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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 284-308

284. Telegram From the President's Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen) to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, June 28, 1963, 7:16 p.m.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 6/15/63-6/30/63. Secret; Operational Immediate. Sent to General McHugh for the President and repeated to London for Bundy. President Kennedy was in Ireland on June 28 in the course of a 10-day trip to Europe. He left Washington on June 22 and returned on July 3.

Sitto 24. 1. Faysal has given his agreement to satisfactory U.S. and Saudi statements (to be used in response to questions) on the screening of U.S. military personnel going to Saudi Arabia, along the lines of the ones discussed with the President last week./2/

/2/See Document 270.

2. Accordingly, we are now sending the squadron of F-100's to Saudi Arabia. All elements except the fighters are moving to be operational Dhahran at 1430Z 1 July./3/ The tactical fighters will be held at Zaragosa until a further message is sent ordering them on their way.

/3/The Joint Chiefs of Staff directed CINCSTRIKE to execute Hard Surface at 8:31 a.m. on June 28. Tactical fighters were to proceed to Zaragoza and remain there until receipt of further orders to proceed to Dhahran. (Telegram 290845Z June (Air Force Message), from HQ USSTRICOM MacDill AFB Fla to Rusk, June 29; Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US) At the noon briefing on June 29, the Department of State Spokesman announced that the United States was carrying out another training exercise designed to enhance the air defense capability of Saudi Arabia and that participating aircraft would begin to arrive in Saudi Arabia the following day. (Telegram 886 to Jidda, June 29; ibid.)

3. We are calling Cairo's attention to the "training exercise" and reminding them of the problems that would arise if there are further UAR bombings of Saudi territory.

4. We are not sending the fighters until (a) the UN observer forces are fully in place on the border and (b) we get a reaction back from Cairo.

5. In the light of that reaction we will consider moving the fighters and putting into effect the rules of engagement previously agreed. These, in short, provide for intercepting unidentified aircraft and escorting them out of Saudi territory or to a landing. They do not provide for active patrol or search. They provide for shooting only if the intruding aircraft engage in hostile action. Our aircraft will be based at Jidda about 300 miles from the border.

6. Several days will probably elapse before the movement order for the fighters becomes an issue. They will be in Dhahran somewhat less than a day after they are ordered to move./4/

/4/According to the notes of a telephone conversation between Ball and Kaysen at 10:40 a.m. on June 29, Kaysen conveyed a report from McHugh that the President had looked over material relating to Yemen and "he said let's be sure that before those fighters are in there we look at the rules of engagement again and be sure no war starts that I'm not in control of." Ball agreed to discuss the matter with Talbot and McNamara. (Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, Yemen)


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

Cairo, June 30, 1963, 2 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY. Secret; Priority; Eyes Only Cane.

2491. From McCloy. Embtel 2470./2/ Met again with Nasser Saturday evening as arranged, this time with Ambassador and Eilts. Meeting lasted just over an hour.

/2/Document 283.

After the preliminaries I said I thought it well, in response to his earlier suggestion that he might have difficulty in explaining why Egypt should be singled out to make a renunciation of nuclear capability and further missile development, to point out that in addition to similar action involving Israel, other countries either had or were at the point of accepting nuclear safeguards, e.g., India and perhaps certain South American countries. I added that we would be glad to have his thoughts if he had any beyond those he had expressed on Thursday. Without any suggestion of need for further time, he said he was prepared now to respond to the main points I had raised inasmuch as he had had opportunity to discuss the matter with some of his colleagues and had come to some conclusions.

While he appreciated the desire of the President to bring about stability in the area, which was in accordance with his own desires, he could not enter into an agreement with the US to renounce the weapons we had discussed because to do so would, in his view, really amount to a limitation in Egyptian sovereignty through agreement with a foreign power. It would, in the atmosphere of political sensitivity which pervades the country, be looked on as a sort of "protectorate" or "satellite" relationship, and accordingly he would not be in a position to enter into such an arrangement with the US. It was a matter of principle for him. Nor would this situation be altered by a similar arrangement between the US and Israel.

Next, he could not accept any inspection or observation arrangement. This was a traditional attitude on Egypt's part, as he had pointed out at our last meeting. He had to operate in the atmosphere of national and area sensitivity in which Egypt, as a newly independent country, found itself. Besides, so far as nuclear matters were concerned, there was nothing to inspect.

He said that he was not averse to some form of renunciation if it were placed in a "collective" setting such as the UN might afford, but he could not act individually with the US in this respect. He repeated that he had no intention of developing nuclear weaponry. He referred to "Israeli propaganda" regarding the intensity of Egyptian military preparations, and throughout the interview it was clear that he felt that my visit was impelled by the stepping up of this propaganda campaign.

I said that I was clear as to his attitude toward an agreement with the US, but that I was not clear as to what he meant by his willingness to make some declaration in a "collective" setting. He said that he did not know that he had any specific or exact thoughts on the matter, but his main preoccupation was the avoidance of any suggestion of individual action in response to Israeli propaganda or any suggestion of impairment of Egyptian sovereignty. I then indicated that he had said on Thursday that he might be prepared, in response to a written inquiry by the President, to state that he had no intention of developing nuclear military power or of attacking Israel and that he would not object to the publication of such an exchange. After some thought, he said that this might be done. Egypt had made a general declaration of this character in respect of nuclear weapons in Africa at Addis Ababa. He reiterated that with respect to Israel, his strategy was counter-strategy and retaliation rather than aggression. Here he repeated the record of what he termed "Israeli aggression" from 1948 through 1956: That he simply could not trust Israeli statements regarding their peaceful intentions. He again spoke of his appreciation of the 1956 US action.

I then asked him what his reaction had been to the May 8 statement of President Kennedy which clearly dealt with aggression on either side. He in turn asked how Badeau had read the Egyptian reaction at the time. Badeau replied local reaction, as he had read it, had been mild though there had been some criticism of the statement in the Egyptian papers as more of an attempt to meet Israeli pressures than an attempt to offer comfort to Egypt. Badeau added that he had been in Egypt long enough to know that such press comment did not necessarily reflect the view of the government. Nasser confirmed that this was the way they had regarded it.

I then asked how he would react to a more definite statement, more particularly related to aggression against Egypt, and perhaps avoiding the pure repetition of the language which had been used in the tripartite declaration of which he had unfortunate memories. He said he did not think it would be of much help to him. Later, however, he did say that depending on the wording, it might conceivably be of some use. But it was clear to me that he was not reaching for any such assurance from us and was not placing any great value on such a statement.

I then said that I was here to find a means of helping him in an attempt to meet what I believed was our common interest in this area, namely, to avoid the escalation of these weapons to a point where they not only became most burdensome economically but also increased tensions to a danger point where they could perhaps result in the destruction of all he had been seeking to achieve in the way of greater security and prosperity for his people. I had conveyed the President's interest in the stability of the area and had made several suggestions, which he had now indicated did not conform to his policies or what he felt he could accept. I would appreciate it if he would come forward with any ideas of his own rather than have me come forward with further suggestions that might not appeal to him. I was here to have a frank exchange of ideas with him in the hope of developing a course of action that would be helpful to him, adding that I sensed a "little suspicion" on his part that we were impelled to be too favorably disposed to Israel and that we were too subject to its pressure. He smiled and allowed that he had "a little more than a little" suspicion. I reiterated the President's deep concern with maintaining stability in the area, and his genuine desire to act in an even-handed manner. I said I hoped he would give the matter more thought in the positive spirit in which the proposals had been put forward, and in due course he might have the opportunity of giving Badeau his further thoughts after I had left and before Badeau departed for the US on July 15.

I repeated that it would be to his real interest if continuing inspection of Dimona reactor could be made so that he would have a check on its operations. He agreed this would certainly be helpful. Badeau then asked him what his attitude would be if he learned that the Israelis were misusing their reactor for the manufacture of weapon material. He replied with no hesitation, "protective war. We would have no other choice". He said he could not permit Israel to develop superiority in weapons, for it was shown that when they had it they would use it. He said he had recently learned that the Israelis had just made an agreement for the delivery of 96 more Mirages from the French, and he would have to counter this. To maintain his balance with Israel, he had to have planes and missiles, and this was why he was compelled to step up his own capacity to build these weapons. The Russians had refused him planes in 1960, and he did not want to be wholly dependent on any outside power.

As for the inspection of missiles and missile development, he did not feel he could accept this, and I gathered this was whether the inspection were conducted by the US or the UN or anyone else. He said he did not intend any great increase in his missile strength. He did have the need to experiment with his guidance system, but it was all very expensive. He acknowledged it was to his interest to hold down the expense which would be involved in the enlargement of his missile strength; hence, he did not intend to press it except insofar as he was compelled to preserve the military balance.

In speaking of the general political situation he had to face not only in his own country but in the entire area, he referred to the announcement which had just appeared in the papers of the conclusion of the US loan to Israel for the Hawks and of the "action of the Bundestag" in making illegal the assistance of German citizen-scientists to any foreign countries in the manufacture of weapons. Clearly this was aimed directly at Egypt and was the result of Israeli pressures. If necessary he said he might give the German scientists Egyptian citizenship.

Comment: He was courteous and composed throughout and we left him on the understanding he would give the matter more thought and discuss it again with Badeau.

I gained the impression that the main motivation of his attitude toward our proposal was based on political sensitivities as he sensed them both in Egypt and in the Arab countries. Sheer military considerations were not the main factors. He felt that the price we were asking him to pay for a check on Israel's nuclear intentions or for whatever other advantages he would gain from the arrangement was of such a character from a political point of view that it was not possible for him to meet it. When I again raised the thought of cooperation with him in use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes or space programs he did not seem particularly interested. I would guess that beyond a restatement of his willingness to respond to an inquiry from the President at an appropriate time along the lines he suggested, he will not come forward with anything new or be very specific in regard to what he means by "collective" action when he sees Badeau.

Uppermost in his mind was his suspicion as to why we were coming forward with this suggestion at this time and his relation of it to the current Israeli propaganda campaign. Yet, although he clearly believed we were subject to Israeli pressures at home I did feel he credited the President with a sincere desire to stabilize conditions in the ME.

Comments based on further discussion with Ambassador Badeau will follow in a separate message. My preliminary reaction is that decision on the character of a probe in Israel should await my return to Washington (around July 20) and further consultation there.



286. Message From President Kennedy to Crown Prince Faisal/1/

Washington, July 1, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 6/15/63-6/30/63. Secret. A typed note on the source text reads: "Following is JFK message to Faysal (Deptel 855 to Jidda 6/22/63 as amended by Deptel 870 to Jidda 6/26/63 delivered to Saqqaf June 30 (Jidda's 1148) and to Faysal July 1 (Jidda's 7)." These telegrams are in Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 US/KENNEDY.

Royal Highness: I have followed closely developments in your country and adjacent areas over recent days and am impelled again to write to Your Royal Highness to give expression once more to my friendship and my interest in the welfare and progress of your country and people under your distinguished leadership, sentiments shared by the American people as a whole. Let me say that I appreciate fully the stresses and strain of the last weeks and assure you that the United States has exerted the strongest efforts to bring about conditions in which conflict can be abated and the sufferings of peoples in the area alleviated. Fortunately, we can now see light ahead in this aggravated situation and your wise restraint is being well justified by events.

We have long felt it prudent to place the United Nations in the forefront of this problem, as observers and certifiers, to avoid charges and counter-charges of violations of disengagement, misinterpretations and distortions of Saudi-American relations which might have resulted from keeping the matter in the hands of the United States alone and to ensure the best chance to the Yemeni people to make their own ultimate decisions regarding their affairs. The delays in accomplishing this have not been the result of any lack of activity on our side. Indeed the constant disappointment of our day-to-day expectations has been a source of rising alarm and renewed effort. Despite Soviet obstructionism, the United Nations Security Council has recently adopted a resolution effectuating the dispatch of an observer team to the Yemen and to border areas of Saudi Arabia with Yemen. General Von Horn with an advance party has arrived on the scene and observers are moving into position. We have therefore dispatched to Saudi Arabia the air unit which I undertook some time ago through my emissary, Ambassador Bunker, to send to your country once disengagement was fully established by the UN observers. It is my hope that the presence of the unit will demonstrate to all concerned the undiminished interest of the United States in the security and integrity of your country. It will express as well the continued warm friendship for Saudi Arabia and support of the American Government for your wise leadership.

As I stated in my letter to you of last November,/2/ I profoundly share your concern over those tensions in the Middle East which have hampered your forward-looking projects for a brighter future for the Saudi Arabian people, in peace, self-realization, progress and freedom. It has been our constant purpose to try to abate those tensions, as exemplified by our efforts on behalf of Yemen disengagement. In this regard I repose full confidence in Your Highness' undertaking to assure the complete cessation of all cross-border shipments from Saudi Arabia into Yemen since this undertaking is a key to the success of the disengagement operation, the other key being President Abd al-Nasser's undertaking to withdraw the UAR forces from the Yemen. The US expects both parties will fulfill their obligations toward disengagement as the UN observers by themselves cannot function effectively without their full cooperation and goodwill.

/2/See Document 88.

I wish again to re-emphasize the identity of our interests and the mutuality of our concerns, aspirations and objectives. Whatever minor differences have occasionally arisen between us do not in my view derogate in any way from the ties which bind our two governments and peoples together. On the contrary, our successful surmounting of these difficulties only strengthens further our bonds of friendship. May I conclude by asserting that you have as always my sincere personal friendship and support for success in your noble endeavor to shape the future of your country.

John F. Kennedy/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. A typed note at the bottom of the source text reads: "White House desires text this message not become public."


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

Washington, July 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 7/63-8/63. Secret. An undated note by Komer attached to the source text reads: "JFK approved pronto. We're going to send squadron to Dhahran on 5 July, since observers not arriving in forward area till 5th. We'll hold at Dhahran (far from trouble area) and not send up to Jidda until observers confirmed in place and we've warned Nasser off again." The Joint Chiefs of Staff instructed CINCSTRIKE and other components on July 3 to proceed with deployment to Dhahran, but not proceed beyond unless authorized. (JCS telegram 1512, DTG 032235Z Jul 63; ibid.) At 4:30 p.m. on July 5, Komer telephoned the Office of International Security Affairs in the Department of Defense to inform officers there of the President's decision and of the caveat that the President would not approve the fighters moving beyond Dhahran until the Yugoslav element of U.N. observers was in place and Badeau had notified the UAR of the fighters' movement. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7275, #7 Hard Surface--March thru Aug. 63--Volume I)

Since we reserved your rights, we need your final approval to send the eight fighters to Saudi Arabia. We are in effect committed to do so because:

1. Saudis finally accepted our proposed way out on screening issue.

2. Your letter to Faysal (delivered Monday)/2/ said that now UN observers were moving into position, "we have therefore dispatched the air unit which I undertook . . . to send . . . once disengagement was fully established by UN observers."

/2/Document 286.

3. So unless we send the fighters promptly, Faysal may again accuse us of breaking promises. Our Ambassador is very worried about further delays. We've already deployed practically everything but the fighters themselves, holding latter in Spain till UN observer teams could deploy to border area. Main UN element is arriving in Yemen 3 July and scheduled to deploy on 5 July. There may be some delay in this God-forsaken area but I share State/DOD feeling that we had better finally go ahead.

To reassure you, rules of engagement permitting us to fire on aircraft committing hostile acts (e.g. bombing) are strictly standby and not to be authorized without your express approval. The only authority our aircraft now have is standard one of firing back in self defense if they themselves are shot at.

To further limit risk of any confrontation, we're telling Cairo about squadron and will do so again with Nasser personally within the week. UAR did conduct one "raid" (last Sunday) after disengagement officially in effect, but UN observer believes after viewing scene that pilot jettisoned bombs by error.

Meanwhile, YAR fortunes again seem on upgrade and Royalists weakening. Sign of times is that UK met Yemeni terms for release of 16 servicemen. In sum, we are still moving slowly, haltingly, but distinctly toward a successful exercise.

R. W. Komer


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

Washington, July 3, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, UAR/Israel Arms Limitation. Secret; Cane. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 7/4-7/63-Tab 4)."

Attached read-out on McCloy's first nuclear/missile round with Nasser is well worth reading./2/ While Nasser's preliminary reaction to our scheme was negative, he did not close the door. Highlights were:

/2/Telegram 2470 from Cairo (Document 283) is attached. A report on McCloy's second meeting with Nasser is in Document 285.

(1) Refreshingly frank revelation by Nasser he has no nuclear capabilities or early prospects; nor is UAR planning much in missile field beyond a crude V-2 type missile with primitive guidance and probably a highly explosive warhead.

(2) Nasser said he could not enter into any "agreement" with the US to renounce new weapons because this would appear to Egyptians and others as making UAR a "satellite" of US; nor could he accept any inspection or observation arrangement for the same reasons. But he did indicate some willingness to renounce advanced weapons publicly if it could be done in a "collective setting" such as the UN. He might even agree to respond in writing to you that he had no intention of developing nuclear weapons or of attacking Israel. This is a step forward.

Note also Badeau's commentary./3/ Key points as seen here are: (1) Nasser's obvious suspicion that our initiative was motivated by the Israeli propaganda campaign; (2) extent to which political factors, chiefly his fear that entering any such agreement with us would compromise UAR's neutralist position, were more important in his mind than military.

/3/Badeau's commentary was transmitted in telegram 11 from Cairo, July 1. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY.) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Regrettably, McCloy did not fully develop two key points: (1) that the main reason for our initiative was not Israeli pressure but on the contrary our concern over what Israel might do in the nuclear field, and our feeling that to restrain Israel we'd have to assure it that the UAR was not taking the nuclear/missile road; and (2) that there were real advantages to the UAR in our scheme because of the simple fact that Israel was way ahead in the nuclear field.

There is no point in going to the Israelis before we have clarified these points with Nasser and hopefully gotten him to agree to keep the dialogue going until we can probe Israeli intentions. Therefore we propose to have Badeau make these points to Nasser next week before coming home on leave. Then, instead of proceeding from vacation to Israel, McCloy will return here about the 20th for talks on whether to go ahead on the Israeli probe./4/

/4/In telegram 23 from Athens, July 3, McCloy indicated that he was inclined to return to Washington for additional consultations before visiting Israel. The Department of State concurred in McCloy's recommendation in telegram 19 to Athens. (Both in Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY)

None of us are too discouraged with these initial results. There is still a chance we can get Nasser signed on to some kind of scheme. If not, we still might be able to get some kind of unilateral renunciation, as suggested by Nasser himself. And at the minimum, even if Nasser insists on retaining full freedom of maneuver, we have laid the groundwork for justifying to Nasser any further US security assurances to Israel, i.e. they are the price we have to pay for preventing Israel from going the nuclear route. In sum, the initial probe tends to confirm our judgment that this exercise will probably be productive no matter how it comes out.

Bob Komer


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

Washington, July 4, 1963, 3:02 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 294, Pres. Kennedy-Johnson/Israel Correspondence, 1962-65. Secret; Priority; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Crawford on July 3; cleared by Kretzmann (in draft), Davies, Nobbe, Harriman, and Komer; and approved by Talbot.

19. Eyes only for Ambassador. Deptels 938, 939./2/ Following letter from President should be conveyed Prime Minister Eshkol,/3/ preferably at your initial meeting with him:

/2/See Document 274 and footnote 1 thereto.

/3/On June 26, the Israeli Knesset approved a new Israeli Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. Documentation relating to Ben Gurion's resignation and Eshkol's assumption of power is ibid., Central Files, POL 15-1 ISRAEL.

"Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

"It gives me great personal pleasure to extend congratulations as you assume your responsibilities as Prime Minister of Israel. You have our friendship and best wishes in your new tasks. It is on one of these that I am writing you at this time.

"You are aware, I am sure, of the exchanges which I had with Prime Minister Ben-Gurion concerning American visits to Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona. Most recently, the Prime Minister wrote to me on May 27./4/ His words reflected a most intense personal consideration of a problem that I know is not easy for your Government, as it is not for mine. We welcomed the former Prime Minister's strong reaffirmation that Dimona will be devoted exclusively to peaceful purposes and the reaffirmation also of Israel's willingness to permit periodic visits to Dimona.

/4/See Document 258.

"I regret having to add to your burdens so soon after your assumption of office, but I feel the crucial importance of this problem necessitates my taking up with you at this early date certain further considerations, arising out of Mr. Ben-Gurion's May 27 letter, as to the nature and scheduling of such visits.

"I am sure you will agree that these visits should be as nearly as possible in accord with international standards, thereby resolving all doubts as to the peaceful intent of the Dimona project. [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

"Therefore, I asked our scientists to review the alternative schedules of visits we and you had proposed. If Israel's purposes are to be clear beyond reasonable doubt, I believe that the schedule which would best serve our common purposes would be a visit early this summer, another visit in June 1964, and thereafter at intervals of six months. I am sure that such a schedule should not cause you any more difficulty than that which Mr. Ben-Gurion proposed in his May 27 letter. It would be essential, and I understand that Mr. Ben-Gurion's letter was in accord with this, that our scientists have access to all areas of the Dimona site and to any related part of the complex, such as fuel fabrication facilities or plutonium separation plant, and that sufficient time be allotted for a thorough examination.

"Knowing that you fully appreciate the truly vital significance of this matter to the future well-being of Israel, to the United States, and internationally, I am sure our carefully considered request will have your most sympathetic attention.


"John F. Kennedy"

In conveying foregoing, you should stress that exhaustive examination by the most competent USG authorities has established scheduling embodied in President's letter as minimum to achieve a purpose we see as vital to Israel and to our mutual interests. Scientific reasons for this are that (a) only a visit before criticality can fully establish features of a reactor--this is reason for requested early summer visit which we hope could be this month or next at latest; (b) it is widely known and accepted by knowledgeable international scientific community that, if intended for ultimate production of weapons grade plutonium, a reactor of this size would be operated to burn a single fuel load approximately every six months, whereas for peaceful purposes optimum burn-up time would be about two years--this is what makes it essential that after mid-1964 visits be scheduled semi-annually./5/

/5/On July 9, during a meeting with President Kennedy, McCone reviewed the results of [text not declassified] advised the President that the intelligence community was satisfied [text not declassified] that the inspection procedures outlined in the letter printed here would be satisfactory. (Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 D 01285A, DCI (McCone) Files, Memoranda for the Record)



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

Washington, July 4, 1963, 4:37 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 PAL/UN. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford on July 3; cleared by Sisco (in draft), Ludlow (in draft), and Davies; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, and Damascus and repeated by pouch to London, Paris, Ankara, Baghdad, Jerusalem, and USUN.

20. Arab Refugees. Department believes USG bilateral talks with Arabs and Israelis should be moved forward apace. Predictably, talks so far show each party extremely reluctant break away from repetitious previous patterns of insistence that only after initial concession has been made by other can it consider specific definition of its own contribution to a solution. Such reiteration of long-standing positions will not advance a solution. We do not exclude potential middle role for USG in a solution, but we could not consider recommending USG take on such responsibility even in background until we have obtained fairly firm and carefully defined assurances from each party as to its contribution if its basic welfare and concerns were reasonably safeguarded.

For Arab Action Addressees: Department regrets that presumably due recent intra-Arab stresses missions have not had greater opportunity pursue talks along suggested lines basic and follow-up guidance (Deptel 402 to Amman, etc, and Deptel 464 to Amman,/2/ etc, respectively.) We do not believe refugee problem should or can remain static; i.e, we see little likelihood that alternative to continued careful probing of possible solutions could be perpetuation of status quo. Rather, we would anticipate loss of USG initiative in which efforts find balanced solution could well be eclipsed by more assertive moves to invalidate relevant UN resolutions and build support for thesis that resettlement cum direct Arab-Israel negotiations is only feasible solution. However unrealistic this proposition, its general adoption would obviously have most serious repercussions for US-Arab relations.

/2/Documents 166 and 214.

For Tel Aviv: Also disappointing is Israel's response to a carefully conceived and well presented approach designed provide it three opportunities demonstrate some new thinking (through comment on USG position, through presentation GOI ideas, through discussion GOI concerns). Reviewing history of our discussions with GOI we see following:

USG made strong effort carry Israel with us through every step in evolution in Johnson Plan, providing background assurances that Israel's fundamental concerns would be met. Confronted with plan, and despite its earlier expression of readiness "acquiesce", Israel balked but concurred in bilateral talks on points of agreement. Although these (Talbot-Harman) talks carried out in October-November 1962 demonstrated considerable meeting of minds on essential elements of any solution and extent to which these elements had been safeguarded in Johnson Plan, Israel opposed and made vigorous effort persuade us not to advance Plan in GA context. As quid pro quo it promised bring forward useful proposals in bilateral talks following GA. We reluctantly agreed. Subsequently, your bilateral talks with Ben-Gurion were initiated. At Israel's request we opened these by conveying succinct reiteration of USG attitude. (Although this was compounded of Talbot-Harman principles to most of which Harman had acceded, GOI apparently trying avoid give US statement of position any status.)

In body of your talks with Ben-Gurion,/3/ essential Israeli ideas advanced seem from here to have been:

/3/Barbour's most recent conversation with Ben Gurion on the refugee problem took place on May 14 and was reported in telegram 897 from Tel Aviv, May 16. (Department of State, Central Files, REF 2 PAL)

1. Israel willing have USG serve as custodian of privately declared intentions both parties. Direct Arab-Israel agreement as to where operation for solution will come out not required.

2. Before Israel can be more specific on what it would do it must have through USG Arabs' assurance they agree:

a. Proceed with operation.

b. Take bulk of refugees for resettlement with number Israel repatriates more symbolic than substantial.

c. Refugee problem must cease exist as international issue once operation starts.

d. Simultaneous movement.

3. Compensation payments by Israel will not be problem.

4. Simultaneous cooperation all four Arab host countries not feasible. USG should try start with Jordan.

5. FYI: Gratifying to us was Ben-Gurion's tacit acknowledgment that Johnson proposals contained some useful elements. End FYI.

Re (1) we see no problem.

Re (2a) no problem once USG in position give assurance what "operation" will be.

Re (2b) no problem if this rephrased to read, "If USG can state confidently Arabs understand that, while operation will preserve principle that individual refugee will have opportunity express preference for repatriation or resettlement, it is expected great majority refugees will ultimately opt for resettlement or emigration, and operation will cease unless there is Arab as well as Israel cooperation in implementation of their choices".

Re (2c) you have ably made points that, while USG also would be opposed agitation of this issue in international fora once operation starts, and propagandistic pressures for repatriation would be cause for cessation of operation (Ben-Gurion's point last August), it unrealistic expect total blackout on mention of problem particularly its technical aspects such as UNRWA budgeting. We agree.

Re (2d) we have always concurred that reasonable simultaneity essential.

Re (3) we gratified have Israel's reiterated assurance there will be no problem on compensation.

Re (4) we emphatically do not think it desirable begin only in Jordan. Even if feasible--and we are convinced Hussein could not agree--this would dangerously increase Jordan's vulnerability amidst intra-Arab tensions which would be neither in Israel's interest nor ours. While we appreciate there might be differences in degree of Arab host country cooperation, as there are in nature of problem each would face, we convinced every effort should be made keep all cooperatively involved.

In short, what Israel proposes is with some modification a partially acceptable basis for further discussion leading perhaps to our putting Israel's position to Arabs and trying to meld it with theirs. Important missing element, however, is firm statement to USG of what Israel would do that would enable USG in good conscience say that in return for Arab cooperation we have firm grounds assure them Israel would on its part cooperate in good faith in resettlement.

Without missing element we have not perceptibly progressed from Israel's long-standing position it would consider its contribution only when and if Arabs agree to its preconditions.

Frankly, we were told we could expect more than has been told us so far when Israel urged we not surface substance of possible solution at last GA, and we would not regard Israel's position to date as meeting its side of bargain made then.

Therefore, you should at early opportunity review foregoing with PriMin Eshkol, referring again to your basic instruction to seek:

1. Statement of what Israel would be willing do in terms of repatriation under adequately safeguarded conditions.

2. Specific statements re Israel's security and other concerns in cooperating with operation for solution (i.e, its detailed requirements re security screening, logistic and absorptive problems, etc.).

3. Awareness on Israel's side of importance we attach to principle of "acquiescence". If Israel is willing satisfactorily fill in aforementioned blanks in its suggestions to us so far, we would not be reluctant put case to Arabs in straightforward terms. But essence of acquiescence principle which could be important to Arab (as well as Israeli) cooperation with any operation is that there are things both sides could permit in practice that would not be susceptible to specific definition by agreement due to extreme divergences in public positions in which both sides find themselves entangled.

4. Comment on USG position as put by you in first talk.



291. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Davies) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot)/1/

Washington, July 5, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, PET 1 US. Confidential. Drafted by Blackiston.


Conclusions from US-UK Oil Discussions

The attached document sets forth the agreed conclusions reached by US and UK representatives to the oil discussions held in the Department June 10-14./2/

/2/Memoranda of the series of conversations held are ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 9, MEG. Petroleum. US-UK Oil Talks. Additional documentation is ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 68 D 51, PET 1, General Policy, Plans, and ibid., Central Files, PET 1 UK-US.

The most significant conclusion, item No. 2, derived from statistics and projections developed by US and UK technicians prior to the commencement of the talks, is that barring unforeseen developments, the Middle East (exclusive of North Africa) will become an increasingly important source of supply of energy to Western Europe. This contradicts the previously generally accepted assumption that, in view of Libyan and Algerian oil finds, discoveries elsewhere in the world, and atomic power developments, the relative importance of the Near East as a supplier of western Europe's energy requirements would decrease. Another conclusion of particular interest to NEA is that contained in point No. 5 of the attached document. During the course of the talks a spokesman for NEA obtained British agreement that the term "hostile domination of the area" referred to communist control whereas the phrase "centralized control" referred to control through Arab unity.

There was complete unanimity of view on the attitude which both governments should take towards OPEC. Thus both sides agreed that it would not be to their mutual interests to undertake discussions with OPEC member governments nor with the Organization itself on OPEC matters and that efforts to involve the US and UK governments in OPEC negotiations with the oil companies should be resisted. At the same time, it was agreed that we should avoid adopting a stance of hostility to OPEC. These conclusions were reached on the basis that it was difficult to foresee how OPEC would develop but that we should avoid any act which would serve to enhance its prestige or effectiveness.

There was agreement, item 12, that insofar as possible each government would inform the other of the type of advice or suggestions which it was conveying to the oil companies of its nationality in an effort to ensure that such advice is not conflicting. It was also agreed, item No. 13, that both governments would seek to keep the other informed concerning any situation between companies and governments which required US or UK intervention.

We believe the talks were generally useful. The British used the meetings as a forum to re-emphasize repeatedly that whereas Near Eastern oil was of substantial interest to the United States, for the UK it was a matter of overwhelming importance. Mr. Stevenson, the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Power, who headed the British side, said that he could not over-emphasize this point. Stevenson would have preferred stronger language in the joint conclusions implying a necessity of maintaining the status quo in the major producing areas of the Near East in order to ensure continued access to the oil of the area on favorable terms. The language offered by Stevenson would have drawn us into a position of appearing to oppose Arab unity irrespective of how conceived. In this he seemed to go farther than the British Foreign Office position as expressed during the meetings by British Embassy Minister Greenhill. The language in item 5 is thus a toning down of the original British proposal for this paragraph.



June 14, 1963.



Representatives of the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States met in Washington during the period 10th to 14th June, 1963, to exchange views on energy problems and especially problems of the international oil industry. The following agreed points and conclusions emerged.

1. According to the estimates accepted by both sides the demand for oil will continue to grow strongly at least up to 1970. This growth picture and pattern may need adjustment from time to time in the light of changing circumstances.

2. On the basis of presently foreseen trends the Middle East (exclusive of North Africa) will become an increasingly important source of supply. Production in the Middle East is expected to rise by 90% between 1961 and 1970 by which year it would, at over 500 million tons a year (10 million barrels per day), be as great as production in the United States and account for about one-third of total Free World production.

3. Oil, almost entirely imported, will become an increasingly important component in the total energy supplies of O.E.C.D. Europe and may by 1970 account for nearly 50% of the total. The U.S.A. on the other hand would by 1970 import only to the extent of 9% of her total energy requirements.

4. Apart from U.K. interest as a consumer in the security and continuity of supplies, its balance of payments is heavily dependent on the trading and investment of the British international oil companies.

5. The flow of Middle East oil which is important to the growth of European countries in the year ahead could be impeded by hostile domination of the area, serious or widespread disorders or centralized control of the oil policies of the area, although this last would probably operate through pressure on prices rather than denial of oil supplies.

6. The international oil industry constituted along present lines plays an essential role, providing supplies where they are needed with a high degree of efficiency and balancing the interests and requirements of consuming and producing countries. Alternative systems--direct negotiation between blocs of such countries; an international commodity agreement; or a public utility status implying international regulation of the industry--would prejudice the economic continuity of supplies.

7. If the international oil industry is to carry out its task, its profitability must be adequate to secure finance which will be required on a vast scale. The profitability of the industry has declined in recent years. The present level of profitability appears adequate, but the industry might well have difficulty in meeting its investment requirements without obtaining higher prices if at the same time it made major concessions to host governments, such as would be required, for example, by acceptance of the major demands made in O.P.E.C. Resolutions in June 1962.

8. It is difficult to foresee the basis on which O.P.E.C. will develop and the position, if any, it will eventually occupy in oil affairs. For this reason, it is not desirable to fix in detail the attitudes which the U.K. and U.S. Governments should adopt in any situation in which O.P.E.C. was also involved.

There appears, therefore, to be at present no alternative to the policy of neutrality and non-commitment towards O.P.E.C. which has been adopted by the U.K. and U.S. Governments and their respective oil companies. This policy involves neither active opposition to, nor a welcome for, O.P.E.C. and its activities. It also involves the avoidance of any dealing with O.P.E.C., even if only indirect, which might tend to enhance its stature or secure its recognition in international circles. In this context the U.K. and U.S. delegations took note of the recent approach by the Secretary-General of O.P.E.C., Mr. Rouhani, to the Secretariat of the O.E.C.D., and agreed that both through the U.K. and U.S. Delegations to the O.E.C.D. and through the Oil Committee of this organization, the Secretariat should be asked not to enter into or develop any contacts with the Secretariat of O.P.E.C. without the authority of the Oil Committee. Such authority was unlikely to be given in the early future.

If at any time a modification of this agreed attitude towards O.P.E.C. should appear desirable, the U.S. and U.K. Governments would consult together.

9. The entry of governments into the oil business has in some cases introduced a disturbing element. Increasing intervention by producing countries in the oil business may be in the long run unavoidable. The retention by the companies, comprising the international oil industry, of the control of oil production in exporting countries, its selling prices and the destination of exports, is vital for the proper functioning of the industry.

10. The divergence of views and interests among the E.E.C. countries makes early agreement on a common energy policy unlikely. This might be the best outcome since an early settlement was not likely to result in a liberal and outward-looking fuel policy. Both sides recognized that freedom from all restrictions in the fuel field was not practicable at present and that it might be best to work towards more limited objectives, using for this purpose the O.E.C.D. Committees and diplomatic influence on the individual member countries of the E.E.C.

11. The U.S. side asked about the U.K. ban on imports of coal and the prospects of some relaxation which seemed justified on its merits as well as giving a lead to a more liberal attitude in Europe. The U.K. side explained in some detail the present state and prospects of the U.K. coal industry and the difficulties--social, labor, and economic--which had led the U.K. Government to maintain the present ban. They assured the U.S. side that the possibility of some relaxation would be kept under regular review.

12. It may be necessary from time to time for the U.K. and the U.S. Governments to draw the attention of their respective companies to factors which they consider the companies should take into consideration in formulating their policy, e.g., for production patterns and/or relations with host governments. Representations on these lines, which the U.K. and U.S. Governments may make to their respective companies, would generally be more effective if the two governments gave similar advice to their companies in cases of mutual concern. The U.K. and U.S. Governments should therefore exchange information on the general advice which they are giving to their companies and consult beforehand as appropriate in regard to advice given in regard to specific disputes and problems of mutual concern.

13. The U.K. and U.S. Governments were reluctant to intervene formally in any dispute which might arise between members of the international oil industry and a host government, but it was recognized that this might be necessary in special cases. Discreet and informal representation by a British or American diplomatic representative abroad might from time to time, and in consultation with the oil company/companies concerned, be advisable. In regard to such diplomatic activities in cases of mutual concern, it would be advisable for the U.K. and U.S. Governments to continue to keep each other informed, and to consult beforehand as appropriate.

14. The U.K. Government would intend to consider its oil stockpiling policy and emergency arrangements in the light of the joint review which had been made of the effect of various types of interruption in the supply of Middle East oil. There would be advantage in asking O.E.C.D. similarly to review the emergency planning arrangements, and the stockpiling program of member countries.

15. In view of the projected increasing predominance of the Middle East, the possibilities of greater diversification of supply sources took on increasing importance. Possible methods by which Governments might assist such diversification by the industry were discussed but few of these appeared to be useful. The subject would, however, need to be studied further.

16. There appears at present to be no satisfactory alternative to the policy of "caution and restraint" adopted by NATO countries for regulating imports of Soviet oil.

Recent forecasts do not suggest that Soviet oil exports to the free world will increase at the rate of past years in the years immediately ahead; however, they are based on incomplete information and must therefore be regarded as highly tentative. It would be advisable for this fact to be taken into account by the NATO reporting systems when keeping the pattern of Soviet oil exports under review.

The U.S. side asked about the U.K.'s present policy towards importing Soviet oil. The U.K. side explained in some detail the economic, commercial and political factors which the U.K. Government have to weigh when considering their policy.


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

Washington, July 7, 1963, 3:35 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY. Secret; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Dickman and Gathright (ACDA); cleared by McKesson, Harriman, and Komer (substance); and approved by Talbot.

121. Eyes only Cane for Ambassador. When you see Nasser, inform him that President has asked you to state: his appreciation for talking frankly at length with McCloy; that he has a better understanding of Nasser's problems and attitudes; that he welcomes assurances on nuclear weapons and on Israel given to McCloy; that he believes further frank discussions on different aspects of arms limitation in Near East would be worthwhile, and that while President has not yet talked to McCloy personally and has only seen his reports, he has asked you to review with Nasser certain points which appear to President to be of great significance:

1. First tell Nasser we sense on his part a question why we had singled out UAR for this approach. Actually this not so. Our concern regarding spread of nuclear weapons is not limited to Near East but is world-wide. Hopefully, at a future time, there will be some broad collective basis for approaching this problem. Meanwhile, it is subject of a number of separate efforts, both individual and regional. We have not singled out UAR. On contrary, we have pressed this matter with number of countries, notably some of our closest allies.

2. With respect to timing of our approach, we have specific reasons for approaching Nasser at this time. These relate to fact that both countries are now edging into missile field and Israelis in particular are well into nuclear field. Dimona reactor is now in an advanced stage of construction and, while intended for peaceful uses, it does have potential capability of producing fuel for nuclear weapons. We want to make crystal clear our firm estimate that Israelis are not and have not decided to start developing such weapons. However, Israelis are approaching stage where their combination of technical skills and physical plant, though developed for peaceful uses, also could give them the capacity for producing a nuclear weapon within a few years if the arms race should expand into highly sophisticated fields.

Also, regardless of what UAR believes to be our sensitivity to Israeli propaganda, we wish to make it clear that one of our greatest concerns is that by means of its current charges with respect to UAR advanced weapons development, Israelis may lay a foundation which they will believe justifies their moving into the nuclear weapons field if they should decide to do so.

It is elemental prudence for the international community to work out a safeguards procedure in such a situation. In our continuing determination to make certain Israel does not go a nuclear route, we want to be able to say to them that if they do not, we can assure them UAR will not and vice versa.

3. This brings us to question of verification. The UAR has indicated that as far as nuclear weapons are concerned, it has nothing to inspect and that it has no intention of going into nuclear weapons field. We recognize that UAR's present nuclear facility does not offer a weapons capability. But we would like to point out that when UAR rejects the principle of externally verified safeguards on grounds of sovereignty, it is taking a position which enables Israel to reject verification on same grounds and maintain that UAR is developing nuclear weapons secretly. Since UAR has very little to inspect in nuclear field, it should be relatively easy for it to accept principle of international safeguards as they apply to nuclear weapons, and it would strengthen our hand substantially in dealing with Israel.

4. Many countries have come increasingly to accept the application of safeguards to nuclear reactors out of the common interest in preventing spread of nuclear weapons. UAR would not be alone in this regard. India, which has in past rejected safeguards, has accepted them for the large reactor at Tarapur--first on basis that US would do verification and later that IAEA should do so. In the case of UAR primary verification role need not be performed by US but could be done on a multilateral basis such as IAEA or by other countries.

5. We recognize that question of missiles presents greater difficulties for UAR, and on the basis of talks with McCloy, we feel we have a better understanding of how UAR views its missile effort. We appreciate UAR's assurance that it does not plan to develop missiles for nuclear warheads, but we wonder if UAR might not wish to consider how missile program may look to others and what some of its effects, even though not intended, may have been.

6. Public disclosure of UAR missile program has lent itself to exploitation by others and given them a handle with which to launch their propaganda campaigns. We have tried to avert this and place it in proper perspective, as for example in Secretary Harriman's letter of April 12 to six U.S. Senators. This letter was not well received by Israel. Despite such actions on our part, others will view UAR's missiles as being capable of carrying nuclear weapons and will give credence to Israel's charges. Moreover, we are concerned that Israel is accelerating her own missile effort in response to UAR's missile developments. We do not know where this would lead.

7. Our suggestion that UAR might wish to consider not pressing its missile development program was made with these considerations in mind. We did not have in mind any public abandonment of missile effort but rather exercise of restraint by UAR. Then it might be more feasible to ensure that Israel also exercised restraint. We would welcome any specific views UAR might have on how this problem might be met.

8. We fully understand UAR's political apprehensions regarding extensive international verification procedures. It is certainly not our desire to place the UAR in a sort of protectorate or satellite position, and perhaps further exploration of matter might yield an arrangement which would avoid adverse political implications. Even we in US in our own relations with Soviet Union have decided, if satisfactory arms limitations can be agreed upon, to accept verification arrangements which would give assurance both to ourselves and Soviet Union. Obviously, kind of verification that would apply to US and Soviet Union is much more extensive than that which would be adequate in case of UAR and Israel where a simple, unobtrusive verification arrangement, involving a very small number of technicians, would suffice.

9. In sum it is our belief that US and UAR share a common interest in ensuring that technological development in Near East does not take what could prove to be a disastrous turn. Protective war is not a solution but a last resort and one that would be much more costly to the UAR and far less likely to succeed than approach we are suggesting. We do not think it is necessary either to permit further escalation of the arms race in the Near East or to resort to protective war. We think that arms limitation with assurance for both sides offers a better way. These were thoughts which lay behind McCloy's visit, and we hope UAR will give these matters further thought.

If, during course of meeting, Nasser inquires whether McCloy visiting Israel, you may inform him that he will first report to President.

FYI. In foregoing you will note we have continued to include missiles although we have treated them separately. In view of the Israeli missile effort, we do not feel we should abandon missile aspect yet. End FYI.

Should you perceive problems with any elements this approach, we would appreciate your comments soonest. However believe foregoing will serve as useful terms of reference in continuing dialogue with Nasser./2/

/2/In telegram 120 from Cairo, July 11, Badeau reported that on July 11 he made a detailed presentation to Nasser of the points in this telegram. Nasser responded that he had consulted his immediate circle, who confirmed Nasser's immediate reaction that inspection and verification in any form would be difficult for the UAR to accept because it would imply reintroduction of Western control. (Ibid.)



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

Washington, July 10, 1963.

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

Aid to Iraq. We're moving here (as is UK), and I'm keeping needle in./2/ The greater the break between USSR and Iraq, the more latter will turn to us.

/2/An unsigned paper, dated July 2 and entitled "Excerpts from R. W. Komer July Check List," has the following passage concerning "Iraq Kurdish Policy:" "The President's repeated expressed inclination is for us to do all we can to help Iraq and thus consolidate its break with the Soviets. On balance, an independent Iraq also serves our interest in the Arab world. At the minimum we ought to respond quickly and generously with PL 480 wheat and tobacco--least painful thing we can do." (Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 5, White House Memoranda)

1. Since PL 480 is cheap, we're meeting Iraqi plea for 50,000 tons of wheat with a $6.9 million Title IV program, plus Title III for milk and school lunches. We're also thinking of another $10 million shortly. But Agriculture insists on 3-1/2% interest, which our Embassy thinks Iraq will protest, I'll straighten this out.

2. We've upped DG program to $1 million, and grant MAP to $146,000. More important, we've agreed to sell 40 old light tanks, 12 tank transporters, 500 big trucks, and 15 large choppers they want.

3. As you know, we're giving Iraqis some ammo [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for Kurd campaign. So are Syria and UAR apparently.

4. UK has offered to sell some Hunters and ammo, etc.

5. We're urging Iraqis to get a big loan from Kuwait, which serves double purpose of saving us money and reducing Iraqi pressure on our Kuwait oil interests. We're also encouraging IPC to make a good deal with Iraqis now.

I've made clear to all concerned WH interest in making most of Iraqi opportunity. One reason for what seems like a whole spate of requests is Baghdad's sheer disorganization, with all sorts of different people coming to us. On the other hand, Washington agencies tend to shy away from grants on grounds that Iraq is oil-rich (whereas in fact regime can't lay its hands on ready cash). We also want to be careful not to stretch our ME arms policy to point where we generate Israeli as well as other Arab requests.

R. W. Komer


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

Cairo, July 11, 1963, 9 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 UAR-YEMEN. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Also sent to Jidda, London, USUN, and Taiz.

121. Deptel 133./2/ President Nasser received me 1700 hours July 11 for 90 minute tour d'horizon prior my departure home leave. Approximately 30 minutes spent discussing Yemen situation.

/2/Dated July 11. (Ibid.)

I reviewed with President my conversation with Ali Sabri reported Embtel 64,/3/ then transmitted concerns expressed in reference Embtel. To these I added own observations UAR situation in Yemen apparently growing more involved and difficult, with Sallal position somewhat eroded, tribal discontent flaring up, and UAR faced with prospect of costly and inconclusive guerrilla operation. I therefore invited President not only to answer my specific inquiries but to indicate what course UAR proposes to extricate itself from Yemen.

/3/In telegram 64 from Cairo, July 6, Badeau reported on a conversation with Ali Sabri, in which he registered strong concern over reports that the UAR was using poison gas in Yemen. (Ibid., POL 27 SAUD-UAR)

In answer, President Nasser stated:

1. Heart of difficulty lay in unexpected lag between acceptance disengagement proposals and beginning UN operation.

2. During this period help emanating from Saudi Arabia (although not in all cases officially from SAG) has aggravated problem. Tribal fighting has broken out in demilitarized zone, arms and money from Saudi Arabia still coming into Northwest Yemen, and Badr and/or SAG propaganda among tribes pictures royalist triumph imminent, thus stirring up trouble.

3. Immediately after disengagement UAR had brought some troops home in hope they need not be replaced. But continuation outside help to royalists and tribal fighting led to troop rotation instead of withdrawal.

4. Conditions of disengagement against which UAR withdrawal promised not yet met. Saudi aid, either official or unofficial, has continued and Badr and royal family still in Gizan area. While disengagement proposals did not specifically call for removal Badr and royal family from border as such, this had been fully discussed with Bunker and formula of "denying territory" to royalist leaders meant to encompass it.

5. UAR now engaged in quelling tribal resistance in northwest and around Saada. It is Nasser's objective to bring home full battalion of troops in August, by which time he hopes northern tribal resistance will be ended. When I asked pointedly if I could report this to my government as his intention, he replied affirmatively.

6. UAR intends to keep its aircraft away from borders and avoid any clash with USAF. Nasser asked whether Americans would be flying in clearly marked American craft or whether they would use Saudi planes. I replied I did not know but it seemed to me probable American pilots in course of training Saudis might be in Saudi planes. In any case, question really irrelevant for essence of problem was to keep UAR planes away from border.

I then raised question of unconventional, allegedly poison gas, bombs being used. Nasser said a Napalm bomb called "Opal" was being used against crops and some villages and it was this which had given rise to reported poison gas. He noted "Daily Telegraph" had always been extremely hostile to him and its reports on poison gas were to be discounted. I replied information at my disposal would seem to indicate something other than Napalm was being used, specifically not the "Opal". I did not give any names to bomb but said my report suggested it might run the gamut from phosphorous to mustard gas. Nasser then said "a bomb" was being used which had been manufactured in UAR, of which he did not know precise chemical content. However, it must be relatively simple since chemical capacity of UAR unsophisticated.

I strongly urged use of unconventional bombs and weapons self-defeating in Yemen since they were probably militarily ineffective, opened UAR to strong attack in international community, and strongly aroused deep concern in USG. Nasser agreed bombing operations in desert country much less effective than small arms and light weapons, saying this had been clear lesson of Palestine campaign. However, he could not sit in Cairo and direct military operation in Yemen as to specifics of weapons and tactics. If military commander in Yemen felt air bombing and support was necessary for troops, the decision would be his.

I again reviewed matter of SAG support for royalists, stating clearly our judgment it had ceased and citing Faisal's letter to Badr withdrawing support as evidence. Nasser replied his intelligence services had reported some seven days ago a Faisal-Badr communication coming through SAG Minister of War withdrawing support, but at same time money and ammunition had come across border. I urged UAR, as large and mature state, could well afford take lead in disengagement movement by at least symbolic troop withdrawal. Nasser returned to charge support from Saudi Arabia continuing and Badr presence in [garble--Jizan?] area breaking spirit of disengagement. He said a start had to be made by all parties at once, and SAG had thus far demonstrated only bad faith. When I pointed out UAR was getting itself into difficult position where inconclusive guerilla warfare could sap resources and erode position, President shrugged his shoulders and said, "what else can we do but keep on?" He then returned to his purpose of removing full brigade in August, believing by that time situation within Yemen would be better.

Comment: Instructions for interview mentioned reference Department telegram not received. Nasser appointment only fixed at 1400 hours July 11, giving me no time usefully communicate with Department. I was surprised Nasser saw me this early, since on other occasions he has waited until day before my departure. This haste explained in conversation today when Nasser said he is going to Alexandria morning July 12 for rest over weekend preparatory to President of Ivory Coast State visit and July 23 celebrations.



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

Washington, July 12, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 7/63. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 7/12/63--Tab 2-b)." An attached note from Komer to Bundy reads: "Mac--President has asked me twice how `my' Yemen war is going, so I think weekend one-pager worthwhile. It summarizes latest word from Cairo and UN too."

Yemen Wrap-Up. Without being foolhardy, or discounting the painful and unpredictable obstacles which keep cropping up, I believe I can reassure you that the Yemen affair is slowly being brought under control. On plus side, we think that Saudis have finally turned off aid, and their knowledge our squadron will be withdrawn if they start cheating again acts as a deterrent. UN observers, now in place, are another deterrent.

Problem now is to get the UAR to start carrying out its end of the bargain. Nasser's assurance that UAR planes will stay well clear of border (Cairo 121)/2/ is welcome response to our warnings. Badeau earlier hit Nasser's No. 2 hard on getting disengagement going and the stupidity of using "poison gas." Talbot went over same ground with UAR man here. Nasser's promise to start withdrawing troops in August is good but not good enough, and we're sending Badeau back in to badger him on this.

/2/Document 294.

Meanwhile, the back country war in Yemen continues to seesaw back and forth. But State's sense is that Saudi cessation of aid is gradually strangling Royalists, and that war will gradually subside to the level of tribal bickering which has always characterized Yemeni scene. Saudis and our other critics will keep pressing us to keep the Egyptians withdrawing. We'll face recurrent flak on this over next 6/18 months, but I'm convinced that if we can keep the Saudis turned off and the Egyptians from being stupid, we have a controllable situation which can be gradually damped down.

Of course, UN operation is only funded till 1 September, so we also face recurrent problem in keeping it going. But we'll keep prodding UAR and Saudis to contribute, and I've told State that if necessary we should be prepared to carry part of the bill through contributions in kind (e.g. lending US aircraft to fly observers in and out).

In sum, though it's folly to be too optimistic, I think we're getting Yemen under control. It's taken a lot longer than initially expected, but we are on way to achieving our basic objectives of preventing Yemen war from spreading into full-fledged intra-Arab conflict (with risk of overt US/USSR involvement), and protecting our Saudi clients from their own folly while still not compromising our overall UAR policy.

R. W. Komer


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

Washington, July 15, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 6/63-8/63. Secret.


On UAR "poison gas",/2/ we made following tough private noises: (1) On 6 July Badeau prodded Ali Sabri, Nasser's No. 2, registering strong concern--he "strongly urged their discontinuance as imperiling disengagement and generating grave fears in US and other circles re UAR bona fides" (Cairo 64);/3/ (2) we told Badeau to see Field Marshal Amer and raise this and other concerns (To Cairo 133)/4/ but Badeau thought this redundant; (3) Talbot called in Kamel 11 July to emphasize our concern and point out spot UAR would be in if poison gas charges validated;/5/ (4) Badeau saw Nasser on 11 July (Cairo 121)/6/--latter evaded but Badeau urged gas "self-defeating" in Yemen and "strongly aroused deep concern in USG"; (5) we sent follow up (Deptel 195)/7/ on 12 July telling Badeau go back to Ali Sabri, stressing "grave implication UAR use gas would have for its position in US." But Sabri was away in Baghdad, and Badeau complains strongly (Cairo 130)/8/ that, having put UAR unmistakably on notice, further representations "would be ineffective and self-defeating."

/2/CIA Deputy Director for Plans, Richard Helms, transmitted to McGeorge Bundy on July 12 an intelligence report revealing that the UAR had used in Yemen a munition containing a chemical warfare agent. (Ibid.) A memorandum from Kitchen (G/PM) to U. Alexis Johnson, July 5, described a variety of reports, mostly from journalists, that the UAR had been using a toxic chemical bomb against the Yemeni Royalist forces since late May. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-10 YEMEN)

/3/See footnote 2, Document 294.

/4/Dated July 11. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 UAR-YEMEN)

/5/Reported in telegram 214 to Cairo, July 13. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN)

/6/Document 294.

/7/Dated July 12. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 SAUD-UAR)

/8/Dated July 13. (Ibid.)

I've been pressing State hard for last two weeks (many of above messages were at my instigation). But Talbot, like Badeau, feels we've made our views crystal clear and shouldn't push harder./9/

/9/A marginal notation in Komer's hand at this point reads: "He called Kamel in again Friday [July 12], and reamed him on gas."

As to public noises, we've been saying we'd hold up comment until investigations were completed. Certainly, we'll have to make strong condemnatory noises, but JFK said Friday we should let others get out in front (UK and UN are). There's no percentage in ourselves pushing issue to point of helping destroy our own policy--what would this gain? See Nasser's own explanation of Yemen delays (Cairo 121) for evidence UAR not wholly at fault.

I hate to sound defensive, but even I confess that staying on even keel with slippery UAR is hard. It seems to involve one prickly issue after another. But strategic gain to us is real: (1) Nasser has listened to us on Yemen and other issues; (2) we have brought him from pro-Soviet position to one where Soviets have as much trouble with him as we. Other gains are harder to pin down; they may largely amount to what Nasser hasn't done that he otherwise would. Do all realize that we've never been in better position in Arab world; we're on reasonably good terms with revolutionary Arabs, yet without losing our old clients. This is right where we want to be, despite pain and strain involved in staying there./10/

/10/On July 17 in a memorandum to Bundy, Komer indicated that he had again spoken to Talbot about the poison gas matter, but Talbot was adamant that the United States had pushed the UAR as hard as it could. Komer thought that U.N. condemnation, if the charges were proven, would be a better way, but it was crucial to get the Yemen disengagement going so that the issue would recede. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 6/63-8/63)

Bob K.


297. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran/1/

Washington, July 16, 1963, 5:44 p.m.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Iran, 7/11/63-9/5/63. Confidential; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Grant, Bowling, Tiger, Killgore, and White (JCS) on July 15; cleared in draft by Cameron, Smith, Reynolds (AID/NESA), Stoddart (DOD/ISA), Anderson (EUR/SOV) (penultimate paragraph), and the President; and approved by Talbot and Rusk.

32. For the Ambassador. Embtel 40./2/ Please deliver the following message to the Shah:

/2/In telegram 40, July 13, Holmes asked if President Kennedy's message would be ready for delivery by July 17. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 IRAN)

"Your Imperial Majesty:

Thank you for your letter of June 1./3/ Events in the Middle East are moving rapidly and I value getting the benefit of your views. Secretary Rusk reported at length to me on your frank and wide-ranging exchange with him,/4/ as has Ambassador Holmes on your discussions with him.

/3/Not printed. (Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries, Iran, Security, 1961-1963)

/4/See Document 229.

Such exchanges have contributed to the forward movement we have witnessed in the Middle East since your visit to Washington.

We are gratified by your efforts to maintain peace and stability in your part of the world. I refer not only to your arduous and ultimately successful efforts to repair the Pakistan-Afghanistan breach, but also to Iran's contributions to the last CENTO Ministerial Council meeting and to your remarks to the President of India urging an early Kashmir settlement. All these subjects represent areas in which we can continue to cooperate toward common objectives.

I can understand your concern over the effect which an Arab Federation under certain auspices might have on the national security of Iran. United States policy on the general question of Arab unity is clear; we neither oppose nor support the idea, and we believe that the problem is one for the Arabs to decide among themselves, free from duress. If a form of Arab unity should develop which is achieved without the use of force, reflects the will of the peoples concerned, and is not motivated by aggressive designs against others, it is difficult for us to see legitimate grounds for opposing it.

Developments in the Arab area since the date of your letter have no doubt convinced you, as they have convinced me, that there is no cause for undue apprehension over the currently projected Arab Federation. We do not foresee the Iraqi armed forces coming under the command of non-Iraqis, or the stationing of non-Iraqi Arab military forces in Iraq. In short, we do not believe that the current prospects for Arab unity present any increased military threat to Iran. Recent developments in the Arab nations indicate clearly that if any federation should actually come into being, it will require a considerable amount of time, and the energies of the Arab nations would of necessity be devoted to solving manifold intra-Arab problems rather than to sterile hostility toward neighboring states.

The hostilities now under way in northern Iraq are of concern to both of our countries, since the situation introduces an element of instability into the area with consequent dangers of meddling by forces inimical to the tranquility and independence of Iran and its neighbors. The USSR's recent ridiculous public accusations of military interference by the CENTO powers clearly spotlight the source of this danger. I am happy to note that our countries are pursuing parallel policies with regard to Iraq--policies based on non-intervention and the utilization of any opportunities which may present themselves to encourage an end to the fighting and a negotiated solution. At the same time, both our countries are attempting to solve by mutual understanding and negotiations problems which may have arisen between us and the Iraqi Government.

I share the regret you must feel over the loss of life connected with the recent unfortunate attempts to block your reform programs. I am confident, however, that such manifestations will gradually disappear as your people realize the importance of the measures you are taking to establish social justice and equal opportunity for all Iranians. I also know you would agree that a vigorous and expanding economy would provide the best backstop for the basic reform program you are undertaking. We in the United States devote considerable time and energy to the problem of utilizing the resources of government to cushion and dampen economic cycles which tend often to swing between depression on the one hand and dangerous boom periods on the other. I recall that when I took office, Iran appeared to be in the throes of a classical inflation, with balance-of-payments problems already evident. The prompt and vigorous measures taken by your government, with the help of the International Monetary Fund, to arrest this trend were highly effective. Now you are faced with the all-too-familiar and even more difficult opposite situation--that of encouraging business activity and combating unemployment. I am confident that through the wise employment of government financial measures and through the initiation of economic development projects, you will be able to combat this aspect of the business cycle problem as you did its opposite two years ago. We Americans have had some experience in these matters, and I hope you will not hesitate to call on Ambassador Holmes and his staff for any advice which we may be able usefully to provide.

We share completely your desire that Iran achieve as rapidly as possible the strength necessary to preserve its stability, to solidify the social progress now under way, and to defend itself against any threats to its security. For this purpose Secretary McNamara and our military experts reviewed in detail with you last year Iran's strategic defense requirements. The appraisal of mission and requirements reached at the time appears still to be valid. We both have every reason to expect that the improvements you are pushing, backed up by the advanced equipment we are supplying to your armed forces, will provide a continuously increasing image of Iranian strength to discourage aggression and the actual force to withstand it should this prove necessary.

You mentioned in your letter the prestockage of equipment for possible use in mutual defense. Considerable quantities of equipment appropriate to such use are now stocked in European areas, where they would be readily accessible to any United States forces which might be deployed to the Middle East. We have studies under way to determine whether, considering our logistics capabilities, stockages should also be established in the Middle East. As these studies develop, we will keep you informed of any conclusions we may reach.

As I write, the fast-moving events within the Sino-Soviet Bloc are commanding the attention of the whole world. Judging by the evidence reaching us from Moscow, the Sino-Soviet talks held there have thus far failed to compose the widely divergent views held by the two sides on a broad range of issues. At the same time, it would be rash to say whether the increasing openness of the dispute indicates that a formal disruption of relations between the Parties, or even conceivably between the States, is in prospect. Clearly the outcome of this confrontation will require the most careful evaluation. As our knowledge increases and our views develop, I shall look forward to further exchanges with you on this subject.

In conclusion, Your Majesty, allow me to express once again my high esteem for you and my gratification at the mutually beneficial state of relations between our two countries. Sincerely, John F. Kennedy."

Department desires this message remain confidential.



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

Washington, July 19, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, UAR/Israel Arms Limitation, 07/11/63-07/31/63. Secret; Cane. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 7/19/63--Tab 10)."

Eshkol's interim reply on Dimona,/2/ which merely says he'll give careful study, further confirms that Israelis regard Dimona inspection as a bargaining card on security guarantee. We're unlikely to get full satisfaction until larger issue is resolved.

/2/The Embassy in Tel Aviv conveyed the text of Eshkol's July 17 letter in telegram 74, July 17. (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 294, Pres. Kennedy-Johnson/Israel Correspondence: 1962-65)

We've been holding up on latter pending McCloy probes. He was to go to Israel shortly, but we need to revise previous bidding because Nasser didn't buy our scheme. To go to Israel without being able to deliver Nasser puts us at Israel's mercy. So we should try first at least to get the self-denying letter Nasser offered.

Israel will almost certainly insist on some form of greater security reassurance as its price for not going nuclear and lying low on Jordan. So immediate question is what, if anything, we might do. State is extremely chary, arguing that we already guarantee Israel and that anything we do to make this more public will only spook the Arabs, to Israel's disadvantage and our own. This just won't convince the Israelis, however, so we have to look at other options. With Badeau and McCloy back, we plan to put our thoughts before you Tuesday.

R. W. Komer


299. Editorial Note

On July 20, 1963, the Minister of the British Embassy, Denis Greenhill, emphasized to Assistant Secretary Talbot British concern, including that of the public and Parliament, over the UAR's failure to withdraw its troops from Yemen, particularly as they then appeared to be involved in an all-out military campaign. Greenhill asked what the United States considered should be done to "call the UAR to order." Talbot responded that the United States shared British concern, was monitoring the situation, and thought the time had come for the United Nations to put pressure on Nasser. (Telegram 514 to London, July 20; Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN)

On July 26, First Secretary of the British Embassy Wright, acting on instructions, conveyed to Davies a British request that the two countries jointly ask U Thant to send a special representative to the area to press the UAR and seek a political solution. Davies agreed that the dispatch of a high-level U.N. official should be pursued in the context of ensuring UAR compliance, but he said that the United States questioned whether the United Nations should be involved in a political solution of the Yemen problem. Rather, Davies maintained, the United States was in the best position to make discreet approaches to the UAR and Saudi Arabia and wished to withhold agreement to a joint U.S.-U.K. approach to U Thant, pending the results of a forthcoming quiet U.S. initiative. (Memorandum of conversation, July 26; ibid., POL 27 UAR-YEMEN; also telegram 666 to London, July 27; ibid., POL 26 YEMEN)

On July 28, the Department of State informed several Near Eastern posts of a proposal, brought forward by Hart and Badeau who had been conferring in Washington, that the United States seek to arrange secret direct talks between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Republic in a neutral capital. The purpose of the talks would be to produce further detente between the two countries and gain their agreement to a reconstitution of the Yemeni regime that would preserve the republican form of government, but draw in moderate elements, reduce tribal dissidence, and lead to eventual Saudi recognition. The Department instructed the Embassy in Beirut to approach Foreign Minister Takla about the possibility of serving as "honest broker" to arrange such talks. (Telegram 82 to Beirut, July 28; ibid.) An action plan, prepared by the Office of Near Eastern Affairs on July 24, which contained a description of this initiative and other measures being taken at this time, is ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 218, UAR. POL. UAR-YEMEN. For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

Takla, however, was reluctant to play such a role. (Telegram 100 from Beirut, July 30; Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN) On August 1, Deputy Foreign Minister Saqqaf conveyed Prince Faysal's response that if contact were established, the UAR must make the first move and there could be no contact until the UAR executed the Bunker agreement and disengaged from Yemen. (Telegram 132 from Jidda, August 2; ibid.) On August 9, the UAR accepted the proposal for quiet talks with Saudi officials provided that the United States and not Lebanon played the third-party role. (Telegram 345 from Cairo; ibid., POL 27 SAUD-UAR)



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

Washington, July 23, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, UAR/Israel Arms Limitation, 07/11/63-07/31/63. Secret; Cane. Attached to the source text is another copy of this memorandum bearing a marginal note in Komer's hand: "Mac--State couldn't clear its paper in time (it was poor job), so I've sent this in. JFK needs something." Also attached to the source text is a note by Komer entitled "Issues for 4:30 meeting," which reads: "1. What is the next step with Nasser? 2. Timing and nature of McCloy probe in Israel, if any? 3. How far should we go down guarantee road in order to get nuclear self-denial from Israel? 4. What reply, even interim, to Israeli request for security guarantee? I doubt that any of these can be finally decided today, but it is essential we get some forward motion."

The 4:30 Tuesday meeting is to consider next steps on UAR-Israeli missile/nuclear limitations, and the intimately related question of Israeli security guarantee. McCloy and Badeau will attend.

Our original idea was to get Nasser tentatively signed on to nuclear missile scheme and then use this as the quid pro quo to sign up Israel. Nasser balked on political grounds, but did talk about an exchange of letters with you. Before going to Israelis, therefore, we ought to see what we can get out of Nasser along these lines.

Even if Nasser comes through, Israel will still try to exact a price for nuclear self-denial and for agreeing to lie low if Jordan collapses. We haven't yet responded to BG's 12 May letter requesting security guarantee, and Israelis are getting itchy. If we now send McCloy to ask them to give up nuclear option, they'll immediately ask "what's in it for us." Dimona inspection is obviously being held up for just this reason.

So there's no point in sending McCloy to Israel until we've thought through guarantee problem. Our dilemma is that the more we talk about inspection, nuclear self-denial, and Jordan the more the Israelis will see leverage to get guarantee, arms, and joint planning from us.

State sees a public guarantee as really giving Israel little more security than the tacit but widely understood commitment it has already, yet forcing a sharp Arab reaction and giving an opening to the USSR. Thus we would roil up the area to neither Israel's interest nor our own: We would (1) undermine our even-handed ME policy, thus reducing our leverage on the Arabs to reduce Arab-Israeli tensions; (2) invite the Soviets to offer similar guarantees to the Arabs; (3) in fact, give Israel a blank check to be obstreperous in its Arab policy, confident that our guarantee would protect it from any adverse consequences of its actions. State doesn't see how we can guarantee Israel without automatically binding ourselves to Israeli position on armistice lines, water, refugees, Jordan, etc., unless we negotiated all these issues out in advance.

So State's preference is to try and talk the Israelis out of a guarantee on the above grounds. They propose an early letter to Eshkol along these lines. This seems a useful first thrust (if only to put our counter-arguments before the Israelis), but I doubt that it will wash. Israel just doesn't see the problem as we do (witness the clash over our UAR policy). They're willing to risk Arab reaction, even a Soviet response. As Israel sees it, the only language Arabs really understand is strength and that if we once make clear to the Arabs that war with Israel is out, they'll subside.

In any case, Israel will not give us nuclear promises unless we either: (1) literally force them to back down; or (2) pay a price. So we ought to look at the minimum we may be able to get away with, while still limiting risk of strong Arab reaction and Soviet response. In fact, such a price may even be necessary to permit us to continue a flexible Arab policy without such constant Israeli harassment as to make the domestic cost of such a policy too high. What are the possible options:

A. It's just possible that, if we could trade some form of security assurance for Israeli nuclear self-denial, we could use this as sufficient justification to the Arabs to forestall a violent reaction. We've let Nasser know our concern over risk of Israeli escalation via McCloy probe. A test ban agreement will further buttress our stand. If we could let Arabs think we were really succumbing to Israeli "nuclear blackmail", we might just get away with it.

B. Some kinds of "guarantee" might be less painful than others. Israel wants a full-fledged alliance, with all the trimmings--joint planning and MAP aid. At other extreme, State wants nothing beyond reiteration of our 8 May assurances to all parties, not just Israel. But an alternative might be a public letter to Eshkol (in response to nuclear self-denial assurances), reiterating our deep interest in Israel's security, reminding him your 8 May statement meant US would protect Israel, but telling him we'd have to be on the other side if Israel attacked. We might even explore the road of private assurances to Israel, though risk of deliberate leak would be high.

C. Could we get away with arms aid or joint planning in lieu of a guarantee? If we argue Israel really doesn't need any tighter assurances than it has already there may be other ways to prove we mean to protect her. Hawk set a precedent (though we've gotten little credit for it); we could assure Israel we'd go further if and when there was a proven need (and tell Nasser we'd have to do so if he got a lot more from the USSR). We could at least tell Israelis unilaterally how we planned to come to their aid if attacked, though they'd come right back that our plans are inadequate.

In sum, we can't separate nuclear self-denial and Jordan issues from Israeli demands unless we're willing to cram our policy down Israel's throat. But failure of current Arabs unity move, plus US/USSR test ban creates a psychological situation in which we may be able to pay a lot less than Israel wants. State should be asked to explore these possibilities urgently. Attached paper does not,/2/ and is merely a first whack at this terribly complex problem.

/2/At this point the phrase, "but it has not been approved by Rusk," is crossed out. The attached paper, a July 23 memorandum from Rusk to Kennedy, is initialed by Rusk and printed as Document 301.

In the meantime we need an interim reply to BG letter, either a note from you or opening of a secret dialogue as a holding operation.

R. W. Komer


301. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, July 23, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, UAR/Israel Arms Limitation, 07/11/63-07/31/63. Top Secret; Eyes Only-Cane. Attached to the source text are telegrams 2470 and 2491 from Cairo, Documents 283 and 285, and a draft letter to President Nasser, not printed. On July 22, Talbot forwarded this memorandum to Rusk with a recommendation that the Secretary sign the memorandum to the President. Talbot's covering memorandum bears the typed note: "approved by McCloy," and indicates that Eilts drafted the memorandum. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY) Status reports on the McCloy mission from Talbot to Rusk, dated July 11 and 17, are ibid. and ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 72 D 438, Background papers vis--vis 2nd McCloy probe w/Nasser 9/64.

McCloy Mission on Near East Arms Limitation

Mr. John J. McCloy will call on you Tuesday, July 23, at a time to be fixed, in order to render a personal report on his talks with Nasser on Near East arms limitation. Mr. McCloy's telegraphic reports from Cairo on his mission are enclosed for your convenience. Ambassador Badeau will also be present.

Mr. McCloy saw Nasser on June 27 and again on June 29. While the United States proposal was not accepted, the approach provided a fuller insight into Nasser's pertinent thinking on the problem. In summary, Nasser was impressed with your concern over the situation and anxious that his inability to accept our arms limitation approach be understood. The problem, as he saw it, was entirely political, not military. Neither Egyptian nor Arab public opinion would tolerate any arrangement with Israel, however indirect. Nor was verification acceptable in the heady atmosphere of Egypt's only recently won independence. It would be viewed as casting the UAR in a kind of "protectorate" status. He was generally disinterested in any United States security guarantee.

As for nuclear weapons, he had nothing to inspect. He had no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons, nor of attacking Israel. He said he might be willing to respond along these lines to an inquiry from you, and that this correspondence might be publicized. Also, without having any precise ideas in mind, he might be willing to associate himself with some "collective" renunciation of nuclear weapons.

Mr. McCloy had initially planned to go to Israel immediately after his Aegean cruise. In view of Nasser's response, it was desirable that he report to you first before deciding whether to go to Israel at this time. While in Athens, Mr. McCloy met Ambassador Barbour who expressed some doubts as to the wisdom of a visit to Israel at this time. Having in mind the immediacy of the Cairo visit and its limited results, the Ambassador believed any such visit now would only be seized upon by the Israelis to increase their pressure for a security guarantee.

Nasser's response poses two questions: (a) What should our next steps be in Cairo; and, (b) when and in what terms should an approach be made to Israel.

(a) Next Steps in Cairo

A further immediate approach to Nasser is inadvisable, although we shall want to take up the subject with him again before long. As long as his current political problems involving Arab unity remain active, they militate against his viewing our approach any more sympathetically. Allowing him more time to mull over the subject may also be of use. Above all, should some sort of test ban emerge from the Moscow talks, this will afford a fresh opportunity to renew the dialogue on the nuclear part of the problem outside of the Arab-Israel context. The UAR, along with other Afro-Asian states, may in due course wish to adhere to such an agreement, which might satisfy Nasser's requirement for a "collective" setting.

Meanwhile, on a contingency basis, a draft letter from you to Nasser referring to his assurances that the UAR has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons or of attacking Israel, and inviting a written confirmation of these assurances, has been prepared for use at an appropriate occasion. A copy is enclosed. The letter is for possible publication at such time as a satisfactory reply from Nasser is forthcoming.

Unless a more suitable occasion arises earlier, Ambassador Badeau will carry the letter with him when he returns to Cairo early in September and present it to Nasser. At that time, the Ambassador will also again raise with him, but as a separate matter, the importance we attach to some offensive missile limitation and the minimal, unobtrusive nature of the verification envisaged. Adequate nuclear safeguards for future UAR reactors will likewise be raised.

The foregoing assumes that Congress can be dissuaded from enacting legislation the effect of which will be to strain US-UAR relations. If this assumption proves incorrect, prospects of obtaining a meaningful letter from Nasser and of pursuing arms limitation with him further are appreciably reduced. We shall also have to consider that if a letter from Nasser is forthcoming, and a security guarantee is thereafter given to Israel, this may be expected to place a serious strain on our relations with him.

(b) Probe in Israel

[7-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] Hence, an early approach to Israel on the subject of nuclear weapons is still warranted.

Various factors bear on the timing of such a probe in Israel. Irrespective of when it takes place, the Israelis will seek to use it to engage in a security guarantee dialogue and relate the latter to their position on renunciation of nuclear weapons. They may also be expected to want to know Nasser's position and will castigate it as inadequate to warrant renunciation by them of nuclear weapons.

Some hiatus between the Cairo and Tel Aviv probes is desirable. As in the case of Cairo, if the Moscow talks prove successful and a test ban agreement results, this will afford a new peg on which to hang an approach to Israel to renounce nuclear weapons, independent of other outstanding US-Israel and Arab-Israel issues. Accordingly, we propose a mid or late September visit to Israel by Mr. McCloy. By then the results of the proposed letter from you to Nasser may also be known and might be a useful element. Great caution will have to be exercised, however, in using any Nasser letter with the Israelis.

Deferral of the Israeli probe as suggested above must depend on your judgment of: (a) the extent of Congressional and other pressures for a security guarantee to Israel; and, (b) how best to cope with such pressures having in mind overall United States foreign policy considerations. A separate paper is being submitted to you on the entire problem of a United States security guarantee to Israel.

The Israeli probe, at such time as it is made, will focus on the nuclear proliferation problem. [7-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] Our ability to give such assurances in the past has been a stabilizing factor in the area.

As a separate matter Mr. McCloy will also urge that Israel exercise a self-imposed restraint on missile production. Apart from the expense factor, missiles without nuclear warheads add little to Israel's security. Voluntary Israeli cooperation in limiting its offensive missile development might also be useful when we go back to Nasser in due course to raise with him again the importance of similar restraint on his part in missile development.



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

Washington, July 23, 1963, 11:05 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Dinsmore on July 22; cleared by McKesson, Komer, and Davies (in draft); and approved by Talbot.

349. Following summary for info only and contents should not be disclosed to foreign officials. It is uncleared and subject amendment upon review of memcon./2/

/2/The memorandum of conversation is ibid., POL 1 UAR-US.

Ambassador Kamel had lengthy discussion with President July 19/3/ during which he made determined and sometimes eloquent presentation. Talbot attended.

/3/On April 6, Brubeck in a memorandum to Bundy transmitted Ambassador Kamel's request for a meeting with President Kennedy with a recommendation that a meeting be scheduled. Typed notations on the memorandum indicate that at first an appointment could not be arranged for the following week and then on April 24 the White House advised the Department that no appointment would be scheduled until after the disengagement in Yemen commenced. (Ibid., POL 17 UAR-US) On July 8, Brubeck sent another memorandum to Bundy reviewing the outcome of the April 6 request, noting that the Yemen agreement was now operative, and recommending that a meeting with Kamel be scheduled. The White House approved the meeting on July 9. (Ibid.) A briefing paper prepared by Komer for Kennedy is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 6/63-8/63.

Kamel praised President for US policy generally, energetically pled for US resistance to importuning by Israel and Zionists, asked for additional economic assistance to UAR.

Specifically, Kamel congratulated President for American University speech, called it "immortal in human history", and for President's "triumphal" tour in Europe.

President responded he pleased to see Ambassador both because of latter's work to improve US-UAR relations and because Nasser always gracious in receiving our Ambassador as well as other US visitors.

Kamel recalled tense relations between US and UAR 1958 when he came Washington. Listed seven reasons: (1) lack mutual confidence; (2) creation of Israel by West; (3) West's opposition to neutral policies several Mid-East nations; (4) US refusal provide arms to UAR; (5) withdrawal offer finance Aswan Dam; (6) tripartite aggression 1956; (7) Eisenhower Doctrine. For first time Soviets made progress in area.

Now as result efforts build good relations, Communist penetration in Mid East has failed. Only parallel to US success in Mid East is that of Marshall Plan in Europe. Egypt and Arabs have protected their independence. CP is outlawed in Egypt; in fact only open and dangerous CP in Mid East is in Israel. Trade with West has increased; trade with Soviets has dropped. Egypt has 1400 students in US, six to ten thousand in Western Europe.

UAR has no "factory" for revolutions. UAR agreed US proposals disengagement Yemen. However, Nasser cannot be pushed pull out immediately. Would leave Yemen in chaos and his own people would ask why he sent 30,000 soldiers to Yemen and why possibly 5,000 died. Disengagement will occur but time is needed.

President observed problem is that international bargain struck; if disengagement does not take place how can we propose to Saudis they not become again involved? Kamel repeated earlier assertion. Kamel noted usefulness Presidential correspondence with Nasser and President agreed it should be continued. Kamel raised what he called problem US public media. Asked why they so agitated since Mid East not under Communist control, oil interests untouched, and Israel question is in "icebox". Speaking solemnly "in name Egyptian Government" Kamel assured President Egypt has no plans attack Israel. Re Israel's desire for US security guarantee he asked who is attacking them and added problem would arise if US should give guarantee. Soviets would offer similar assurances to Arabs and thereby reestablish presence in Mid East. Nasser wants cooperate with US, not oppose it. Egypt cannot prevent revolutions in area; Arabs want real rapprochement not misleading concepts such as Fertile Crescent which he thought disastrous.

Egypt most needs economic stability. Kamel submitted idea of an international consortium to bring Egypt into Free World area. If this not feasible he suggested an American consortium made up US corporations prepared invest in Egypt.

President stated he appreciated and agreed with much Ambassador said. He cannot control US press but assured Ambassador US objectives are good relations with UAR and Arabs. President noted US actions supporting this policy. Referred to our policy recognition of Yemen and to our support idea putting Arab-Israel dispute in freeze. Noted our attempt be even handed. Stated that some Arabs misunderstood our policy. Pursuit this policy not easy. There are groups in US working against it and will continue do so. President referred to position stated earlier this year in letter from Harriman to six Senators. Important that US and UAR continue friendly relations. President said Egyptians may not realize problems he must face internally, attacks on UAR here are really attacks against President. Added that no statement by any senior US official this Administration inconsistent with what he had just told Kamel about US policy. We have no trouble with Nasser's aims of independence, sovereignty, religious freedom and ideal of Arab unity. The US recognized importance of this policy when President Eisenhower took decision he did at time tripartite invasion 1956.

President said there should be some early gesture on disengagement Yemen. On poison gas he said sometimes concentration in tear gas formula might be toxic. Egyptians should understand our strong feelings this subject. President said he would check further on idea consortium and would be in touch with Ambassador on subject.



303. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 23, 1963, 4:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY. Top Secret; Eyes Only; Cane. Drafted by Eilts on July 24.

McCloy's Near East Arms Limitation Probe; Security Guarantee for Israel

The President
U--Mr. Ball
Mr. John J. McCloy
Assistant Secretary Phillips Talbot (NEA)
Ambassador John Badeau, American Ambassador to the UAR
Mr. John McCone, Director, CIA
Mr. Paul Nitze, Assistant Secretary, ISA/DOD
Mr. McGeorge Bundy, The White House
Mr. Robert Komer, The White House
Mr. Hermann F. Eilts (NEA)

The Secretary's Memorandum to the President dated July 22, 1963

/2/Reference presumably is to Document 301.

The President thought it best not to take any special action with respect to Israel right now. For the moment, the dialogue could be continued between the Ambassador and Eshkol. The Israelis will attempt to bargain for a security guarantee. In any case, Mr. McCone says they have not been doing very much on nuclear activity recently. Mr. Ball pointed out the successful conclusion of a test ban agreement should provide an opportunity to test Israeli intentions.

The President asked if some kind of inspection, perhaps international, could be gotten from Nasser. Mr. McCloy recalled Nasser's statement of a "collective" setting. Nasser had not thought it through, and neither a UN nor an IAEA idea had appealed to him. Nasser had pointed out the Israelis have a nuclear potential, while he does not. He would be glad to know what they are doing, but he himself had nothing to inspect. He had been particularly sensitive on missiles and refused to accept any verification. His reasons had been political. He was not seeking a security guarantee, and did not wish any "umbrella" from the Western powers. He accepted the President's good intentions, but wished to avoid any suggestion of a "protectorate". He would be willing to reply to a Presidential letter on nuclear weapons and not attacking Israel.

Ambassador Badeau pointed out that when he had reviewed the subject at his last meeting with Nasser, Nasser had again mentioned the "collective" setting and had cited the Addis Ababa conference. Badeau had told Nasser he might have something more specific to suggest on his return. The Ambassador then noted that Nasser's July 22 speech had stated the UAR (1) has no plan for liquidating Israel; (2) would not attack Israel. He thought this significant.

The President suggested that an effort be made to give Nasser's statement wider dissemination in the Congress and elsewhere. He expressed an interest in seeing Nasser's remarks.

The President then noted that some inspection is needed in both Israel and the UAR. If we can get some sort of UAR inspection, we would have to give less to Israel. He asked Mr. McCone whether the UAR would accept some inspection? The President also recalled that when Couve de Murville was here, the French had expressed some concern about Israeli nuclear intentions. He asked if anything further had been heard about this?

Mr. McCone noted that the UAR had been given a small reactor by the Soviets. The UAR had not agreed to IAEA inspections. [14 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. McCloy suggested that we use the Moscow agreement and relate any efforts in Israel to it rather than to Arab-Israel issues.

[1 paragraph (12-1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

The President referred to Nasser's statement that he would engage in "protective" war against Israel if he discovered that Dimona is manufacturing nuclear weapons. He asked why Nasser had not stated this publicly earlier? Ambassador Badeau said our past assurances to the Arabs that the reactor is not producing such weapons have helped. An adequate inspection process is part of the whole Middle East situation.

Mr. Ball asked whether Israel would merely be able to set off a nuclear explosion or would it be a weapon? [2 lines of source text not declassified] Mr. Nitze said the Pentagon believes the UAR cannot mount a successful attack against Israel. If Nasser really had to fight Israel, he would probably look at the situation once again. Ambassador Badeau thought Nasser would simply mount an air raid to wipe out Dimona and thereafter wait for UN intervention to stabilize the situation.

The President said we should not do anything for the time being. Eventually, however, an effort should be made to get an agreement from Israel, as well as some sort of international inspection in the UAR. Ambassador Badeau suggested that some thinking be done on what might be involved in a "collective" arrangement. He thought we should not merely rely on the Egyptians to come up with some ideas.

The President asked how many countries with reactors have rejected inspection? He wondered if we might work out an inspection system with those countries where the reactor is not a great problem.

Mr. McCloy suggested that any inquiry in Israel be held off until we know where we stand with respect to a security guarantee for Israel. If we get a letter from Nasser and then give a security guarantee to Israel, this could be a problem.

The President said that a letter from Nasser might be useful in the U.S. at this time. Ambassador Badeau thought we might pick up the appropriate quotations from Nasser's July 22 speech and also say something about nuclear inspection.

The President said that after a test ban treaty is signed, we should attempt to get every country that has not yet agreed to inspection to accept some form of international inspection. We might point out that it is in the Arab interest to do so since this will also put pressure on the Israelis. Ambassador Badeau agreed, but cautioned that care be taken to avoid any suggestion that the UAR is being singled out.

Mr. Komer recalled that we have not yet replied to Ben-Gurion's letter of two and a half months ago. The President thought his May 8 statement should be helpful to them in their security problems. Mr. Komer pointed out that Ben-Gurion's letter had specifically indicated they wished a security guarantee and that Eshkol's recent letter had referred to this request. Mr. Talbot thought a letter should be sent to Eshkol, but the nuclear and security guarantee questions should be kept separate. Mr. Ball said a proposed letter on the security guarantee question had seemed to him to be too argumentative.

The President thought we should wait on the security guarantee question. We should point out to the Israelis that the May 8 statement is as far as the President can go without inviting the Soviets into the Middle East. We should also point out all the reasons why this is the best means of doing it.

Mr. Ball reiterated that if Israel is among the first to adhere to a test ban agreement, this will be evidence of positive intentions. If they hold back, this creates a new situation which we shall have to look at.

The President thought that signing was not by itself sufficient. We must also have inspection. Mr. McCone pointed out that inspection applies only to reactors. It does not prevent the importation of nuclear materials.

The President asked if the Secretary could write to the French and inquire about inspection arrangements with respect to Dimona? Mr. Ball said he thought this could be done.


304. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 24, 1963, 11 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149. Confidential. Drafted by Talbot and approved in the White House on August 1.

Presentation of Credentials by Ambassador of Yemen

The President
His Excellency Muhsin al-Ayni, Ambassador of Yemen
Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
William J. Tonesk, Deputy Chief of Protocol

The President welcomed Ambassador al-Ayni and commented that, as a man of just over 30, he seemed to have already had a full life./2/ The Ambassador thanked him, said that he was very pleased to be in the United States, and would work to improve U.S.-Yemeni relations.

/2/On July 16, Brubeck requested an appointment for Kennedy to meet with the new Yemeni Ambassador. (Ibid., Central Files, POL 17-1 YEMEN-US)

The President expressed the hope that disengagement could be achieved promptly. In answer to a series of questions he asked, the Ambassador made several statements about the present situation in the Yemen. He said he thought there are about 25,000 UAR troops there now. He said that the Yemenis hoped for better relations with the British, who had so far refused to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic because, they say, of the UAR presence. However, their non-recognition complicates the situation in the Yemen. The Ambassador also said that the YAR is still having some difficulty with the tribes, but that the situation would be better if there were an end to outside assistance to dissident tribes. The President stated our belief that Saudi support for the tribes has virtually stopped.

The President asked what are the prospects of a union between Yemen and the UAR. The Ambassador replied that they are very limited and he does not expect such a union. U.S. assistance in meeting Yemen's emergency problems would be a better way of helping Yemen get on its feet. In response to another Presidential question, the Ambassador said he did not know how many Russians are now in the Yemen, though some numbers of them are now working on the airport and elsewhere.

Ambassador al-Ayni told the President that President Sallal had instructed him to convey the thanks and appreciation of the Yemen Government to the United States for the understanding and friendly assistance it had already given. He said that President Sallal wants strong relations with the United States and expects to base these on more and more cooperation with the United States. From these statements of President Sallal, the Ambassador said he had concluded that Yemen does not want to go ahead into closer relations with the Soviet Union. What has happened is merely that Yemen greatly needs some assistance which the Soviet Union has offered to give it, and this has been accepted.

President Kennedy noted that the United States has tried to help Yemen through its actions in recognizing the Republican regime and in encouraging disengagement of outside forces. He expressed the hope that the Yemen Arab Republic could go forward and solve its own problems free of outside interference. The Ambassador expressed his appreciation and, at this point, presented his credentials.

Noting that the Ambassador's remarks included an expression of hope for United States aid, the President explained that we are now deeply involved with Congress which after years of dealing with foreign aid has become fatigued on this issue. We would have to see how we come out. On the question of budget support, the President said that we have practically given up that form of assistance in favor of development loans. However, as the Ambassador would know, the United States is providing food grains to Yemen under PL 480.

The Ambassador said that the United States policy toward the Middle East as expressed by President Kennedy is much appreciated by both the ordinary people and the intellectuals in Arab countries. The Arabs hope that this policy will continue. Yemenis believe in strong relations between Yemen and the United States, and these depend on a continuation of overall U.S. policy in the area.

The President concluded by saying that he would like to see Yemen succeed in its efforts to build a sound peaceful country. The United States had associated itself with these efforts by actions designed to free Yemen from outside influences. He repeated that he was glad to welcome the Ambassador and would be available to see him at any time the Ambassador wished.


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

Washington, July 30, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 UAR-YEMEN. Secret. Komer transmitted this memorandum to President Kennedy on July 31 under cover of the following note: "Nasser's attached message to you is welcome confirmation he's pulling out of Yemen. Some reports indicate 1,500 troops have already left. While this will damp growing criticism of our Yemen policy, I'd guess it may be 12-18 months before bulk of UAR forces are out. Until then we'll get recurrent flak from Saudis and others about UAR not living up to disengagement. But so long as UAR keeps gradually evacuating (and we should keep pressure on), we ought to be able to live with this. Having UN rather than US forces as the buffer in this exercise, taking the brunt of all the complaints and possible flare-ups, seems well worth the two-month delay involved in dragging in the UN. So I'm not impressed with Badeau's comment that the US itself should have gone in last April and policed disengagement." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 6/63-8/63)

President Nasser's Message Regarding Withdrawal of Forces from Yemen

On July 29 UAR Ambassador Kamel called on Assistant Secretary Talbot and read in translation from Arabic a personal message he had received from President Nasser in regard to President Kennedy's meeting with Ambassador Kamel on July 19.

President Nasser stated the following:

1. He had read Ambassador Kamel's report of the July 19 meeting with great interest.

2. He directed Ambassador Kamel to convey through Assistant Secretary Talbot to the Secretary of State and the President: a) his appreciation for President Kennedy's friendly and frank exchange with Ambassador Kamel; b) his appreciation for President Kennedy's expression of desire for good relations which were warmly reciprocated; c) his esteem for the President's letters, his desire to continue the correspondence, and "even to establish the most cordial personal relations".

3. In response to President Kennedy's appeal for the withdrawal of UAR forces from Yemen, in implementation of the agreement concluded with Ambassador Bunker and in light of recommendations submitted by Ambassador Kamel, he had decided to withdraw a (sizeable) force from Yemen in the first half of the month of August. (At this point Ambassador Kamel explained that the size of the force had been given, but the cable was garbled. The Embassy's code clerk believed it referred to 1/4 of the UAR force but the Ambassador would not wish to commit a figure until he had received further confirmation).

4. He was taking this step despite the fact that he believes Saudi Arabia has not stopped its aid to the royalists and has not complied either with the text or the spirit of the Bunker agreement. Ambassador Kamel was also directed to convey his thanks to Secretary Talbot for his work in promoting good will between the two countries.

Ambassador Kamel stated he also had a message confirming the UAR intent to adhere to the tripartite atomic test ban treaty.

John A. McKesson/2/

/2/McKesson signed for Read above Read's typed signature.


306. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Rusk, in Moscow/1/

Washington, August 5, 1963, 10:23 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 UAR-YEMEN. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to London, Cairo, Taiz, Jidda, and USUN. Rusk was in Moscow to sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty.

Tosec 35. Ref Secto 8 (rptd London 67; Cairo 3; Taiz 2; Jidda 3),/1/ hope approach to U Thant can be carried out soonest. Seems to us success disengagement jeopardized by UAR delay in withdrawing its troops. At present rate of withdrawal, many months will elapse before process completed. Meanwhile, Saudis who have terminated their aid to royalists, getting restless and have cause to wonder why they are paying half cost of UN operation which (from their point of view) is really cover for continuing UAR intervention in Yemen. While we understand SYG has requested both parties to continue contribute to UNYOM financing for another two months, we as yet unaware their response and would appreciate learning ASAP outcome of his approaches to them.

1/In Secto 8 from Moscow, August 5, Rusk reported that during a conversation, British Foreign Secretary Lord Home reiterated British concern over UAR failure to withdraw from Yemen. Rusk and Home agreed to speak to U Thant on this subject. (Ibid.)

Believe moment has come for SYG to dispatch emissary to area, as both USUN and UKUN have separately urged, particularly to ascertain Nasser's intentions and to speed up action. We can assist by private pressure as required, as we already doing, but certainly preferable for UN continue out in front.

Our considered judgment, however, is that it not appropriate for UN representative to get involved in internal matters in Yemen, such as possible realignment of government, as UK has proposed to SYG. We ourselves are exploring possibilities of improvement UAR-SAG relations and broadening base of YAR regime. While UN might conceivably play complementary role at some stage, believe for time being prudent to have UN concentrate its political efforts on getting disengagement while we explore other political questions.



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

Washington, August 6, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 13-3 IRAQ. Secret. Drafted by Killgore and concurred in by Talbot. A typed note on the source text indicates that Komer approved the recommendation in this memorandum on August 7.

Letter from Mulla Mustafa Barzani to President Kennedy

Embassy Tehran's Airgram #67 of July 30, 1963/2/ (copies of which were sent to the White House) transmitted a copy of a letter addressed to the President from Mulla Mustafa Barzani, leader of Iraqi Kurdish fighting forces, requesting the President's support for Kurdish autonomy within the Republic of Iraq.

/2/Not printed. (Ibid.)

In our view, a Presidential reply to Barzani might well damage United States relations with Iraq. We therefore propose having our Consul in Tabriz respond orally to Barzani's intermediary along the lines of our standard guidance with respect to the Iraqi Kurds, i.e., that the United States sympathizes with legitimate Kurdish aspirations within the sovereign state of Iraq, but that our sympathy will not be permitted to prejudice the cordial relations now existing between the United States and Iraq. We propose to go one step further than our Ambassador in Tehran has suggested, by having our Consul state, should he be asked if Barzani's letter was forwarded, that the message was forwarded to the Department and that the Consul is responding as indicated above, on behalf of the United States Government. We believe that if our Consul is asked whether the letter has been forwarded, an affirmative reply will not damage United States-Iraqi relations. At the same time, such a reply will demonstrate, if only symbolically, United States concern for and interest in the Kurds.

We propose sending to Tehran the attached telegram should the White House approve./3/

/3/The telegram was sent as telegram 91 to Tehran, August 7. (Ibid.) On September 12, Read sent Bundy another letter from Barzani to President Kennedy, dated July 18 and delivered to the Embassy in Tehran on August 27, which was similar to Barzani's July 12 letter. Noting previous action taken on the July 12 letter, the Department of State recommended no action be taken on the July 18 letter. A typed notation on the Department of State's copy of the memorandum quotes a response from Komer as follows: "We told him to acknowledge receipt and say letter passed to Washington and return noncommittal reply."

J.W. Davis/4/

/4/Davis signed for McKesson above McKesson's typed signature.


308. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/

JCSM-611 - 63

Washington, August 7, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12 ISR. Top Secret. Sloan (DOD/ISA) forwarded this memorandum to Grant on August 22. His memorandum, summarizing the JCS memorandum, added the comment: "we see no good reason for alteration of our present Middle East arms policy. We say this not only because we are skeptical that it is pinching the Israelis noticeably, but also because it seems plain that we will respond affirmatively to their valid requests for purchase of appropriate defensive weapons when needed to help maintain the arms balance in the area." (Ibid.)

Implications to DOD of a US Security Assurance to Israel (U)

1. Reference is made to a memorandum by the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I-25160/63, dated 17 July 1963,/2/ subject as above. Because of the interrelationships in the several questions posed in the letter by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, dated 15 May 1963,1 the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been developed to address the central issue of US assurances to Israel touching on the points raised in the letter while discussing that issue.

/2/Not printed. (Ibid.)

2. Joint planning with the Israeli military staffs would facilitate early entry of US forces into the area and coordination of operations in the event of a US decision to intervene militarily on the side of Israel. However, such planning is not essential to assist Israel effectively in resisting Arab aggression. At the present time, it is estimated that the Israeli forces have the capability of defeating aggression by any combination of Arab states which might oppose them. Israel is vulnerable to air attack due to the proximity of Arab airfields and the short warning time available. Therefore, the most effective military support which US forces could provide to Israel in the event of Arab aggression would be to attack the facilities from which Arab air attacks might be launched. Similar considerations would apply in the future should the United Arab Republic attain an operational surface-to-surface missile capability. Coordination of US air strikes with those of the Israeli air forces can be undertaken rapidly even in the absence of advance bilateral planning. Coordination of ground force operations would be more difficult; however, the qualitative superiority of Israeli ground forces not only reduces the necessity for advance bilateral planning, but also makes it doubtful that intervention with US ground forces on the side of the Israelis would be required at any point to prevent significant loss of Israeli territory. Should they be required, however, US ground forces and/or amphibious elements could be introduced into the Middle East area within approximately 30 hours.

3. US contingency plans are in being which provide for military operations incident to the Arab-Israeli situation ranging from a show of force, through naval blockade and counter air operations, to amphibious and airborne assault. These plans are adaptable not only to the support of either side against the other as an aggressor, but also to the support of a United Nations or other combined effort to enforce a halt in hostilities. In addition, US-UK military studies for Arab-Israeli contingencies have been prepared which could form the basis for coordinated military operations. Depending on the degree of advance warning, US air and naval forces could undertake counter air operations almost immediately, and in any case within 72 hours of order of execution. However, the Egyptian Air Force has the capability to carry out a damaging surprise air attack against Israel provided the Egyptian air staff could plan and initiate such a move without Israeli detection. Joint US-Israeli military planning would not degrade this Egyptian capability except for any possible deterrent effect that knowledge of such planning might have. However, acquisition of Hawk missiles from the United States beginning in FY 1965 will increase Israeli capability to withstand such attack.

4. US security interests in the Middle East are primarily to maintain access to the area, insure the availability of Middle East oil to Western Europe on acceptable terms, and generally to promote stability in the area. The main threat to these interests comes from attempted communist penetration of the area. If the United States accedes to Israeli pressures, the Arab states would probably turn increasingly to the Soviet Union for support, thus reversing recent favorable trends in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq. On the other hand, there is considerable sympathy for Israel in the United States. In these circumstances and in consideration of the military factors involved, US assurances to either party in the Arab-Israeli dispute should not be given beyond those contained in the statement of the President at his press conference on 8 May 1963. Additionally, the President's statement acts as a deterrent, while giving assurance, to both parties./3/

/3/See Document 238.

5. US capabilities to come to their assistance should be well known to the Israelis. Also, Israel has been able to fill most of her weapons requirements from Western European sources. Therefore, Israeli pressures on the United States are most probably politically motivated. In this connection, Israeli dissatisfaction with the public assurance given in the President's statement of 8 May could stem in part from recognition of the warning implied therein against Israeli aggression. Israel has demonstrated an ability to protect classified information. However, if the foregoing speculation on Israeli motives is correct, it could be part of the Israeli design to leak information to the Arabs on the nature and extent of joint planning. To this extent, therefore, such planning with Israel does entail a security risk.

6. Should there be overriding political reasons for continuing discussions with Israel of US security assurances and military support, it is recommended that they be conducted as political discussions in order to avoid any connotation of joint military planning against the Arabs. In such discussions, the United States could provide the Israeli side with the US estimate of Arab capabilities and generalized information on US capabilities to assist in the event of Arab aggression, emphasizing the US intention to act in the first instance in support of UN efforts to prevent or halt the aggression. In return, the United States should receive more information on Israeli plans for force development, and assurances that, in the event of political turmoil in neighboring Arab states, Israel would not seize the west bank of the Jordan or undertake other pre-emptive action without prior consultation with the United States.

7. In lieu of involvement on a military level with either side, the United States should continue efforts to impress both sides with the futility of seeking military solutions to their differences. Although final settlement of the major issues is not foreseeable in the near future, the United States should continue to promote negotiated settlement of lesser issues on a piecemeal basis. In particular, the Arab refugee problem should be susceptible to US leverage in view of US financial support to the UN Relief and Works Agency.

8. In summary, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that:

a. No US security assurance to Israel be given beyond that enunciated by the President on 8 May 1963.
b. Joint contingency planning with Israel not be undertaken.
c. Present US arms policy in the Middle East be continued.
d. The United States continue to seek peaceful settlement of Arab-Israeli issues on a piecemeal basis.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

A. H. Manhar
Major General, USA
Deputy Director, Joint Staff

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