expressed his appreciation for Faysal's efforts in achieving the recent agreement negotiated by Bunker. The President also advised: "At present I see no obstacle to the arrival of an air squadron in Saudi Arabia several days before your target date of May 2, on the presumption of course that disengagement is by then under way. Let me confirm as well that I shall encourage the UAR to move its forces out of Yemen within a reasonable time." (Telegram 655 to Jidda, April 18; ibid.)
"Ambassadors Bunker and Badeau have reported to me their recent conversations with you and Mr. Ali Sabri and the fine cooperation which you extended to them. I want to express my appreciation for your constructive and statesmanlike approach.
I am sure--and I am writing Crown Prince Faysal in this vein also--that the parties to the Yemen conflict will extend the same cooperation toward the United Nations Secretary General and his personal representative as they have to Ambassador Bunker and will fully and expeditiously implement disengagement and withdrawal from the Yemen conflict. We are counting on your friendly counsel to the Yemen Arab Republic to assure its cooperation.
Ambassador Badeau has also reported to me that you expressed some concern to him lest the United States be changing its policy toward the United Arab Republic. United States policy has not changed, nor do I see any current reason to change it. While the course of our cooperation inherently cannot always be smooth, I am greatly heartened by the fact that through the application of patience, effort and good will we have been able to cushion the shocks, to find escapes from difficult impasses and to point the way toward solution of problems that might at first glance have seemed impossible.
As Mr. Komer told you, I am quite concerned over the risks--and costs--inherent in the arms spiral in the Middle East. At the same time, I can understand your own security preoccupations, as well as those of Israel. I can assure you that we intend to maintain a balanced perspective on this problem, and to approach it in a fair minded and even-handed manner.
As you know, we regard last December's action by the United Nations General Assembly as a clear and renewed mandate to continue to try to help the Arab refugees out of the stalemate which prevents them from taking a place as useful members of society and which, in this country, has led each year to an increasing problem for us in maintaining our support of UNRWA at present levels. Building upon the Assembly's new resolution and upon the useful exploration which has taken place in the past year and a half, we are undertaking, as a member of the Commission, further bilateral talks with the governments primarily concerned. We approach these in the same spirit of objectivity and humanitarian concern which has guided our efforts so far. I look forward to hearing about your talks with Ambassador Badeau on this when other matters permit you to turn your attention to it.
I should not let the occasion pass, Mr. President, without extending to you and to your Iraqi and Syrian collaborators, a word of congratulation on the agreement in principle announced in Cairo on the formation of a new and enlarged United Arab Republic./3/ It seems that through a process of firm negotiation a sound constitutional structure is being created with a view to meeting the aspirations and views of the Arab peoples concerned.
/3/The Declaration of the Tripartite Union was signed at Cairo on April 17 by President Nasser, Chairman of the Syrian Revolutionary Council Attassi, and Iraqi Prime Minister Bakr.
Sincerely, John F. Kennedy"
216. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iraq/1/
CA - 11684
Washington, April 18, 1963, 6:24 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 1 IRAQ-US. Secret. Drafted by Strong and Killgore on April 15 and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Ankara, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Kuwait, London, and Tehran.
There follows for the background information of addressees, except Baghdad, the approved United States position governing the responses to be made for arms sales requests received from the Government of Iraq:/2/
/2/On April 5, Talbot sent a memorandum to Harriman recommending that he approve an Iraqi request to purchase 40 light tanks and 12 tank transporters. (Ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 5, Memos to Secretary and through S/S) In a memorandum to Harriman on April 8, Stoltzfus conveyed NEA's view that asking Iraq for a quick agreement with the Kurds as a quid pro quo for the arms sale would defeat the purpose of the sale, which was to augment U.S. influence with the new Iraqi regime. Stoltzfus added that the tanks had no real military significance even for internal use against the Kurds and that NEA did not believe the arms would materially affect the Arab-Israeli arms balance. (Ibid., Central Files, DEF 12-5 IRAQ) Harriman approved the request on April 9.
With the emergence of a new political situation in Iraq potentially altering drastically the political dynamics of the Near East, it is necessary to determine what policy should govern US sale of arms to that country. For several years prior to the recent coup, the US as a matter of policy sold to Iraq for cash only spare parts and ammunition for the military equipment of US origin previously supplied to Iraq. Several months ago we did approve, after delay of more than a year, the sale of 500 Reo trucks to the Iraqi Army, but the sale was not consummated.
Essential factors to be considered are:
A. The previous Iraqi regime acquired large quantities of Soviet military equipment to the point of standardization. We understand the Iraqi Army is disappointed in the quality of Soviet transport equipment, including aircraft.
B. Iraq still employs only limited quantities of US-origin tanks, artillery, transport radar and communications equipment supplied during the period of the Baghdad Pact.
C. Although the new regime is non-aligned and intends to maintain normal relations with both the Soviet Bloc and the West, attacks on it by International Communism for its alleged mistreatment of Iraqi Communists may well lead the regime to reduce its present dependence on the Soviet Union. Recent indications are that the regime may not only gradually come to rely primarily on the West for economic development and technology, but may turn also to the West for substantial military materiel.
D. The UK, prior to the Qasim regime, desired to be and acted as the main supplier of arms to Iraq. We assume the UK will wish to seek again to establish itself as the prime supplier of any armaments Iraq may desire from the West.
E. France has restored relations with Iraq, and may possibly wish to be available as a source of arms alternate to the Soviets and other Western countries, although French ties with Israel may serve as a restraint to some degree.
F. Iran and Turkey both are concerned over the buildup of Soviet arms in Iraq, and probably would be displeased at Western policies which might further strengthen Iraq, particularly if in the projected Federal union with Egypt and Syria, Iraq should come under Egyptian domination, which we do not expect, or if it should otherwise mount a credible irredentist threat against Iranian or Turkish territory.
G. Jordan and perhaps the UAR (depending on the outcome of current unity negotiations between Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad), might regard as favoritism towards Iraq a US policy permitting sale of any significant quantities or types of heavy or sophisticated weapons to Iraq.
H. Israel must regard the present Iraqi regime, with its pan-Arabist attraction to Syria and eventually Jordan, as a potential increase in the Arab threat to Israel's security. Israel would react strongly to the appearance of Iraqi military forces in the vicinity of Israel's border. Thus Israel would object seriously to a US policy permitting sale of significant quantities or types of heavy weapons or sophisticated equipment to Iraq.
I. Iraq's capacity to mount an offensive outside the country, particularly against distant Israel, is not limited by lack of military equipment (the Army already has about 350 heavy tanks, mainly Russian T-54's), but by logistics, organization, and problems of internal security. No real offensive capability is likely to be developed in the foreseeable future.
J. Iraq may desire training in the US for certain categories of military personnel.
K. Unlike the UAR, which uses its cotton surplus to pay for arms, Iraq must pay the Soviets in hard currency.
With these factors in mind, we recommend that in general the US follow toward Iraq the same arms policy as that governing sale of arms to those Arab states directly involved in the Arab-Israel conflict, namely, declining to become a major supplier of offensive weapons, taking into account, however, Iraq's distance from Israel, its lack of logistical capability, and its legitimate defensive and internal security needs. Requests for sales that fall into "offensive" categories should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Specifically we propose that the US should:
1. Avoid sale to Iraq of any significant quantities of heavy military equipment or sophisticated weapons, including late-model, high performance combat aircraft and naval vessels and craft.
2. Agree to requests for reasonable quantities of small arms up to and including machine guns, but not preclude consideration of requests for small numbers of heavier guns.
3. Be willing to sell quantities of transport vehicles, communications equipment, engineering equipment, and other "non-shooting" materiel.
4. Be willing to sell reasonable numbers of transport aircraft, up to and including limited numbers of "Flying Boxcars".
5. Continue the present program of grant aid non-combat training, consider requests for additional training on a reimbursable basis, but not preclude additional grant aid training if US interests would be served.
6. Refuse to cede to the UK its previous position of primacy in arms sales to Iraq. Notwithstanding, interpose no objection should the IAF seek to phase out its Soviet equipment and acquire reasonable numbers of British or other Western combat aircraft.
7. Agree to continue to sell Iraq spare parts and ammunition for equipment of US origin still employed by the Iraqi Army.
8. Given Iraq's relatively favorable foreign exchange position, undertake only cash sales to Iraq unless better terms are required to compete with other Western suppliers. The latter will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
9. Sell nothing classified to Iraq.
10. Consult with the Iranians and Turkish Governments before concluding agreements for arms sales to Iraq.
11. After informing the UK and French Governments of the foregoing, acquaint the Iraqi Government informally in the near future of the essentials of this policy.
For Baghdad: Embassy is requested acquaint GOI informally with essentials of USG policy. It is important for GOI to understand that USG continues to adhere to its long-time policy of avoiding becoming a major supplier of offensive weapons in the Arab-Israeli context.
For All Addressees: Consonant with our policy, the USG has agreed to a GOI request for the sale of 40 light tanks and 12 tank transporters. In our view these items meet legitimate defensive and internal security needs of Iraq.
217. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/
Washington, April 19, 1963, 9:04 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 UAR. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Barrow, cleared by Strong, and approved by Talbot. Sent to Amman, Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Kuwait, London, Paris, Taiz, Tehran, and Tel Aviv and sent by pouch to all other posts. For related documentation, see ibid., POL ISR-JORDAN and POL 3 ARAB FEDERATION; and ibid., S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Egypt.
1811. Department's information concerning Arab unity proclamation issued April 17 in Cairo is based upon unofficial texts received via radio but following is preliminary assessment and guidance:
A. Intent of the Parties
1. In proclaiming intent to federate and setting forth projected timetable, UAR, Syria and Iraq have obviously made step forward in achieving aspirations for unity but many difficulties remain.
2. Ultimate intent is to form parliamentary system of government which would include federal structure with full internationally recognized sovereignty and three separate regional structures without internationally recognized sovereignty.
1. Federal constitution and proposed federal president to be submitted to popular referendum to be held within five months at which time federated state officially established. (Provided agreement reached among present negotiators Dept believes referendum likely be pro forma ratification of constitution and overwhelming election of Nasser as first President.)
2. Three states remain legally independent and sovereign pending results of referendum.
3. Transitional period not to exceed 20 months is to allow time for solving problems of integrating those functions which to become federal responsibilities and establishing necessary federal and regional institutions to implement constitution.
C. Federal vs. Regional Powers
1. Federal responsibilities are to be in fields foreign affairs, defense, treasury and finance, economy and economic planning, information, culture, education, justice, communications and miscellaneous common problems. However degree and pace of integration in each of these fields would depend upon degree agreement among the parties during pre-referendum and transitional periods. Some functions (e.g., foreign affairs) lend themselves to more rapid integration than others (e.g., economy and finance).
2. Prerogatives not specifically assigned to federal government are responsibility of regional governments, presumably including internal security.
3. Proclamation assigns full responsibility for foreign representation and treaties to federal government but latter may assign by decree prerogatives in cultural relations and trade matters to regional governments. However no date for amalgamation foreign representation stipulated. Separate diplomatic representation likely be maintained until September referendum. Not clear whether separation may continue to exist during ensuing 20-month transitional period. (Interpretation of high UAR official would indicate to contrary.)
4. Unified command to be established but degree and timing of military integration not defined. Proclamation specifically provides regional governments retain control of respective armies for as long as desired during transitional period.
5. Political parties required to operate under supervision of single national front established under federal auspices and control. However pro-unity parties, presumably including Baathist, not required to dissolve their organizations.
D. Division of Powers within Federal Structure
1. During transitional period both legislative and executive powers vested in President assisted by a Presidential Council with equal representation from each region. Executive and legislative decisions taken by a majority of Council but President may veto any decision. Appears President and Presidential Council will implement decisions through cabinet responsible to them.
2. After 20-month period expires, supreme legislative authority to be vested in bicameral federal assembly; executive authority vested in cabinet appointed by President but responsible to assembly.
3. President and three vice presidents representing each region would be elected by two-thirds vote of all members (both houses) of assembly.
4. President, assisted by the three vice presidents, is supreme commander of armed forces, represents state, issues laws, proposes laws, vetoes laws, appoints and discharges cabinet officials, army officers, federal judges, and senior officials of federal state.
E. Division of Powers in Regional Government
During transitional period each region to prepare its own regional constitutions (which must not conflict with federal constitution). Latter would establish regional assemblies which would elect a regional president with approval of federal president. Regional president would appoint cabinet responsible to regional assembly.
A. Advantages Gained by Respective Parties
1. UAR gained retention of UAR name and Cairo as capital, provision for single federal president, retention of full presidential control during 20-month transitional period, requirement that political organizations merge in national front, assignment of most important prerogatives to federal state.
2. Syria and Iraq gained equal representation on Presidential Council both during and after transitional period, permanent representation by vice presidents in federal government, promise of parliamentary system of government, existence pro-unity parties (albeit under supervision of national front), establishment of regional governments with right to retain control of respective armies during transitional period. Ba'th also won guarantee of democratic freedoms some of which incompatible with authoritarian regime in Egypt.
B. Unresolved Problems
1. Degree and pace of integration of functions assigned as federal responsibilities particularly in critical areas of defense, foreign affairs and economy. Success or failure may well turn on attitude Syrian and Iraq armies.
2. Precise relationship of political parties to single federal political organization. Ba'th still has room for maneuver.
3. Selection of key individuals to represent Syrian and Iraqi regions.
4. Degree to which Nasser and Ba'th can resolve conflicting concepts of "Arab Socialism" and "collective leadership".
C. Effect on Other States
1. Whereas open to adherence by "every independent Arab republic believing in principles of freedom, socialism and unity", Department would not expect either Yemen or Algeria join in near future.
2. Despite reference to "liberation of Palestine" in preamble of proclamation we do not perceive significant effect on Near East military balance or that Israel's position less secure. Preoccupation these states with formidable problems of federation and lessened need outbid each other in hostility to Israel may in fact improve Israel's situation.
3. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Kuwait, as non-members of federation, will feel impact from momentum generated by proclamation. However in each of latter cases there are countervailing factors which we believe would deter any immediate threat to their integrity. Saudi Arabia derives protection from nature of its society, from provincial separation (which would make revolution embracing entire country difficult) and from declared interest of United States in maintenance its integrity. Jordan protected by virtue its role as buffer against Israel and partially by fact that it would be an economic liability to federation. Lebanon's delicate confessional balance would make it anomaly in federation which officially proclaimed to be Islamic. Western interest in integrity both Lebanon and Jordan abundantly demonstrated in 1958. Kuwait has defense tie with UK.
4. No reason believe federation would have hostile intentions toward Iran or Turkey except as function latter's relations with Israel. Border problems and disputes should be resolvable by negotiation. Former UAR hostility to Baghdad Pact not applicable to CENTO so long as Iraq stays within Arab sphere.
D. Prognosis for the Future
Department expects during ensuing 5 months until referendum adopted and carrying over into a substantial part of transitional period, considerable maneuvering for advantage by respective parties. Too early to make any definite judgment about success of the parties in reaching agreement on the critical problems which remain unresolved. Nor are we sure of stability present Syrian and Iraqi regimes which still suffer from factionalism and deep division of opinion.
In discussing situation with colleagues you should thus take a detached view, avoiding premature judgments. You should emphasize that this is primarily an inter-Arab matter in which we avoid taking sides. US welcomes closer association among Arabs provided reflects freely expressed desires of peoples concerned achieved without force and not directed against other state or states in area.
218. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, April 20, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 228. Secret. Drafted by Miklos and Bracken and cleared by Spain (CIA), Colonel Preble (DOD), Gaud, and Kaufmann.
In accordance with NSAM 228, I have reviewed our policies and programs for Iran in the light of recent changes in the situation in Iran.
A. Changes in Iran affecting policy and actions:
1. The Shah, with greater confidence on the security side, turned to energetic solutions of the country's worst politico-economic problems.
2. The Shah plunged into a greatly accelerated land distribution program and promised additional benefits to urban workers.
3. The Shah abandoned his traditional power base in favor of dependence on a combination of the military, peasantry, and urban lower middle class.
4. The Iranian government weakened its concept of a broad national politico-economic approach based on the institutions and practices of centralized, rational economic planning and financial controls.
5. Economic activity, and particularly private investment, slowed into a recession.
6. The Iranians have adjusted to the termination of dollar grant assistance and have shown commendable self-reliance in trying to work out their own affairs.
B. Estimate of future course of events in Iran:
1. Progress will be made on improving the capability of Iran's armed forces while reducing force levels.
2. Planning and implementation of a broadly conceived, integrated economic development program will be limited by lack of effective government direction and by the shortage of administrative talent.
3. The pace and direction of the land distribution program and follow-up on land reform measures will be confused and erratic but more moderate tactics will probably be introduced as it moves forward.
4. Agricultural production and/or the supply of food in urban centers will probably decline during the next two or three years.
5. Potential domestic and foreign investors will be cautious in embarking on new ventures and economic growth will be slow.
6. The hostility of the urban educated groups, the dispossessed landlords and the mullahs toward the Shah and his program will continue, but it is not likely that these forces will coalesce in a way which would cause the Shah to fall. The military will remain loyal to him.
7. Unless he is assassinated, the Shah will remain as Chief of State and the ultimate repository of power in Iran. Under his direction Iran will continue its pro-Western posture and close alliance with the U.S.
I believe our present broad policy of support and encouragement of the Shah and his reform program is correct. I believe, however, that it can be sharpened and made more effective by emphasizing the following points and taking the following specific steps:
1. Give timely and appropriate support to the major elements of the Shah's reform program.
2. Expand our PL-480 programs to make up for anticipated agricultural production shortfalls and/or increased consumption on the farm.
3. Use the proceeds of our PL-480 programs to increase the lending resources of the Agricultural Bank and to support other aspects of the land reform program.
4. Encourage the Government of Iran to loosen up its conservative fiscal policies by promoting increased levels of public and private investment in order to correct the recession.
5. Support the Third Plan and in so doing encourage more reforms in budgetary controls and practices and the administrative streamlining that will contribute to the Plan's success.
6. Continue to monitor measures being taken by Iran to carry out the multi-year MAP agreement reached with the Shah.
7. Devise the most practical procedure for review with the GOI of the over-all resource allocation to keep an appropriate balance between defense and development expenditures that will insure the long-term stability of the country.
A more elaborate examination of the issues involved and the basis for the foregoing conclusions and recommendations is enclosed./2/ Representatives of the Department of Defense, the Agency for International Development, and the Central Intelligence Agency have collaborated in this review, and concur in the findings and recommendations.
/2/The enclosure, "U.S. Strategy for Iran," is in the Supplement, the compilation on Iran.
219. Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Strong)/1/
Washington, April 25, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 JORDAN. Secret. Transmitted to the White House on April 26 under cover of a memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy indicating that it had been prepared at Komer's request.
1. Now stabilized--trouble was largely caused by enthusiastic students reacting to revolutions in Iraq and Syria and to federation movement./2/
/2/Beginning on April 17, a series of demonstrations in Jordan, particularly on the West Bank, precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister Rifa'i when he failed to receive a vote of confidence from the Jordanian Chamber of Deputies. King Hussein appointed Hussein Ibn Nasir to head a new Cabinet and dissolved the Chamber of Deputies. Under the Jordanian Constitution, new elections were to be held in 4 months.
2. Army and police--remained loyal and effective.
3. Tension--likely to remain for some time.
4. UAR propaganda--has been an incitement, but little evidence of organized and effective external interference otherwise.
5. UAR intentions--we doubt UAR wishes risk Israeli military intervention in Jordan or take on obligation of budgetary support, or pose direct challenge to US.
6. Israel intentions--protect Jordan by creating impression of readiness to move militarily; pressure US in particular to undertake vigorous campaign to preserve Jordan's status quo; move into West Bank if a pro-UAR regime is established in Jordan; utilize disturbed conditions in Near East to extract further benefits from US.
7. UK intentions--support Hussein short of military intervention.
B. Future Prospects
1. Security measures--expected to be effective unless constant, severe repression of large segments of population necessary. Army might eventually prove unwilling.
2. New, enlarged UAR--if it is launched and proves successful in operation, will exert great attraction on Jordan. If unsuccessful or obviously unjust to Iraq and Syria, Jordanian enthusiasm for federation will wane.
3. Reform and development--gains under Wasfi Tell likely to be lost in part--new impetus must be provided.
C. Measures Already Taken
1. Public statements--Secretary Rusk on March 8,/3/ Lincoln White April 22,/4/ Assistant Secretary Talbot April 22 (enclosed)./5/
/3/For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, p. 602.
/4/During the Department of State daily press briefing on April 22, Department Spokesman White described recent developments in Jordan and indicated that the United States was keeping close watch on the situation and was doing what it could to promote peace and stability in the area. An excerpt from the briefing's transcript is in Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 65 D 5, Public Statements.
/5/Attached but not printed. On April 23 speaking before the National Foreign Policy Conference for Editors and Broadcasters, Talbot noted that Jordan was apparently in the process of "adjusting itself to some of the prevailing trends in the Arab world" and that the United States expected Jordan to seek to maintain harmonious and close relationships with its Arab neighbors. The United States also believed that Jordan's stability was "important to the maintenance of the condition of peace in the Near East."
2. Quiet diplomacy with UAR and Israel.
3. Personal assurances to Hussein we stand by him.
4. Consultations with UK--Assistant Secretary Talbot in London.
D. Measures Planned for Near Future
1. Continue quiet diplomacy--must not overdo public statements openly challenging Arab nationalism. Would be likely to force UAR, Syria and Iraq to use all means to overthrow Hussein. Avoid reacting to Israeli press stories--request Israel cease press provocations.
2. Military survey mission--send US-UK group to Jordan to discuss arms purchases, MAP program for future, and organization and management of Jordanian Army--presence will be construed by other Arabs as evidence of US-UK military support for Jordan. No publicity.
3. Paratroop exercise--Late May--US group participate in Jordanian paratroop graduation exercises on Jordanian Army Day. Low key publicity as training exercise.
4. Destroyer visit--Aqaba--June.
5. Police training mission--after situation calms down.
6. Reforms--Economic Development. Encourage reestablishment of momentum gained by Wasfi Tell.
1. Situation manageable currently.
2. Assassination attempt versus Hussein is possible.
3. Strong reasons exist for UAR not to make all-out effort against Jordan.
4. Our evidences of support for Hussein are adequate for now.
5. Return to "normalcy" and emphasis on reform and development should be undertaken as soon as possible.
6. If new UAR federation has serious difficulties, pressure on Jordan will ease.
7. If new UAR federation successful, pressure on Jordan will increase and pose problem of greater magnitude and intensity.
F. Contingency--if situation worsens
1. Consider taking case to Security Council under the so-called "Arab Resolution" adopted August 21, 1958 in the Third Emergency Session.
2. Consider sending US ground and air contingents to Jordan on "training missions"--(contingency paper in preparation).
220. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/
Washington, April 27, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 5/4/63. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "Orig and enc taken to Pres's meeting."
By the enclosed Note of April 26, 1963/2/ the Israel Embassy conveyed to the Department a personal message from Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to the President.
/2/Attached but not printed.
The Prime Minister's message contains the following principal points:
1. Recent Middle East events (inclusion in the April 17 UAR federation declaration of a promise to establish a "military union" to "liberate Palestine") adversely affect area stability and Israel's security.
2. Israel is not helpless: in a test of strength it can defeat all three but it is not eager for such a victory.
3. Israel finds it difficult to believe that the United States and the civilized world would acquiesce in such an attempt at "liberation".
4. Egypt receives Soviet military assistance and, despite these threats to annihilate Israel, large-scale financial aid from the United States and other Western powers. The latter serves "to set the Russian arms in action against Israel".
5. Most effective in forestalling a disastrous effort at "liberation" would be a United States-USSR joint declaration (a) guaranteeing the territorial integrity and security of all states in the Middle East and (b) promising termination of all assistance to any state which threatens or refuses to recognize the existence of its neighbors. Israel acknowledges uncertainty as to whether the United States would be willing to propose, or the USSR to sign, such a declaration now, but if this suggestion is not feasible "the situation in the Middle East assumes a gravity without parallel".
6. The Prime Minister expresses a willingness to fly to Washington for discussion with the President without publicity.
7. Israel is appreciative of the Hawk missile, but regrets that in the light of new offensive weapons being prepared by Israel's neighbors, the Hawk alone is not a deterrent.
The Department will promptly acknowledge receipt of the Israel Embassy's Note transmitting the message to the President and will prepare a suggested draft reply for the President's consideration.
/3/Read signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.
221. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Under Secretary of State (Ball) and Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/
Washington, April 27, 1963, 8:50 a.m.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, Jordan. No classification marking.
Ball--We had some information last night indicating there may be coups in Jordan today if it didn't occur during the night. We'd like to have a serious look at what we do with the Sixth Fleet and also the evacuation plans for Americans, etc. I didn't know whether you knew about it yet or not.
McNamara--I didn't. I've been going over the cables, but I haven't come across that.
Ball--You won't find it in the cables. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] The thing is that this could precipitate into an Israeli move too, so that we may be in for some real trouble. I'm going to meet with the President at 10:15 on this. I'm not sure it wouldn't be a good idea if you or one of your people--
McNamara--I'll be happy to come over. 10:15 at the White House. We'll look into the situation in the meantime and find out what we can do. What kind of arrangements if any are you thinking about.
Ball--I just got into this thing myself. The situation is that it would appear to be an army or military coup done with the complete knowledge of the UAR. To what extent it may result in a government by them if it succeeds is something that's hard to tell at this moment. It's all a part of that whole business that's been going on in Iraq and Syria. The real problem is whether the Israelis will sit still.
McNamara--Suppose they didn't?
Ball--Then there's a real question as to what we do to keep this thing from really--
McNamara--Wouldn't we try to get the UN in?
Ball--Yes, we've got some plans for that.
McNamara--Would we intervene as a UN force?
Ball--The thing would have to go in the Security Council immediately, and then there would be question as to whether they should try to put some kind of presence out there./2/ The reason I called you is to have somebody look at the whole question of deployment, etc. and see what we might have to do fast either if there were some basis for our intervention or secondly on an evacuation for the American nationals there.
/2/At 9:10 a.m., Ball telephoned Cleveland to alert him to the possibility that something might happen in Jordan that day and that the United States might need to go to the U.N. Security Council. (Ibid.)
McNamara--I'll have it by 10:15 meeting.
222. Memorandum for the Record/1/
Washington, April 27, 1963, 10:15-11 a.m.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jordan, 4/63. Secret. Drafted by Komer.
Meeting with the President on Situation in Jordan
Undersecretary George Ball
Mr. James Grant
Mr. Robert Strong
Mr. Mike Feldman
Mr. McGeorge Bundy
Mr. R. W. Komer
Secretary Ball described the situation in Jordan. The reported coup group seemed Baathist but friendly to Nasser. We face two questions: (1) what to do if Israel moves; (2) how to protect US citizens, chiefly in the Jerusalem area? He worried about the ferocity of an Arab mob if it lost its head, perhaps because the US appeared to be backing a pro-Israeli move. McNamara indicated we had about 500 Americans in the area, and that it should be possible to evacuate them by plane from the two Jerusalem airfields.
As to the Israelis, they had two alternative moves: to rectify their lines in the Jerusalem area or to take over the entire West Bank. Ball said our dilemma was what to do if they acted. The President's view was that obviously the UAR would not give Israel any guarantee in return for being allowed to incorporate Jordan in the new UAR. If we guaranteed Israel and then the Israelis moved, how would we handle the situation? Grant indicated that one way of protecting Israeli interests in event of a pro-UAR coup in Jordan would be to arrange that no non-Jordanian troops be stationed on the West Bank of the Jordan.
The President asked what we gained from our policy toward Nasser? He was obviously a coming force in the Middle East and we naturally wanted to stay on the right side of him, but what about the growing accusation that our support was helping him pursue expansionist policies? The President was concerned about the dangers of Israel building a case that our aid to Nasser made him play his hand far more boldly than otherwise and precipitate the current dangerous situation in the Middle East. We should find ways and means of refuting this charge. Grant explained the gains which we thought we had made as a result of our policy of giving certain assistance to the UAR. Nasser had put the Israeli problem in the icebox, he had shown restraint on various international issues where previously he had been strongly anti-US, etc. Komer pointed out that it was necessary to distinguish between the sheer physical fact that the UAR was the largest power in the Arab world and hence the natural focus of Israeli concerns and the question of whether the UAR was actively pursuing an anti-Israeli policy.
The President read BG's letter/2/ and discussion turned to his request for a joint US/USSR security guarantee. The President thought this was unrealistic; the USSR would never overtly back Israel in this manner. The President thought we should tell BG our situation with the USSR was currently so difficult--over Laos, testing, Cuba, Berlin--that we couldn't move jointly with them. As for BG's suggestion that he visit the US, this would merely exacerbate Arab feelings we were pro-Israeli. Nor would we want BG to come here until we knew what to tell him. McNamara asked whether Israel would ever be secure until it got the West Bank of the Jordan; this seemed the logical military frontier.
/2/See Document 220.
Grant felt that if Israel grabbed the West Bank, it would prolong Arab-Israeli hostility by 15 years. There was also danger that if Israel moved, the UAR might launch air attacks; it was difficult to see how the UAR could retaliate effectively otherwise. If the UAR bombed Israel, then the Israelis might retaliate against Egyptian targets. The President asked whether he should make a press conference statement, perhaps next week, that insofar as the US is concerned the 1950 Tripartite Guarantee still stood./3/ As the President saw it, the real problem now was that the Israelis might move, not the Arabs. This was what BG's letter seemed to be telling us. Israel is really the danger, since it wants to move first if there is a coup in Jordan. Komer pointed out that there were two major threats to Arab-Israeli stability: first, the possible repercussions in Jordan of the current Arab unity trend, and second the likely escalation of the arms race into a nuclear-missile phase. Our hole card with Israel was its desire for a US security guarantee; if possible we should tie this not only to Jordan but to Israeli agreement not to develop nuclear weapons.
/3/Reference is to the Tripartite Declaration of May 25, 1950, in which the United States, the United Kingdom, and France declared, among other points, their "unalterable opposition to the use of force or threat of force" between the states of the Near East. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, June 5, 1950, p. 886.
The President decided on the following courses of action:
(1) We should tell the Israelis not to take precipitate action; Ball said that we should tell them we were greatly concerned by various alarming indications of trouble in Jordan and could see them touching off a chain of events with serious possibilities of escalation so we hoped Israel would adopt a policy of restraint.
(2) We should go back to Badeau and have him make sure that Nasser understood the consequences if Israel moved. Badeau should tell Nasser we were sure he wasn't interested in an Arab-Israeli war at this point but indicate that the Israelis might well be interested in preventive war before the Arabs were ready. Therefore Nasser ought to do what he could to prevent such a confrontation. If we put the problem in this way, we should not look so pro-Israeli to Nasser.
(3) We should work on the UK to be prepared to move in troops if necessary. Because of the primacy of UK interest in this area, they ought to move in, not us (the consensus was, however, that the UK would not move except jointly with the US).
(4) We should move the Sixth Fleet carriers to the Eastern Mediterranean./4/
/4/On April 27 at 1:24 p.m. Washington time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff instructed USCINCEUR to move the U.S.S. Saratoga and Enterprise Task Groups to the Eastern Mediterranean and, pending further instructions, to remain approximately 1-2 days sailing time from the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The JCS advised: "no publicity to be volunteered, although it is recognized that week end sailing will produce speculation." (Telegram 9667, DTG 271824Z Apr 63; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jordan)
(5) We should consider sending the air squadron to Saudi Arabia before disengagement was actually underway as an indirect warning to Nasser.
(6) We should review the conditions under which we would restate the Tripartite Guarantee.
The President indicated he would like to be shown the various messages being sent out as a result of the above decisions, though not before they were sent.
R. W. Komer/5/
/5/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
223. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, April 27, 1963, 4:47 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 JORDAN. Secret; Limit Distribution; Emergency. Drafted by Strong and Nyerges; cleared by Ford (S/S-O); and approved by Cottam.
752. Following information has already been sent to Beirut, Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, Jidda, London, Amman:
Mounting indications exist immediate coup being planned by Army and other groups in Jordan. Believed aligned neither with Nasser or Baath but going ahead with Nasser's knowledge and maybe assistance. We unable gauge at present chances for success and objectives not entirely known to us.
Seems Israel aware coup plans and is extremely nervous. Prospect exists if coup successful and UAR influence appears predominant, Israel may decide for military action in Jordan or Egypt, or both. Ambassadors in area should review emergency plans and preparations without in any way revealing above knowledge.
For London: Situation being reviewed today with UK Embassy. Request you do so likewise with FonOff./2/
/2/An April 27 memorandum from Komer to Bundy indicates that Ball spoke to Greenhill of the British Embassy on April 27 and that "apparently UK has no plans of any kind for military action and is strongly disinclined to move. We are convinced they see anything they do in Jordan as greatly complicating their much more important position in the Persian Gulf--they're dead right. But Greenhill did agree to engage in immediate contingency planning and George [Ball] is getting McNamara to lay it on." Komer's memorandum also indicates that King Hussein was warned of the coup plans. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jordan, 4/63)
For Tel Aviv: If coup attempt in fact takes place you should at once strongly advise Ben-Gurion take no military action and say we will maintain close touch with GOI. It by no means clear coup, if successful, would mean immediate Nasser control over Jordan or introduction non-Jordan forces. We will use full weight our influence toward unchanged situation on Jordan-Israel border.
For Damascus and Baghdad: In event Jordan coup effort you should immediately approach Government at highest level and say every effort will be made prevent external interference and spread of coup. Syria and Iraq can make best contribution by remaining absolutely quiet and in no way goading Israelis.
For Cairo: In event coup, advise Nasser if UAR identifies itself as coup author or mentor it would only serve goad Israel. We rely on UAR avoid any measure contributing to risk conflagration involving others beyond Jordan.
224. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, April 27, 1963, 8:17 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong, cleared by Marvin (S/S) and the White House, and approved by Grant. Repeated to Amman, Damascus, Baghdad, London, and Tehran for Secretary Rusk and Talbot who were in Iran April 28-29, en route to Karachi to attend the CENTO Ministerial Meeting.
2647. Embtel 1862./2/ Department compliments you on your initiative and handling of conversation with Sharaf.
/2/Badeau reported in telegram 1862 from Cairo, April 27, that after hearing reports of possible violent action in Jordan, he sought a meeting with Presidential aide-de-camp Sami Sharaf in the absence of Ali Sabri. Badeau told Sharaf that he was speaking without instructions, but expected to receive some shortly if the Jordan situation continued. Badeau then delivered what he called a "detailed and blunt exposition of our fears concerning Jordan and effect of violent action on USA-UAR relations and general stability of area." (Ibid., POL 26 JORDAN)
Believe desirable get word to Nasser that you have now received instructions which confirm your approach to Sharaf and add following points:
(1) What Israel fears most and what likely trigger Israel military action is threat of a change which will result in UAR forces appearing on Israeli-Jordanian frontier. Thus, a coup that is given appearance of direction by UAR or control of which taken over by elements openly pro-UAR likely have only one result. We say this because Israel has capability of sudden military action with little or no chance of prior detection of intention. While USG has cordial relations with Israel and presses for restraint, we cannot count on restraining Israel when it considers its vital interests at stake. We not relaying Israeli threat. We recognize reality.
(2) We want Nasser to know that our views not based just on concern for Israel but is related to all we and UAR are trying to do. US and UAR face mutual peril in this situation. US has much to lose, but we think UAR has even more to lose.
225. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
Washington, April 27, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL JORDAN. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Crawford on May 2 and approved in U on May 7. The source text is labeled "Part I of II Parts."
Ambassador Harman of Israel
Mr. Mordechai Gazit, Minister of Israel
NEA--Acting Assistant Secretary James P. Grant
U--Mr. George S. Springsteen
NEA:NE--William R. Crawford, Jr.
Ambassador Harman called at the Acting Secretary's request.
The Acting Secretary said he wished to express deepest regret regarding the death of President Ben-Zvi.
Regarding Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's April 26 letter to the President,/2/ this had been discussed with the President and we hope to be able to reply within a few days. The Prime Minister's letter raises some difficult problems, but we are glad to have been informed of Israel's concerns. We ourselves are studying the situation with intensity.
/2/See Document 220.
The Acting Secretary said we have asked the Ambassador to call because there have been indications something might happen in Jordan. Our information is fragmentary; it is hard to assess the form a movement might take, its timing, and its chances of success or failure; but there is the chance of something happening within a few hours or days. On the basis of present intelligence, it is hard to sort out whether the movement is entirely indigenous or whether Cairo has an interest in it, and whether the end result would be a government devoted to Jordan's independence or one which would seek to bring Jordan under the UAR umbrella. We have impressed strongly on President Nasser that any move toward Jordan would be of very serious concern to the US Government, with possible gravest repercussions for the Middle East and the world. It is a matter of concern to us that if something should happen Israel would not act precipitously or until the nature of what emerges has become clearer. If Israel were to move militarily, it is doubtful that the UAR could sit still and in the end we might find that the Soviets had become involved also. We will take every reasonable measure to prevent a deterioration in Jordan or a UAR movement. If possible, we will try to keep the Hussein government in control.
Ambassador Harman said he would convey this message to his government. The Ambassador said that from recent conversations the US is well aware of Israel's special concerns regarding a possible change in Jordan, which are two:
1. If there were UAR inspiration. There are some indications of this in the vicious official and clandestine radio propaganda against Hussein from Cairo, which is being chorused in Damascus and Baghdad.
2. If a situation should develop in Jordan which could be exploited by the UAR on the Yemen pattern.
Ambassador Harman said that in either of the two foregoing situations, "there could be no question at all of the view Israel would have to take or the gravity with which it would see the situation." This is not a question of precipitousness. It is gratifying that the US seems determined to help Hussein hang on. Israel has the same objective.
Mr. Grant commented there is always a measure of UAR pressure. Do the Ambassador's remarks, therefore, encompass any change of government in Jordan?
Ambassador Harman replied that the "mood of any move" in Jordan now would be clear from the nature of the demonstrations which have taken place, from the use of the four-starred UAR flag, etc.
Mr. Grant said it is far from clear to the US that if there were a change it would necessarily or even probably be subordinate to Nasser. We have before us the recent examples of coups in Damascus and Baghdad. These do not represent undiluted extension of Nasser's control.
The Ambassador said that at the time of the recent Ba'th coups in Iraq and Syria the United States had expressed its view of these as a potential counterpoise to the attractions of Nasserism. We have seen what happened between February 8 and April 17. It is clear what Nasser's forces are trying to do.
Mr. Grant pointed out that there are also other forces at work.
Ambassador Harman said he would like to hear further particulars about the Jordan situation.
The Acting Secretary replied that our information is fragmentary but in the next few hours or days there may be an attempt against Hussein, with some backing from the Jordanian military. Our assumption is that Cairo is aware of but not directing the movement. Our information has been conveyed to King Hussein. We will do what we prudently can to help him. We have made our views clear to Mr. Nasser.
In response to the Ambassador's further question as to US intentions, the Acting Secretary said it would be very difficult to take action beyond that which has already occurred if the movement is indigenous. Hussein is still in control and has not sought our assistance. If he did, we would have to consider the request in light of all the facts available to us.
Ambassador Harman recalled that in 1958 the US had acted swiftly to protect the situation in Lebanon and Jordan. Any change in Jordan now would open Pandora's box. Hussein's is the legitimate regime and he has the support of the people. Opposition elements are "plotters" who do not express the free will of the Jordanians.
The Acting Secretary agreed that we do not favor any change.
Mr. Grant commented that a substantial portion of the population in Jordan is caught up in the spirit of Arab unity and the attraction of current union developments. This has affected the youth of the country and perhaps some of the army. If the new federation does not work, the attraction will pale. Therefore, the critical period is in the months that lie ahead.
Ambassador Harman said the Ba'this shared this notion, but Nasser's influence has been used against the Ba'th and now it is boxed in. This has clear implications for Jordan and is the framework in which Israel would have to view any change. Any successor regime in Jordan which held out against union after an uprising would have the April 17 agreement cited against it.
Mr. Grant said we have a less certain evaluation. Israel has reason to be concerned by the April 17 declaration, but for those in Baghdad the declaration has bought some time.
Ambassador Harman said that the line must be held. Any kind of temporizing or efforts to buy time will only create greater problems for Hussein. He would not like to leave the Secretary with any misapprehensions as to the framework in which Israel would approach any change of government in Jordan. This goes to the heart of Israel's security. There is no reason for a change. If Hussein goes, conversely the Ba'th in Iraq and Syria will be weakened. Therefore, Jordan is decisive, not just for the security of Israel but for the future of the area. It would be gratifying to be able to report to Jerusalem that the US will take very definite action to protect the situation.
The Acting Secretary said that if the Ambassador is referring to military action, we cannot say now what we would do. Nothing at all may happen. The Middle East has heard of many coups which never took place. Even if there is a change, we do not see the threat in the same time frame as Israel. It would be, at minimum, many months before Israel's considerable deterrent advantage could be jeopardized. Therefore, Israel can afford to see what emerges.
Mr. Grant pointed out that precipitous Israel action might well coalesce the very centralized, unified state which Israel fears. Left to themselves, the Arabs have a very considerable capacity to decentralize and neutralize themselves.
At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that in dealing with press inquiries it would be said that Mr. Ball had asked the Ambassador to call to express personal condolences for President Ben-Zvi's death and that, since Mr. Ball is now taking over for a considerable period as Acting Secretary, he felt that a tour d'horizon would be useful./2/
/2/The Department of State transmitted an account of this conversation to the Embassy in Tel Aviv at 8:17 p.m. on April 27 and added: "Subsequent to meeting Gazit called to ask for `unofficial' clarification whether USG would provide military support if requested by Hussein. He was informed use of American forces in Jordan was not foreclosed but that we not prepared specify at this time circumstances under which any military intervention might take place." (Ibid., POL 26 JORDAN) The memorandum of conversation is ibid., POL JORDAN-US.
226. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/
Amman, April 28, 1963, 6 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 JORDAN. Top Secret; Operational Immediate. Repeated to USUN, Geneva, Cairo, Beirut, Tel Aviv, London, Damascus, Baghdad, and Jerusalem.
503. Department telegram 486./2/ Met with King Hussein noon 28th at Defense Ministry where Hussein interrupted consultations with military officials in order receive me without delay.
/2/Dated April 27. (Ibid., POL 26 JORDAN)
I took opportunity review import recent Talbot-Cleveland-Lincoln White statements re U.S. attitude towards Jordan and also convey to him sense paragraph 2, Department telegram 471./3/ King expressed genuine appreciation.
/3/Paragraph 2 of telegram 471 to Amman, April 21, instructed Macomber to tell King Hussein that no credence should be given to a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz alleging that the United States was encouraging King Hussein's abdication and Jordanian adherence to the United Arab Republic. Macomber was also to assure Hussein once again "of continued USG support for stability of regime and for Jordan's continued independence and integrity." (Ibid., POL 15-1 JORDAN)
I next raised subject Spinelli's visit here per instructions paragraph 1 reference telegram. After carefully considering matter, Hussein's reaction was "at least at this time" against GOJ taking initiative in calling Spinelli to Jordan. He had no objection, in fact thought it good idea, if Spinelli would visit Jordan on his own initiative in near future. King did not however want create public impression in this or in other ways Jordan prematurely seeking outside help in order surmount present difficulties. Believed there still good chance Jordan could ride out present storms without major outside assistance and thought it very much in interest his regime do it this way if possible. Remainder of meeting taken up with matter being separately reported.
Comment: Embassy fully concurs in Hussein's position re Spinelli's visit. As Department aware "U.N. presence" continues be maintained here through U.N. Official Taylor Shore who resident in Amman, with permanently staffed, continually operating office, for purpose representing Spinelli in latter's absence. Shore had been planning take vacation but confirmed this morning that UN headquarters had instructed him defer these plans for at least two months. In response my query, Shore expressed opinion Spinelli likely visit Amman in near future, but not until after Secretary General's May 1-2 visit Geneva.
Embassy considers Spinelli's early presence here would be helpful. Spinelli has maintained close working relationships with our respective Embassies and has responded similar requests in past.
While considerable tension remains in situation here, recent relative absence public disorders, together with other surface indicators, tend suggest possibility that immediate threat internal turbulence may, for time being, be subsiding. We not yet, of course, in position state this with certainty. For moment, however, believe we should be careful avoid upsetting this apparent trend by giving possibly exaggerated impression lack of confidence on part U.S.-U.K. in its ability handle present situation. Hence, while we believe both public and unpublicized actions taken recently by U.S.G. for purpose buttressing Jordanian stability and integrity have been both necessary and extremely helpful, we would now suggest additional actions this regard be held in abeyance pending further clarification situation.
In meantime we urge contingency planning along lines indicated recent Departmental messages continue. Even if Embassy's present tentative hopes for improvement immediate situation materialize, we continue feel that similar difficulties may recur in relatively near future.
U.K. colleague concurs in foregoing and making similar comments to Foreign Office.
227. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
Washington, April 28, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL JORDAN. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Crawford on May 1 and approved in U on May 7. The source text is labeled "Part II of II Parts."
Ambassador Avraham Harman of Israel
Mr. Mordechai Gazit, Minister of Israel
NEA--Acting Assistant Secretary James P. Grant
NEA:NE--William R. Crawford, Jr.
Ambassador Harman apologized for seeking an appointment on a Sunday, but said he had done so at Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's request to convey the latter's response to the information given Israel the previous day regarding a possible coup in Jordan. The Prime Minister's response consists of the following three points:
1. The major problem in the Middle East is not Jordan, but the new Egyptian-Syrian-Iraqi declaration of a war of destruction against Israel. Israel must ask itself how Soviet arms aid, US and Western economic assistance, and the principles of the UN Charter can be reconciled with the inclusion of this threatening statement in a "constitutional document".
2. It is incumbent upon the US and its allies to take positive, concrete measures to oblige these three states to comply with the UN Charter and renounce this threat of force.
3. As regards Jordan, "any change would make it imperative to have the West Bank completely demilitarized. It would be impossible to ask Israel to acquiesce in the presence there of Egyptian, Syrian, or Iraqi troops, or Jordanian troops should there be a change in Jordan. Such troops would be within 1/2 mile from Israel's capital in Jerusalem and adjacent to the critical Natanya waist where Israel is only fifteen kilometers wide. Without such demilitarization, Israel would find itself in permanent danger and inaction would be tantamount to suicide."
The Ambassador said Israel would wish to hold strictly confidential both the fact and substance of this meeting. It hopes the US will do so as well.
In elaborating on points (1) and (2), the Ambassador said Prime Minister Ben-Gurion has made clear in his letter to President Kennedy how he regards the April 17 UAR federation declaration. This constitutes a new and serious reality. Since April 17, not a day has passed without some measure taken to consolidate Nasser's triumph. Most recently, there have been military staff talks. The Ambassador said the Prime Minister has asked that he (the Ambassador) reemphasize his comment of the previous day: that any change in Jordan would have to be viewed in this context. This is a critical concern. Whatever the stresses between them, there is no difference in quality as between Egypt, Syria, and Iraq in their attitude of belligerency toward Israel.
The Acting Secretary said he appreciates Israel's swift response to the previous day's comments by our Government. We ourselves have regarded the "liberation" statement as a matter of concern. We immediately made representations to Nasser about it. Nevertheless, there is some difference between us as to the amount of emphasis which should be placed on this. To us this threat is largely a slogan. We would have thought it would probably appear in any document of federation. In the April 17 statement, however, it is but one article among a great many and receives less emphasis than it might otherwise have had. This statement on our part should in no way be construed as belittling our concern, particularly were there an effort to translate this statement into action.
The Acting Secretary said we can appreciate Israel's concern regarding a possible change in Jordan, particularly if the West Bank were invested by troops strengthened as the result of federation. Our request that the Ambassador call yesterday was an indication of the seriousness with which we regard this. The subject was discussed this afternoon on the telephone with President Kennedy. The President reiterated very strongly our concern regarding the situation as evolving. Whatever happens, however, and we hope nothing does, it is our request that Israel not act precipitously and would consult with the U.S. Government. The Middle East has heard of many coups which never occurred. We are watching with most intense concern. We hope to have a response to the Prime Minister's letter in a day or two.
Ambassador Harman said he was gratified to hear this from the Acting Secretary. Israel hopes to stay in constant touch. As to our respective evaluations of the federation declaration, this is a constitutional document, not a piece of paper. The Arabs have even made reference to the liberation of Palestine as the rationale for union. It would be quite irresponsible for Israel to shape its policies on any assumption other than that the Arabs mean what they say.
The Acting Secretary and Mr. Grant agreed that the federation declaration signals caution, but it is a declaration and falls far short of being a constitution. There is the possibility of real danger, but it is well in the future and we cannot believe that there will not be time for consultation between us.
Ambassador Harman replied that yesterday and today's talks have been most helpful to this purpose. It would be terrible to think what might have happened if there had not been these consultations and the consequent alertness and preparedness.
The Ambassador said he had often referred to the cumulative psychological effect of an unopposed, constant reiteration of belligerency by the Arabs. We see the result today. It is important to take a stand on the principles of the UN Charter. Israel is considering what formal action it must take in this regard. The form of such action has not yet been determined.
228. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) and Acting Secretary of State Ball/1/
Washington, April 29, 1963, 12:20 p.m.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, Jordan. No classification marking.
Bundy--What are the Jews and the Arabs up to?
Ball--Let me give you a kind of run down of the situation. First of all you probably saw a reporting telegram on my talk last night with Harman./2/
/2/Telegram 756 to Tel Aviv, April 28. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 JORDAN)
Bundy--It was Saturday, or did you talk with him again?
Ball--He came to my house last night.
Bundy--No, I haven't seen that yet.
Ball--This is another one that has gone out. What he was doing was bringing a reply which was in effect laying a legal case for freedom of action for them, as I read the thing, because the line he was taking was that the April 17 Declaration . . . .
Bundy--Creates a kind of constitutional declaration of war?
Ball--Yes, that's right. It is a declaration of war imbedded in an organic document.
Bundy--You know, they are very good at words, these guys. Can you imagine writing a constitution of Arab unity that didn't say something like this?
Ball--Oh no. I pointed this out well to him but this doesn't impress him at all.
Bundy--He is a hard bitten cookie.
Ball--Then he said, now, what this means, of course, is that if there is a Jordanian accession to the April 17 document, presumably after a coup, that in the Israeli armistice obligations are no longer binding and they can do what they please. Now, I have got the boys sending off telegrams to Macomber and Wally Barbour and also Badeau this morning as well as the USUN to sound out their reaction of what they think the effect would be over reaffirmation of the tripartite declaration.
Bundy--I hope you are as weary about this as Komer and I are.
Ball--Yes, I can see some real disabilities in it.
Bundy--They would like to get something for it.
Ball--Not only would they like to get something for it, but one of the restraining elements on Egypt right now, as is clear from the whole traffic that is coming in, including the talk with Nasser that Badeau had, that just came in this morning, is the danger of the possibility of an Israeli move. If we, in effect, can insulate Jordan from Israel, then this may relieve that element of restraint.
Bundy--I agree. I think it is far from clear--I don't see the President going to war with Israel to recover the West Bank. I wonder if anyone is in a position to say that to the Israelis. The trouble with Mike [Feldman] is that he is an unreliable channel, and the trouble with the rest of us is they don't trust us.
Ball--I think that is probably true.
Bundy--We are stuck, really. The President is the only man who can say things that they will believe.
Ball--I looked back at the tripartite declaration last night and one of the interesting things is that, remember it had two parts, and the second part was this whole question of arms balance. Now there is something we might want to think about there.
Bundy--That is very interesting. It pays to do homework.
Ball--I got the books out and did my own research. It is the only way I can remember anything.
Bundy--I agree. That is well worth a play. If we were to say that the two paragraphs of this are of great importance to us and in our view they go concurrently, we would be saying something of some importance.
Bundy--Most promising. What is your level of communication to the President? I haven't seen him or talked to him for more than 24 hours, so I don't really know where this one is now.
Ball--I talked to him very briefly yesterday afternoon, I tried to reach him in the morning and he called me in the afternoon, just simply to report on the Haitian thing.
Bundy--You were going to bring him up to date on the COAS.
Ball--I did, I brought him up to date on that.
Bundy--Ralph [Dungan] is on top of that, I don't worry about that. I have a kind of feeling, however, that we ought perhaps to have another short talk about the Arab-Israeli thing. Let me show him the cables and see how he feels. Your own view--my own impression is that we have a little more time than we were talking about Saturday.
Ball--My guess is that the coup has been postponed. Possibly because of our messing around in it.
Bundy--I think it certainly helped. That was a very alert and quick piece of work, I thought.
Ball--I will give you a quick run down. I have got the boys working on a number of things. First of all I have got the lawyers working on what the Israeli responsibilities were under the Armistice Agreement; what the whole history of the tripartite declaration has been; then a real examination of the April 17 statement, primarily to see if there isn't something in there that in effect ties the Arabs on to the obligations of the UN Charter. If there is we might be able to. . . .
Ball--In the April 17 Declaration. It is a hell of a long thing. If there is anything in there that we could tie into the UN Charter or anything similar to that we might use it to negative the declaration of war aspect.
Ball--Then the other thing is we are looking into this whole business of the Supervisory Organization/3/ to see what might be done there. Whether it couldn't be beefed up for the Secretary General and so on.
/3/Reference is to the U.N. Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO).
Bundy--Who does it account to now, the Secretary General?
Ball--Yes, but there are only 150 men in it out there. You know, it might be beefed up into something that would be substantial and we have got them in New York talking to Thant about having Spinelli go out on the initiative of the Secretary General, this is following Macomber's cable, which he suggests that this would be better because Hussein doesn't want to ask for him. I think if he were to go out that might quiet the situation a little. One of the things where I really need your help is on this problem of the Sixth Fleet. I talked to Bob McNamara and told him we just had to get a decent cover story because in looking back in April of 1957 when we sent the Forrestal, it created a hell of a row and this could do the same thing. We are moving the whole damn fleet.
Bundy--And breaking an engagement to have some manuevers with the French. I think we may want to turn that fleet around if nothing else goes worse today.
Ball--Or split it, we don't need to send the whole thing in.
Bundy--I agree. Are you talking to Bob [McNamara] about that?
Ball--I have been talking about it.
Bundy--What did he say?
Ball--They tried to get up a cover story which really isn't anything other than saying the fleet--the Mediterranean is always at sea, and so on.
Bundy--That is no good because they have got this commitment to manuevers with the French and I think. . . .
Ball-- . . . leak the fact that it has been broken or let it out and then we may be in some trouble. Why don't you, when you get a chance to talk to the Boss . . . .
Bundy--I will talk to the Boss before lunch and call you back. I rather think--is your assessment now that the current immediate heat having gone on we better take the risk of having them play.
Ball--I would rather take the risk than to be the precipitating element.
Bundy--I would too. I will tell him so.
Ball--The other thing I would think ought to be done, because Mike knows about this fleet business, that before there is a leak on it out of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, that somebody over in your shop should impress on him the fact this has got to be kept very quiet with his friends. Maybe if the President could just. . . .
Bundy--That is probably the level. I will work on it.
Ball--We will have a draft of the Ben Gurion letter this afternoon.
Bundy--Fine. Very good.
229. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State/1/
Tehran, April 29, 1963, 4:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, CENTO 3 PAK (KA). Confidential; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Karachi for Secretary Rusk.
931. CENTO. Following are highlights of two-hour conversation which Secretary had with Shah evening April 28. Foreign Minister and Holmes present.
The Shah reviewed reform program and plans for modernization of Iran and expressed confidence and determination to carry them out. He laid special emphasis on land reform and pointed out heavy financial requirements to compensate landholders for property taken over. He said that he now understood that U.S. lending criteria would not permit loans for this purpose but hoped that we could make development loans on good terms in order that Iran could devote its own resources to finance land reform. He spoke particularly of two areas in which he thought U.S. assistance would be especially useful: (1) in the fields of irrigation particularly in a program of sinking deep wells, and (2) for the establishment of a national grid to supply electric power.
On the first point Shah said that he had instructed the Plan Organization to complete projects which would constitute loan applications to finance purchase in the U.S. of drilling rigs, pumps, casing, etc. He said that there would be three such projects, one for the Qazvin Plain which would be completed soon, to be followed by projects for Azerbaijan and Fars. With regard to an electrical grid, the Shah pointed out that three major dams for hydroelectric power would soon be completed and pointed out the abundance of oil and gas for thermal plants. Here again the Shah said that he would like to have loans for the purchase of equipment in U.S. Holmes reminded him and Secretary that we had already agreed to a loan for an electrical survey which was shortly to begin.
In connection with development loans, the Shah recalled that during his visit to Washington a year ago, this matter had been discussed. He had long ago accepted our position and he thoroughly understood we could not give further budgetary support to Iran but hoped that his land reform program, to which we had given approval and praise, could be assisted by development loans on easy terms.
The Secretary replied that when projects for irrigation and electrification were completed, we should be very glad to consider loan applications sympathetically.
Afghanistan/Pakistan Border Dispute
The Secretary complimented Shah and Foreign Minister for their initiative and good work in furthering a settlement. All agreed that the prospects for getting Afghans and Paks together were better now than they had been at any other time and efforts to further a settlement should be continued. The Secretary assured Aram that we stood ready to be of any possible assistance to him, especially while they would be together in Karachi. The Secretary pointed out that there were other advantages in Iran's continuing efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan and sketched prospect of closer relations between the three kindred countries of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Shah agreed with this concept and said that it was his purpose to do everything possible to bring it about. He felt that if close relations could be developed among the three countries that Pakistan and Iran could do much to save the Afghans from themselves in counteracting Soviet influence.
The Secretary explained our attitude toward this matter and expressed our great concern about the defense of the subcontinent. The Shah expressed complete agreement with this assessment in which Iran had a very definite security interest and indicated willingness to help in any way he could. He said that the President of India would pay a visit to Iran next month and asked the Secretary's opinion as to whether it would be useful to discuss this matter with the Indian President. The Secretary explained the position which the President of India had taken at the time of the Chinese attack; that he had been extremely firm, had stiffened Nehru, and played an important part in the dismissal of Krishna Menon. The Shah expressed great surprise and pleasure at hearing this and said that he now felt that he could open this matter during the Indian President's visit.
The Secretary was about to take leave when the Shah asked him to remain if he were not too tired because the most important subject had not yet been discussed. The Secretary, of course, readily agreed to remain and the Shah launched into a recitation of his preoccupations and concerns at the prospect of Nasser controlling Iraq with its eight hundred miles of land border, but more importantly, the control of the Shatt-al-Arab and access to the Persian Gulf (these concerns of the Shah have been reported in great detail and it is not considered necessary to recite them again in this message). The Secretary responded with our assessment of the probable outcome of Arab attempt at unity. He expressed our genuine interest in preservation of the independence and integrity of Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and, of course, Iran, which seemed to give the Shah considerable assurance and may help to relieve somewhat his anxieties. The Secretary said that it is vitally important for the two of us to keep in close touch on developments in the Arab world. The Shah said that it was of course possible that he exaggerated the dangers but that in the light of his responsibility for the security of Iran, he must do every prudent thing to anticipate dangers which might arise. He then turned to the specifics of steps which he thought should be taken.
Additional Defense of Oil Complex in Persian Gulf
In view of vulnerability to air attack of this important and sensitive area, the Shah expressed his opinion that additional protection should be provided. Specifically he thought two additional radar stations should be added and two additional fighter squadrons provided. He reviewed the five-year Military Assistance Program and mentioned the provision which allowed the program to be reviewed in the event of a change in the international situation which presented no danger to the security of Iran. He did not invoke this part of the agreement, saying that he understood perfectly well our limitation in the light of other commitments which we have and availability of sources indicating his awareness of Congressional attitude toward appropriation for military aid. He said that the two radar stations and two additional fighter squadrons would not represent enormous cost and suggested that they might be provided by purchase from Iran's own resources which were growing, or hoping that such purchase might be arranged on good terms. Apparently anticipating a statement as to Iran's capacity to absorb additional equipment, the Shah said that although pilots and other operational personnel could handle additional aircraft, he realized that maintenance technicians, especially in electronics, were very short; that although a training program is underway, it would take some time before Iranian technicians could be produced in sufficient numbers. He said that he would be glad to have additional American technicians here and pointed out that at one time ARMISH/MAAG had nine hundred personnel in Iran.
The Secretary responded by saying that he would be glad to take up this question on his return to Washington. He made no commitment to do more than that but his willingness to raise the matter on his return was well received by Shah.
The conversation was relaxed and friendly. The Shah was serious and thoughtful but unemotional. He gave the impression of being quietly determined to go forward with his reform and, although he has obvious genuine concern about the prospect of Arab unity and its potential danger to the security of Iran, he was in no sense panicky. There was no hint of discouragement or despair which he has been known to exhibit in times past. His attitude toward us was clearly one of the good ally working with his friends on a basis of mutuality of purpose and confidence.
230. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/
Washington, April 30, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jordan, 4/63. Secret.
Though anything could still happen, it begins to look as though immediacy of Jordan problem receding a bit./2/ Both Hussein and Macomber are a bit more relaxed (Amman 503),/3/ and Nasser says (Cairo 1870)/4/ what's all the excitement about. We've also tried to cool down the Iraqis (Baghdad 709)./5/
/2/Notes of the daily White House staff meeting for April 30 include the following report: "Certain elements of the 6th Fleet which were heading into the Eastern Mediterranean because of the unrest in Jordan were turned around yesterday and ordered back to whence they had come." (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Daily White House Memos)
/4/In telegram 1870 from Cairo, April 29, Badeau reported on a conversation with Nasser, held at Nasser's request. Referring to Badeau's previous conversation with Sharaf, Nasser was concerned that the United States had information about an imminent action in Jordan of which the UAR was not aware. Nasser also resisted suggestions that the UAR was planning or sponsoring a coup in Jordan. He said that Arab-Israeli hostilities would be disastrous and that it would be virtually impossible not to send UAR troops if Israel attacked Jordan. Badeau promised that if a coup occurred in Jordan, the United States would use its influence to prevent precipitous Israeli action, but that would require UAR restraint. Nasser, whom Badeau described as "fatigued, sober and concerned," believed that Hussein would survive the current crisis. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 JORDAN)
/5/Not printed. (Ibid., POL 17 US-UAR)
In fact I'm beginning to think that the immediate problem is less Jordan than Israel's obvious effort to take advantage of current tensions to push us into deeds or words which will bolster its security, regardless of the effect on our position with the Arabs. BG's emphasis on the 17 April UAR Declaration, Harman's statement that Israel wants us to take formal action to get UAR to renounce it, and all the flak about moving to the West Bank suggest that the Israelis want either to commit us publicly on their side or to get strong private reassurances from us (e.g. joint planning, security commitment).
If Arab unity is really on the upgrade (and this is still moot) we're unquestionably going to have to do something along these lines. But if at all possible, we must make sure that in return for such assurances, we get some constraints on Israel as well. We cannot commit ourselves to Israel's defense without making sure that we haven't given it a blank check.
Since BG's letter/6/ makes clear that Israel regards itself as still militarily superior to the Arabs, there is no immediate threat to Israel's security. Nor is it as open and shut as Bob McNamara put it last Saturday/7/ that the West Bank of the Jordan is Israel's logical military frontier (Mike latched on to this like a shot). The West Bank is such a cul-de-sac that Israel could pinch it off in 24 hours; ergo, no sensible Arab commander is going to put many forces in such a noose (Jordanians don't now).
/6/See Document 220.
/7/April 27; see Document 222.
The real threat to Israel's security lies in UAR acquisition of guided missiles and nuclear weapons over next several years. Nasser will undoubtedly go this route so long as Israel seems to be doing the same. We must break this vicious circle (unless we're willing to settle for a balance of terror in the area). Therefore I'd argue against our giving new assurances to Israel without tying them to movement on arms issue. Am working with State on just such a proposal.
For above and other reasons let's think twice before reiterating old Tripartite Declaration before we have to do so. It amounts to a security declaration, but in a form which annoys Arabs and won't satisfy Israelis. Moreover, if it is read as guaranteeing present armistice lines, it might just lead Nasser to think if he ran a coup in Jordan we'd do a Suez by keeping Israel from the West Bank.
Finally, Israel's patent attempt to embrace Hussein (and lead publicly that we too have done so) is so much a kiss of death to the brave young king as to raise suspicions Israelis want him to fall so they could take West Bank. BG's letter and other efforts to warn us may just amount to laying the groundwork for such a move, especially now while half of Nasser's army is locked up in Yemen.
All this suggests we should (1) stay loose; (2) minimize public statements in favor of quiet diplomacy; (3) do some active contingency planning; but (4) avoid being spooked prematurely into actions which we might later regret.
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