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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Kennedy Administration > Volume XVIII
Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Volume XVIII, Near East, 1962-1963
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 231-256

231. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, May 1, 1963.

/1/Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 24, Daily White House Memos. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Legere.

Daily White House Staff Meeting, 1 May 1963

[Here follow items 1 and 2 on unrelated subjects.]

3. Most of the meeting this morning was given over to a discussion of the Arab-Israeli situation, mostly prompted by the stories in the New York Times this morning which tell how some liberal Congressmen, including Senators Javits and Humphrey, have begun attacking the Administration's allegedly pro-Nasser and pro-Arab policy in the Middle East. The following points arose:

a. The President's immediate concern, regardless of the merits of any long-term arguments about the rights and wrongs of the situation, is to take some of the domestic political cutting edge off these Congressional Zionist-inspired attacks. Everyone was wishing that there was some liberal Senator who felt differently and who could therefore defend the Administration, but even Arthur Schlesinger could think of no one in this category. It was agreed that some gains could be recorded by going straight to the Israelis themselves and telling them that these overly zealous Zionist attacks can be counter-productive; since there is some letter from Ben Gurion to the President which is awaiting an answer, it will furnish a convenient and timely vehicle for the expression of such views.

b. Komer moved the discussion on to broader terrain by noting that there was a more fundamental approach to this problem. This approach would consist of some kind of US guarantee in the area, and I gather that this guarantee would probably be for the preservation of the status quo and the peace. Komer said that he felt such a guarantee was going to be necessary sooner or later, and that if we extended it sooner we would be better able to exact concessions and agreements from both sides. Bundy agreed with this approach on the whole, likening it to the problem of air defense for India--i.e., it is something which is going to have to be done eventually and had better be done sooner rather than later. However, Bundy hastened to add that all this deep-draft thinking was well and good, but that the President's concern was for the more immediate aspects as reflected on the domestic front.

c. Undaunted as always, Komer continued to press on with the discussion of more fundamental questions. He raised the subject of the potential nuclear capabilities of both the Israelis and the Egyptians, pointing out how desirable it would be if both sides would agree to renounce involvement in nuclear activity and would further agree to submit to some kind of inspection-policing activity to assure compliance. Komer admitted the grave difficulties involved, but, in true Machiavellian fashion, felt that we just might be able to pull it off if we could very cleverly play one side's fears against the other side's fears. Bundy's reaction was one which he has expressed before, both in his own right and more or less in reflection of the President's attitudes: he said he was most doubtful of the wisdom of "signing on to a non-starter." He has expressed the same thought before by saying the President simply did not believe in laboriously and publicly marching up some steep hill in order to get pushed down.

[Here follow items 4 and 5 on unrelated subjects.]


/2/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


232. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) /1/

Washington, May 1, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jordan, 5/63-11/63. Secret.


1. We now have field comments on advisability of reaffirming Tripartite Declaration./2/ Macomber thinks Jordan doesn't need public reassurance now so prefers delay, adding that to extent fear of Israeli attack on West Bank acts as a deterrent to externally-inspired revolution in Jordan, such a statement tends to undercut it. Badeau prefers quiet diplomacy too, suggests JFK letters to A-I chiefs of state, but recognizes pressures for some public statement. If so, he favors pegging it to substance of last para. Tripartite Declaration, but not reaffirming Declaration itself. Adlai strongly advises President reaffirm substance of last paragraph now.

/2/Documentation is in Department of State, Central File POL 26 JORDAN. A draft memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, dated April 30, "Implications of Reaffirmation of the Tripartite Declaration and Presidential Response to Press Inquiries--Study Undertaken by Department at President's Request," which apparently was never sent, is ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 65 D 28, Tripartite Declaration; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Jordan.

2. Repercussions. Such a statement doesn't really give Israelis what they want (straight bilateral security guarantee plus joint planning on how to carry it out). But it may reduce heat on us from Israelis, while calming down on Hill.

Arabs will inevitably see in statement (given its present context) a pro-Israeli move. So we can't stop adverse public reactions in most of Arab world, though it shouldn't be too long-lasting or painful. We can mitigate impact on Arab leaders (especially Nasser) by explaining carefully what we up to, and reminding them this longstanding US policy so marks no change in our attitude. But we've got to be careful not to let Nasser think statement gives him umbrella under which to promote revolution.

3. Ergo, I feel (State does too) that public statement at this time unnecessary for foreign policy reasons, and will entail some adverse Arab reaction. So issue turns on whether it is desirable for domestic purposes here.

If we have to say something, President's idea of responding at press conference seems best. Let's not refer to Tripartite in any way, but say something like:

"US remains, as it has been since 1950, deeply interested in the maintenance of peace and stability anywhere in the Near East. It remains strongly opposed to the use of force or threat of force between any of the states in that area as well as to the violation of frontiers or armistice lines."



233. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) /1/

Washington, May 1, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 5/63. Secret.


Though formal UN sponsorship disengagement Yemen now seems delayed till at least 13 May by incredible UN lassitude, we're reasonably confident nothing will blow in interim. Anyway, Von Horn's presence in area/2/ should have calming effect, even though he is restricted to survey mission.

/2/Telegram 147 to Sao Paulo for Bunker (who was in Brazil on a personal matter), May 1, reported that U Thant had dispatched UNTSO Chief of Staff Von Horn to the Near East for reconnaissance and report. Von Horn visited Cairo April 30-May 1, and was expected to arrive in Jidda on May 2 for discussions with Faysal and proceed to Yemen on May 3. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN)

I have been pressing State to tell Hart flatly to get Saudis to stop running dangerous risk by trying to cram last minute supplies into royalist hands. I finally got action. In light Saudi actions I am flatly opposed to sending planes before Faysal meets our terms (and doubt this signal would have much impact on Jordan situation anyway).

As for Nasser, he's probably so anxious to get some troops out of Yemen and up to Sinai that we doubt he'll bomb Saudis again. He will also be out of town, which is a good sign. In fact, we see good chance Nasser may announce some troop withdrawals shortly, at which point we'll then press Saudis to announce cessation of aid.



234. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, May 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer, Vol. I. Secret.

Here are moves in train to show military interest in Jordan:

1. Most important, we have a US/UK survey mission led by a BG going to Amman next week. It's really to discuss MAP but we won't say so, and let Nasser speculate it's for joint planning./2/

/2/The Department of State transmitted to the Embassy in Amman in telegram 504, May 2, the terms of reference for the tripartite military advisory team that would be headed by a Brigadier General. Telegram 504 and additional documentation relating to the mission are in Department of State, Central File DEF 19 US.

2. We now have 13-man paratroop training team at Jordan paratroop school.

3. We're sending 15-20 men with 2 planes third week in May for joint exercises at school's graduation.

4. On word of honor of Saudi Defense Minister, Faysal's brother, that Saudis stopped all supplies to royalists last Sunday, we're going to send advance party of air squadron to Dhahran, but without combat aircraft.

All these will give Nasser and Iraqis pause. Other options we're considering are: (a) destroyer visit to Akaba; (b) send additional fighter squadrons or even a couple of brigades to Adana, Turkey, if show of force needed; and (c) redeploy Sixth Fleet as necessary. But Macomber cautions we must be careful not to embrace Hussein so close as to label him a US stooge.

As to air squadron promised Saudis on "training exercise", it should be in place by 15 May. If both sides announce disengagement on 3 May without waiting for UN (as may be in cards), we can consider moving earlier. But State and DOD are both nervous about changing signals especially since Jordan and Saudi situations quieted down:

1. We've made a major production of not sending them till Faysal officially starts disengagement, and Nasser does too.

2. Firm evidence Faysal was still shipping in arms till a few days ago, and that Egyptians thinking of another air strike, suggests (a) we ought to hold Faysal to our bargain and (b) not let him think we weren't serious after all.

3. We also told Nasser (Cairo 1759)/3/ squadron would not be sent until disengagement actually underway.

/3/See footnote 3, Document 213.

Bob Komer


235. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, May 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Special Group, Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 51. Secret. Drafted by James W. Dingeman.

Minutes of the Special Group (CI) Meeting
2 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 1963


Governor Harriman, the Attorney General, Mr. Gilpatric, Mr. Bell, Mr. Murrow, Mr. Helms vice Mr. McCone, General Krulak vice General Taylor

Mr. Martin, General O'Meara and General Lansdale were present for Items 1 and 2

Mr. Komer and Mr. Bowling were present for Item No. 3

[Here follow items 1 and 2 on unrelated subjects.]

3. Iran

The Group noted the Special National Intelligence Estimate and other memoranda on the situation in Iran/2/ and took no exception to the conclusions stated.

/2/Reference is presumably to SNIE 34-63, Document 212, and to Rusk's April 20 memorandum to Kennedy, Document 218.

Mr. Bowling in commenting on the Report prepared in reply to NSAM 228,/3/ stressed that as a first priority we should support the Shah on the land reform program; the military assistance programs should be carefully monitored; we should support the Third Plan and use all of the leverage available to encourage more reforms in budgetary control and practices. He also elaborated on the recommendations contained in the Secretary of State's memorandum to the President covering the interagency prepared report in reply to NSAM 228.

/3/Document 192.

The Group discussed in detail the economic situation in Iran and expressed interest in the recommendation contained in the Report to expand our PL-480 Programs. Mr. Bell stated that negotiations on this matter are now underway at the Washington level and stated that Department of Agriculture was holding out for payment in dollars rather than local currency. The Group requested Mr. Bell to follow through on this matter.

Mr. Komer observed that we must take a more active advisory role in the economic and fiscal policy planning of the Government of Iran. The basic problem is how to exert pressure on the Government to loosen up its conservative fiscal policies.

Mr. Bell added that he had some doubts if our mission in Iran is pushing hard enough with the Government to make decisions in this area. Mr. Komer stated that for any effort in this area to be effective we must deal directly with the Shah and convince him of the critical need to get the economy moving. The key problem is to get the local economy moving and the only way to accomplish this is to push hard to get our ideas across to the Government.

While all agreed that these were matters for them to deal with in their individual capacities rather than a counterinsurgency matter, the Chairman indicated with the concurrence of Mr. Bell that State and AID would prepare a message to be sent to the field covering the foregoing points. The Chairman will clear this message with the Secretary of State upon his return to the United States.

At the request of the Group Mr. Bell agreed to ascertain if there is a need for additional agricultural technical experts to be sent to Iran to assist in carrying out the land reform program. Mr. Bell was asked to report back to the Group on the results of his findings.

[Here follows a section entitled "Miscellaneous."]

James W. Dingeman
Executive Secretary
Special Group (CI)


236. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, May 4, 1963, 5:16 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Strong, Komer, Bundy, Lubkeman, and in substance by Hartman; and approved by Grant.

780. Eyes only for Ambassador. Following verbatim text letter from President to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion./2/

/2/Barbour reported that he delivered the text of the President's letter to Ben Gurion on May 5 in telegram 833 from Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion did not comment on substance but said that on the basis of his first reading Kennedy's letter did not appear very favorable. (Ibid.)

"I hasten to reply to your message of April 26./3/ Let me assure you again of our own deep concern over the security and integrity of Israel. We are watching closely the current developments in the Arab world, and seeking to ensure that they do not take a form dangerous to the security of any nation in the area. We have Israel's defense problems very much in mind in this regard.

/3/See Document 220.

"I strongly agree with you that the preservation of peace in the Middle East is an interest which both our nations deeply share. I also agree with your view that in and of itself the aspiration toward unity among the Arabs is not something to which we should be opposed, if it results from free choice among the Arabs. At the same time, we have publicly stated and shown by action on many occasions that we support those Arab states which may prefer to remain independent and whose freedom of action may be jeopardized. We have recently reiterated our position on this point in the appropriate capitals, and I believe that our cautionary statements will not be ignored. Both our countries must continue to be alert to all developing implications of the current movement for Arab unity; the future of this movement and the rapidity of its development are not at all clear at present.

"I agree with your view that it would be irresponsible to make light of continued Arab threats to liberate `Palestine,' and I fully understand the concern which you and your Government feel with respect to certain phrases in the document of April 17th signed by Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Any policies and purposes supported by such phrases will have the continued opposition of the United States, and our steadfast position on this point will not be modified by the reiteration of these long-standing Arab views in a new document. While I recognize fully the feelings in your own country at the new form in which these Arab policies are now expressed, I hope you will understand me if I add that in our judgment in Washington the practical significance of these declarations is not substantively different from that of the many earlier similar declarations put out in other forms and phrases. Certainly our own concern for the security of Israel and the peace of the area remains unaffected.

"Right now, of course, we are all particularly concerned about the possible effects of the current developments on Jordan. I understand clearly the importance you attach to Jordan, and we shall do our best to prevent a dangerous situation from arising, but our ability to help will depend not only upon us but upon you. In this situation, as in others which relate to Israel's security and the future of the area, it is most important for us to continue to be in closest touch. It is equally important that both our nations refrain from precipitous actions or reactions, which could well exacerbate rather than improve the situation, and also provide the Soviet Union with a further opportunity to extend its influence in the area.

"In this context I have real reservations--as I think you foresaw that I might--about the notion of a joint declaration by Chairman Khrushchev and myself. In the light of the many issues which divide the United States from the Soviet Government at this moment, it would be hard for me to make any move of this kind jointly with Chairman Khrushchev. But quite aside from this difficulty, I do not think that a joint declaration would be helpful in the Middle East, in view of the role which the Soviet Union has played in the supplying of munitions and in other trouble-making activities in the Arab world in recent years. I do not think anything they would accept would advance the purposes which you and I share. In these circumstances a joint declaration could only be regarded as a sign of increased Soviet prestige and influence, and a reinforcement to forces in the area which are not interested in stability or in the safety of Israel.

"Meanwhile let me repeat that I understand the gravity of your concern, although I do not fully understand your suggestion that if this particular proposal is not feasible, `the situation in the Middle East assumes a gravity without parallel.' Fully recognizing the risks inherent in the situation in Jordan, we believe that in recent days the immediate danger there has been somewhat reduced, and we share your own estimate that against any early Arab attack, Israel is more than able to defend itself. Thus unless hasty and shortsighted action should upset the present situation, we believe that there is time to work for increased stability with a somewhat longer view of the problem.

"It is in fact the prospects of the longer view which seem most serious to us. The danger which we foresee is not so much that of an early Arab attack as that of a successful development of advanced offensive systems which, as you say, could not be dealt with by presently available means. I have expressed before my deep personal conviction that reciprocal and competitive development of such weapons would dangerously threaten the stability of the area. I believe that we should consider carefully together how such a trend can be forestalled.

"Both in this longer view and in the immediate context of possible disturbances in Jordan, I continue to believe deeply that the efforts of the United States to develop effective relations with the Arab states are in fact in the long-term interest of Israel at least as much as of the United States or the Arab countries themselves. These effective relations, in my judgment, have significantly increased our influence with Arab leaders, and this influence is always exercised in behalf of the peace of the area and with full regard for the security of Israel. Thus I really cannot agree with the suggestion that our limited economic assistance to the United Arab Republic can be considered as a force which serves `to set the Russian arms in motion against Israel when the opportunity offers.' If this were our view, obviously, we would never have begun or continued such assistance. Our own belief is that in reality these economic relations reduce the dangerous influence of the Soviet Union and serve as a restraint on any Arab action which might be destructive to the peace of the area and the interests of the United States. And of course, as you know, we have never allowed Arab objections to affect our continuing policy of warm support for and assistance to Israel--as demonstrated most recently in our agreement to make Hawk missiles available and, before that, in our agreement to help in the matter of water from Lake Tiberias.

"It is most generous of you to offer to come quickly and privately to Washington, leaving behind even for a brief period your own pressing responsibilities. If such a meeting could really remain private, I think it might be most useful, but experience tells me that at a time like this, when public attention is focused on your part of the world and the role of the United States in it, there is no reasonable prospect that you and I could meet without publicity. I fear that a public meeting would have the effect of increasing the level of tension in the area and of promoting speculation which could only be dangerous to our common purpose of maintaining stability and peace. When circumstances change, or if the urgencies should increase, I shall certainly bear in mind your generous suggestion.

"In conclusion, let me assure you again, in this time of dramatic events in the Middle East, that your views and your proposals will always be most carefully considered here. This nation's actions will fully sustain its long and particular friendship for Israel and its attachment to the security and well-being of your country. On this we stand firm, as I was glad to be able to reaffirm to Mrs. Meir during our talk last December./4/ And as I also said to Mrs. Meir, we count deeply on your Government for understanding and recognition of the purposes and responsibilities which inescapably fall to us in the effort to prevent aggression and sustain the peace of the Middle East.

/4/See Document 121.

"I hope you may find this letter a useful answer to your important message, and I look forward to continued close contact, and frank exchanges, in our efforts to serve the deep common interests of our countries."

Telegraph Department immediately after letter presented to Prime Minister. Department will then supply copy to Israel Embassy.

Following presentation of note President desires you inform Prime Minister of his deep interest in early agreement to US proposal for semiannual visits to Dimona reactor commencing this month.



237. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State/1/

Cairo, May 6, 1963, 1 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Jidda, USUN, London, and Taiz.

1934. Jidda's 919 to Department1 and Deptel 277/2/ to Cairo./3/ Careful study my memcons and recollections of conversations do not substantiate apparent Faysal understanding of Bunker-Nasser negotiations re security force. During Bunker talks Nasser stated UAR had not worked out detailed plan for size, character, and function of UAR troops after principal withdrawal. This, he said, would be dependent upon security problems YAR faced. What was made clear was that UAR would withdraw its "expeditionary" force, replacing it by training and security group consonant with Yemen needs. Neither Bunker nor I pressed for exact details since it seems clear that if such details insisted upon, UAR would protect itself by putting forward unrealistic maximum size remaining military group. Throughout discussion it was made clear minimum condition UAR withdrawal would be reasonable maintenance of YAR military in face of aftermath of fighting and traditional and recurrent tribal restlessness in Yemen. In view of unexpectedly large initial troop withdrawal of UAR even before disengagement underway, I suggest UAR will in fact get as many troops as possible out of Yemen and keep only the minimum necessary for sustaining reasonable security situation. Re Deptel 2771, Nasser again did not indicate detailed plan for replacing Egyptian units with YAR National Guard. He cited this as illustration of how he would proceed rather than as finished tactic.

/2/Dated May 3. (Ibid., POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)

/3/Telegram 2771 to Cairo, May 3, was sent for action as telegram 5829 to London. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN)

I am seeking appointment with Ali Sabri later in week and will round up Yemen situation with him.



238. Editorial Note

On May 8, 1963, during a press conference, President Kennedy responded to a question on the military balance in the Near East and U.S. policy toward the security of Israel and Jordan by making an extended statement of U.S. policy in the Near East. After indicating that he did not believe that the arms balance in the Near East had changed recently, Kennedy affirmed that the United States supported social, economic, and political progress in the region, supported the security of both Israel and its Arab neighbors, sought to limit the arms race, opposed the spread of Communism and the use of force or threat of force, and would work with the United Nations or act unilaterally to prevent or put a stop to aggression. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, page 373)

A memorandum from Grant to Secretary Rusk on May 7 proposed that the President voluntarily read a statement on the Near East at his forthcoming press conference and offered the text of a statement different from that given by the President. Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations Frederick G. Dutton wrote a memorandum, also dated May 7, dissenting from Grant's memorandum. (Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 5, Memos to Secretary and through S/S)

The text of President Kennedy's May 8 statement was transmitted to U.S. posts in circular telegram 1916, May 8. (Ibid., Central Files, PR 11-3 KENNEDY) On May 9, UAR Ambassador Kamel met with Grant and expressed his unhappiness over the systematic campaign in the U.S. press to attack his country. Kamel asked that his personal appreciation be conveyed to the President for his "wise and balanced" statement of May 8. (Circular telegram 1924, May 9; ibid., POL MIDEAST-US; memorandum of conversation, May 9; ibid., POL UAR-US)


239. Special National Intelligence Estimate/1/

SNIE 30-2-63

Washington, May 8, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 80 D 102, JPG Master Copy Probe #7 June 1963 (Arms/McCloy). 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, AEC, and NSA." All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on April 10, except the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who abstained because the subject was outside his jurisdiction.


The Problem

To estimate likely developments in the advanced weapons programs of the UAR and Israel over the next several years, and the probable consequences of such programs.


A. [15-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

B. We believe that Israel is undertaking the development of a 250-300 nautical mile (n.m.) surface-to-surface missile (SSM) system. A wholly independent Israeli effort to develop and produce such a missile with a payload of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds would probably require three to four years and great expense. However, there is evidence that Israel expects to rely on France for substantial assistance. If Israel acquires full access to French technology, components and test facilities, it probably could produce a limited number of missiles with a range of about 250 n.m., a payload of some 4,000 pounds, and an elementary guidance system in about two years (1965). [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] (Paras. 11-15)

C. The United Arab Republic (UAR), alone or in combination with other Arab States, does not have the capability of producing a nuclear weapon in the foreseeable future. The UAR is attempting to develop an SSM with a range of about 200 n.m. Despite the many difficult problems the UAR faces in its missile program, it may be able to deploy a small number of these weapons by mid-1964, assuming continued help by the West German technicians and a continuing supply of foreign components. We estimate the payload of this missile at only about 500 pounds and its CEP as large. The military value of such a weapon would be small. However, the UAR has a missile program going and has gained experience in the production of missiles. With access to outside help and components, it probably could in a few years produce a more effective weapon. (Paras. 18-24)

D. Despite continuing accusations by both the UAR and Israel that the other is developing chemical, biological, and radiological weapons of mass destruction, we have no evidence to confirm these charges. Both countries could, however, produce small quantities of chemical or biological warfare devices designed for clandestine use. Neither country can produce radiological warfare weapons. (Paras. 16-17, 25)

E. The purely military significance of any missile system either Israel or the UAR could produce is likely to be modest for some time to come, although if Israel develops a nuclear bomb its military capability will be greatly increased. The political and psychological impact of the advanced weapons programs is more important than the purely military effect and is already being felt. If Nasser could not devise a counter to an Israeli nuclear threat on his own, he probably would turn to the USSR to try to ensure his protection, and the Arabs would blame the West, including the US, for the increased Israeli threat. Israel, likewise, would become increasingly activist in its dealings with the Arabs. The factors which have inhibited a new outbreak of Arab-Israeli hostilities in recent years still apply. Nevertheless, as the advanced weapons programs progress, tensions will probably rise on both sides. In an atmosphere of this kind, there would always be the possibility that one or the other side would initiate hostile action to safeguard its ultimate security. (Paras. 26-33)

[Here follows the Discussion section of the Estimate.]


240. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) /1/

Washington, May 8, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, AID (US) UAR. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Barrow on May 2 and cleared by Grant, Dutton, Folger, Greenfield, Williams and Gaud (AID), and Strong. A May 12 note attached to the original of this memorandum reads: "General Clifton said the President has seen the attached." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 4/63-5/63)


Justification of US Aid to the UAR

Pursuant to a request from Mr. Komer,/2/ we enclose a summary justification of United States aid to the UAR. Detailed statements of aid and contributions of all types and from all sources to Israel and the UAR are attached./3/

/2/An unsigned May 1 memorandum, presumably by Komer, requested the Department of State to prepare by May 2 a memorandum that would deal with charges voiced in Congress and by Zionist groups that U.S. aid was helping the UAR in its conflict with Israel. The Department of State memorandum was to cite all arguments against this charge and provide statistics on both public and private military and economic assistance to the UAR. (Ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 5, White House Memoranda)

/3/No attachments are filed with the source text. They are appended to a copy of the memorandum ibid.

Classified materials, and arguments better not put in writing, for use in briefing Congressmen, are being prepared and will follow shortly.

B.H. Read/4/

/4/Read signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.



/5/No classification marking.


I. UAR Policy Only Understandable in Context US Near East Policy

Principal Interests of US in Near East

A. Limit Soviet influence and prevent Soviet domination.

B. Maintain intercourse with area and use of communications routes across it, e.g. Suez.

C. Assure Israel's well being.

D. Insure access to oil on reasonable terms.

E. Adequate identification with modernizing forces; growth of free stable societies.

II. Principal Threats to Attainment of US Interests

A. Poverty and chaos of Near East which constitutes fertile feuding ground for indigenous Communists and anti-Western nationalists.

B. Regional Disputes.

(1) Arab-Israeli

(2) Inter-Arab

Whenever these disputes reach such a boiling point that USG feels compelled to intervene forcefully and openly to one side, e.g. Israel or one particular Arab group as in 1958, Soviets and other anti-US forces have great opportunity to expand their influence in other NE states. USG must retain its present moderating capacity with all principal forces in NE; impossible if US-UAR openly hostile to each other.

C. Understandable heritage of Arab distrust Western policies toward Arab Near East.

III. Benefits to US from Aid to UAR

A. Opportunity to discuss issues frankly and influence UAR policy (few non-negotiable issues).

B. Limit Soviet influence.

C. Minimum agitation and action against vital Western interests.

D. Absence of incidents against US citizens and installations.

E. Non-activation of Arab-Israel problem and cooperation with UN peace-keeping machinery.

F. True neutrality by UAR on global and cold war issues.

G. Installation of Western technology and cultural influence in UAR.

H. Increased interrelationship of UAR with free world in manifold economic, cultural, scientific and other affairs.

I. Modification of anti-US propaganda and favorable treatment of US aid in UAR news media, setting tone for rest of Arab world.

J. Non-discrimination in issuance of visas.

K. Continued UAR disposition to suppress local Communist parties in Arab world and Africa.

L. Increased commercial opportunities for US throughout area.

IV. Effects on US Interests if Aid Cut Off

A. Would be considered hostile act and UAR would have to react strongly--another "Aswan Dam Incident".

B. Many years would be required to restore confidence and reinstitute dialogue.

C. Soviets would be greatly strengthened in their efforts to drive Western influence and interests out of the Near East. Local Communist parties would grow.

D. Would cause UAR to side with USSR on cold war issues.

E. Western oil interests would be placed under greater pressure.

F. Would greatly heighten Arab-Israel tensions.

G. "Hate Americans" campaign would unleash fanatics throughout Arab area.

H. Would not lessen UAR military capacity vis--vis Israel.

V. Implications of Cairo Unity Proclamation (4/17)

A. Proclamation of unity, which not legal document, contained reference in two of about 125 paragraphs to "liberation of Palestine" and opposition to "Zionism and imperialism"; proclamation itself clearly directed toward inter-Arab matters; aforementioned passages standard formulation of long-standing Arab position.

B. Despite provision for effort establish unified command, proclamation envisages regional control of armies for indefinite future; armies geographically separated; physical integration not repeat not envisaged.

C. Building of solid federation is long-term task. Cannot be done in context of war against Israel.

D. Establishment of Federation will increase pressure on Jordan but several countervailing factors against serious political change there.

1. Courage and leadership of Husayn.

2. Loyalty of Jordanian army.

3. Economic and political liabilities which Jordan would entail for federation.

4. Possible Israel reaction.

5 Publicly declared US interest in integrity of Jordan as well as other states of area.

E. Iraq's entry in the Federation increases pressure on Kuwait but latter protected by defense tie with UK and by general Arab desire that Iraq not obtain Kuwaiti revenues for exclusively Iraqi use.

F. Success of disengagement efforts in Yemen, declared US interest in integrity of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia's special internal circumstances (diverse provincial structure and tribal society) makes situation manageable in Saudi Arabia.

VI. Factors Bearing on Israel's Security

A. Israel militarily superior to combined Arab forces. Internal lines of communication and tight central control are assets Arab armies would not enjoy.

B. Danger of surprise attack reduced by Hawk surface-to-air missiles.

C. In event threat to peace in area, international factors loom larger than local forces as demonstrated Suez 1956 and Lebanon-Jordan in 1958.

D. UAR has higher priority objectives than attacking Israel, e.g., strengthening position in Arab world and building economy for which Western aid required.

E. UAR clearly believes that if it starts war with Israel it would be engaging itself in war of unknown proportions which it could not win and in which there would be external intervention.

F. Doubtful Soviets wish UAR attack Israel since might force them to unwelcome confrontation with West.

G. Activities of German and other Europeans in UAR aircraft industry adds no significant new military dimension; both parties can obtain all the jets they want; reduces UAR reliance on USSR in this field; manned aircraft declining in significance; effective defenses in being; West can control sources of materials and parts if need be.

H. Production ground-to-ground rockets of more serious concern but do not pose imminent threat view absence guidance system, small number, 500 lb. conventional warheads. No prospect for other types of warheads. We actively seeking more information and examining possible courses of action. Frontal public challenge to UAR would not serve useful purpose since we would lose any ability to influence.

I. No evidence Germans involved are ex-Nazis.

VII. Effect of US Aid on UAR Arms Purchases and Programs

A. Bulk of UAR armaments comes from Soviets repayable by cotton exports undisposable in Western markets at reasonable prices.

B. UAR obtained quantities of arms prior to institution of sizable US aid program.

C. The input of any significant amount of US aid resources for UAR economic development began in UAR FY 1959. The UAR's development budget has since increased from $132 million in FY 1959 to $281 million in FY 1960, and to $756 million in FY 1962. The input of US resources for development purposes in FY 1962 equaled 24% of the UAR development budget.

D. In the past three years, UAR development budgets have increased by 300%, defense budgets by about 40%. In the FY 1962 UAR budget, the development budget accounts for 42% of the total, the defense budget for 15%.

E. UAR armed forces are not out of proportion for nation of 27,000,000 (about 100,000-120,000).

F. US aid mostly in form of surplus foodstuffs--balance is to carefully selected development projects tied to US procurement.

G. UAR's Yemen campaign conducted mostly with Soviet supplies; financed largely with local currency; believe no significant drawdown of foreign exchange essential to development program.

H. IMF stabilization loan, in which US participated, designed to correct effects of bad harvest which long preceded Yemen conflict. US aid not diverted to Yemen campaign.

VIII. Conclusions

A. UAR's activist policies have created and likely continue create problems in area.

B. Some of these problems would occur anyway as forces of modernization take root and gain strength.

C. US and West must learn to adjust to new situations if to stay ahead of Soviets in cold war game.

D. Problems created by UAR thus far manageable, through combination urging restraint on Cairo and strengthening affected areas; would become far less manageable if US voluntarily destroys diplomatic leverage by adopting hostile policy toward UAR.

E. Though by no means a cure-all, economic cooperation is backbone of long-term US policy which has gradually demonstrated significant accomplishments. US can continue to effect improvements through it provided we do not expect miracles overnight.


241. Editorial Note

On May 8 and 9, 1963, U.S. and U.K. representatives met in the Department of State to study a range of contingencies in regard to Jordan. The two sides agreed on a contingency paper on an ad referendum basis and decided to hold joint military talks at the Pentagon, which took place on May 11. (Memorandum from Killgore to Kettelhut, July 2; Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 278, Jordan, AID) A draft contingency paper, prepared in the Department of State prior to the meeting and transmitted to the White House on May 6, is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jordan, 5/63-11/63. The agreed joint U.S.-U.K. contingency paper for Jordan and a separate paper on the role of the United Nations in a possible Jordanian crisis are attached to a memorandum from Cleveland to Ambassador Stevenson, May 17. (Ibid., Central Files, DEF 1-1 JORDAN)

Subsequently, at the United Kingdom's suggestion, the United States agreed to include French representatives in discussions that took place at the United Nations in New York in late May on possible U.N. actions during a hypothetical Jordanian crisis. Documentation is ibid.


242. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, May 10, 1963, 8:25 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Campbell (IO/UNP); cleared by Sisco, Strong, Komer (in substance), and Hilliker (S/S); and approved by Wallner (IO). Repeated to Beirut, Cairo, Taiz, Jidda, and Jerusalem.

2843. Further to last para Deptel 2829,/2/ Dept increasingly eager to have observer mission dispatched to Yemen very near future to minimize chances untoward incident which might wreck whole disengagement agreement.

/2/Telegram 168 to Jerusalem, May 9, was repeated to USUN as telegram 2829. It contained a message to Von Horn concerning the observer force for Yemen. (Ibid.)

Believe you should therefore seek early meeting with SYG asking for status report, and to impress upon him following:

(1) Our hope he will now be able to press forward with small, symbolic UN mission to Yemen along lines always envisaged;

(2) Our belief such mission sufficient since all parties to conflict anxious to disengage for reasons outlined numbered para 1 reftel; and Faysal has given his word of honor, which we accept, that SAG will adhere its undertaking.

(3) Our conviction large force not needed and impractical for financial reasons. All that is necessary in our judgment is UN token group behind which parties can disengage without loss of face.

FYI. Dept especially concerned that SYG may have misgivings about Yemen mission in light of recommendations which Von Horn is making to him, even though latest report from Jerusalem (Contel 235)/3/ indicates Von Horn is not recommending as large force as first appeared likely (Contel 232)./4/ Care must be taken to avoid giving SYG impression our approach based on such fears since we learned nature Von Horn's recommendations only on confidential basis. Perhaps tone of approach should be that Yemen problem much on our minds during his absence, and we hope he will now be free to get mission underway./5/ End FYI.

/3/Dated May 9. (Ibid.)

/4/Dated May 8. (Ibid.)

/5/Ambassador Stevenson delivered the points contained in this telegram to Secretary-General U Thant on May 15. U Thant said the problem remained how to get authorization for the deployment because the Soviet Union still insisted that Security Council action precede the move. (Ibid.)



243. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, May 10, 1963, 1:59 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Crawford on May 8; cleared by Trevithick, Strong, Cottam, Little, and Komer; and approved by Ball.

800. Eyes only Ambassador. Embtel 833./2/ Re your May 5 discussion with Ben-Gurion, your statement to PriMin correctly reflects intensity of Presidential concern for promptest affirmative GOI reply to our proposal for semi-annual Dimona visits, with first visit this month. This is a matter USG views as vital to peace and stability in Near East which PriMin has written must be matter of critical concern for both Israel and USG. It appears here he may now be attempting throw question of Dimona inspections into arena of bargaining for things Israel wants from us, such as security guarantee. As President made clear to Mrs. Meir in December, this is matter of global responsibility for USG transcending what we expect to be reciprocal give and take in our day-to-day bilateral relations. You should, therefore, press this with PriMin and Mrs. Meir with great urgency, particularly with former in event you sense his reference in May 5 conversation to her leaving hospital shortly is tactic to delay early affirmative reply. In further conversations, you may refer to foregoing as you deem useful as indication of USG concern and also to:

/2/See footnote 3, Document 236.

1. In his May 1961 conversation with Ben-Gurion, President did not suggest substitution of neutrals for Americans to observe Dimona. President asked whether it would not be helpful to let neutrals also observe reactor. (Ben-Gurion said he would have no objection and President expressed satisfaction at PriMin's reply.)/3/

/3/See vol. XVII, pp. 134-141.

2. On December 27, 1962, in context of discussion on our need to be fully informed of developments re Israel's reactor development, Mrs. Meir told President there would not be any difficulty between us./4/

/4/See Document 121.

3. On April 2, President also spoke to Israel DepMinDef Peres re our concern. Peres gave unequivocal assurance re Israel's present actions in that field./5/

/5/See Document 207.

4. In conversation with you April 2 Ben-Gurion "did not demur" when you broached proposal for semi-annual visits./6/

/6/Barbour reported on the conversation in telegram 724 from Tel Aviv, April 3. (Department of State, Central Files, REF 3 UNRWA) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.

5. USG is Israel's friend and there is close identification of interest between us, but we do not think any nation regards Israel as USG satellite. Nor, as GOI aware, has our handling of Dimona visits been source of public or private embarrassment to Israel. On contrary, it has been most helpful in giving quiet international support to Israel's statements of peaceful intention and thus damping down dangers of precipitate, ill-conceived reactions by Israel's neighbors. Our intention would be handle info from future visits in same, quietly useful manner.

6. In answer to the Israeli charge that we are not insisting on inspection in the Arab countries, you should say that we have a good line on any Arab nuclear efforts and that these do not amount to a serious program. Therefore, we consider this argument not to be a valid one from the standpoint of the advanced Israeli program.



244. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Grant) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/

Washington, May 11, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/UN. Top Secret. Drafted by Grant.

White House Concern with Arab-Israeli Matters

In recent weeks, as you are aware, it has become increasingly clear that the White House is under steadily mounting domestic political pressure to adopt a foreign policy in the Near East more consonant with Israeli desires. The Israelis are determined to use the period between now and the 1964 Presidential elections to secure a closer, more public security relationship with the United States, notably through a public security guarantee and a cooler, more antagonistic relationship between the United States and the UAR. The President is apparently desirous of seeking some form of accommodation to domestic pressures flowing from this Israeli desire without seriously impairing our other interests in the area. At best this would be extremely difficult to accomplish.

At the same time, the President is concerned with the arms escalation in the Near East. [2 lines of source text not declassified] Any arms limitation accord involving both Israel and the UAR will be possible only if we retain the substance of the new relationship developed by this Administration with the UAR.

Also noteworthy, Mike Feldman increasingly is the primary White House staff influence on United States policy with respect to Israel and Arab-Israeli issues. All outgoing cables and actions dealing with Israel and Arab-Israeli matters, and which could have a domestic political impact, must now be cleared with the White House.

Stemming from your meeting with the President on the UAR Wednesday afternoon, May 8,/2/ we are now charged with the urgent preparation of (a) a Presidential letter to Nasser which takes a first step in establishing a dialogue with Nasser on the twin problems of area security and arms limitation; and (b) a study of the various types of security arrangements and their applicability to this situation. In addition, at some point in the very near future we will need a scenario on how we might proceed in the weeks and months ahead in handling the security guarantee issue.

/2/The President met with Rusk, Komer, Feldman, Bundy, and Robert Strong from 5:15 to 5:50 p.m. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book)

Pursuant to NSAM No. 231 and Phil Talbot's memorandum to you of April 3,/3/ an arms limitation and control proposal for Israel and the UAR has been drafted and a plan of action for implementing it has been prepared.

/3/See Document 199 and footnote 3 thereto.

The White House staff is pressing for all these documents. I believe they will accept a delay if we can provide assurance all these documents will be delivered by Thursday or possibly Friday.

NEA will have all these documents in hand by Tuesday. We need to discuss them with you. I recommend that we meet mid-week for at least an hour to review our whole approach to Arab-Israeli affairs before the Department sends these forward./4/

/4/Secretary Rusk initialed his approval. A handwritten note indicates that the meeting was scheduled for May 15 at 3:30 p.m. No account of the meeting has been found.


245. Editorial Note

On May 13, 1963, CIA Director McCone discussed with Secretary Rusk at some length Israel's nuclear energy program and its prospects for producing nuclear weapons. According to McCone's record of the meeting, [3 paragraphs of text not declassified] (Memorandum for the Record, May 14; Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 D 01285A, DCI (McCone) Files, Memoranda for the Record)

On May 15, McCone met with President Kennedy and discussed Israel's nuclear energy program. According to McCone's notes, [1 paragraph of text not declassified].

McCone made the following note for action to be taken: [1 paragraph of text not declassified]. (Memorandum for the Record, May 17; ibid.)


246. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) /1/

Washington, May 14, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 ISR-US. Secret. Drafted by Crawford and cleared by Strong and Talbot.

Message from Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to the President

On May 14, the Israel Ambassador handed the Department the enclosed letter of May 12 from Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to the President. This letter replies to the President's message of May 5./2/

/2/The memorandum of Harman's conversation with Talbot, May 14, is ibid., POL ARAB-ISR. Ben Gurion's letter is attached to the source text but not printed. For Kennedy's letter, see Document 236.

The Prime Minister's message contains the following principal elements:

1. A long, critical commentary on Nasser and Nasser's intentions.

2. Mention of the threat to Israel which could follow any change of government in Jordan.

3. Rejection of the Tripartite Declaration or other unilateral declarations as of "no value".

4. Reiteration of the belief expressed in the Prime Minister's April 26 letter/3/ that "calamity" in the Middle East can best be avoided by a US-USSR joint declaration supporting the territorial status quo and compelling UAR acquiescence, if necessary, by withholding aid.

/3/See Document 220.

5. An alternative to the suggested US-USSR security guarantee, if that is not feasible:

(a) Demilitarization of Jordan's West Bank if Hussein should fall.

(b) A US-Israel bilateral security agreement, with which US allies would be invited to associate themselves.

(c) Provision to Israel by the United States of "all the equivalent kinds of armament with which the armed forces of Egypt and the other Arab states are equipped."

(d) A plan of general disarmament between Israel and the Arab states under a system of mutual and international inspection and control (although the Prime Minister acknowledges doubt that this is a practical proposition).

The Department will prepare a suggested draft reply for the President's consideration.

P.W. Kriebel/4/

/4/Kriebel signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.


247. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/

Washington, May 14, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 5/15-5/16/63. Top Secret. Drafted by Dickman. Handwritten notes on the source text indicate that Bundy received the original of the memorandum and a copy went to Komer.

Arms Limitation in the Near East

The President's NSAM No. 231 of March 26, 1963,/2/ instructed the Department to develop proposals for forestalling the development of advanced weapons in the Near East. The NSAM was issued at the time a small working group was being formed under the direction of NEA and including CIA and ACDA participation to formulate an arms limitation arrangement and recommend a practical course of action. An outline summary of these recommendations is attached.

/2/Document 199.

The proposal takes into account the lessons learned from a previous secret probe with Nasser and Ben Gurion (the 1956 Anderson Mission) as well as more recent studies in NEA and S/P of the pros and cons of undertaking a serious exploration with the UAR and Israel of a practicable arrangement to prevent further escalation of unconventional weapons in the Near East.

Our Plan of Action envisages a highly secret probe of UAR and Israeli willingness to cooperate with us to increase their security (V). We believe both sides have important reasons to do so (IV). If we are successful, we have much to gain (VI). If the attempt fails, we believe it will do little harm, if it can be kept secret, and could have useful side effects (IX).

In assaying the chances for success, we recognize that the proposed U.S. probe has only a reasonable chance of success but we believe it would be highly opportune since: 1) Israel has renewed its request to obtain a security guarantee; 2) the presence of German experts in the UAR has led to a public furor; 3) both the UAR and Israel have recently indicated their interest to a U.S. initiative (to Polk of S/P and Komer of the White House); 4) SNIE No. 30-2-63/3/ estimates that Israel [3 lines of source text not declassified]; 5) while the UAR has a much publicized missile program, Israel will shortly overtake the slight UAR lead; and 6) these trends are highly dangerous and, if allowed to continue unchecked, reduce U.S. capability to act.

/3/Document 239.



Near East Arms Limitation and Control Arrangement--Plan of Action

I. Recommendations:

That the U.S. seek an unobtrusive, reasonably simple, arrangement in the Near East designed to prevent Israel and the UAR from acquiring, at a minimum, (1) nuclear weapons and (2) surface-to-surface strategic missiles. Given the tremendous stakes involved, there should be an immediate confidential probe of Israeli and UAR willingness to cooperate toward this end.

Careful study has been given to this problem in recent months. There is reason to believe that such an effort would have some prospect of success and should be tied to Israel's efforts to obtain a security guarantee. Properly handled and if secrecy of the negotiations can be preserved, the effort, even if unsuccessful, would not harm U.S. interests in the area and useful side benefits would be derived from the attempt.

II. The Advanced Weapons Problem:

A. [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

B. The UAR's compulsion to counter such a development is likely to bring it into increasing dependence on the Soviet Union for its security.

C. Both Israel and the UAR are also devoting increasing efforts to the development of strategic missiles.

III. Why an Approach Now:

A. It is easier to establish controls over weapons which are not yet in the possession of either side.

B. The danger of pre-emptive attack increases as both sides learn of each other's advances in sophisticated weapons development. Both have expressed to the United States their great concern with the weapons development of the other.

C. As programs for developing sophisticated weapons come to fruition, the ability of the U.S. to control any hostilities which might occur between Israel and the UAR will decrease.

D. Repeated public and private expressions of concern by U.S. officials at the dangers of arms escalation and nuclear proliferation in the area require early exploration of the problem.

E. The rise in U.S. domestic pressures against arms escalation in the Near East, particularly against the UAR missile efforts make such an approach increasingly urgent.

F. If the U.S. is to move ahead on a security assurance for Israel, the commitment Israel seeks from us must be made conditional on an Israeli commitment to us not to develop nuclear weapons or offensive missiles; such a commitment may be impossible to secure in the absence of a parallel assurance from the UAR.

IV. Why Nasser and Ben Gurion Might Respond Favorably:

Although the proposed U.S. probe will encounter serious obstacles, the following factors have considerable weight in support of a favorable response:

A. Nasser

1. Has a great deal to gain since Israel has both a head-start and a far greater capacity in the nuclear field and will soon overtake the UAR in missile development, whereas the UAR's ultimate advantages lie in conventional fields;

2. Is not asked to give up existing weapons;

3. Will seek to obtain U.S. estimates of Israel capabilities and monitoring of French involvement since he now lacks capabilities in these areas;

4. Will wish to be responsive to the U.S. since he will perceive advantages in encouraging the flow of U.S. aid and avoiding undue military and economic dependence on the Communist bloc;

5. Will foresee some future tactical advantage in building his stature in the Afro-Asian bloc as a world statesman opposed to nuclear testing and nuclear proliferation; and

6. Is under considerable and growing strain to allocate his small economic resources to development in order to cope with his rapidly increasing population and to meet its rising expectations.

B. Ben Gurion

May well be harder to convince than Nasser since Israel wishes to rely primarily on its own military capabilities. However, Ben Gurion might be persuaded to give up a realizable, tremendous increase in Israel's capability for the following reasons:

1. Will be more receptive to firm U.S. pressure since he is aware that Israel is, ultimately, dependent upon the U.S. for security and so seeks to increase U.S. involvement;

2. Recognizes the extent of U.S. opposition to nuclear proliferation and will seek to maximize his advantages within this context if he cannot circumvent it;

3. Might recognize that while early development of nuclear weapons offers Israel some major defensive advantages, it could be quickly self-defeating by forcing UAR to turn to the Soviets on Castro-like terms, and by providing the Soviets, or even Chicoms, with a golden opportunity for providing a nuclear guarantee for the Arab Near East;

4. Due to Israel's proclaimed peaceful aims and desires to build a national home, wishes to divert funds to developmental projects if this can be done in security; and

5. Will perceive no danger to Israel since, if successful, Israel's security will be enhanced; he may think that, if unsuccessful, what Israel regards as U.S. flirtation with Nasser will likely be ended.

If the U.S. is prepared to provide a security guarantee conditioned upon Israeli agreement to an arms limitation arrangement, this should also be a powerful incentive.

V. Concept of the Initial Approach:

A. Designation of a secret Presidential emissary who, because of his reputation or identification with the President, will be attractive to both sides. He should arrive in Cairo for a three-day visit early in June, thence proceeding to a third country and returning via Israel.

B. The emissary during the initial approach would seek to impress on Nasser and Ben Gurion the serious concern of the U.S. Government over the Near East arms race and the inherent risks if it escalates to nuclear levels.

(1) Purpose would be to probe the motivations and ways to establish a simple and unobtrusive arrangement which would (a) ensure both the UAR and Israel that unconventional armaments are being eschewed and (b) would not entail interference with forces necessary for national security or programs for peaceful research in the fields of atomic energy and outer space.

(2) Primary emphasis would be on nuclear weapons and offensive missile systems but the emissary would also be prepared to discuss other areas such as bacteriological and chemical warfare which we do not consider a major threat. Radiological warfare is not a realistic threat.

C. The approach would be flexible:

(1) No formal agreement expected between the UAR and Israel; however, U.S. bilateral arrangements with each party would be expected as a minimum.

(2) Would suggest that the key for controlled armaments is a quiet competent third party (i.e., the U.S.) for both the negotiation and implementing phases.

(3) Would be prepared to indicate that the U.S. stands ready to take appropriate action, either by Presidential letter incorporating a unilateral statement of policy without binding legal force or an executive agreement to support the independence and integrity of each country. It would specify that in the event of aggression or threat of aggression, the two governments would immediately determine, in accordance with the constitutional processes, what action might be appropriately taken. This agreement would terminate automatically if the bilateral arrangement for arms limitation were abrogated or violated.

(4) Would support development of independent detection capabilities of Israel and the UAR (in order to double check assurances given by a third party) as well as use of IAEA or other comparable arrangements--the more effective these are, the lesser the U.S. role has to be.

(5) Would be prepared to discuss possible U.S. participation in atomic energy or outer space programs of both sides as one form of verification (and as prestige sweetener for their cooperation).

D. Fourth countries would not be informed of the initial approach.

VI. What We Would Eventually Hope to Accomplish:

A. While the emissary would describe different alternative schemes for arms limitation--both public and private, unilateral and multilateral--we would ultimately hope to wind up with the following largely secret arrangement:

(1) An undertaking by both sides not to develop, test, manufacture, or import nuclear weapons or surface-to-surface missiles which would be "strategic" in terms of the Near East./4/

/4/The UAR's present missiles are largely show pieces which it might retain for that purpose. Present UAR missile development would be re-directed toward prestigious outer space programs. [Footnote in the source text.]

(2) Peaceful nuclear programs and scientific space research programs would be declared and subject to safeguards, with the nuclear program preferably subject to IAEA safeguards.

(3) A cooperative arrangement for prompt access for U.S. technicians to any potential production facility for nuclears or missiles considered suspicious by the U.S. or the other country; refusal to allow access would be considered prima facie evidence of violation.

B. The non-importation requirement would preclude stationing on the territory of the two countries foreign troops equipped with such arms. The non-development and testing requirement would also preclude either side from conducting this activity within a third country.

C. The inspection systems devised to accomplish this purpose would not be elaborate or formalized. A few technical personnel would be assigned to our Embassies. Visits by technical personnel would be supplemented by normal U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities.

VII. After the Initial Approach:

A. If both sides wish further exploratory talks, a small staff would be sent to the field to lay groundwork for the second visit.

B. A fourth country would be brought into the picture if the nature of the response justified it.

C. While negotiations must remain absolutely secret, certain aspects of this approach may become public if an arrangement is developed. We should seek to keep the specifics secret and would review with Nasser possible steps to protect his position with Arab public opinion if the arrangement should surface.

VIII. Fourth Countries:

A. France: The absence of hard information on the close French-Israeli technical relationship in the nuclear and missile field remains a major handicap. While it is doubted that the French would provide Israel with a nuclear device, possible covert arrangements with the French in the nuclear and missile field outside Israel is a potential problem. Nasser will probably realize he is better off if the U.S. gives him assurances that it will seek to stop any existing covert arrangement than if it does nothing; also, the safeguards outlined above should identify Israeli activities well before Israel has an operational capacity from its soil.

B. Soviet Union: The Soviets are unlikely to supply the UAR with a nuclear weapon and have avoided thus far supplying large missiles. Attempts by the Soviet Union to disrupt any arms limitation arrangement would have to be accepted as a calculated risk if it becomes public. However, Soviet opportunities would be diminished considerably if the UAR does not feel compelled to turn to the U.S.S.R. to gain parity with Israel in the nuclear and missile field.

IX. Side Benefits Even if Approach Fails:

A. Even if we do not succeed, we will have a better idea of conditions and likely sticking points by both sides for an arms control arrangement. If we should undertake another initiative in the future, we will have an important point of reference.

B. Educative effect. Both Ben Gurion and Nasser will have a better appreciation of the problems, economic costs, and risks involved if they try to develop unconventional weapons.

C. We will have greater freedom of action in the Near East to pursue unilateral means to stop nuclear escalation.


248. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, May 14, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 5/15-5/16/63. Secret. Drafted by Komer on May 15.

Conversation with Israeli Minister Gazit, 14 May 1963

I asked Gazit to drop by (instead of accepting his invite to lunch) primarily so I could remonstrate in low key about Golda Meir's misinterpretation of an informal chat between Gazit and myself (Tel Aviv 710)/2/ and an Israeli newspaper's half-baked story about my presumed "Presidential mission" to Cairo to investigate UAR unconventional weapons development (Tel Aviv 856)./3/ He expressed considerable embarrassment over what he said he had made clear in his dispatch was a bit of informal, personal speculation on my part; he simply would not report such informal chats (sic) from now on.

/2/Dated March 30. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12 UAR)

/3/Dated May 8. (Ibid.)

Our usual straightforward and thoroughly friendly conversation then ensued. I commented on how BG's 13 May speech in effect criticizing the US for "denying" arms to Israel didn't even mention the Hawks. Gazit got the point. We then discussed the current "hullabaloo" (his word) over US/Israeli relations. He said flatly that this hullabaloo was likely to get worse unless we did "something" to meet Israeli security requirements. I asked him if this meant we were being threatened with an increase in the already substantial Israeli pressure on us for new security guarantees, etc. unless we caved. Gazit replied that their concerns were a fact of life with which we would have to live, that the Israelis had not inspired in any way the current noises from Javits et al. on the Hill, but that we must recognize the genuine concern of the top-political level in Israel over the growing Arab threat.

We discussed the threat; he agreed that it wasn't immediate, though we might have different views as to how distant it was. But the Israelis felt that they must anticipate a possible future problem of great magnitude by getting now some further reassurances. We would get today a second BG letter;/4/ it was rather long but added up to Israel's desire for a formal defense pact plus arms aid. Any such alliance relationship would naturally entail US provision of arms to Israel, as to our other allies. To my comment that there seemed to be no early need for more arms, he granted that the chief value would be as a psychological warning to the Arabs that the US meant business in its security commitment.

/4/See Document 246.

Gazit asked me why we were so reluctant to go beyond the terminology of the old Tripartite Declaration. Why were we so unwilling to move at this juncture in the direction Israel wanted? I saw at least three categories of reasons: (1) we naturally did not like to be pressed so hard, though this was least important; (2) we did not see why there had to be precipitate action, in view of our common understanding that the crunch if any would come some years in the future; and (3) we always wanted to look at the cost to other aspects of our Near East policy. These were hardly illegitimate considerations on our part. Gazit still wondered why we did not go all the way now instead of this business of half measures and restatements of existing policy. If Truman in 1949 had made a defense pact with Israel and provided the Israelis with arms, we would have had none of the unfortunate developments in the intervening period. He thought that an open defense arrangement between Israel and the US would not necessarily undermine US influence with the Arabs and would settle once and for all the question of Israeli security.

I said we by no means pooh-poohed the possibility of a gradually increasing threat to Israeli security, though it was hard to see any drastic qualitative change in the situation which necessitated moving as fast as they seemed to desire. Indeed I thought too much "hullabaloo" might even be counterproductive in its effect, since US officials tended to react adversely when confronted with what almost seemed to amount to a propaganda campaign. These were serious matters, and ought to be discussed seriously and privately on a diplomatic level--without leaks to the press or propaganda gambits.

It seemed to me that we were caught in a vicious circle; public Israeli statements were picked up and replayed here; because of their alarmist and somewhat exaggerated nature, we had to rebut at least in part. Even the BG-Kennedy correspondence had to be devoted partly to such argument and rebuttal. Instead of continuing this kind of arm's length debate, with the risk of injured feelings on both sides, it might be better to begin some form of a quiet dialogue on the diplomatic level, which could encompass all issues of mutual concern. Among these were the possible repercussions of a change of regime in Jordan, the current Arab-Israeli arms balance and prospective changes, and the question of advanced weapons, as well as BG's request for a defense pact and further conventional arms. Stressing that this was strictly my own personal idea, I reminded Gazit that he had frequently suggested some such exchange, and had complained that we kept them too much at arm's length to permit frank discussion. Gazit felt that such a dialogue could be useful. Indeed if we could agree shortly to begin discussions, say on the 25th of June, we could have "a month of quiet" for both of us to get ready.

I suggested to Gazit that if we were to engage in frank discussion, there ought to be certain ground rules understood in advance. In my personal opinion, (1) it should be clear that the conversations would be entirely private; (2) there ought to be a moratorium on propaganda maneuvers; (3) it ought to be understood that during the discussions neither side would take actions which would put the other on the spot (I did not develop this further); (4) it ought to be agreed that we would discuss all issues that either one of us wanted to bring up.

Gazit felt that it might be useful to hold a meeting soon to discuss whether we could agree on ground rules for such a dialogue. He did not seem to think there would be much of a problem. He further suggested that a good way to begin might be to send someone in the President's confidence quietly to Israel for discussions there. He was sure that this could be kept from public notice. I agreed that something along this line might be useful at some point, but perhaps not at the outset.

I also reminded Gazit of our deep concern with nuclear proliferation of any kind; as an opener, I mentioned their stalling on Dimona. I said I could well understand why they might be inclined to use our request for periodic inspection as a bargaining counter, but that they should realize this sort of thing raised suspicions on our part. Were I in the Israeli government I would have recommended offering immediate inspection on a one-time basis, while reserving on the larger issue of periodic visits. Again stressing that I was speaking personally, I asked whether recent statements by BG, Dayan, and others about the need to strengthen Israel's defenses, plus Israel's campaign against Nazi scientists, could be part of a campaign to justify Israeli development of nuclear weapons, or to threaten this as an alternative if we didn't come through with a security pact. Gazit grinned.

I further mentioned the adverse official reaction here when BG and others both publicly and privately called into question our aid to the UAR. A number of Israeli officials including Harman, Eban, Peres and Gazit himself had indicated in the past their understanding of this policy. For them now to take issue with it was in effect to call into question the judgment of the President and the US Government. Gazit felt that they had recently changed their evaluation on this point. I wondered if the Israelis thought that US aid to Nasser increased the threat to Israel, or whether they really feared that at some future date our ties with Nasser would become such as to inhibit us from coming to Israel's support. If so, this was nonsense. I rehearsed some of the arguments for our aid to Nasser.

To sum up, Gazit seemed to be putting me on notice that the Israelis were determined to get something out of the US in the way of greater security reassurances. However, I also feel that the Israelis are interested in the idea of serious, private discussions (which seem to me inevitable anyway) and might be willing to relax their pressures if we will engage in them under some such conditions as I suggested.

R.W. Komer/5/

/5/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


249. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) /1/

Washington, May 16, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 228. Secret. Copies were sent to Kenneth Hansen and Bromley Smith.


We've agreed to put State's reply (Tab 1) to NSAM 228/2/ on the 21 May Standing Group agenda. This seems the best way of getting action. But we need a set of issues to focus discussion, so I've drafted one (Tab 2)/3/ for you to send out pronto.

/2/Tab 1 is Document 218. NSAM No. 228 is Document 192.

/3/Tab 2 is a draft memorandum from Bundy to the Standing Group, not printed.

I held up action on this one till I could needle BOB into commenting (Tab 3),/4/ since they initiated this exercise.

/4/Tab 3 is a May 7 memorandum from Hansen to Komer on "State Reply to NSAM 228," not printed.

There has been, as BOB points out, a de facto change in our policy toward Iran since the big Iran Task Force exercise in May 1961. Then we were pushing for support of a reformist Amini cabinet, an integrated Iranian development plan, and movement toward a political consensus involving reversion of the Shah toward a constitutional role. But Amini fell and the Shah finally decided to carry through his own political and social revolution, epitomized by extensive land reform. Our current policy is to live with this and attempt to mold it, i.e. support the Shah's reform program and work through him rather than attempting to circumscribe his role.

BOB thinks we should look at alternatives to the above basic policy, largely because it is bearish over the Shah's ability to carry through with an effective revolution, e.g. because of his failure to push ahead with a major development program. I'm less inclined to argue this issue; I see no other realistic alternative to backing the Shah's reforms (which have already proceeded too far to turn back), but attempting to guide it into more effective channels (which incidentally would include the greater stress on planned development BOB favors).

Thus the real issue to me is one of tactics. Here I fully agree with BOB that the tactics recommended by State and the Embassy are essentially passive rather than active, typified by Holmes' view that we should avoid situations in which we would have . . . "to draw a balance between the good and the bad" (Tehran's A-618)/5/ or in which we might be "held responsible for successes or failures" (Tehran 873)./6/ This passive approach is also typified by pp. 5-7 of State's paper under the glorious title of "The Pitfalls of Direct Involvement." We are directly involved in Iran; we will be blamed just as much if the Shah's revolution fails with us sitting on the sidelines as if it fails with us in there pitching. We just can't afford 19th Century diplomacy in Iran.

/5/Airgram 618 from Tehran, April 4, transmitted a report on U.S. policy and assistance programs for Iran prepared by the Country Team. (Department of State, Central Files, POL IRAN-US)

/6/Telegram 873 from Tehran, April 12, conveyed Embassy and AID comments about Iran's financial situation. (Ibid., AID (US) IRAN)

So I've developed a series of questions for SG designed to prod State/AID/DOD to prod Holmes to get moving. For once, we may be riding with success in Iran. But it won't be a success for long unless we can convince the Shah to do the minimum essential to consolidate his revolution. And for once it won't require a lot of dollar pump-priming or military baksheesh from us. What is really needed is some tough talk and persistent needling.




250. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, May 16, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 5/15/63-5/16/63. Top Secret.

Here at last is State's scenario for handling Israeli demands./2/ Though I've prodded them unmercifully, and delay is partly sheer bureaucracy, I'll plead: (a) they've found it hard to adjust to the prospect of a commitment we've avoided for fifteen years; (b) this problem is incredibly ramified; and (c) the situation in the area is much calmer (though Israeli pressure is no less).

/2/The scenario, Tab A to this memorandum, was transmitted to Bundy on May 11 under cover of a memorandum from Brubeck indicating that Komer had requested the memorandum on behalf of the President. Tab B is presumably a 7-page document, "Framework and Tactics for Negotiations." It was transmitted to the White House under cover of a memorandum from Rusk to President Kennedy on May 16. For text, see the enclosure to Document 253.

[1 paragraph (6-1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

State proposes in effect entering into a quiet negotiation with the Israelis, conditioned upon their agreement to (a) call off their pressure campaign; (b) preserve secrecy; (c) agree not to move to West Bank while we're talking; and (d) cooperate in nuclear inspection. This is a tall order, but a good opening bid.

The negotiations are envisaged as lasting several months, and ending up either in a UAR-Israel arms limitation agreement plus security guarantee, or in a nuclear limitation security arrangement with Israel alone.

The form of guarantee envisaged (Tab C)/3/ is an executive agreement or Presidential letter rather than a treaty, essentially to avoid Congressional problems. It of course falls far short of demands in BG's latest letter, especially BG's clear idea that alliance means US arms aid.

/3/Tab C, a memorandum entitled "Possible United States-Israel Security Assurance," was transmitted under cover of the May 16 memorandum from Rusk to President Kennedy.

Tab D is the proposed interim letter to Nasser calming him down./4/ I think it falls far short of what's needed and will try a redo.

/4/Tab D is a draft letter from Kennedy to Nasser; for the text as transmitted on May 27, see Document 257.

This whole problem area is so fraught with risk that we ought to make haste as slowly as we can. If we can get the Israelis to lay off public agitation in return for opening a private dialogue this should buy us time to feel out what they'll accept and what we can get in return. Given the Hawk/refugee episode of last year, we want to avoid giving if possible before we've taped down the quid pro quos./5/

/5/Between 5 and 5:45 p.m. on May 17, Rusk, Harriman, Talbot, Grant, McGeorge Bundy, and Komer met with President Kennedy at the White House to discuss Near East questions. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Books) No record of the meeting has been found. A memorandum from Komer to Kennedy written prior to the meeting argued in support of Department of State proposals for an arms control initiative, noting that the United States could not give Israel a security guarantee unless it renounced nuclear weapons, and Israel would not do that unless Nasser renounced nuclear weapons. (Ibid., President's Office Files, Countries, Israel) A "Talking Point" memorandum prepared for Rusk is in Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 5, Memos to Secretary and through S/S.

R. W. Komer/6/

/6/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


251. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, May 16, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Special Group, Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451. Secret. Drafted by Dingeman. Circulated to the Special Group on May 20 under cover of a memorandum from Carol C. Moor, in anticipation of the Group's May 23 meeting.

Minutes of the Special Group (CI) Meeting

2 p.m., Thursday, May 16, 1963

Governor Harriman, The Attorney General, Mr. Gilpatric, General Taylor, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Coffin vice Mr. Bell, Mr. Wilson vice Mr. Murrow, Mr. Karamessines vice Mr. McCone

Mr. Martin and Mr. Belcher were present for Item 1

Mr. Bowling was present for Item 3

Mr. Maechling was present for the meeting

[Here follow items 1 and 2 on unrelated subjects.]

3. Implications of a Renewal of Kurdish Hostilities/2/

/2/In early May, the Department of State had instructed the Embassy in Baghdad to renew its demarche to the Iraqi Government to continue negotiations with the Kurds and avoid a resumption of the fighting. (Telegram 583 to London, May 4; ibid., Central Files, POL 26 IRAQ) Additional documentation is ibid., and ibid., POL 27 IRAQ.

Mr. Karamessines in commenting on the Special Estimate prepared for this item/3/ mentioned that there are indications that the Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi Government are preparing for possible hostilities. We have no firm evidence that Soviet material assistance is being provided to the Kurds.

/3/SNIE 30-3-63, "Some Implications of a Renewal of Kurdish Hostilities." (Ibid., S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Iraq) See the Supplement, the compilation on Iraq.

General Taylor recommended that we should contact the British and French on this matter. The Chairman added that this is a very serious question and he does not believe that the Iraqi Government would be able to successfully cope with a possible Kurdish rebellion. He pointed out that the Soviet interest in these developments was a disturbing sign.

In response to a question by Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Karamessines stated that the Shah is giving some aid and comfort to the Kurds but that material assistance is not significant. The Iraqi Kurds have used border areas of Iran for temporary safe haven. The Shah is providing assistance to the Kurds in Iran.

The Group agreed that this matter should be kept under close scrutiny by CIA and subsequent reports should be submitted to the Group if the situation deteriorates. Mr. Bowling commented that he was concerned over the possibility of an overland link-up with the Soviets which would greatly facilitate the movement of supplies to the Kurds.

The Chairman mentioned that Embassy Tehran had responded to the State cable urging intensified efforts by the Country Team to assist the land reform program and methods by which we can influence Iran to modify its conservative fiscal policy. He suggested that after this response has been studied by the responsible Washington agencies it should be brought to the attention of the group.

[Here follows a short paragraph on the schedule for the next meeting.]

James W. Dingeman
Executive Secretary
Special Group (CI)


252. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, May 18, 1963, 6:57 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 294, Pres. Kennedy-Johnson/Israel Correspondence: 1962-65. Secret; Eyes Only; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Ball and Crawford on May 17; cleared by Talbot, Strong, Rollefson (in substance), Harriman, Bromley Smith, and Kriebel; and approved by Rusk.

835. Embtel 894. Verbatim text. You should deliver following letter from President to PriMin Ben-Gurion:

"Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

"I welcome your letter of May 12/2/ and am giving it careful study.

/2/See Document 246.

"Meanwhile, I have received from Ambassador Barbour a report of his conversation with you on May 14 regarding the arrangements for visiting the Dimona reactor. I should like to add some personal comments on that subject.

"I am sure you will agree that there is no more urgent business for the whole world than the control of nuclear weapons. We both recognized this when we talked together two years ago, and I emphasized it again when I met with Mrs. Meir just after Christmas. The dangers in the proliferation of national nuclear weapons systems are so obvious that I am sure I need not repeat them here.

"It is because of our preoccupation with this problem that my Government has sought to arrange with you for periodic visits to Dimona. When we spoke together in May 1961 you said that we might make whatever use we wished of the information resulting from the first visit of American scientists to Dimona and that you would agree to further visits by neutrals as well. I had assumed from Mrs. Meir's comment that there would be no problem between us on this.

"We are concerned with the disturbing effects on world stability which would accompany the development of a nuclear weapons capability by Israel. I cannot imagine that the Arabs would refrain from turning to the Soviet Union for assistance if Israel were to develop a nuclear weapons capability--with all the consequences this would hold. But the problem is much larger than its impact on the Middle East. Development of a nuclear weapons capability by Israel would almost certainly lead other larger countries, that have so far refrained from such development, to feel that they must follow suit.

"As I made clear in my press conference of May 8, we have a deep commitment to the security of Israel. In addition this country supports Israel in a wide variety of other ways which are well known to both of us. [4-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

"I can well appreciate your concern for developments in the UAR. But I see no present or imminent nuclear threat to Israel from there. I am assured that our intelligence on this question is good and that the Egyptians do not presently have any installation comparable to Dimona, nor any facilities potentially capable of nuclear weapons production. But, of course, if you have information that would support a contrary conclusion, I should like to receive it from you through Ambassador Barbour. We have the capacity to check it.

"I trust this message will convey the sense of urgency and the perspective in which I view your Government's early assent to the proposal first put to you by Ambassador Barbour on April 2./3/

/3/See footnote 5, Document 243.


"John F. Kennedy"



253. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) to the Ambassador to the United Arab Republic (Badeau) /1/

Washington, May 20, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL NR EAST-US. Secret; Limit Distribution; For Ambassador Only; Official-Informal. Drafted by Barrow on May 14 and cleared by Strong, Gaud, and Hewitt.

Dear Mr. Ambassador: The rising concern here and abroad as regards the long-range security situation in the Middle East has occasioned us to take a new look at our policies to insure that they are consistent with our commitments and long-range interest in the area. I believe I need not elaborate on the reasons for concern such as the Arab-Israel arms race, the Israel Dimona reactor and its potentialities for possible weapons production within a few years, the entry of the UAR into ground-to-ground rocket production, the massive UAR military intervention in Yemen, the reference to liberation of Palestine in the Arab Unity Proclamation of April 17, the recent riots in Jordan and the incessant UAR propaganda against Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It is perhaps possible for detached observers to examine the nuances of each of these situations separately and to reach a judgment that they constitute no immediate peril. Such a judgment, however, may well be viewed as rather facile in face of the long run security threat which the combined picture presents, especially to those immediately concerned, and to Americans who share their concern. No equation relating to the balance of power in the area is complete without taking into account both the deep psychological factors in Israel and what American public opinion will support at home.

Thus, in order to maintain the essentials of the constructive action program which has been charted in recent years, the President feels it important to give serious consideration to Israel's strong desire for a more specific security guarantee. He believes it is only through allaying Israel fears about the long-range threat to its existence that leverage to forestall possible Israel preventive warfare and to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons can be maintained. He further believes that such a guarantee would be helpful in removing any margin for error by the Arabs about US intentions. Moreover, it is conceivable that by obliging the Arabs to make a more realistic reexamination of their own situation in light of the present power structure of the area, we might well lead them toward a more conciliatory policy albeit this is perhaps a debatable point.

The precise nature of the agreement including quid pro quos to be negotiated with Israel is being studied in the Department and specific plans will be made known to you as they unfold. It is sufficient to say now that major objectives will be to obtain firm assurances from Israel that it will (a) refrain from initiatives to violate the peace, [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] (d) cooperate more fully with United Nations peacekeeping machinery, (e) desist from propaganda and activities designed to disrupt our relations with the Arabs, and (f) adopt a more cooperative attitude toward a serious effort to solve the refugee problem and other underlying causes of tension.

The President is fully cognizant of the problem that we face with the Arabs on this score. Although nothing is being given to the Israelis other than what they already have in substance, and although we hope to obtain in return concessions from Israel that will have positive benefits for the Arabs, we recognize that psychologically the Arabs are bound to react unfavorably and that our missions in the Arab world are likely to be faced with difficult problems. However, we hope that after the initial impact, the Arabs will settle down to a tacit, if not overt, understanding of what the United States is trying to do.

We recognize that politically the Arabs cannot accept the same type of agreement that we shall be negotiating with Israel, but we are nevertheless prepared to give them whatever we offer Israel and, should that not prove to be something they want, the firmest assurances of support--as clearly demonstrated in 1956--for their own security and integrity. We propose also to continue with our existing economic assistance programs. We might also give some consideration, in light of expected improvements of Israel's sense of security, to a more liberal attitude in regard to sales of conventional armaments than heretofore, depending upon the degree of moderation and restraint the Arabs display and their cooperation toward bringing about the limitations on nuclear and sophisticated weapons which we seek.

I enclose, merely as a stimulant to your consideration, an outline of tentative thoughts regarding the agreement and its implications. This outline, I would caution, is, indeed, tentative and by no means represents the final word. I would greatly appreciate your giving this outline the benefit of your full study and appraisal.

Since the President wants to move ahead expeditiously, I would appreciate hearing from you soonest. In view of the delicacy of the matter, we wish for the present to keep communications closely controlled and I would thus recommend that all correspondence be by "For Talbot from Ambassador" personal letter unless, of course, factors of urgency should require a "For Talbot" telegram./2/

/2/Badeau responded to Talbot on June 5 in a lengthy official-informal letter, which contained a detailed account of the problems and dangers the United States faced in extending a security guarantee to Israel. (Ibid., POL ARAB-ISR) On May 27, Talbot sent a letter to other Near Eastern posts concerning the proposed security guarantee to Israel. Talbot's letter has not been found, but the responses to it from Barbour (June 6), Stookey (June 8), Knight (June 10), Melbourne (June 11), Meyer (June 12), Mak (June 13), and Hart (July 1) are ibid. Macomber's response of June 10 is ibid., DEF 18-6 NEAR E.

With best personal regards.

Sincerely yours,

Phillips Talbot/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

P.S. Perhaps by the time you have received this letter you will have received instructions to present a letter from President Kennedy to President Nasser for the purpose of alerting him in a general way (not with specific reference to an Israel security guarantee) that new U.S. initiative to allay Israel concern and security guarantee negotiations together and approach both the UAR and Israel even-handedly. [sic] If the UAR refuses to go along on arms limitation we would then be obliged to revert to a unilateral security guarantee for Israel, the latter, however, to retain the quid pro quos mentioned earlier.



/4/Secret; Limit Distribution.


The U.S. has decided to allay Israel's concerns for its security and to seek an arms limitation in the Near East. Courses of action to avoid damage to U.S. fundamental interests in the area include adequate quid pro quo from Israel and demonstration of continued evenhandedness in overall U.S. policy in the area.

I. U.S. Purpose

A. To provide a greater degree of security assurance for Israel and its Arab neighbors vis--vis each other

B. To secure an arms limitation in the Near East (Minimum: nuclear weapons and offensive missiles)

C. To preserve fundamental interests of U.S. in area

II. Fundamental U.S. Interests in Area

A. Denial to Soviets

B. Communications--commercial and strategic--access and transit; overflight; Suez Canal

C. Petroleum--on which prosperity and economic strength U.K. and Western Europe depend

D. Containment of Arab-Israel hostility

E. Preventing proliferation nuclear weapons

F. Reasonable degree of rapport with Arab world as well as with Israel

III. Arab Attitudes

A. General

1. Suspicious of U.S. intentions; however, evenhanded policy beginning produce results (greater willingness accommodate U.S. on difficult issues)

2. Deep-seated resentment of Israel; however, more signs of passive acceptance Israel's existence so long as issues not publicly agitated

3. Fear of Israel's military strength

a. Particularly nuclear weapons--if development appears imminent, UAR might feel obliged launch air attack

B. UAR Attitudes

1. Egypt more prepared than other Arab states take long range view (often willing negotiate issues) so long as long range UAR interests advanced or at least not prejudiced

2. Egyptians regard selves as natural leaders Arab world and obliged respond any threat Arab goals

3. Desire cooperate with U.S. created by economic assistance and U.S. world leadership role; but must avoid appearing be tool of U.S.

4. UAR considers that number of strains recently placed on US-UAR relations, viz:

a. Attacks on UAR in Congress and U.S. press

b. Declaration of direct or implied unilateral support and favor for Israel

c. UAR impatience at delays in fulfilling economic aid commitments

d. UAR claim that alarms over arms, Germans, and rockets exaggerated

e. U.S. military measures support Saudi Arabia and Jordan

f. Suspicion U.S. has hand in current frustration in Syria and Iraq

5. Lack of confidence in constancy of U.S. policy toward UAR

6. UAR readiness to deal with Soviets

IV. Israeli Attitudes

A. Considers present moment most propitious for all-out campaign achieve principal foreign policy objectives

1. U.S. Presidential election in 1964

2. Psychological--impact German scientist and weapons charges against UAR; threat of Nasserist encirclement and call for Palestine liberation

3. Military--confident of present military superiority

4. Economic--large, fluid foreign exchange reserves and year or more of stocks food and other supplies

B. Fears are for longer term potential of Arabs--however, Israeli public concerned by recent area developments--fears will be played up by government

C. Determined maintain own freedom of action

D. Believes Arab world can be depended on react unhelpfully to U.S. initiatives re area tensions

E. Mistrustful of U.S. interests in Arab world and hopeful accomplish change in U.S. posture impartiality

V. What Israel Seeks From the United States

A. Primary

1. Special, public guarantee of Israel's security

2. Joint military planning and regular intelligence exchange

3. Access to U.S. weaponry (short of nuclears)

4. Discontinuance of U.S. support to the UAR

5. Demilitarization of West Bank of Jordan under UN in event of change of situation in Jordan

6. U.S. commitment to use military force to maintain status quo in Jordan

7. Public U.S. stand against Arab belligerency

8. Sustained high level of economic aid

B. Secondary

U.S. support of "direct negotiations" resolution in UN; disavowal of UN resolutions on refugees; greater U.S. support for anti-Nasser forces in Near East; U.S. identification with and assistance to Israel's aid programs, particularly in Africa; prevent Western participation in UAR weapons programs; USG support for special Israel ties with Europe.

VI. Range of Possible Dangers to U.S. Interests From Security Assurance to Israel Alone--will depend on character U.S. approach, Israeli public posture, and possible Israeli concessions. US-Israel military coordination or change in arms policy would accentuate risks.

A. Soviet counter-guarantee

B. Public hostility throughout Arab world

C. Consistent opposition U.S. initiative in UN and other bodies

D. Weakening heretofore friendly regimes in Arab world--Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait (incidentally, will tend rally Arabs around Nasser)

E. Reduced U.S. diplomatic effectiveness generally, including circumscribed ability deal usefully with Arab-Israel issues (e.g. refugees, border violations, boycott, discrimination)

F. Harassment oil companies and other U.S. commercial interests (nationalization not out of question)

G. Closer Soviet-Arab military cooperation--in degree commensurate to alarm we may engender on part of Arabs (e.g., in extreme, we could not rule out Castro-type base arrangements)

VII. Quid pro Quos From Israel--required to protect U.S. interests in area

A. Minimum requirements during negotiations

1. No publicity which will create problem for Nasser during negotiations

2. Termination of campaign against U.S. policy, including aid to UAR

3. Commitment of no movement of forces outside Israel (e.g., into West Bank)

4. Cooperation in U.S. or IAEA inspections of nuclear installations

B. Requirements in exchange for security assurance

[1 paragraph (1-1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

2. No territorial expansion

3. No cross-border military action

4. Cooperation with U.S. on UNTSO, refugee problem, Jordan waters

C. Continuing Israel respect for international agreements previously entered into (e.g., General Armistice Agreement)

VIII. Steps--Essential that blanket of secrecy be put over entire operation at least through end June 1963

A. Presidential letter to Nasser (immediately) to note:

1. Mounting pressure against U.S. policy aid to UAR

2. Possible danger of preemptive attack by Israel

3. Israel's intent and capability develop nuclear weapons

4. Set stage for Ambassador's detailed discussions

B. Bearing in mind that success of current initiatives depends heavily on absolute secrecy at least of early steps, conduct campaign on Hill with view

1. Quieting debate and agitation of Near East issues

2. Achieving and maintaining necessary flexibility in aid program for UAR and other Arab states

C. Initiate and continue parallel steps calculated preserve adequate negotiating atmosphere in UAR and minimize reaction in Arab states (See IX below)

D. Approach to Israel Government to establish conditions for negotiation (see VII A above--utilize reply to Ben-Gurion's May 14 letter to President)

E. Ambassador (or special emissary) to initiate discussions in Cairo (with Nasser--early June) and Tel Aviv re arms limitation associated with security assurances to be offered both parties

F. Receive and evaluate reactions; include follow-up discussions by ambassadors, particularly in Cairo, as necessary for clarifications (conclude by July 15)

G. Second Round--discussions Cairo and Tel Aviv (July 15-30) beginning negotiations re arms limitation and related security assurances

H. If no progress discernible in six months (by February 1964) through fault of UAR, revert to unilateral discussions with Israel for a security guarantee (timing must take into account status of Jordan Waters problem)

I. If no progress on arms limitation discernible through fault of Israel after six months (assuming some progress with UAR) apply additional pressure on Israel

J. By June 1964, have either a UAR-Israel arms limitation arrangement and security assurance or unilateral arms limitation and security assurance for Israel

IX. Parallel Steps To Minimize Reaction in Arab States


1. Be more responsive on economic assistance to UAR, taking initiative with UAR if necessary

a. Complete action on long pending commitments (e.g., ExIm and AID loans related Kaissouni mission)

b. Talk up possible consortium

c. Give some reassurance re possible development loans FY 64 (increase planning level)

2. Conclude Investment Guarantee Agreement and actively encourage American private investment moves to extent feasible (e.g., Sears Roebuck project)

3. Seek damping of Congressional attacks on UAR and U.S. policy

4. Maintain secrecy on contacts with Nasser

B. Other Arab States

1. Public declaration by President of our good intentions toward the Arabs

2. Demonstrate continuation evenhanded policy on other aspects Arab-US-Israel relationship--e.g., in handling Jordan Waters issues and refugee problem

3. Continue refugee initiative--seek Israel cooperation

4. Maintain posture that we do not object to Arab Unity (subject to our criteria)

5. Seek damping of Congressional criticism Arab states and institutions

6. Avoid over-identification U.S. with Israel's minor initiatives (e.g., Israel's third country programs, ties with European regional organizations, etc.)

7. Continue special measures support Saudi Arabia and Jordan

8. Maintain and foster aid and other economic relations with Syria and Iraq


254. Summary Record of National Security Council Standing Group Meeting No. 6/63/1/

Washington, May 21, 1963, 5 p.m.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Standing Group Meetings, Meeting of 5/21/63. Secret. Drafted by Smith.

1. Report on Iran

Mr. Bundy said his reaction to the State Department report/2/ was one of wanting to know more about how Ambassador Holmes expected to implement the recommendations contained in the report.

/2/Document 218.

Following an explanation by Mr. Bell, Mr. Bundy agreed that the plans and operations in connection with the Iranian land reform appeared to be in order. The ways we were trying to induce the Iranians to improve their overall economic policy did not appear to him to be clear. As to the military operations, these appeared to be satisfactory for the present.

Mr. Talbot defended Ambassador Holmes by saying that the Ambassador was doing as much as a U.S. Ambassador could do in seeking to influence the decisions of the Iranian Government.

Under Secretary Harriman said the Department would draw up a list of questions to be sent to the country team with a view to producing a specific set of plans to implement the recommendations contained in the report. If the answers are not satisfactory, the Ambassador would be asked to return to Washington for further discussions, probably accompanied by the AID Director.

There was considerable discussion as to the role which the World Bank played in Iran. The consensus was that we should encourage the Bank to reestablish its presence in Iran promptly in the expectation that Bank officials could give economic advice to the Iranian government more easily than U.S. officials could. The point was made that if the Bank did not move promptly to advise the Iranian government on economic policy, the U.S. Ambassador and other U.S. officials should do so. There was general agreement that we must make available the best possible technicians to assist the Iranian government on economic problems.

There was a discussion of the Ex-Im Bank refusal to make loans without using oil revenues as security. It was agreed that an effort would be made to convince the Ex-Im Bank officials that they should facilitate the granting of loans to Iran.

With respect to aid policy in general, there appeared to be a difference of view as to whether the Ambassador's recommendation that we give grant aid to Iran was a wise course to follow or whether soft loans would be preferable. The prevailing view appeared to be that, in the light of Congressional opposition to grant aid, aid to Iran should be in the form of soft loans.

The discussion centered on the degree of U.S. intervention in Iran's economic affairs. The majority appeared to favor more active intervention, but Mr. Talbot tended to emphasize the point made in the report, i.e. that the U.S. should not become involved in a revolution in Iran to the extent that our entire future relations with this country would be put in jeopardy if the revolution got out of control or if the Iranians turned against us because of our extensive intervention in their internal affairs.

[Here follow items 2 and 3 on unrelated subjects.]

Bromley Smith/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


255. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Gilpatric) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, May 22, 1963.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 67 A 4564, Iran 691.4-692, 1963. Secret. Stamped notations read: "Noted by Mr. Sloan" and "Mr. Bundy has seen."

NSC Standing Group Session on Iran

At yesterday's meeting of the NSC Standing Group on the above subject, State tabled the attached comments on the questions raised in Mr. McGeorge Bundy's memorandum of May 17, 1963./2/ The principal comments made by members of the Group in the ensuing discussion were as follows:

/2/Prior to the Standing Group meeting, Talbot sent a briefing memorandum to Harriman along with copies of McGeorge Bundy's memorandum to the members of the Standing Group concerning the meeting on Iran and the Department of State's response to Bundy's questions. (Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 228) For texts, see the Supplement, the compilation on Iran. Additional documentation is in Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 68 D 51, POL 1-1 NSAM 228-IRAN.

1. The Shah has done all right up to now on land reform and should be furnished with the technical assistance needed by the Government of Iran to carry through on the program.

2. The MAP agreement seems to be in satisfactory shape although the force reduction program should be monitored and an eye should be kept on the increase in the defense budget.

3. The principal concern expressed was over the economic and fiscal policies and goals of the GOI and over the apparent reluctance of the U.S. Ambassador to press the GOI very hard in these matters. The view was also expressed that there should be more specifics and hard objectives to buttress the rather general recommendations in the Secretary of State's memorandum to the President of April 20, 1963.

4. It was left that the Ambassador would be advised that the requests made in his message of May 15 (996)/3/ would be dealt with affirmatively subject to checking on the attitude of the Export-Import Bank and putting the PL 480 assistance in the form of a soft loan rather than a grant.

/3/Telegram 996 from Tehran, May 15, contained Ambassador Holmes' review of the Iranian economy. (Ibid., Central Files, E 12 IRAN)

A memorandum on the results of the meeting will be circulated out of Mr. Bundy's office.

Roswell Gilpatric


256. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, May 24, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen. Secret.

The long delay in the UN effort to get disengagement officially started in Yemen is cause for worry. Meanwhile, despite repeated Saudi affirmations that they turned off aid to the Royalists a month ago, we have hard evidence some arms are still getting through. So the UAR reacted the other day with a single plane "warning" raid on a Saudi supply point. Odds are that neither Saudis nor UAR want to start a war again, but there's always a risk.

We're going back hard at UAR and Saudis, but problem is to move the SYG. Because of financial stringency, U Thant is holding off till Saudis and UAR agree to split expenses. One trouble is that UN thinks at least 200 observers needed, while we see this as largely a symbolic operation requiring only 50 or so.

1. If we could put in a little start-up money ($150,000 or so) from AID contingency fund, it might help get operation underway. Alternatively, if SYG would invest this much himself, we could agree to underwrite UN to this extent, should UAR and Saudis balk. May I tell State you'd approve?

2. If you would call Stevenson and tell him to urge SYG to get this show on the road, it would help too. USUN has not been pushing hard enough, lest we get the SYG mad. Yet if our Yemen effort collapses, it will add mightily to our woes in the Middle East./2/

/2/A handwritten note on the source text by Bundy reads: "P[resident] saw & called Cleveland."

R.W. Komer

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