1961-1963, Volume XVIII, Near East, 1962-1963|
Released by the Office of the Historian
309. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy
309. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, August 9, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 8/63. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 8/9/63)."
Yemen Round-up. It finally looks as though, between U Thant's testy prods (we finally got him moving) and our own side noises, we've gotten Nasser to start public disengagement. He's undoubtedly been stalling till he felt reasonably confident he had civil war under control. But he's again assured UN and us that UAR is pulling several thousand troops out (not rotating); he'll give a big "victory" speech Sunday which we hope will commit him publicly again.
But now Saudis may be acting up. UNYOM says it discovered two Saudi truck convoys heading into Yemen loaded with mortar shells. We will hit Saudis hard on this, armed with above indications Nasser is coming through. Faysal has been getting edgy, but we think he'll back down. However, we'll no doubt have to keep our eight F-100s there a while longer--a pullout now would destroy our credibility with the Saudis.
The two-month delay in getting UN to move in now looks more worthwhile, in view of the effective job it seems to be doing. Our next project is to get the UAR and Saudis together to start talking about a political solution in Yemen. Both sides seem tentatively willing, which is a good sign.
310. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, August 9, 1963, 5:16 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL SAUD-UAR. Secret; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Barrow; cleared by Buffum, Symmes, Johnson, and Davis (S/S); and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Beirut, Jidda, London, and USUN and repeated to Taiz and Rome.
586. Eyes only Chiefs of Mission.
1. View UAR position favoring US rather than Lebanese mediation, request Embassy Beirut abandon discussions with Takla. Should he approach Embassy suggest he defer any further action until Embassy advises him further.
2. Both UARG and SAG should be advised USG agreeable play third party role in arranging meeting and that USG has certain suggestions regarding objectives of talks as cited below. We do not wish however to be involved in substance except to extent we might be helpful in dealing with problems arising out of talks.
3. USUN should endeavor locate Riad (Department assumes Cairo's 345/2/ refers to UAR-UN Ambassador Mahmoud Riad not Mohammed Riad) and ascertain if he would be willing meet Saudi representative which we hope will be Deputy Foreign Minister Saqqaf in Rome on or about August 16. (We prefer this be discussed only with Riad and not any other UAR rep.)
/2/See Document 299.
4. Embassy Jidda should approach Saqqaf in same vein. View necessity secrecy be kept, Department suggests Riad and Saqqaf meet in hotel of their choice rather than in official establishment and that to extent possible their respective diplomatic missions in Rome not be involved./3/
/3/On August 13, the Embassy in Jidda conveyed Faysal's reply to the U.S. initiative, including his agreement in principle for Saudi Arabia to hold discussions with the UAR. (Telegram 180 from Jidda; Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 SAUD-UAR)
5. For purposes effective channel of communication only, Department plans detail officer knowledgeable of Yemen problem to Embassy Rome. Name will be communicated to parties later. Officer will not take part in SAG-UAR conversations but would be available during Rome talks to convey to USG any information parties might wish to pass to USG or in turn to seek USG views on problems which arise. Officer also prepared be helpful to parties, if desired, in arranging times and places of meetings in Rome.
6. Whereas parties themselves best able determine appropriate agenda for talks, Department believes parties might wish give consideration to following as most important objectives:
a. Parties should agree that whatever their differences in political and social outlook they should abide by "live and let live" policy toward each other.
b. Parties should agree taper off their propaganda warfare against each other.
c. Each party should reassure the other of intention to abide faithfully by Bunker agreement and to implement it in all its details as expeditiously as possible.
d. Parties should agree that Yemen is an Arab problem that ought to be resolved by Arabs themselves with a minimum of outside intervention. Interests of Yemenis themselves should have highest priority in discussions of future political framework of YAR.
e. Saudis might agree in principle to acceptance of republican form of government in Yemen and to exert their influence to extent possible toward removal from Yemen of Imam Badr.
f. UAR might agree to discuss with Saudis a recomposition of the republican regime to broaden base of representation.
g. Saudis might agree that if more moderate and representative government in Yemen is installed they would consider early recognition and establishment of friendly relations therewith.
h. Irrespective of extent of agreement of points (e) through (g) above, parties should agree to keep dialogue going and to have further contacts as necessary.
7. Embassy Jidda should caution Saudis against being over ambitious regarding settling all details re composition of YAR in this initial talk, since if Saudis press too hard in endeavoring promote Yemenis over whom they have influence UAR may suspect attempt undermine republican regime in this fashion.
8. Embassy Cairo should caution UAR not to adopt posture of victor talking to vanquished but rather of statesmen seeking genuine political solution to a complex problem. Both parties should refrain from recrimination over past grievances.
9. Department believes happiest possible outcome of Yemen conflict would be an Arab solution to an Arab problem which would redound to high credit of both in world public opinion. Parties should therefore direct efforts toward securing this highly worthwhile prize rather than scoring debating points over each other.
Dept hopes Eilts can be detailed to Embassy Rome for duration of proposed talks both because of his familiarity with previous US diplomatic activity in Yemen problem and because of his knowledge of Yemen internal affairs. If there any reason Eilts cannot be available for this purpose Embassy London should inform Department soonest.
For all addressees:
View necessity utmost secrecy contents this telegram should be entrusted minimum number officials on "need to know" basis.
311. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/
JCSM-623 - 63
Washington, August 15, 1963.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Iraq, 1963. Secret.
1. Reference is made to a memorandum by the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I-25321/63, dated 2 August 1963, subject as above./2/
/2/Not printed. (Ibid.)
2. The views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on US Arms Policy for Iraq, as contained in JCSM-197-63, dated 9 March 1963,1 were predicated on the belief that subsequent developments would confirm the anticommunist nature of the government which came to power in Iraq on 8 February 1963. Subsequent events have verified that the policy of the Iraqi Government is to decrease its dependence on Soviet support and to control local communist elements. Moreover, the USSR, by supporting an attempt to bring the Kurdish question before the United Nations, has openly demonstrated its support for Kurdish rebel elements, to the further detriment of Soviet-Iraqi relations. There are also a few indications that the Soviets may be deliberately lagging in deliveries of military assistance to Iraq.
3. Another development which could prove favorable to US interests is the ascendancy of the Baath party in Iraq and Syria, and the conflict of Baath and Nasserist ambitions in the Arab world. Identification of Syria with the anticommunist policies of Iraq would be helpful in reducing Soviet influence in the Middle East, and continued disunity between Nasser and Iraq/Syria could ease pressures on the monarchies of the Arab peninsula, as well as on Israel and the regional members of CENTO.
4. Although the Iraqi Government has announced its intention to pursue a neutralist course between the Communist Bloc and the West, the foregoing developments indicate that there is a good possibility for eventual displacement of communist influence and, more remotely, for open alignment of Iraq and Syria with the West. It is recognized that care must be exercised to avoid arousing Arab suspicions of US intentions, upsetting the balance of military power in the Middle East, or otherwise acting to the detriment of US interests in pursuing unrealistic short-term goals in Iraq and Syria. Nevertheless, US arms policy in Iraq should be pursued with the ultimate objective of having Iraq, and hopefully Syria, look to the West as the primary source for necessary armaments.
5. The most immediate military arms requirements facing the Iraqi armed forces stem from government efforts to suppress the Kurdish revolt, and from Iraq's need to be in a position to assist the Syrian Government, if required.
a. As a long-term goal, the United States should continue efforts to promote assimilation of the Kurds within national boundaries, and granting of a measure of local self-government in predominately Kurdish regions. However, prolongation of the conflict in Iraq engenders instability, and provides an opportunity for communist exploitation of the Kurdish problem in Iraq and in neighboring countries. A firm Iraqi military position, coupled with a willingness to accommodate to legitimate Kurdish grievances, appears to be the most promising avenue for an early end to hostilities and advancement of internal stability in Iraq. To this end, the United States should give favorable consideration to reasonable Iraqi requests for equipment and seek to use resultant influence to urge moderation on the Iraqi Government.
b. As was pointed out in paragraph 3, above, an Iraqi capability to provide assistance to the government of Syria in quelling possible major uprisings could also be advantageous for the United States.
6. Although normal Iraqi income should permit absorption of defense costs without undue impact on the economy, a requirement for large cash payments on equipment deliverable in the near future from all Western sources could have an unsettling effect, particularly when compounded by costs of operations against the Kurds. The stability of the Iraqi Government in the short term could be aided, therefore, by acceding to reasonable Iraqi requests for credit.
7. Except for the need for ameliorating present restrictions on extension of credit, the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the currently approved US Arms Policy for Iraq is sufficiently flexible to permit a positive application in pursuance of US objectives in the Middle East. With the foregoing in mind, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that:
a. The United States respond favorably to Iraqi requests which fall within the approved US Arms Policy for Iraq, and which are available from US sources.
b. Deliveries of approved items be made as rapidly as possible consistent with availabilities and priority being accorded MAP recipients.
c. Equipment be furnished on a sales basis, but credit terms be arranged as may be appropriate to avoid an adverse impact on the Iraqi economy in the short term.
d. Consultations be undertaken with other potential suppliers of arms among Free World nations to encourage adoption of policies similar to those of the United States.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
John M. Reynolds
Major General, USAF
Vice Director, Joint Staff
312. Memorandum on the Substance of Discussion at a Department of State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting/1/
Washington, August 16, 1963, 3:30 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, State-JCS Meetings: Lot 70 D 328. Secret. Drafted by Colonel W.B. Robinson (G/PM). A typed note on the source text indicates that the memorandum is a Department of State draft not cleared with the Department of Defense. The meeting was held at the Pentagon.
A Department of State briefing memorandum from Grant to Johnson (G), August 15, is ibid., Central Files, DEF 6-3 US. A Department of Defense talking paper is attached to a memorandum from Strickland to Sloan, August 16, in the Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7275, Hard Surface--March thru Aug. 63--Volume I.
[Here follows a list of participants.]
Situation in the Yemen
General LeMay opened the meeting by stating that the JCS would like to begin the discussion of the Hard Surface deployment/2/ with a briefing by Brigadier General Lucius Clay, USAF, Assistant Director, J-3. Mr. Johnson assented to this procedure and General Clay gave a round-up presentation covering (a) the purpose of the deployment (b) mission of the force (c) the stop-and-go circumstances leading up to the 5 July movement (d) the aircraft and personnel strength of the Unit (8 F-100, 2 RB-50, 2 C-130, several helicopters and 541 people) (e) the concept of deployment in terms of duration and the problems raised by an extension. He noted that the primary mission of the unit was political in nature and that the unit had little if any military effectiveness. At this point Admiral Griffin (CINCNELM) interjected the statement that the unit had completed all of its training mission with the Saudi Air Force and that there were no further qualified Saudi Air Force and that there were no further qualified Saudi pilots and support personnel to be trained. Accordingly, he felt that the unit should be redeployed and that a long-range training program should be undertaken by a training mission. He added that the unit, as presently deployed and constituted, does not have the capability to provide proper air defense or take any offensive action. He did not believe that the SAG understood the mission and purpose of the Hard Surface force and that this was resulting in serious doubts in the minds of the Saudis as to the credibility of the force. Further, development of an adequate air defense force would require deployment of additional aircraft and a change in the present rules of engagement. General Clay closed his briefing by stating that while the JCS were fully cognizant of the political significance of Hard Surface they saw only two practical options for the future from the military point of view: (a) a change in the unit mission to permit a real air defense capability--this would be too expensive in terms of men, resources and money; and (b) terminate the deployment and use other means to assist the Saudis such as more active training mission with long-term programs, dispatch of an Air Defense Survey Team and periodic rotational deployments of U.S. forces. General Clay emphasized that the JCS were strongly in favor of option (b).
/2/In an August 7 letter to Sloan (DOD/ISA), Talbot proposed that serious consideration be given to extending the tenure of Hard Surface in Saudi Arabia beyond September 15 should political circumstances at the time require such action. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US)
General LeMay stated that the initial fears of the JCS had now been realized--the 8 F-100's did not deter Egyptian bombing attacks and we are now over the barrel. We must do something positive or withdraw. The Saudis think we are there to protect them and we must clean up the situation or withdraw. Mr. Johnson replied that the purpose of the force had been described as training, that its deployment had heavy political overtones; i.e., to help persuade the SAG to cease its support of the Royalists and that the force had accomplished this aim. General LeMay asked if the SAG had not ceased supply support to the Royalists on the basis of their understanding that we would protect them. Mr. Johnson said that there was an apparent difference in the State and JCS estimates of the number, degree and intent of Egyptian bombing attacks. Mr. Grant pointed out that there were only three reported bombing attacks in the past couple of months. One of these reports had been disproved and a second reported attack may have been misdirected and in error since no target was involved. The third attack, which occurred several days ago, was on a point where UN observers had caught a Saudi supply convoy. It was not a substantial raid and there was no loss of life or serious injury. We have no indications that the Saudis are taking provocative action and there is some possibility that local Egyptian commanders have been taking matters into their own hands or that there have been errors in bombing. Mr. Grant stressed that Saudi supply activities do not have the blessing of the Crown Prince and that he desires to live up to the terms of the Agreement. However, some supplies do leak through without the knowledge of the Crown Prince. Mr. Johnson noted that we judge that the Hard Surface force has served as an effective deterrent.
Admiral Griffin pointed out that if the bombings continue, the Saudis will feel that we have been incapable of holding up our end of the bargain and we will lose considerable face. Mr. Johnson said that he agreed and that we are pleased with the results and performance of the Hard Surface force. He pointed out that the JCS might not be aware that we are working behind the scenes to get talks underway between the UAR and the Saudis and that we have obtained agreement in principle for the conduct of such talks. The place for the talks and the representatives to be present have been selected although some details remain to be worked out. Hopefully, if things go well we should begin to see some light within the next 30 days. However, we cannot promise that we will be able to pull out the Hard Surface force by 15 September.
Admiral Griffin said that he was concerned about possible miscalculations of the Saudi attitude toward the tenure of the Hard Surface deployment. Further, their understanding of the purpose of the deployment is not the same as ours. He questioned the belief that the Saudis know that the deployment is a temporary one. Ambassador Hart replied that the Saudis know it is not a permanent deployment, although the duration of the deployment was not covered in the Bunker talks. General LeMay asked if the Saudis expect the unit to stay. Ambassador Hart said that the Saudis do expect the unit to stay as long as the threat exists. He noted that the threat is of a special nature--a threat by Egypt against the SAG. The nature of this threat is such that any successful revolution in Saudi Arabia must be supported by Egyptian Armed Forces. If the early arms drop had been picked up by anti-Saudi forces and Radio Jidda had been taken over, further success of such a beach head would require direct support from Cairo. The presence of the U.S. air unit is a direct deterrent to Nasser and a clear indication that we would not permit the initiation of a Yemen-type situation in Saudi Arabia. The early deep air incursions and overflight of Saudi territory have ceased. These were deliberate provocations while the recent bombings were of the spill-over or erroneous type. The Saudis are concerned over the deterrent strength of the air unit. Bunker promised that we would deploy radar and they have accepted our failure to deploy such equipment. They understand that an effective air defense utilizing radar would require the cessation of civil air traffic. This would necessitate that they publicly acknowledge the existence of a fairly large-scale crisis. They are not prepared to take such an action and in fact the press plays down the situation.
Mr. Johnson said that he understood the concerns of General LeMay and Admiral Griffin and he asked if we will be able to withdraw the force eventually without creating further misunderstandings. Admiral Griffin said that he did not think that our overflights had been very valuable and that the U.S. Commander on the spot shared this view. In fact the people in the street have reacted with fear to the overflights. Thus, it appears that the flights are counter-productive. However, the military are in no position to determine the effect of the overflights on the UAR. The UAR does not have any radar but it does have a lot of agents who report. Ambassador Hart said that in his opinion withdrawal of the unit would lead to misunderstandings which would have serious political repercussions. However, as soon as the Egyptian threat disappears, we should be able to approach the Crown Prince and tell him that while the unit is leaving, we are establishing a solid program of cooperation. The timing of the withdrawal of the unit must be linked directly with Egyptian withdrawal, otherwise we will invite Nasser to break his agreements. Admiral Griffin said that on this basis the unit might have to stay in Saudi Arabia forever. Ambassador Hart said that this is not so, that when disengagement occurs the unit can be withdrawn. Admiral Griffin said that he did not see why the air unit was a necessary element in getting our message to Nasser. Ambassador Hart said that the unit is necessary because Nasser understands force, not words.
Mr. Grant noted that the UN had reported a net withdrawal of 4,500 Egyptian forces and that the Egyptians had just informed us that they would withdraw 3,000 more troops in September. Admiral Griffin said that this would leave 25,000 Egyptian troops in the Yemen. Mr. Grant said that it would leave the Egyptians with 3/4 of their initial force and that the easing up of Royalist activity has permitted UAR withdrawals. In the next couple of weeks Nasser will be faced with tough decisions. While we are not out of the woods, things are moving as we expected even if more slowly than we had hoped. The talks in New York can help and they should assist in removing outside pressures. The Yemenis may make some concessions to the tribes and this should be helpful. Admiral Griffin asked what is the assessment of the probability of agreement as a result of the New York talks. Mr. Grant said that as long as Nasser has international pressures on him (U Thant is good in this connection) and knows that he cannot hurt the Saudis in Saudi Arabia, he has to look for some type of settlement. The presence of the air unit gives reasonable assurance that Nasser will not strike out at Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince knows that the continuation of the presence of the unit is based on his agreement to cease supply to the Royalists. If we withdraw the squadron, he will begin to take supply action again. If we keep up pressure, a settlement is possible. Further, Cairo cannot expect a stooge government to hold up for long. The Yemenis are different from any other Arabs and cannot be treated, or expected to react, in the traditional manner.
Admiral Griffin said that he was not talking about taking the unit out now, but 30 days from now. If the unit is to stay, plans must be made for personnel and supply actions. Mr. Grant said that he thought that plans should be based on withdrawal no sooner than 60 days from now. We should have a better idea of the future following the talks in New York which should occur before the end of the month. Ambassador Hart said that he felt that Nasser's dilemma was becoming more and more acute. He may have to settle for a synthesis as a solution to the makeup of the Yemeni Government. The possibility of a stooge type of government appears remote. The result will probably be a very Yemeni type of arrangement with some form of a republic with the Imam established as a religious figure. The leadership potential among the pro-Imam group is poor.
General Hamlett asked how we protect our prestige if the Egyptians intrude into Saudi airspace and just what we would do. Mr. Johnson said that the Egyptians have not done this and that this possibility is the specific problem we face when we moved into Saudi Arabia. He said he could not answer the question, but he did wonder just what would cause Nasser to take such an action. Mr. Grant said that a cable was being dispatched today to Cairo instructing the Embassy to hit the Egyptians hard on meeting their obligations. This should be of some help and if this message is not heeded then if clear-cut violations occur we will go directly to Nasser. Nasser knows that we are pretty well aware of his activities and he is aware that if he proceeds with overt action against Saudi Arabia, he will be going against the US and the UN. Ambassador Hart noted that the President's prestige is on the line and that we must be in a position to react if necessary to Egyptian attacks. General LeMay then replied that:
(a) The Hard Surface force will be retained in Saudi Arabia for an additional 60 days;
(b) Plans will be prepared for withdrawal of the force at the end of the 60-day period (15 October 1963);
(c) Plans will be developed for rotation or replacement of the force, should further extension of the withdrawal date be required.
General LeMay concluded by stating that "we are bleeding from our wounds" and that deployment of eight aircraft wrecks one squadron. Mr. Johnson replied that these eight aircraft are probably better utilized than any other eight U.S. aircraft anywhere in the world./3/
/3/The Department of State reported on the decisions reached at this meeting in telegram 158 to Jidda, August 23. (Ibid.) The JCS transmitted the results of the meeting to CINCNELM in JCS telegram 2135, DTG 191802Z Aug 63. (Ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 116, Gen. Truce. Cease-fire, Armistice (Bunker Mission & UN Effort) Other than tels) Both telegrams emphasized the political nature of the decision. On August 22, Sloan informed Talbot in writing of the Department of Defense's agreement that Hard Surface forces would remain in Saudi Arabia for 60 days dating from August 16. (Ibid., Central Files, DEF 6-3 US) Additional documentation is in the Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Arabia 1963.
313. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, August 16, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 8/63. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 8/16-18. Tab B-3)."
Yemen. You should be aware that we are quietly promoting secret UAR/Saudi talks on Yemen, in hopes of working out a political solution. Our theory is that while they're talking they'll at least be less inclined to start shooting. We also want to start both sides thinking about some compromise which can cap the disengagement process.
UAR has agreed, but Faysal has qualified his acceptance by insisting on some prior UAR gesture, i.e. stopping radio slander. We're trying to bring Faysal around.
Meanwhile, both Saudis (gun-running) and UAR (one-plane raid on border village--casualties one camel) have been caught violating, though actual facts generally turn out less damning than early intelligence reports. Also, despite this leaking at edges, UN buffer is working; UAR is slowly pulling out and Saudi flow of arms is down to a trickle. Our problem is to keep it under control a while longer, so we're going back at both Saudis and UAR.
314. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, August 22, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries, Israel--Security, 1961-1963. Secret.
The Israeli/Syrian flare-up/2/ has now died down locally, and our best guess is that it will stay quiet while venue shifts to the SC Friday and next week.
/2/On August 20, Israel requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and asked that the Council condemn Syria for warlike and aggressive actions. The request followed a series of incidents along the Syrian-Israeli Armistice Line, including Syrian refusal to surrender three Israeli civilians taken prisoner on the eastern shore of Lake Tiberias in July, and the ambush killing of two Israeli kibbutz workers north of Lake Tiberias on August 19. On August 21, Syria requested a Security Council meeting, charging Israel with opening fire on Syrian positions on August 20. Both Israel and Syria sought U.S. support for their positions. (Memorandum from Grant and Gardner (IO) to Harriman, August 22; Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ISR-SYR) Additional documentation is ibid., POL 33-4.
From our own and UNTSO observer evidence Syrians seem clearly at fault for killing of two Israelis and starting exchanges of fire. We think Syrian Baath leadership deliberately incited all this as best means of uniting people behind them and short-circuiting Nasserite pressure, since Israel is the one issue that forces all Arabs to unite.
If UNTSO's formal report puts the blame on Syria, we will favor "severely censuring" Syrians. Reasons for doing so are: (1) Syrian guilt; (2) UN censured Israel for raid last year; (3) above all we want to warn Syrians off before they become too rambunctious (with water issue and UNGA looming); (4) we want to use resolution as basis for strengthening UNTSO, which is badly needed; (5) we want to forestall a possible Israeli reprisal raid, which would seem increasingly likely if crisis continues.
SC will meet tomorrow, but resolution probably won't come to a vote till Tuesday or Wednesday. Much will depend on whether we think Soviets will veto (dubious at present). We'll clear final strategy with you.
315. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, August 22, 1963, 9:35 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Barrow; cleared by Russell, Symmes, Buffum, Lubkeman, Komer (in substance), and Grant; and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Jidda, London, Taiz, and USUN. A copy of an earlier draft of the telegram shows extensive handwritten changes made by Komer. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 8/63)
779. Eyes only Chiefs of Mission. View SAG reply to direct talks proposal (Jidda Embtel 203)/2/ and in view likelihood SYG's August 26 report to SC is likely to find performance of both parties less than satisfactory in implementation disengagement agreement, request you seek immediate appointment with Ali Sabri, and state you under instructions from highest levels USG to seek full review of Yemen problem with our views to be conveyed to President Nasser:
/2/In telegram 203 from Jidda, August 20, Thacher reported on a conversation with Faisal, in which the Crown Prince reaffirmed a message previously sent through Saqqaf that Saudi Arabia could not holds talks with the United Arab Republic while UAR propaganda continued to attack Saudi Arabia and its royal family. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)
1. SAG has informed us it notes and welcomes Egyptian interest in direct discussions and ready meet UAR anywhere, including in UAR. However, continuance of UAR propaganda hostile to SAG is giving SAG problems. Thus we experiencing some delays in persuading Saudis to commence talks.
2. USG not in any way trying absolve Saudis from measure of blame in situation as it has developed. However, we cannot deny a certain validity to Saudi viewpoint re propaganda. Whereas UAR overt propaganda has tapered off to some extent, clandestine broadcasts and UAR official statements continue to attack SAG and members of Saud family. UAR bombings of July 31 and August 12 have naturally exacerbated situation.
3. Aside from propaganda it essential in creating proper atmosphere for talks that both sides abide fully by disengagement agreement and refrain from violations. Information which lately available to UN and USG indicates there some leakage of arms and supplies to royalists, but UN and USG both doing everything possible to see that it is stopped and have been assured of SAG cooperation. In any case UAR bombings or other infractions (e.g. troops improperly in some parts DMZ, limiting observers access to other Yemen areas) of disengagement agreement are wholly unwarranted.
4. It would appear from recent reports UAR-YAR situation improved, Royalist opposition dwindling and that UAR withdrawal can and should continue at expeditious rate. Across-the-border bombings of Saudi territory or DMZ, bombings of innocent civilian populations, or the use of unorthodox weapons are not only morally reprehensible, but in our view lose more for the UAR politically than it would hope to gain militarily. We have real difficulty understanding why UAR which stands to gain so much by UNYOM operations not cooperating. Whatever minor leakage on Saudi side, UNYOM has cut off great bulk of Saudi covert aid.
5. Moreover if troop movements represented as troop withdrawals should turn out to be mere rotations as some reports now claiming, world reaction would be most severe.
6. Another problem is keeping UNYOM going. Saudis have agreed to continue their share of financing but we understand UNSYG has not yet obtained response from UAR. We believe UNYOM has already demonstrated its value and hope UAR will promptly accede to SYG's request. We fear that if UAR does not favorably respond to SYG's request within next few days, whole future of UNYOM operation may be called into question. Such a meeting would lead to recriminations, considerably exaggerated publicity with respect both UAR and Saudi violations of disengagement terms, and possibly to more serious consequences. (Suggest you follow up this point with Fawzi or other appropriate official to assure implementation.)
7. If disengagement agreement undermined by the parties, would not only violate solemn undertaking to UN and USG but would threaten direct SAG-UAR confrontation which in interests of no one, would likely escalate conflict and would threaten continued existence YAR.
8. Therefore wish offer following propositions which we think would go far toward improving situation:
a. UAR continue and if possible accelerate withdrawals making certain UNYOM has full facts to enable determine and verify extent net reductions.
b. Maximum publicity be given to withdrawals and intent to honor disengagement agreement in spirit and in fact.
c. UAR military be given fresh instructions (1) to cease across-border or DMZ bombardments, (2) refrain from bombing concentrated civilian populations, (3) refrain from using unorthodox weapons.
d. That UAR terminate all propaganda, including clandestine, against SAG for at least one month. We will ask Saudis do likewise including Yemeni royalist broadcasts.
e. UAR in meantime give further thought to broadening base of representation in YAR regime.
f. UAR continue bear its share of financing of UNYOM and so indicate to SYG as soon as possible.
g. Within a month we would expect Ambassadors Hart and Badeau to have returned to their posts in Jidda and Cairo respectively at which time we will again pursue question direct talks in hope that by then a more propitious atmosphere will have been created. Meanwhile we will continue to press Saudis toward full cooperation with UNYOM in stopping smuggling of arms and money to dissident tribes./3/
/3/Badeau executed these instructions during a conversation with Hafez Ismail on August 31. (Telegram 537 from Cairo, August 31; ibid., POL 27 YEMEN/UN)
FYI. Department has conveyed foregoing Ambassador Kamel. End FYI.
316. Letter From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Sloan) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Grant)/1/
Washington, August 22, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19 US-ISRAEL. Top Secret.
Dear Jim: Enclosed are the comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on your letter of 15 July./2/ We generally concur in these comments.
/2/Grant's July 15 letter is attached but not printed. The JCS comments, contained in a memorandum from the JCS to McNamara dated August 7, were passed to the White House. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 9/1/63-9/30/63) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Israel.
Our evaluation is that the true desire of the Israelis is for more public and open alignment and support from the U.S. rather than a great interest in advanced weaponry or purely military planning. It is further our feeling that there is little or no advantage to the U.S. in going beyond the type of public assurances contained in the President's May 8th statement.
While we might advise them that we are willing to increase the amount of training in the U.S. available to them, or engage in some completely confidential exchanges of military views, it is most unlikely that such low key responses would either satisfy their desire for more open support, or really meet a true Israeli military need.
Because of the size of the territory and the nature of the threat, joint planning would have little military value. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have current unilateral contingency plans covering the rapid application of varying degrees of force and have developed military studies with the British permitting coordinated bilateral US-UK military actions, if considered appropriate. These contingency plans and studies give the United States the capacity to put military teeth into our existing protective attitude toward Israel and are considered adequate to foreseeable U.S. military requirements in the event of Arab-Israeli hostilities. In short, it is the political value of open military support which the Israelis desire, and which we do not recommend.
Without unnecessary repetition of the Joint Chiefs comments, 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.
I trust this letter together with the Joint Chiefs memorandum is responsive to the question raised in your letter.
317. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Ball to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, August 23, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 8/23/63-8/27/63. Secret; Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the source text. A covering memorandum from Komer to President Kennedy, dated August 23, reads as follows: "Here's the 'prompt and cordial' reply to Eshkol's forthcoming letter on Dimona, which took our State Department five days to cook up. Note from accompanying explanation that Eshkol did not quite meet our proposed schedule, but I agree with State that we ought to act as if he did. Our reply seems to do the job. However, Eshkol also asked Barbour that we not tell Nasser about his agreement (Tel Aviv 204 attached). State wants to go back on your behalf and argue this for reasons stated; I'd suggest a softer approach along lines of penciled in modifications. Since we have delayed a week already, urge we send this off as soon as possible." Telegram 204 from Tel Aviv, August 19, is in Department of State, Central Files, AE 11-ISR.
Prime Minister Eshkol's August 19 reply on Dimona inspections,/2/ although not entirely what we wanted, probably represents the most we can hope to get at this time from the Israelis in terms of bilateral inspection of the Dimona complex. We have consulted with the scientific intelligence community and conclude that the Israelis' reply contains the following positive and negative elements by contrast with what we had sought:
/2/Attached but not printed.
Initial Scheduled Visit:
We wanted a visit this summer and a second in July 1964 to bracket the pre-critical and post-critical stages, thus permitting both complete examination of the reactor's interior before radiation hazard develops and assessment of its capabilities after first testing.
The Israelis repeat Ben-Gurion's offer of an initial visit toward the end of the year when the reactor will be undergoing general tests but before the start-up stage. The wording is sufficiently unclear (on whether the timing would permit us examination of the reactor's interior before prohibitive radiation had developed) as to point to a need for politely pinning this down, but without inviting further reply, in the enclosed acknowledgment which we suggest you make to the Prime Minister's letter.
We had sought agreement on regular semi-annual visits after the initial period.
Mr. Eshkol has carefully avoided explicit commitment to this. The reason may lie in Israeli Cabinet-level differences, with Eshkol having been able to obtain no more than a vague linking of our requested scheduling and his belief "that we should be able to reach agreement on the future schedule. . . ." However, we prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt, relying on our interpretation, the Prime Minister's oral statement that future agreement "will give no trouble", and an accommodation in practice to overcome the Israeli sensitivities of sovereignty which may have occasioned their less than fully satisfactory reply on this point.
Completeness of Visits:
We asked 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".
Precise interpretation of Mr. Eshkol's written reply would limit us to examination of the reactor alone. There is no response on the other points. Again, however, we would propose that your acknowledgment obliquely reiterate the broader interpretation and that, not having been explicitly rebuffed, we be guided in future by our understanding on this. Mr. Eshkol has responded helpfully on observation of the "uranium control process". Literally interpreted this gives us a basis to claim much of what we sought in the way of records examination, etc.
Dissemination of Information Resulting from Inspections:
A fundamental premise of this dialogue, from our point of view and stemming from former Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's May 1961 assurance to you, was that we would be free to determine use made of information resulting from our visits.
In this respect, Mr. Eshkol's oral remarks to Ambassador Barbour, if allowed to stand, are a serious setback. While our sights cannot be confined to the Near East alone, most effective deterrent use of our information (both in the military sense of forestalling the one situation in which we are reasonably sure Nasser would venture an attack on Israel, and in minimizing the dangers of an all-out UAR nuclear weapons acquisition effort) is achieved through judicious if non-specific passing of assurances to the Arab states. This is particularly important in the period before greater acceptance of IAEA controls and possible evolution on the Test Ban Treaty put secret bilateral arrangements out of date. Consequently, our telegram would instruct our Charge to discuss this critical point. To limit the danger of freezing the Prime Minister's tentative stand, we have followed the pattern he set of not embodying this in the letter itself.
Whether or not by calculation, Mr. Eshkol's reply contains no assurance save with respect to the Dimona reactor per se.
While the Israeli reply is perhaps about as much of a compromise as we can expect on Dimona (save on the important question of dissemination of results), and we welcome it, it leaves loose ends which we can and will try to tie up through intelligence activities and a cautious link with the French.
We continue to favor disassociation of the Dimona problem and Israel's quest for special security relations. Our proposed telegram/3/ or reply would not, therefore, mention the latter. We would, however, authorize the Embassy in Tel Aviv to tell the Prime Minister orally that a reply to Ben-Gurion's May 12 security guarantee request/3/ can be expected soon. A proposed letter on this, for delivery a week or so after the Dimona acknowledgement has been sent, is in preparation.
/3/The telegram with minor revisions was sent to the Embassy in Tel Aviv as telegram 193, August 26, Document 319.
/4/See Document 246.
George W. Ball
318. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/
Washington, August 26, 1963, 5:01 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Russell on August 22; cleared by Symmes, Buffum, McKesson, McGeorge Bundy, Hart, and Grant; and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Cairo, London, and Taiz (via Asmara), and to USUN.
164. Dept commends you for your able handling of delicate issues with Saqqaf and Faysal. We anxious now explore new means induce greater Saudi cooperation with disengagement effort. Faysal's rejection US proposal for informal unconditional, exploratory SAG-UAR talks as means achieve detente in Saudi-UAR relations and facilitate process disengagement ends most recent US initiative to speed settlement Yemen crisis. Even if Saqqaf able obtain Faysal's agreement talks subsequently, moment now appropriate for review situation, assessment gains and losses and determination future courses action.
You should arrange early meeting with Crown Prince to deliver President's reply to his letter re Talbot-Hickenlooper correspondence/2/ and use this opportunity to convey, in manner you deem most appropriate, latest USG thinking on Yemen situation.
/2/In telegram 200 from Jidda, August 18, the Embassy conveyed the text of a letter from Faisal to Kennedy in which the Crown Prince objected strongly to the content of a July 16 letter from Talbot to Senator Hickenlooper that had discussed reasons for the U.S. recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic and given an account of developments relating to the Saudi-UAR conflict concerning that country. (Ibid.) The Department of State transmitted the text of Talbot's letter to Senator Hickenlooper in telegram 102 to Jidda, August 5. (Ibid.) Saqqaf had first raised Faisal's concerns with Charge Thacher on August 3. (Telegram 140 from Jidda, August 3; ibid., POL 27 UAR-YEMEN)
Following text message from President to Faysal:/3/
/3/A memorandum from Komer to Kennedy, August 23, transmitted a Department of State draft of the message to Faisal that had been rewritten by Komer. A marginal notation indicates Komer's memorandum and its attachment were included in the President's weekend reading on August 24. Another notation indicates that McGeorge Bundy approved Komer's rewritten version of the letter on August 26. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 7/63-8/63)
Your Royal Highness:
Thank you for your frank letter of August 18 regarding your concern that the recently published Talbot-Hickenlooper letter seemed inconsistent with our understanding on the Bunker disengagement agreement set forth in my letter of March 1, 1963./4/ I appreciate your candor and am pleased at this opportunity to renew our correspondence.
Assistant Secretary Talbot's letter was written in response to Senator Hickenlooper's specific queries about certain points of United States policy toward Yemen. I can assure you that his letter was not intended to represent any change in policy and certainly no lessening in our determination to assure implementation of the disengagement agreement. We recognized the Yemen Arab Republic in December 1962 because it met the international criteria normally required for recognition of newly established governments. We believe this step helped to facilitate the process of disengagement that all parties to the conflict support.
We have no intention of seeking to impose on Yemen any particular form of government. As I understand your position you feel the same way. We both share the objective of leaving Yemen to the Yemenis, free from outside intervention. However, it is by no means inconsistent with this objective for the US to believe that through stabilization of the existing regime and elimination of all external pressures, the Yemenis ultimately will best be able to choose for themselves the political structure they prefer. The commencement of withdrawal of UAR forces in accordance with the disengagement agreement is a step in achieving this end.
I particularly welcome your renewed affirmation of support for the disengagement agreement and hope that the measures your authorities are taking to prevent any arms smuggling into Yemen will be effective. I count on your continued help and cooperation in the struggle to achieve a satisfactory settlement of the Yemen conflict.
Ambassador Hart has discussed with me in detail the recent developments in your country. I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the progress that has been made, and to renew to your Royal Highness assurance of my highest esteem and warm personal friendship.
May God crown our joint efforts with success and grant you and the Saudi people peace.
Sincerely, John F. Kennedy
Following are points you should make orally with Faysal (you might consider desirability of leaving written Arabic summary of your presentation with Saqqaf):
1) Disengagement agreement, though slow to be implemented and hindered by occasional failure of parties to honor scrupulously their undertakings, so far successful according UN reports. It has served Saudi interests by preventing large scale UAR air raids or deep penetrations such as those which took place prior to effective date disengagement agreement at Jizan, Khamis al-Mishayt and Abha. Disengagement will continue to act as a brake upon UAR.
2) UN has certified net withdrawal considerable number UAR troops since beginning formal disengagement early July and indications are that withdrawal continuing at reasonable rate. UAR bombings of July 31 and August 12 clear violations of disengagement agreement which USG has protested to Cairo, but in our view do not alter UAR undertaking withdraw forces. UARG has recently confirmed to us their intentions this respect.
3) US has contributed materially to start of disengagement by obtaining agreement parties cooperate in first instance and by exerting pressure on UAR to begin troop withdrawals and then to continue process as rapidly as possible. US support of Saudi Arabia and presence in country of US forces helped prevent major Saudi-UAR confrontation and deep UAR penetrations of Saudi territory.
4) US gratified at prompt SAG undertaking suspend support to Yemeni royalists and expression willingness continue financial support UNYOM. Suspension aid to royalists greatly increased our ability to exert pressure on UAR to withdraw its forces. We are concerned, however, about reports Saudi arms smuggling across Yemen border. With UAR troop withdrawals underway, failure SAG enforce suspension support to royalists can severely damage Saudi international reputation vis-à-vis UAR and tarnish Saudi record honoring disengagement agreement. Saudi failure control smuggling would shift blame for any failure of disengagement operation from UAR to Saudi shoulders. Urge SAG take all possible measures effectively control smuggling and seal border in cooperation with UNYOM observers.
5) Effective border closure on SAG side would rapidly curtail military activities royalists. UAR defensive and punitive actions permitted under disengagement agreement would become unnecessary and border violations would cease. Reduction hostilities in Yemen would remove basic reason for UAR presence and speed troop withdrawals.
6) Strict compliance by all parties with disengagement agreement and cooperation with UN vital to ultimate success operation. Since UN charged with supervision implementation agreement, world will look to UN for assessment performance of parties. FYI. You may say to Saqqaf that mutual recriminations and charges by parties of non-performance by other side only impede UN in conduct its task. End FYI.
7) Disengagement alone cannot resolve Yemen conflict. To create proper atmosphere for restoration peace and exercise Yemeni self-determination, parties must bury past grievances and seek modus vivendi. Talks proposed by US offered opening in this direction. Propaganda attacks by the UAR, however, were cited as reason for SAG refusal participate. US quite prepared endeavor obtain UAR agreement moderate propaganda against Saudi Arabia, but SAG practices such as permitting Yemeni royalists use Mecca radio to broadcast reports victories over UAR troops and to make scurrilous attacks against UAR jeopardize chances success. Moreover, practice inconsistent with SAG undertaking suspend support to royalists and with earlier affirmations that SAG indifferent to who rules Yemen so long as Yemenis make free choice.
8) USG would welcome Saudi suggestions as to best way achieve detente SAG-UAR relations and permit free exercise self-determination in Yemen.
In conveying foregoing views to Faysal you may amend language as necessary make them most effective. At your discretion you may present points more strongly to Saqqaf outside of conversation with Faysal./5/
/5/Thacher delivered Kennedy's message to Faisal on August 30. According to Thacher's report, Faisal's reaction was "neutral" except for an initial comment that "We are glad to have this assurance that American policy is unchanged towards disengagement." (Telegram 243 from Jidda, September 1; Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)
319. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, August 26, 1963, 7:38 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 294, Pres. Kennedy-Johnson/Israel Correspondence: 1962-65. Secret; Eyes Only; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Crawford on August 23; cleared by Ball, Thomas, President Kennedy, McGeorge Bundy, and Rowe; and approved by Grant.
193. Charge should deliver following reply to PriMin Eshkol's August 19 letter re Dimona visits:
"Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
"Your letter of August 19/2/ was most welcome here. I appreciate that this was a difficult decision, yet I am convinced that in generously agreeing to invite our scientists to visit the Dimona complex on the regular basis that was proposed you have acted from a deep wisdom regarding Israel's security in the longer term and the awesome realities which the atomic age imposes on the community of man.
/2/See Document 317.
You have suggested that an initial visit take place toward the end of this year in the pre-startup stage. I am asking Ambassador Barbour to keep in touch with you so that the visit can be arranged for at a time when the reactor's core is being loaded and before internal radiation hazards have developed.
The recent overwhelming endorsement of the partial test ban treaty has moved us all a small step in the direction of a more peaceful world. Our purpose must be to continue striving toward the effective control of the power of the atom so that it may be used only for the welfare of man. The spirit you have shown in your letter to me is a clear indication that you share that same high purpose.
Sincerely, John F. Kennedy"
In conveying foregoing, you should say:/3/ "President Kennedy has taken note of the Prime Minister's request that for the present information obtained from the visits envisaged in this exchange of letters should not be passed on to Nasser. The USG will of course comply with this request, but the President is also taking note of the fact that the Prime Minister has not fully made up his own mind, and has asked you to express his own belief that there are real advantages for security in setting to rest any fears which might otherwise lead to nuclear weapons acquisitions efforts by others in the area. It was this notion, shared on both sides, which underlay the agreement of May 1961 between the President and Ben-Gurion, and the President hopes that there can be further consideration of this matter as opportunity serves."
/3/The following oral instructions were conveyed to the Department of State for transmission to the Embassy in Tel Aviv in a memorandum from McGeorge Bundy to Rusk, August 23, which also informed Rusk that Kennedy had approved the draft letter to Eshkol. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 8/23/63-8/27/63)
You should inform PriMin that you expect President's reply to Ben-Gurion's May 12 letter on Israel's security problems will be received shortly.
Embassy should arrange with PriMin a point of continuing contact (perhaps through Science Attaché Webber on Embassy side) for determination of timing end-1963 visit, keeping Department continuously informed.
320. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/
Washington, August 27, 1963, 8:20 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ISR-SYR. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Buffum and Campbell; cleared by Rusk, Komer, Grant, and McKesson; and approved by Gardner. Repeated to Damascus, Tel Aviv, London, and Jerusalem.
560. 1. President desires as strong a resolution as traffic will bear on Israeli complaint in SC. Accordingly, on assumption it is best we can get, Dept generally concurs in course of action proposed urtel 589/2/ and fully endorses Yost's presentation urtel 585./3/ After reviewing text of UNTSO Report (which we note fails to provide conclusive evidence of Syrian complicity), we concur that the best we can hope for with regard to Israeli complaint is an operative para which "condemns the murders" following on preambular language which indicates the weight of evidence points to Syrian guilt. We also note that in his speech to the Knesset yesterday, Eshkol calls for "condemnation of the murders" rather than "condemnation of Syria." We assume that Israel now realizes, on basis of evidence cited in UNTSO Report, that such language is the maximum the traffic will bear re censure of Syria.
/3/Dated August 26. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ISR-SYR/UN)
2. Re strengthening of UNTSO machinery: we remain anxious to have Council deliberation result in improvement of machinery on the ground. However, the degree of specificity regarding measures to be supported in a resolution is complicated issue, dependent on other factors. Since Israel has objections to certain aspects of the reactivation of ISMAC, we would not pursue this specific recommendation in a resolution unless Israel, as the complainant in this case, will clearly be given satisfaction on condemnation question. Proponents of recourse to UN machinery in Israel should not, in our view, be handed a setback by having Council deliberations develop in such a way that the outcome of this session turns out to be a political defeat for GOI. Accordingly, we much prefer that res not specify precise steps re strengthening UNTSO. We believe same objective can be attained by having SC call on parties to cooperate with UNTSO Commander in implementing the recommendations he has made for maintenance of peace and stability in the area, without specifying what these measures are. (Whether or not specifics are included, we believe Bull should be asked to report back in 60-90 days on progress in implementation.)
However, if in view of fact that Bunche and UK are pressing for specifics in a resolution, it proves necessary to include precise recommendations in order to attract widespread support for a text which condemns the murders, you are authorized to fall back to a position of agreeing to inclusion of such specifics. We believe that in this regard Israel's concern with reactivation of ISMAC can be mitigated by pursuing concept advanced by Bull. This takes full account long-established positions of both parties, i.e., it envisages dropping controversial past agenda and resuming meetings initially on ad hoc basis to deal with current complaints.
3. Re Syrian complaint in letter dated 21 Aug 1963 (S/5395), evidence cited in Bull Report does not clearly establish Israel's prime responsibility for shooting. Report does not clearly show which side first began firing, but only that both sides broke cease-fire at one time or another. Accordingly, if possible, res should include para finding that Syrian complaint not clearly substantiated.
4. Re sponsorship, we accept that only sure way of being able to control the situation is for us to take a strong lead, despite obvious disadvantage that we will be put in the middle. We recognize that in order to command reasonable support, any res will have to take account, explicitly or implicitly, not only of Israel's complaint but also of necessity for parties to cooperate more fully with the UN machinery, and that latter point causes some difficulties for both Syria and Israel. We believe GOI was fully aware in bringing current complaint to SC that debate on such matters could not be confined to specific incident involved and that debate would inevitably be broadened.
Accordingly, you are authorized to take the lead along with the UK in developing support for a res along the foregoing lines.
5. As soon as you are satisfied that such a resolution appears viable, you should inform Israeli Del that, in response to their request, we are prepared to co-sponsor a resolution which would include condemnation of murders of the two Israelis at Almagor. You should also indicate that for our initiative to prove fruitful and for it to represent fully our own policy on utilization UN machinery, res would also have to endorse recommendations for improving UNTSO made by Bull. If Comay reacts strongly, Mission should inform him it will request further instructions from Dept. You may, however, express opinion USG unlikely consider it would be productive to sponsor resolution condemning murders unless it also recommends UNTSO strengthening to help prevent any further such incidents./4/
/4/Subsequently, the United States and the United Kingdom put forward a joint draft resolution that among other points condemned the murder of Israeli citizens, called Syria's attention to evidence that those responsible for the killing entered Israeli territory from the direction of the Jordan River, and appealed for cooperation in prisoner exchanges. Morocco sought to impose a series of amendments on the draft resolution, but these were defeated in a Security Council vote on September 3. The U.S.-U.K. draft then failed of adoption by a vote of 8 in favor, 2 against, and 1 abstention, as the Soviet Union, a permanent member of the Security Council, voted against the draft resolution.
321. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Read) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/
Washington, September 6, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL UAR-US. Secret. The covering memorandum and its enclosure were drafted by Jones and cleared by Davies, Badeau, Williams (AID), and Jernegan.
We expect the UAR to take advantage of the presence of Minister of Planning Kaissouni in Washington for the IMF and IBRD meetings to pursue current UAR requests for economic aid. The United States reply should be framed in the light of the present status of the overall US-UAR relationship.
A topical survey of how that relationship stands today is enclosed. Some of the topics in this enclosure might be used as a basis for discussion in the meeting of Ambassador Badeau and Assistant Secretary Talbot with the President at 4:00 P.M., September 10./2/
/2/No memorandum of the conversation has been found. A September 10 memorandum from Komer to Bundy reads as follows: "FYI, when Badeau saw JFK this afternoon, we cleared following items of business: 1. A soft negative to impending UAR request for $30 million B/P loan. We won't say 'nem nem soha' but indicate domestic traffic just won't bear any more at this point; besides we can't do anything until after AID bill through. 2. JFK approved letter for Badeau to give Nasser [see Document 324] on what I expect will be final tailing off of Cane exercise. I don't really think Nasser will come through, but no harm trying."
Marion A. Baldwin/3/
/3/Baldwin signed for Read above Read's typed signature.
THE US-UAR RELATIONSHIP--SEPTEMBER, 1963
Broad spectrum of common objectives: Anti-communism; continued flow of Arab oil to the West; expansion of trade between UAR and West; economic development; UARG stability (Nasser regime at least as good for USG as any likely successor); Western access to Near East sea and air routes (Suez Canal and tourism are big foreign exchange earners for UARG); cultural exchange (UARG appreciates advantages of Western education); Arab nationalism (regarded as best defense against communist penetration); UAR involvement in Free World system; constructive US-UAR dialogue.
2. Areas of Disagreement
a. USG and UARG have reached temporary working compromises on:
1) Israel--UARG preserves state of war, including boycott and Suez blockade. However, in response to USG representations, and at some cost to its prestige, UARG has eschewed extreme propaganda, has tolerated Israeli use of Tiran Straits, and has kept border quiet.
2) Cold War--USG has accepted UARG neutrality in principle. UARG has assumed more neutral stance in practice. It conducted constructive economic conference in Cairo, abandoned pro-Soviet stands on Cuba and Congo, favored Indian side against China. (UARG will continue to take actions we may construe as unneutral, both to strengthen its hand against Israel and to remind USG of countervailing force.)
b. Following areas of disagreement are now uppermost in US-UAR dialogue:
1) Pan-Arab Militancy--UAR revolutionary activity against rival Arab regimes conflicts with USG desire for orderly political change.
2) Payments Problem--Because of extreme statism, top-heavy development and military expenditures, and over-ambitious consumer-goods programs, UARG does not make best possible use of own resources or foreign aid.
3) Arms Race--UAR-Israeli weapons competition threatens peace of area.
3. US Aid
a. Rationale--US-UAR economic cooperation advances common objectives and is essential basis for maintaining our capacity for diplomatic action.
b. Current Levels--FY 1963: Technical Assistance--$2.3 million; Supporting Assistance Loan--$10 million; Development Loans--$36.3 million; PL-480, Title I--$105.5 million; PL-480, Title III--$20 million; Ex-Im Bank--$12.5 million.
c. UAR Requests for 1964--Faced with impending payments gap, UARG has requested $30 million commodity loan.
d. US Response for 1964
1) Already Projected--Multi-year PL-480 Agreement commits USG to Title I sales of approximately $150 million in each of FY-64 and FY-65. A planning figure of $15-25 million for Development Loans was presented to Congress for FY-64. Technical Assistance and PL-480, Title III are projected roughly at FY-63 rates.
2) Pre-conditions--USG should make clear in non-provocative and non-censorious way that it must condition favorable response on satisfactory UAR economic performance: UAR should respect US commercial interests and claims and reduce unproductive drains on foreign exchange (Yemen).
3) Commodity Loan--Department preparing recommendations for at least partial compliance with $30 million request. Turn-down would jeopardize present relationship. These proposals not yet presented for AID consideration.
4) IBRD--Department recommends USG support IBRD as major source UAR development finance.
4. USG Political Objectives
Attachment of explicit political conditions to US aid program would defeat its purpose. However, present US-UAR relationship is based on compromise.
a. UARG should be expected to demonstrate receptivity to USG representations on following outstanding issues:
1) Cease air attacks on Saudi territory.
2) Accelerate disengagement from Yemen.
3) Encourage YARG to keep Aden border quiet.
4) Help expand base of YARG.
5) Moderate propaganda against Saudi Arabia and other area states.
6) Take constructive steps prevent area arms escalation and curtail ventures in missilry and other sophisticated military programs that drain resources needed for economic development and give UAR unfavorable image.
b. For its part, USG might:
1) Continue press SAG to cut off aid to Yemen royalists.
2) Work for eventual UK recognition of YARG.
3) Back UN effort to strengthen UNTSO.
4) Continue correspondence between the President and Nasser. Last communication in this series was message from President. Ambassador Badeau might carry back to Cairo oral or written message from the President about Yemen and arms limitation.
5) Let UARG know that, if Nasser should attend GA, President would be pleased to see him in Washington or in New York for an informal working meeting.
322. Message From Secretary of State Rusk to Foreign Secretary Home/1/
Washington, September 7, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 UAR-YEMEN. Secret. Attached to a transmittal note from Rusk to British Ambassador Ormsby Gore. No drafting information appears on the source text.
Thank you for your message of August 15 requesting my views on UAR activities in Yemen and their effect on Saudi Arabia and the United Nations disengagement operation./2/
/2/The text is in telegram 1550 to London, September 9. (Ibid.)
In our view disengagement is now in process albeit slowly and with continued infractions of the agreement committed by both sides.
UAR troops are being withdrawn slowly but steadily. We believe there has been a net outflow of some thousands of UAR troops. There are good indications that the UAR will carry out additional phased withdrawals in September.
Although we doubt that UAR net withdrawals have been as large as certified by the U.N., we have deliberately avoided any moves that might tend to discredit the U.N. withdrawal figures. Publicly associating the UAR with these figures makes it more difficult for them to reverse the process, however large or small the actual net withdrawal may have been. Moreover, public disparagement of the U.N. figures would give the Saudis an excuse for further infractions on their side. We intend to keep a careful check on the actual outflow and as appropriate will continue to press for greater publicity of withdrawals and also for realistic U.N. verifications.
The flow of supplies from Saudi Arabia to the royalists has been greatly curtailed if not completely halted. Royalist military activity seems to have no central direction and appears to have decreased with curtailment of Saudi support. Following the recent exposure of illegal border crossings, the Saudis have indicated to the U.N. that they will take more stringent steps to prevent supplies from getting to the Yemeni dissidents.
In our contacts with UAR officials we have of course raised the reported bombings of innocent civilians in connection with military operations against the dissident elements. We have made strong representations to the UAR and have emphasized there is no justification for such raids regardless of Saudi infractions of the agreement. We have done so even though it is quite probable, on the basis of information which I can describe to you in New York, that the bombing raids of July 31 and August 12 which occurred within Saudi territory were the actions of zealous pilots spilling over the ill-defined border areas rather than deliberate flouting of the disengagement agreement.
In our view the disengagement operation has deterred not only deep penetrations of Saudi territory by the UAR but also active efforts by the UAR to overthrow the Saud regime by internal means. Largely as a result of the disengagement agreement Prince Faysal today has a greatly improved position inside Saudi Arabia as contrasted to that of six months ago. This has been our prime purpose from the outset of the disengagement effort.
Although we think disengagement is beginning to work, we believe it would be most unrealistic to expect quick results. Some measure of stability in Yemen after the departure of the UAR is in the Saudi interest as well as our own, and internal stabilization may take considerable time. During that time we must avoid any actions that might pave the way for Communist aggrandizement or revive direct UAR-Saudi confrontation in Yemen. In their own interests, both the UAR and Saudi Arabia must be discouraged under any circumstances from deliberately violating the disengagement agreement.
President Nasser probably agreed in April to disengage on the assumption that it would be possible for him to gradually withdraw his combat troops over a period of months without jeopardizing the survival of the YAR. It seems unlikely that he will withdraw to the extent that a republican collapse is certain. However, by mounting international pressure on him to show continuous progress on withdrawal of his troops he has compelling reasons to seek sufficient political accommodations between the Sanaa regime and key dissident tribes to permit a gradual reduction of the UAR forces in Yemen.
We are encouraged by recent indications that the Yemenis themselves may be trying to broaden the base of the regime. We have already informed your Embassy in Washington on a strictly secret basis of our recent endeavors to encourage a detente in relations between the UAR and SAG. So far we have not succeeded, with Faysal in particular dragging his feet. We are cautiously optimistic, however, that by holding both sides to the disengagement agreement and continuing our side efforts to maintain the pace of UAR withdrawal and to encourage a broadening of the Yemeni regime we may yet see a more normal situation restored in Yemen. I need not reiterate in detail our previously expressed view that your recognition of the YAR would facilitate this process.
323. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, September 10, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, UAR/Israel Arms Limitation, 08/63-10/63. Top Secret; Eyes Only; Cane. A handwritten note on the source text by Komer reads: "Pres. approved 9/10/63." The Department of State copy is attached to a September 10 memorandum from Talbot to Rusk, recommending that Rusk sign the memorandum, and indicates Talbot as the drafting officer. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY)
At the time Mr. McCloy met with you on July 23,/2/ to report on his discussions with President Nasser, we had planned that the next steps in our probe of Near Eastern arms limitation would be taken in Israel and the UAR in September. Circumstances have changed sufficiently in the meantime so that I believe it would be better not to send Mr. McCloy to Israel now. Rather, I suggest that we await the results of Ambassador Badeau's approach to Nasser shortly after his imminent return to Cairo.
/2/See Document 303.
We can look at the arms limitation problem in slightly longer perspective today than seemed feasible last spring. Since that time both the UAR and Israel have signed the nuclear test ban. Prime Minister Eshkol has gone at least part way to meet our request for adequate inspection of Dimona. The potential threat to Israel of an encircling, hostile Arab union has been virtually eliminated with the abandonment of unity talks and public rupture between the Ba'ath leadership in Syria and Nasser. Nasser, once again disillusioned with efforts to create an Arab union, is also confronted with growing economic difficulties at home.
With a little more time at our disposal, we can usefully continue our dialogue with Nasser before asking Mr. McCloy to go to Israel. I would suggest that Ambassador Badeau carry with him when he returns to Cairo a letter from you to President Nasser inviting a written confirmation of the assurances that he had given Mr. McCloy earlier that the UAR would not acquire nuclear weapons or attack Israel. A draft is enclosed./3/
/3/See Document 324.
The Ambassador would also reemphasize to Nasser the importance we attach to some form of verification in the nuclear field and to restraint in defensive missile production. We would seek to plant in Nasser's mind the value of UAR adherence to IAEA safeguards for future, yet unbuilt, UAR nuclear reactors, in order to create a lever to move Israel to accede to these safeguards for its nuclear reactors. If we could make some progress along these lines with Nasser, we would be in a stronger bargaining position when in a later probe we sought Israeli assurances not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons from any source.
We should recognize that Nasser's offer to Mr. McCloy for a public letter of assurance was tentative in nature and that events in the Near East since this offer was made may make it difficult for him to follow through. The recent set-back to Nasser's unity aims will make him even more sensitive to continued charges by the Syrian Ba'ath Socialists that he has become soft on Israel in return for our aid. However, we see no problem in exploring the matter with Nasser and such an approach would help keep the arms problem before him.
324. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, September 12, 1963, 2:38 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY. Top Secret. Drafted by Dickman on September 11; cleared by the President, Hilliker, and Gathright (ACDA); and approved by Grant.
1035. Eyes only Cane for Ambassador. Following is text of proposed draft letter from President which you should show Nasser when you review Near East arms question with him.
"Dear Mr. President:
"I have asked Ambassador Badeau to convey to you my gratification for your prompt personal endorsement of the partial nuclear test ban and your government's immediate signature of the treaty. I hope and expect that treaty will mark the beginning of a series of concrete steps which will further reduce tensions and curtail the arms race. Your action in this and the statements made by you and your representatives on the need for disarmament show that you share this hope and expectation.
"While recognizing the limited character of the nuclear test ban I find in your statements assurance that the United Arab Republic regards itself as committed, in a broader sense, not to seek or acquire nuclear weapons through any means. Your confirmation that this understanding is correct would represent a further step which others might follow to insure that the threat of nuclear warfare is further constrained.
"It is not, however, nuclear warfare alone that is a threat in the world or in the Near East. Since the problem is a larger one, I am heartened by indications in your statements that the United Arab Republic has no intention of attacking any of its neighbors and that its own arms program is intended only to deter or counter attack. It is clear that if this principle can be accepted throughout the Near East, a much needed reduction of tension will be possible.
"Just as the problems of the world cannot help but have an effect on the Near East, the problems of the Near East cannot help having ramifications on world affairs. The ultimate goal we all seek is that of a peaceful world and we must work together in resolving these difficult problems. I know you appreciate the character of these problems and I hope that it will be possible for us to work further toward their solution.
"Sincerely, John F. Kennedy"
325. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, September 12, 1963, 2:39 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY. Top Secret. Drafted by Dickman on September 11; cleared by the President, Hilliker, and Gathright (ACDA); and approved by Grant.
1036. Eyes only Cane for Ambassador. When you see Nasser to review Near East arms limitation, express President's appreciation for Nasser's prompt support for limited nuclear test ban treaty which helped gain support for agreement among number other countries. President can understand why Nasser might find suggestions presented by McCloy politically infeasible at this time, but hopes other means can be found to forestall Near East arms race which would not create same problem for UAR.
Therefore, recalling assurances which Nasser gave McCloy not to acquire nuclear weapons or attack Israel and his offer to make these in form of public exchange of letters, explore with Nasser draft letter from President (transmitted separately) and determine whether Nasser willing to respond. Tell him we would hope this letter and his reply could at appropriate juncture become public documents after appropriate consultations. Remind Nasser that such action on his part would reinforce our own continuing insistence that Israel not go nuclear.
As separate matter from exchange of letters you should also reiterate our interest in gaining UAR support for IAEA safeguards program. With signature test ban agreement, we see wider support for principle of IAEA safeguards for nuclear power reactors as next practical step in forestalling spread of nuclear weapons and are encouraging as many countries as possible to lend their support. We have been gratified that India agreed to principle of IAEA safeguards for Tarapur reactor which was facilitated by fact that Soviet Union and US supported proposal before IAEA to institute safeguard system for large reactors not previously covered. If Nasser should raise them, you may say we appreciate UAR's political apprehensions regarding extensive international verification procedures. However, IAEA is international institution one of whose purposes is establish rational methods assure peaceful uses nuclear power. Since UAR program in nuclear power field is new, it should be relatively easy to accept principle IAEA safeguards for future reactors. If UAR wishes avoid hazards of nuclear arms race, it needs to exercise sovereignty in a way which will contribute to avoidance of hazard. UAR support for principle for IAEA safeguards for yet unbuilt nuclear reactors in UAR would have profound effect in Near East context and support our efforts have IAEA safeguards accepted for reactor now being put into operation in Israel. Thus acceptance and support for safeguards system by UAR would be a wise and responsible exercise of sovereignty, not a derogation of independence. It would be an essential step toward getting other states to move in the same direction.
Finally, you should recall Nasser's assurances given to Mr. McCloy that he would not accelerate his missile program. You should point out that when this question is raised by others we continue to try to keep this matter in perspective. Exercise of restraint in UAR missile program would be helpful in holding down general escalations in the area as well as improve image of UAR./2/
/2/Badeau executed these instructions and delivered Kennedy's letter (see Document 324) during a meeting with Nasser on October 5. After reading the letter, Nasser stated that he thought something along the lines presented "might be possible," but was concerned about possible propaganda attacks from other Arab states. Regarding UAR support for the IAEA, Nasser asked whether the United States could obtain a similar undertaking from Israel, and was told that while the United States could not guarantee Israeli acceptance, UAR adherence would place Israel under heavy pressure not to develop nuclear capabilities. (Telegram 799 from Cairo, October 8; Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/MCCLOY)
326. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs (Sisco) to the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Cleveland)/1/
Washington, September 19, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, IO/UNP Files: Lot 72 D 294, PCC--Johnson Mission. Confidential. Drafted by Campbell on September 18.
This is in reply to your question about how far we have gotten in our current series of discussions of the refugee problem with the Arabs and Israelis.
1. Talks with Israelis: Our Ambassador has had three full discussions with the Israelis, two presided over by Ben-Gurion, the third by Eshkol. As you will recall, the main purpose of the talks was to sound out the Israelis on their ideas on the terms of a settlement, as promised by them during the negotiations on the Johnson plan last year. The Israelis have not come up with any new ideas on the problem, but they have shown a willingness to talk and at least a readiness to look for a solution. They have laid down what they consider the elements of a solution and stated that they believe these principles, if accepted by the Arabs, might make the basis for some progress. These principles are not new. They include: (a) Lots of resettlement of the refugees; (b) some repatriation; (c) simultaneous resettlement and repatriation; (d) an end to agitation of the refugee issue once an agreement for a solution has been reached. The Israelis also indicated they would not insist upon an agreement with the Arabs if the US could arrange satisfactory US-Arab and US-Israeli agreements. In the course of the discussions on the number of refugees Israel would be willing to take back, Eshkol talked of a ratio of 10 to 1 (but on the basis of 500,000 to 600,000 refugees). The Israelis would not set a definite figure of the number they would take back.
2. Results with Israelis Summarized: The Israelis have not offered anything new, but they have somewhat clarified their position.
3. Talks with Arabs: There have been three talks with the Lebanese; one with the Syrians; two with the Jordanians; one with the Egyptians. Except in the case of the Egyptians, our Ambassadors or charges have talked at least once with the heads of state or heads of government. There has been no discussion with Nasser, mostly because we were too involved in other more pressing questions of US-UAR relations. In general, the talks were friendly and the Arabs were quite willing to listen carefully to our presentation of the problem, but they had few new ideas to suggest.
4. Results with the Arabs Summarized: Lebanon agreed with our analysis of the nature of the problem; emphasized its concern with the confessional problem which the refugees make for the Lebanese. The foreign minister suggested it might be possible through a UN resolution to force some action towards a solution. The Syrian Prime Minister was willing to discuss the matter, but cautioned he was not optimistic the US and Syria could reach any agreement. King Hussein said he had no proposals, but would not interfere if some other Arab leader took the lead in trying to reach a solution; he thought only time and economic development of the Near East can solve the problem. The Egyptian foreign office official with whom our Embassy took up the question listened carefully but offered nothing.
5. UNP Estimate of Where We Stand: The talks have been of some value in that we have clarified our ideas regarding the terms on which the Israelis may be willing to settle. With perhaps some additional clarification, we may be able after the end of the GA to sound out the Arabs subtly on their reaction to some of these suggestions for a settlement. Thus we may be able to discover some areas in which the two parties might eventually move closer to agreement.
327. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Read) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/
Washington, September 20, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12 ISR. Secret With Top Secret Attachment. Komer sent this memorandum and its attachments to President Kennedy under cover of a September 26 memorandum. Komer's memorandum noted that Israel appeared willing to accept alternate approaches to enhance its security, other than a security guarantee, described the position of the Departments of State and Defense as too cautious, and indicated he had changed the final sentence in the proposed letter to Eshkol. The memorandum is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 9/1/63-9/30/63; for text, see the Supplement, compilation on Israel.
/2/See Document 246.
Attached is a memorandum on an Israel Security Guarantee which Mr. Ball has approved. He has suggested that we transmit it to you together with a suggested Presidential reply to former Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's letter of May 12. We are also attaching the Department of Defense study on this same subject./3/
/3/Not attached to the source text, but presumably the August 7 memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 91/63-9/30/63) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Israel.
/4/Moor signed for Read above Read's typed signature.
/5/Secret With Top Secret Attachment. The Department of State transmitted the contents of this memorandum the Embassy in Tel Aviv in telegram 308, October 2. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12 ISR-US)
On July 23 you suggested we tell the Israelis why we do not feel we can go beyond your May 8 press conference statement in providing new security assurances. We enclose a suggested letter to Prime Minister Eshkol responding to Ben-Gurion's of May 12./6/ If approved, we hope this would conclude the current dialogue with the Israelis about more explicit security arrangements. We consider this justified because:
/6/For the message from Kennedy to Eshkol, sent on October 2, see Document 332.
1. Our public and private commitment to Israel's security is clear, inter alia, from your December 1962 talk with Mrs. Meir, your April 26 letter to Ben-Gurion, your May 8 statement, and the present reply.
2. Arab leaders and the world at large are in no doubt as to this commitment, and the Arabs contemplate no military attack on Israel at this time.
3. We concur generally in the view expressed in the enclosed study by the Joint Chiefs that the United States has more than adequate military force available for unilateral deployment to make good its pledge to Israel. What Israel desires is what it sees as a political advantage deriving from our open military support.
4. These factors aside, the present Near East balance favors Israel and by Israel's own admission will continue to do so in the years immediately ahead.
5. We have the entire security situation in the Near East under constant study. If there were a change, serious threat of change, or material weakness in Israel's defenses, we would be ready to take immediate measures.
6. The security arrangements Israel seeks with the United States would in our judgment harm our interests in the area and weaken rather than strengthen Israel's ultimate security.
a. Our carefully built influence with the Arab states would be set back by the new bilateral arrangements Israel wants. This influence is useful to us and to Israel both as a deterrent and in the constructive sense of helping along those accommodations that we hope will ultimately make possible Israel's acceptance in the area.
b. New United States arrangements with Israel could result in comparable Soviet-Arab ties, bringing the Soviets back in, probably in a more permanent and damaging fashion.
c. As a consequence of (b), impetus would be given to the area arms race. Our capability to restrain this competition, which is moving into more sophisticated weapons, would be reduced and probably eliminated.
d. One major reason for Israel's non-acceptance by its neighbors is its foreignness; expanded ties with a foreign power would perpetuate its isolation in the area.
7. We should retain freedom of decision and action in the Near East to be able to deal decisively with aggression there from either disputant. Advance security arrangements with Israel would tie our hands undesirably.
8. Our firm but sympathetic reply to the Israelis can best be made now because:
a. The imminence of an encircling Arab unity which might be regarded as threatening by Israel has so obviously receded since the Cairo declaration of April 17. While current discord among the Arab states increases temptations in some to pin-prick Israel, Arab capacity to cause damage to Israel is correspondingly limited.
b. We have a fairly satisfactory reply regarding Dimona inspections. Israel has signed the Test Ban Treaty. There is broad appreciation for our stand in the Security Council's recent discussion of incidents on the Israel-Syria border, and consequently a greater confidence that we are prepared to act in Israel's interest. These circumstances create a good atmosphere for frank and forth-right exposition of our views.
c. Our reply will fall in context with answers already received from Prime Minister Macmillan and President de Gaulle. We know both have answered negatively to Ben-Gurion's request.
In short, we propose that your letter again make clear our concern for Israel's integrity, but convey our strong sense that there must be a balance in our approach to the Near East and that we conceive this, our present approach, as in Israel's best interests.
All available evidence indicates Israel has already anticipated a negative reaction regarding the formal security guarantee and will now go on to try to get alternatives such as joint military planning and assurance of freer access to United States weaponry. Such alternatives might cause difficulties as great or greater than the formal security guarantee. The implications of each should be examined carefully when and if presented by the Israelis.
328. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/
Washington, September 20, 1963, 1:41 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, AID (US) UAR. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Dickman on September 19; cleared by Williams (AID), Ely, and Davies; and approved by Talbot.
1144. In meeting with Ambassador Kamel September 18 Assistant Secretary Talbot discussed forthcoming Kaissouni visit/2/ and UAR request for further balance payments assistance. After reviewing current Congressional attitudes toward foreign assistance, Talbot cautioned Ambassador that status AID bill made it impracticable for us give specific response to UAR request for new assistance during Kaissouni visit. However, we hoped have opportunity review with him difficulties which we see as bearing on US-UAR economic cooperation. On economic front, we were concerned at continued rise in short term credit and large balance of payments gap. While we not prepared argue whether size and scope last year's IMF stabilization program sufficient to problem, we had hoped would have prevented new external financial crisis and given time for UAR take measures prevent further deterioration. We would want to discuss these questions in detail when Kaissouni and party arrive so that could have fullest possible understanding of problem. On political front, problem was drain caused by Yemen campaign. As long as Yemen drain not brought under control, would be a very high hurdle in considering new U.S. assistance. On domestic front, we had number of particular items we wanted to tidy up relating principally to outstanding obligations and claims US citizens.
/2/Documentation on the Kaissouni visit to Washington in late September to mid-October is ibid., POL UAR-US, AID(US) 15 UAR, and AID(IBRD) 9 UAR, and ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 9, Egypt, Kaissouni Visit. See the Supplement, the compilation on the United Arab Republic.
Talbot expressed hope Kamel understood his comments were in context of our continued strong wish to protect forward movement in US-UAR economic relationship. We considered important that these problems and essential character our response be understood in advance Kaissouni's arrival.
While appreciating Talbot's presentation and admitting much truth what had been said, Ambassador hoped USG would keep in mind its long range objectives in Near East which he felt more important than concrete results immediate day-to-day issues. Kaissouni represented Western ideals and was asset for Free World within UARG. In helping him, we would be supporting US and Western objectives. Though not defending results stabilization program, Ambassador said basic problem how stabilize UAR economy remains. If economy badly shaken and if unable gain economic stability, repercussions for US and West in Middle East would be far worse than for example in Viet Nam. For this reason, he was continuing urge idea of consortium which felt only way bring sufficient resources together assure stability and lead UAR on road to recovery.
Ambassador said he appreciated US domestic political situation and UAR would not want embarrass Administration by pushing for assistance now. However, he knew UAR had certain urgent requirements (medicines, spares) which might not have funds pay for and may need some help now. Also hoped that we could suggest Kaissouni come back in two months time for further discussions. This would have advantage of not rebuffing Kaissouni and preserve his position of influence within UARG, hold out hope further assistance meet economic requirements, and give time put some things in order.
Re Yemen, Ambassador reaffirmed UAR desire disengage although felt UAR intervention had helped fill dangerous vacuum and delineated issues by making everyone appreciate how far other side could go. Re US claims, Ambassador thought US might follow British example last year's loan by tying certain conditions to future loan.
At close of meeting Ambassador mentioned that he had been authorized inform USG that UAR had agreed offer Temple of Dendura as gift to US in recognition for our assistance.
329. Paper by Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff/1/
Washington, September 20, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 09/63. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 9/26/63)." A covering memorandum from Komer to Bundy reads: "Here's a Yemen paper which I've done to sort out my own thoughts, advise JFK and you, and jog State. Latter's instincts are good, but it simply isn't pressing hard enough to minimize risk that this minor league exercise in preventive diplomacy will come apart at the seams. So I'd hope you could endorse this on to JFK for weekend or evening reading, with request he approve recommendations. We could then convey these informally to State as JFK-endorsed doctrine, giving us the needle we need." A memorandum from Komer to Bundy, October 10, indicates that Kennedy approved this memorandum. (Ibid.)
THE NEXT ROUND IN YEMEN
We're trying hard to breathe new life into our faltering Yemen enterprise. The interesting questions are why it's dragging, and what to do?
First, let's grant that this shoestring operation, however far it still is from ultimate success, has been a net gain to date: (1) we've kept a peanut war confined to Yemen and forestalled a direct UAR/Saudi confrontation; (2) in so doing, we've protected the rickety Saudi monarchy and our oil investment (something the oilmen don't seem to grasp); (3) we've done so while still preserving our influence with Nasser and Faysal--no mean feat; and (4) we've helped keep the Soviets from achieving paramount influence in the YAR (an objective we share with Nasser). And we've done all this with a minimum US outlay by dragging the UN in between; we've even gotten the UAR and Saudis jointly to foot the bill. So net cost to us so far is a temporary deployment of 8 jets and 500 men (this sure beats the Congo). Nor, looking back even with wisdom of hindsight, can I see that we had any viable alternative. Had we stood aside, like the UK, and let Nasser and Faysal fight it out, Gamal would have promoted revolution in Saudi Arabia, or at the least done much more bombing than he actually did. Then we would have been under great pressure to defend the Saudis or see our oil investment endangered.
Why hasn't disengagement worked? Basically, we and Nasser both miscalculated how long and how much it would take to subdue and pull together this non-country; it was easy to seize all the towns, but another matter to control the mountain tribes (this was the case under the old Imamate too). Saudi gold and arms have kept the tribal pot boiling; while Saudi aid was cut back when UNYOM got in, some is still going in (which is why the UAR kept bombing the supply routes). Faysal may even be conning us, or at least turning a blind eye. Worse yet, the UK may be at least covertly encouraging the Saudis and the royalists.
Where do we stand? Nasser is trapped in Yemen. It's bleeding him, but he can't afford either the sharp loss of face in letting go or (we hope) the risk of confronting us by starting on the Saudis again. But as Cairo 631 attests,/2/ the UAR probably thinks we're either being hoodwinked by Faysal or conniving with him behind the screen of disengagement. On top of this, Nasser has deep economic trouble at home, and now an open fight with the Baath. Nasser cornered is a dangerous animal, and we want to be mighty careful how we handle him.
/2/Dated September 18. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)
We've real problems with Faysal too. Saud is back and may try to knife him. His advisers (and the UK) must still be telling him royalists can "win" in Yemen if Saudis only keep it up a bit longer. And he's got our squadron to protect him if Nasser goes too far.
Finally, the Yemen regime we recognize is a non-government. As Nasser told Diefenbaker (attached),/3/ the UAR has to run the whole show. If the UAR pulled out precipitately we'd have chaos. There is little likelihood that any quasi-royalist regime would be more stable than the YAR. Yemen will be a mess for a long time to come.
/3/Not further identified.
Where to from here? No one has a viable solution to, or a firm grip on, this mess. Not Nasser, not Faysal, not us. But there are roughly three ways we could influence the short-term outcome:
(1) Let disengagement collapse, UNYOM withdraw and Saudis resume all-out aid, while we warn Nasser off Saudi Arabia. This is what the Saudis and UK have wanted from the start. Now the SYG wants to pull out too. Big risk here is that a desperate Nasser would react, not by cutting his losses but by upping the ante. He might resume bombing (which would force a US/UAR showdown or make us look like paper tigers). To protect himself, he might invite a much greater Soviet presence in Yemen and the UAR. These are the very things we've tried to forestall from the beginning of the civil war.
(2) Go all out in backing Nasser and YAR, insisting Faysal really cut off aid or we'll withdraw our squadron and leave him to Nasser's mercy. We could subsidize the YAR economically, and beat up UK to stop shafting us and recognize YAR. True, Saudis have nowhere else to go and might cave, but Faysal (or Saud) is just as likely to rise up in righteous wrath and take his chances with Nasser, meanwhile harassing us on oil.
(3) Keep plugging away at disengagement, trying to keep UNYOM in place as the indispensable buffer while we (a) press Saudis to halt remaining covert aid; (b) make clear to Nasser the cost to him if he resumes bombing; and (c) seek some form of compromise reshuffling of YAR regime which both Nasser and Faysal (as well as YAR and royalists) might buy. NEA in State sees this as our best bet. It won't be easy to patch up a regime acceptable to UAR as well as Saudis, since each will be jockeying to load the dice in its favor. The same goes for the various royalist and republican factions; there is nothing remotely akin to a cohesive political grouping on either side.
I think State is right./4/ It's always easier to come down on one side or the other than to steer a middle course (especially when each side sees this as meaning you lean toward the other). But what happens in Yemen itself remains far less important to us than to protect our Saudi investment, maintain decent relations with Nasser, and keep the USSR from making real gains. The middle course best serves these multiple interests. It also keeps our commitment limited by minimizing the risk we'll get dragged into the fray. Finally, it plays on Nasser's desire to reduce his overcommitment in Yemen without losing face by deserting the YAR, and Faysal's fear that if he goes for broke in Yemen the US might desert him.
/4/Interestingly enough, the head of the Foreign Office Arabian Dept. also sees no alternative to US continuing "efforts to bring about SAG-UAR detente from which some Yemeni settlement might ultimately flow" (London 1356, 19 Sept.). [Footnote in the source text.]
Nonetheless, this road will be a rocky one. It will be hard to get Nasser to keep withdrawing rapidly enough to give some color to idea that disengagement is proceeding, however slowly. It may be even harder to keep Faysal signed on to disengagement unless we get at least such minimal compliance (though air squadron gives us some leverage). And we'll have to stem the SYG's desire to wash his hands of Yemen mess, since the UNYOM buffer between the UAR and Saudis is indispensable for buying time until some political settlement can be patched up.
My only reservations about the way we've handled Yemen have been tactical; on occasion I've favored leaning harder on whichever party was backsliding. But I think all would agree that to keep disengagement alive until we can promote a political settlement will now take even fuller exercise of all our leverage than before. Unless we prescribe clearly the limits of our tolerance this affair can easily flare up again. So I recommend that:
(1) We make very clear to Nasser personally (a) our bona fides to date in Yemen--we've not tried to snooker him; (b) our plain view that disengagement plus political settlement, which presupposes UAR/Saudi rapprochement, is in his best interest; (c) if he disagrees we will be compelled to reassess our policy; (d) if he agrees, then the minimum we expect from him is gradual withdrawal plus absolutely no bombing raids; (e) if he plays ball we intend to press the Saudis and UK to do so too. We need to clear the air with Nasser, removing mutual suspicion to the extent possible and banking on his own desire to reduce his Yemen commitment at a time when he has so many other troubles.
(2) We take a harder line with Saudis too about obvious aid leakage, frankly telling Faysal we know some of his people (e.g. Sudairi) are taking advantage of him. Unless we can pin non-compliance on Saudis we have no case for pushing them toward political compromise. We may have to remind Faysal that if disengagement fails we will withdraw our squadron (i.e. leave him to slug it out with Nasser).
(3) We actively promote a compromise reshuffling of YAR regime which will bring in some of "royalists", along lines of To Jidda 220 attached./5/ We'll have to tell Faysal we're flatly opposed to restoration of the Imamate, but tell Nasser he can't have it all his way either.
/5/Dated August 26. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 SAUD/UN)
(4) Meanwhile, we convince the SYG to keep UNYOM going, and if possible to beef it up. It has been a real shoestring operation, partly because in our effort to get it in quickly we led U Thant to believe that the war was practically over and only a temporary UN umbrella needed (even so it took six weeks to get the SYG latched on). U Thant would no doubt love to disengage and can find plenty of excuses for doing so. We've got to keep reminding him that the UN's prestige as well as ours is tied up in this affair.
In sum, I see no better prescription than sustained diplomatic pressure on both Cairo and Jidda, repeated leaning on the UN to keep up its flagging energy, and no doubt the continued presence of our eight planes (which we originally hoped to have out in sixty days or so). We simply have to readjust for a longer pull, be willing to accept continued UK sniping and other criticism, and play for the breaks. But so far we've kept Yemen from blowing up into something far more painful; with luck we can keep it that way until some deal can be worked out.
R. W. Komer
330. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/
Washington, September 26, 1963, 9:03 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, REF 3 UNRWA. Confidential. Drafted by Campbell; cleared by Crawford in draft, Jernegan, and Buffum; and approved by Cleveland. Sent to USUN, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, and Jerusalem and repeated to Ankara, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv.
585. SPC-UNRWA Debate: USUN's 974./2/
/2/Telegram 974 from USUN, September 26, reported information received from a reliable source that the Arab States would not push for the adoption of an Arab property custodian item during the current U.N. General Assembly session, and suggested that the United States seek to convince Israel not to push for a direct negotiations resolution during the session. (Ibid.)
For USUN: Dept believes Mission should at early appropriate moment seek meeting with Comay and outline frankly our views on direct negotiations resolution along following lines: (Dept will make parallel approach to Harman or Gazit).
1. USG has indications from many sides (including sources in Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Arab League, and Arab UN circles) Arabs not eager for knockdown, drag out battle this year on refugee problem. This does not mean there won't be usual contentious oratory, but does appear to mean they have not thus far pushed and are not eager to push their past resolutions calling for property custodian or PCC enlargement. Therefore there good chance these Arab resolutions may be left in abeyance at least for this year, providing Israel and its friends do not promote proposal for direct negotiations. However it foregone conclusion any further efforts to advance latter resolution will spur Arabs to action on one or several of their proposed resolutions.
2. On other hand we have heard from numerous quarters that Israelis are promoting direct negotiations resolution, and we have been informed by Israeli Embassy (Tosec 47 Sept 25)/3/ that Mrs. Meir intends to press Secretary hard for reconsideration US opposition to direct negots res.
/3/In Tosec 47 to USUN, September 25, the Department of State reported that Gazit, Minister of the Israeli Embassy, had indicated that Foreign Minister Meir would push hard for a direct negotiations resolution during the current General Assembly session. (Ibid., POL ARAB-ISR)
3. Before going into specifics our proposal we wish to remind Israel of nature our package agreement last year for handling Johnson plan in GA, and especially question of two-year moratorium on res for direct negots: Although Amb Harman on Dec. 4, 1962 declined to commit Israel to two-year moratorium, Asst. Secty Talbot, on Dec. 6, after consideration by highest level USG, informed Amb Harman USG would proceed in GA along lines discussed in package proposal "on the basis of our interpretation" of the agreement. Mr. Talbot added if there any differences about interpretation of agreement we should consult to resolve them. Thus as far as we concerned USG proceeded with package agreement on understanding Israel would not push direct negots agreement in 63, at minimum not without prior consultation and agreement with USG.
GOI has informed us of its intention to work for direct negots res. This is not equivalent to consultation either on differences of interpretation of agreement or on question of direct negots res itself. Israel has always said it wanted close consultation with USG on this problem, and we believe our agreement at minimum called for more consultation than we have had so far before Israel should feel itself free to seek to revive this res.
4. We would like to make clear again to GOI our position on question direct negots:
As explained many times, we do not oppose principle of direct negotiations, but we do believe (a) resolution for direct negotiations could not be adopted by GA; (b) if by some extraordinary chance it were adopted, it could not possibly lead to any useful, practical result; (c) on contrary, it will only provoke Arabs to pushing equally useless and impractical partisan resolution; and (d) the greater the heat on this question the greater the strain on USG talks with Israel and Arab states, and other USG efforts to obtain practical accommodations on specific issues (Jordan waters).
5. We therefore seek from Arab states and Israel assurances that neither side will introduce resolution providing other side does not push his. We wish to be able to tell Arabs Israel has assured us it will not introduce direct negots resolution providing Arabs do not introduce resolutions calling for property custodian, enlargement PCC, or any res to gain additional status for Palestine entity. We will seek matching assurances from Arabs. Naturally we cannot give either side ironclad guarantee of other's conduct, but we believe such mutual assurances through us may achieve desired result; in any case, if either side breaks agreement, other side also naturally free to act.
6. We hope GOI will give earnest consideration to this proposal, and that Mrs. Meir will be prepared when she meets with Secretary to indicate Israel's willingness to give it fair trial. We would of course remain in close consultation with Israel./4/
/4/On September 27, Wallner outlined U.S. views on direct negotiations to Ambassador Harman, who indicated that Israel had never agreed not to pursue the direct negotiations resolution. (Telegram 873 to USUN, September 27; ibid. POL 3 UNRWA) On September 27 in New York, Israeli Permanent Representative Comay made a similar response when Plimpton presented the U.S. position. (Telegram 1027 from USUN; September 27; ibid., REF 3 UNRWA)
7. Since UNRWA was extended last year for two-year term, we do not believe there is need this year for any resolution at all on this subject. FYI Noforn. In final analysis we may have to develop innocuous resolution continuing PCC mandate to keep working at the problem, but would prefer to start strongly on intention to have no resolution since none is called for. End FYI.
For All Action Addressees: Re last para Damascus tel 236 to Dept,/5/ re idea of inflating Palestine entity project as central issue in refugee debate, Embs and USUN should quickly and firmly discourage this sterile Arab project any time it emerges. You may say as appropriate USG will vigorously oppose any plan for "Palestine entity" or any move, such as seeking increased status for so-called "Palestine Arab delegation." As in past, we have no objection to hearing certain Palestinian Arabs for light they may be able to throw on debate, but we oppose their appearance at GA as "Palestine Arab Delegation" or as official representatives of Palestine Arabs.
/5/Dated September 25. (Ibid., REF PAL)
331. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
New York, September 30, 1963, 4 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL ISR-US. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Blake on October 2 and approved in S on October 3. The meeting was held at the U.S. Mission.
SECRETARY'S DELEGATION TO THE EIGHTEENTH SESSION
Mrs. Meir observed that Israel no longer is so concerned about Arab unity. She also believes that the situation in Jordan is more stable. The King had shown himself to be a reasonable man, and Jordan now is, with the exception of Lebanon, the most stable Arab government, if only the King could somehow be assured that his life would be saved.
There was a short discussion of the Jordan waters situation, with Mrs. Meir saying the Israelis have recently suggested a plan to the United States for the control of salinity along the lower reaches of the Jordan River.
Mrs. Meir said the big question still remains Nasser. Israeli experts report that the Yemen operation in costing the UAR over 80 million Egyptian pounds a month, not including the upkeep of Egyptian forces. The Secretary observed that to date UNYOM had not been a roaring success but there had been some stabilization of the regimes in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as a result. Mrs. Meir said that the UAR is getting some benefits in the form of training. The UAR forces were using poison gas, including mustard gas. Mr. Sisco said our information did not confirm this but rather indicated that the Egyptians were using a high concentration of tear gas. Mrs. Meir said Israeli information was different.
Mrs. Meir said Israel continues to be very disturbed about the activities of German scientists in the UAR in the field of poison gases, missiles, etc. In reply to the Secretary's question about the guidance systems for UAR missiles, Mrs. Meir said that while they were originally quite primitive, recently there had been indications that at least 50% of these troubles had been eliminated. As of now 50% of UAR missiles dispatched towards a target area such as Tel Aviv would land in the target area and by 1965 the UAR will have accurate missiles in quantity.
The Secretary said it would be useful for the United States and Israel to exchange views on this situation. Mrs. Meir agreed, saying Israel must avoid allowing the UAR to gain definite military superiority. The Israeli Government does not know what to do because the cost of missile programs is so frighteningly high. She had been asked by Prime Minister Eshkol to discuss this as a most urgent matter with the United States Government. Israel does not need to have the same quantity of missiles and other advance weapons as does the UAR, but she must have at least the same quality of weapons. Nasser will not start a war unless he feels he can win. Therefore, Israel must maintain a strong deterrent. There then followed a somewhat inconclusive discussion of the type of missiles which the UAR possessed. Mrs. Meir observed that the UAR had been given certain types of military equipment which even the socialist countries of Eastern Europe had not received.
Mrs. Meir said it would be useful to arrange for a session with American experts and that Israel would be glad to pass on any information it had. Ambassador Harman said he would arrange a session and hoped that representatives of both State and Defense could participate.
Mrs. Meir said that she was concerned about two particular types of weapons, tanks and missiles. Israel was thinking of procuring some of the new European tanks. The Secretary observed that U.S. military authorities considered the tank to be rapidly on the way out because of the ability of the individual soldier to destroy it with modern weapons.
Mrs. Meir said there continues to be some evidence that the UAR is building a nuclear capability. She referred to documents which were made available by an Austrian scientist during the recent trial of Israeli citizens in Switzerland. These documents had shown that the UAR was attempting to buy cobalt and other materials with the idea of building a nuclear capability. The UAR was also doing advance work in chemical and radiological warfare. The Secretary asked if the Israeli Government had information on the location of factories which produced this type of material. Mrs. Meir said they had some information. The Secretary said this would be useful information to have.
Mrs. Meir said Israeli military experts would come to Washington as soon as possible with all the details. The Secretary urged again that the Israeli experts bring along all the information they had regarding the location of UAR facilities producing advance weapons. The United States is pretty sure that it knows what is going on at locations known to U.S. intelligence. Our information does not support some of the Israeli claims. It was agreed that the talks might take place in ten days to two weeks./2/
/2/In telegram 320, October 5, the Department of State informed the Embassy in Tel Aviv that the United States and Israel had reached agreement to hold a meeting on November 12, chaired by Talbot, during which Israeli defense and intelligence officials would present to their U.S. counterparts information on which Israel based its assessment of UAR missile capacity. (Ibid., DEF 12 ISR-US)
The Secretary said he had not lost hope of working out some facets of regional disarmament which would be useful to Israel. For example, the United States proposed the mutual destruction of obsolete bombers with the thought in mind that Soviet bombers would then not show up in other parts of the world. We have also suggested that the Soviet Union and the United States move on from the destruction of bombers into the destruction of other sophisticated weapons as they become obsolete. In reply to Mrs. Meir's question as to whether there were any results, the Secretary said there were no positive results on these points to date but the United States has not given up hope of some substantive limitation of arms in the Middle East. Mrs. Meir remarked that Israel could not afford to live on hope but she, too, hoped Nasser would give up the senseless arms race.
The Secretary said that he had talked with UAR Foreign Minister Fawzi at Geneva, saying that not only the big powers but also the small powers should think of how they could disarm, and that the eight neutrals at Geneva should consider this problem. Fawzi had agreed that this was important.
The Secretary asked Mr. Sisco to outline the current status of the UNRWA item. Mr. Sisco did so, including an indication of our desire to get assurances from both sides not to submit any resolution since none was necessary.
332. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
Washington, October 2, 1963, 6:26 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 US/KENNEDY. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Crawford and Komer; cleared in draft by Talbot, Harriman, and Ball; and approved by McKesson. Filed with the source text is the text of Kennedy's message to Eshkol with a handwritten notation by Komer indicating that President Kennedy gave his final approval of the message on October 1 at 7:15 p.m.
309. Verbatim text. Please deliver following letter from President to Prime Minister Eshkol. Department will pass copy Israel Embassy.
"Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
"We have been giving the most careful thought in the last few months to former Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's letter of May 12./2/ I know you are as concerned as he has been with the problems of Israel's security of which he wrote so tellingly. So I wish to put before you our full thinking on a matter of such great importance to us as well as you.
/2/See Document 246.
"It seems to me, from my reading of the letter, that your concern is not as much the security of Israel at this moment as the danger that confronts Israel from the persistence of belligerence on its borders and the possibility that, after the Arab States have increased their military potential, there might be an incident that would lead to a war threatening the very existence of Israel.
"The attitude of the United States to the creation of Israel has always been one of sympathy and understanding for your aspiration to re-establish your ancient homeland. Our policies have given concrete proof of our determination to see a prosperous Israel securely established in the Near East and accepted by her immediate neighbors. We shall continue this policy.
"When Mr. Ben-Gurion wrote we were all disturbed over the situation in Jordan. We took several measures to avoid any untoward happening, which I believe contributed to the happy result. I mention these because I see them as relevant to the central problem discussed in Mr. Ben-Gurion's letter. Our quick reaction forces in the Mediterranean--far stronger than needed to protect the independence of any friendly Near Eastern state--were brought promptly into operational range. These forces backed up our vigorous private counsels to the parties potentially involved. In addition, I felt it advisable to restate publicly on May 8 our position in the event of aggression, putting as clearly as I could our fundamental attitudes and intentions. My purpose was of course to underline the reassurances in this respect which I had given to Mrs. Meir the previous December and included in my letter to Mr. Ben-Gurion on May 5.
"Another factor giving rise to Mr. Ben-Gurion's proposal was his acute concern over the trend toward a hostile form of Arab unity exemplified by the April 17 Tripartite Arab Declaration in Cairo. I think that we would both agree that this prospect has receded, though of course it may rise again.
"In any event we have looked at Mr. Ben-Gurion's proposal less in this short term context than in the light of the basic question as to whether more explicit security arrangements would actually enhance Israel's security sufficiently to outweigh the disadvantages we see attending such a move. I doubt that they would, and I would like to share my thinking with you.
"First, as to the credibility of our intentions, we believe that there is no Near Eastern leader today, whatever his attitude toward your nation, who does not fully understand the import of our public, national commitment as I reaffirmed it on May 8.
"Second, our capabilities to carry out this commitment are, and will remain, more than adequate to deter or halt swiftly any aggression against Israel or its neighbors. In fact, after receiving Mr. Ben-Gurion's letter, we thoroughly reassessed our plans and forces-in-being; as a result, I am fully satisfied that we can back up our assurances.
"Equally important is our assessment that Israel's own military capabilities continue to provide it with a substantial deterrent advantage. Mr. Ben-Gurion's letters and the statements of your own military leaders indicate that you share this estimate.
"Thus it is our judgment that the existing informal arrangements meet Israel's needs and give clear warning to the Arabs; to go further at this juncture would entail certain positive disadvantages to you as well as to us. Our policies and programs in regard to the Arab states have resulted in improved relationships which permit us to talk frankly and realistically to them and enable us to exert some leverage on their actions. While I do not wish to overestimate this influence, I am convinced that we can best advance your interests as well as ours by maintaining such relationships and our resultant ability to talk with both sides. A bilateral security relationship such as Mr. Ben-Gurion suggested would, I fear, have a distinct contrary effect.
"This adverse effect would be magnified if, as is all too likely, the Arabs responded by seeking compensatory reassurances from the USSR. The USSR's recent veto of action on Israel's complaint in the UN Security Council shows that it continues to see its interest in backing the Arabs against Israel. It is not so much Arab hostility as this hostility plus Soviet arms support which creates the threat to your security. So we hesitate to encourage the Arabs to seek security arrangements with Moscow, or at least to seek even more arms than they are now getting, lest it give the USSR a dangerous opportunity to fish in troubled waters. This would serve neither your interests nor our own.
"In sum, a careful and sympathetic weighing of Israel's as well as US interests leads me to conclude that the policies we are now following in the Near East remain those best calculated to serve these interests, enhance stability in the region, and minimize Soviet exploitation of divisive trends. There is no doubt in Arab minds as to how we would respond to unprovoked aggression by them. To formalize our known intentions and commitments--to go further into special security arrangements with Israel at this point--would contribute little to deterrence, while in fact provoking a hostile Arab reaction which might have consequences adverse to Israel's security. In fact, any such move would be widely viewed as an abrupt departure from established United States policy, arousing suspicion and concern both in the Near East and the world at large.
"Nonetheless, I know you need no reassurance as to the constant and special United States concern for the security and independence of Israel. We have the will and the ability to carry out our stated determination to preserve it. We recognize, moreover, that there may yet develop a serious increase in the Arab military threat. Should time and events prove this to be the case, I can assure you that, as in the case of the Hawk missile, we will most carefully consider with you the best ways and means of coping with it. In any case, we always remain happy to discuss with you and your people any aspect of this matter, which is of such deep mutual concern.
"John F. Kennedy."
333. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/
Washington, October 5, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 68 D 100, Pol. 13-2-b, Students, Youth Groups (not in Iran). Secret. Drafted by Tiger on October 4 and cleared by Wehmeyer, Manning, Lee, and Schwartz. Sent through the Executive Secretariat. A handwritten note on the source text indicates that Secretary Rusk saw the memorandum.
This is in response to your request of September 30 for information on the above subject./2/
/2/Iranian Foreign Minister Aram had raised Iranian concerns about the activities of Iranian students in the United States during a meeting with Secretary Rusk during the U.N. General Assembly session in New York on September 30. A memorandum of the conversation is ibid., Central Files, POL IRAN-US.
A hard core of about 25 of the 5,000 or more Iranian students in the United States has for several years severely embarrassed our relations with Iran by engaging in violent anti-regime activities. These have included picketing visiting Iranian officials (including the Shah on his last visit here in April 1962), picketing the White House, calling for an end to U.S. aid for Iran, publishing an anti-regime periodical, and engaging in sit-down and hunger strikes in the Iranian Embassy and Consulates. Thirteen of the hard-core group are under suspended sentence for unlawful entry into the Iranian Embassy in January 1963.
The dissident students claim to follow the line of the Iranian National Front, the anti-Shah followers of Mosadeq, but their positions are much more extreme than those of the National Front. Leadership of the dissident group in the U.S. appears to be centered in the relatives of Mosadeq's Foreign Minister, Hosein Fatemi, who was executed for treason following Mosadeq's overthrow in 1953.
Since late 1961 the Iranian Government and the Shah have pressed us repeatedly, both here and in Tehran, to bring the student problem under control. In mid-1961 the Iranian authorities declined to renew the passports of two of the most notorious ringleaders of the hard-core group--Ali S. Fatemi and Sadeq Qotbzadeh--in the impression that this action, coupled with their questionable status as students, would require us to institute deportation proceedings against them. Since that time, we have approached the Immigration and Naturalization Service on an official basis, and the Attorney-General's Office on an informal basis, in an attempt to secure such action. In order to meet part of the legal requirement for such action, we sought and obtained assurance from the Government of Iran in May 1962 that the two students, if returned to Iran, would not be prosecuted for acts committed up to that time. The Immigration and Naturalization Service denied the request of the two students for a continuation of their stay but stated that it did not intend to enforce their departure. They are thus being treated in the same manner as refugees from Communist Cuba and such a status could be continued indefinitely. As of July 1963 the Department of Justice did not consider it necessary to institute deportation proceedings.
The harassments by these few Iranian students have continued up to the present and are embarrassing our relations with Iran at a time when it is in our interest to indicate in every way possible our support for the fundamental reform program which the Shah has undertaken against opposition from powerful conservative elements in his country. The Shah's twin sister, Princess Ashraf, was picketed by these students upon her arrival in New York in June 1963 to attend an international women's conference. Foreign Minister Aram and the Iranian Consul General were harassed by these same students on September 23, 1963, when they attempted a sit-in strike at the Iranian UN delegation's office, picketed the Foreign Minister's hotel, and shouted obscene insults as he left the hotel.
We have not been able to verify whether Fatemi and Qotbzadeh were personally involved in these most recent activities in New York, but they are key figures (President and Treasurer, respectively) in the Iranian Students' Association, which organizes the activities. Legally justified action by the U.S. Government against them would help disrupt the activities of that organization and would go a long way toward ameliorating Iranian bitterness and allaying the Shah's suspicions of our motives in what he views as continued protection of elements working for his overthrow.
In addition to the Foreign Minister's approach to you on September 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has raised the September 23 incident with Ambassador Holmes in Tehran. The Ambassador recommended, on September 23, that the latest incident makes it timely for us to press again for deportation action against the two students.
That you approve the Department's requesting the Attorney General to take the necessary legal steps to effect the departure from the United States of Fatemi and Qotbzadeh, since their continued presence has a serious adverse impact on our relations with Iran. A suggested letter from you to the Attorney General is attached./3/
/3/The last sentence is handwritten. A handwritten note at the bottom of the source text indicates that Secretary Rusk rewrote the letter that was sent to Attorney General Robert Kennedy on October 11. In it, the Secretary spoke generally about the problems created by a "hard core" of approximately 25 Iranian students in the United States and requested that the Justice Department send a representative to discuss the situation with Talbot. (Ibid.) On December 24, the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Raymond F. Farrell, and other officials from the Justice Department and the Department of State, met with Fatemi and Qotbzadeh at the Department of State to deliver a warning from the Attorney General that unless their behavior was moderated, they would no longer be exempted from U.S. regulations that enforced the departure of foreigners without valid passports. The memorandum of conversation is ibid., POL 25-1 IRAN. For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Iran.
334. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, October 7, 1963.
/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 262. Secret.
Our Yemen enterprise is in danger of coming unstuck, partly because with all our other problems we're not policing it vigorously enough: (1) the SYG, for largely financial reasons, is thinking of scrapping UNYOM--another Congo-type problem; (2) Yugos, who provide half the force, want to pull out; (3) Canadians, who provide most of the rest, are again getting goosey; (4) Faysal is sore because UAR isn't pulling out; (5) UAR itself is in a quandary, but Nasser's latest talk with Badeau suggests UAR will play ball in working out some kind of compromise regime (Cairo 779 attached)./2/
/2/Dated October 6. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)
But such a compromise will take time to work out; to get this time we need to keep UN buffer between Saudis and UAR/YAR. If we let UNYOM fall apart we're back where we were five months ago, with UAR tempted to bomb Saudi supply lines and Saudis then screaming for our planes to shoot UAR jets down. So we've got to keep disengagement limping along. (Note: Nasser says he'll pull out some more troops shortly.)
We need a sharp word from on high to get people focused again on keeping this non-war damped down. Otherwise we risk another flare-up (with our planes out there). So I'd like your approval to put out the following as your view:
1. Let's keep UNYOM going, through whatever pressure on UN, UAR, Saudis, or Canadians is necessary.
2. Let's keep pressing UAR and Saudis to live up to disengagement.
3. We should keep our 8 jets in Saudi Arabia a while longer, but tell Faysal delicately we'll do so only if he plays ball.
4. We should sort things out with the UK, so they don't undermine us by working at cross purposes.
335. Memorandum for the Record/1/
Washington, October 8, 1963.
/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, 353 Key Chain, 18 Feb 63. Top Secret; Exercise Key Chain. A memorandum entitled "Master Check List for Exercise Key Chain," prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dated October 7, is attached to the source text but not printed.
1. At a meeting between the President and the Secretary of Defense which I attended at the White House at 082030Z, the President decided:
a. To adopt an aggressive and positive policy to localize and terminate the situation in the Middle East at the earliest possible time. He indicated that he was willing to accept the risks inherent in such a policy. The overt movement of forces will unequivocally spell out US intentions and assure other friendly nations of our firm intention to honor our commitments. He stated that he wanted to disrupt the obvious time schedule which was controlled by other nations, and to seize the initiative in order to put an early end to the situation.
b. To augment CINCNELM's air capability by the deployment of two tactical fighter squadrons from CINCEUR and also a second carrier strike force from the Sixth Fleet. The President was concerned about the obvious imbalance of US air power vis-à-vis the air power of the UAR in the eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea area, i.e., 201 US vs 339 UAR aircraft.
c. To preposition in Spain those B-47's included in the Middle East portion of CINCSAC's OPLAN 52-63 in support of operations in the Middle East. He wants assurance that they will be reconfigured for non-nuclear weapons. The express purpose of such a prepositioning is to assist in the stabilization of the situation in Saudi Arabia and to reduce the reaction time should the use of such forces be required. This would provide the final augmentation necessary to give CINCNELM air parity with the UAR.
d. To contact Premier Khrushchev on the Moscow Link and inform him in advance that some elements of SAC were being deployed to Spain in conjunction with our attempts to stabilize the situation in Saudi Arabia. He is going to give Mr. Khrushchev assurances that these forces would be armed with conventional warheads only and are to be used as a last resort. He will emphasize that the US will honor its commitments to Saudi Arabia under any circumstances. The presence of US forces in the Middle East is for the sole purpose of stabilizing the over-all situation there and in particular to sustain the Government of Saudi Arabia. Our forces must not be construed as posing a threat to any established government unless such government overtly attacks Saudi Arabia. Above all the US desires to confine the conflict to the area of the Middle East.
e. To issue a pronouncement that the US will stand by its treaty commitments in the Middle East.
2. The Secretary of Defense directed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff take immediate action to implement the President's decisions.
F. T. Unger
336. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nitze) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot)/1/
Washington, October 8, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US. Secret. An attached note from Jernegan to U. Alexis Johnson, dated October 8, reads: "Bob Komer has just told me that the President has stated his strong desire that we keep the 'Hard Surface' jets in Saudi Arabia so long as necessary to achieve disengagement in Yemen."
Dear Phil: We have received your request of 4 October 1963 on the extension of Hard Surface,/2/ and after careful consideration of your views/3/ the JCS have recommended, and Secretary McNamara has agreed, to a 30-day extension of the force to 16 November. We believe that this time period would offer Ambassador Hart sufficient latitude to negotiate the withdrawal of Hard Surface forces. In my judgment Ambassador Hart is armed with several useful negotiating instruments which we consider would materially minimize any adverse effect on the Saudi Government. These include:
/2/Not printed. (Ibid.)
/3/The Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Secretary of Defense McNamara to consider the extension of Hard Surface on October 7. Documentation relating to the meeting is in the Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Saudi Arabia 1963; and in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 1963 Files, 9180/3100 (27 Feb 63), Sec. 1a.
a. Emphasis on the original character of Hard Surface as a training deployment, whose mission has now been accomplished, and not an indefinite deployment of force.
b. Reiteration of the President's commitment to Faysal of last fall to assure Saudi territorial integrity. In this regard, emphasis should be given to the ability of the U.S. to deploy forces quickly to Saudi Arabia.
c. Formal extension of an invitation to Saudi Prince Sultan, Minister of Defense and Aviation, to visit the U.S. after the first of the year as the guest of Secretary McNamara.
d. Our willingness to assist in meeting Saudi air defense requirements, to be financed from Saudi resources. In this connection the U.S. Air Defense Survey Team has completed its report of Saudi air defense requirements. This report was transmitted to the JCS on 4 October and, following JCS and ISA comment, will be referred to you later this month. A quick follow-through with the Saudis on this report should provide another indication of our good faith in being responsive to Saudi defense requirements.
e. Continued periodic demonstrations of U.S. force in Saudi Arabia in the form of COMIDEASTFOR port calls and brief deployment of U.S. forces involved in CENTO exercises.
Secretary McNamara has also expressed interest in the plan State might develop in response to Nasser-Badeau exchange, in which it was agreed that a political settlement is the best present answer to the Yemen problem. In view of the Secretary's interest I would appreciate being kept advised of any significant developments bearing on this question.
If my staff can be of any assistance on either of the foregoing matters, please do not hesitate to communicate with me./4/
/4/A memorandum from Jernegan to Johnson, October 8, noted that the Department of Defense had extended Hard Surface for 30 days, not the 60 days requested by the Department of State, and described the difficulties that this would create. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US) Ambassador Hart had requested a 60-day extension of Hard Surface in telegram 328 from Jidda, September 27. (Ibid.) In telegram 290 to Jidda, October 11, the Department of State forwarded the list of "negotiating instruments" proposed by the Department of Defense to secure an earlier withdrawal of the U.S. squadron. (Ibid.)
337. National Security Action Memorandum No. 262/1/
Washington, October 10, 1963.
/1/Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 262. Secret. A memorandum from Komer to Bundy, October 10, indicates in part: "To prod State et al into moving, I've done a NSAM based on my Yemen memo which JFK approved (attached) [Document 334]." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 262)
The President, after reviewing the recent traffic on Yemen, believes that our best course is to continue pressing disengagement and keep UNYOM as a buffer between the UAR and Saudi Arabia, while working behind the scenes to promote some form of Yemen compromise regime.
Therefore, he desires that we: (1) use whatever persuasion or other leverage we can on the UN, UAR, Saudis, and Canadians to keep UNYOM operating effectively; (2) continue pressing the UAR to expedite troop withdrawals and the Saudis not to resume covert support of the Royalists; and (3) keep our air squadron in Saudi Arabia a while longer, so long as the Saudis continue adhering to the disengagement agreement.
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