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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Kennedy Administration > Volume XVIII
Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Volume XVIII, Near East, 1962-1963
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 338-360

338. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 10, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33-1 ISR-JORDAN. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford on October 14. A briefing memorandum from Symmes to Jernegan, October 7, is ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 229, Jordan Waters Memoranda.

Jordan Waters

Ambassador Avraham Harman of Israel
Mr. Mordechai Gazit, Minister, Embassy of Israel
Mr. Shaul Bar-Haim, Counselor, Embassy of Israel
NEA--Deputy Assistant Secretary John D. Jernegan
NEA/NE--William R. Crawford, Jr., Officer in Charge, Arab-Israel Affairs
NEA/NE--H. Earle Russell, Jr., Officer in Charge, Lebanon-Israel Affairs

Mr. Jernegan recalled Mr. Talbot's mention to the Ambassador two or three weeks ago of our wish to get together on some problems relating to Jordan waters. Our concern is that with the beginning of diversion by Israel we anticipate a strong reaction from the Arab states. We want the firmest possible platform on which to act in support of Israel's plan to make use of its share of the waters. We want to be able to assure the Arabs and others that what Israel is doing is fair and in accordance with what to all intents and purposes was agreed on in 1955. Partially as a result of Mr. Criddle's early July visit to Israel, we have identified a few points that need pinning down:

We have assured Israel of our willingness to support its Jordan waters project on the basis of this project's being consistent with the 1955 Unified Plan./2/ Israel has assured us of its intention to observe the provisions of the Plan.

/2/For documentation relating to the Unified Plan for Jordan waters, negotiated by Eric Johnston, see Foreign Relations, 1955-1957, volume XIV.

To provide the best foundation for effective United States support, a number of things have been done or suggested.

As one of these, we suggested four themes Israel might use in quiet, public statements designed to cast its actions in a light that would facilitate our support.

Three themes have been used. Israel has resisted public use of the fourth: affirmation of willingness to accept international observation of its Jordan programs provided the Arabs do likewise. Israel's argument is that the United States has full information; that this is sufficient; that we are not saying specifically what we have in mind; and that Israel's statements along this line would open the door to new obstructionism by the Arabs.

We have given careful consideration to Israel's point of view, but continue to feel this fourth theme should be used at an early, appropriate opportunity. We are not suggesting anything new regarding a mechanism for international observation. This was fundamental to the Unified Plan. It was accepted by Israel in 1955. The Arabs know this. If the Arabs have nothing but our assurances as to Israel's intentions, they may well doubt their validity because of our close ties with Israel. If the Arabs don't accept international observation, Israel doesn't have to. We feel this is an important point. Its use will make considerable difference in our ability to support Israel's actions effectively.

As a second approach to supporting Israel's plan, we asked Mr. Wayne Criddle to take a look at how the 1955 plan fits 1963 circumstances, and to examine how Israel's intended actions compare with this. We are very grateful for the whole-hearted cooperation given to Mr. Criddle. We are pleased, also, to receive confirmation that Israel's intended actions are consistent with the 1955 plan. If in our background representations to the Arabs and other interested governments we are able to combine the knowledge born of Criddle's findings, with reference to an Israel public statement of willingness to accept international observation if the Arabs do, we will have a good base. Whether it will succeed with the Arabs, we can't say, but at least it will be as firm as we can make it. As regards the current situation in the Arab countries on this problem, we would be glad to compare notes at a subsequent meeting if the Ambassador wishes. This is probably fully understood, but we would caution Israel against mentioning Mr. Criddle's visit in public or to any other nation.

Another premise of the Unified Plan was that no water would be taken out of the Valley until provision had been made to satisfy the actual and potential irrigation needs of persons living within the basin. Related to our joint interest in getting through the difficult period ahead without a major upset in Near East stability is the need to minimize the effect of Israel's plans on Jordan, which is the primary, rightful beneficiary of the Valley's water resources. That Israel shares our view of how important this is was evidenced by the talk Dr. Wiener had with Mr. Strong on May 13 this year and by the remarks made to Mr. Criddle during his Israel visit. In this consideration of how the effect on Jordan can be minimized, there may be other points to be brought up later, but at this time the following seem to us the essentials.

First, we want to continue to be informed by Israel, with precision and in advance, of its scheduling for testing and withdrawal.

Second, it was agreed in 1955 that Jordan's share of upper Jordan waters was 100 mcms. It was also recognized that there would be roughly 30 mcms of water from saline springs in Tiberias that it would be desirable to dispose of in the interest in keeping the lake's salinity to a minimum. In a meeting with Ambassador Johnston on October 13, 1955, Prime Minister Sharett and Mr. Eshkol, who was then Minister of Finance, agreed to a fifty-fifty sharing of this 30 mcms between Israel and Jordan. We now require Israel's definitive reassertion that the amount of saline water Israel would attribute to Jordan's 100 mcms entitlement would be limited to 15 mcms; in other words, that Israel would deliver to Jordan 85 mcms of water of average Tiberias salinity.

Ambassador Harman interjected that there seem to be two different ideas here. An entitlement of 100 mcms with 15 mcms included is not necessarily the same thing as requiring delivery of 85 mcms of sweet water with 15 mcms of salt water going elsewhere.

Mr. Gazit said the situation contemplated in 1955 is not the situation today. Then, it had been anticipated that a substantial amount of Yarmuk water would be stored in Tiberias, significantly reducing the salinity in the lake.

Mr. Crawford said that in 1955 Jordan's entitlement was confirmed as 100 mcms. This is a principle which remains. What we are saying now, as in 1955, is that we recognize Israel's right to attribute to Jordan's share up to 15 mcms of saline waters disposed of from Tiberias. We are recognizing that this Jordanian 50% share of the saline waters could be disposed of elsewhere.

Mr. Jernegan said our object is to meld what was agreed on in 1955 with present practical considerations.

Returning to his theme, Mr. Jernegan said, thirdly, we require Israel's agreement that its Yarmuk withdrawals during the summer months for use in the Adasiya triangle will not exceed 25 mcms. In 1955, Ambassador Johnston compromised with Israel in suggesting this figure as Israel's entitlement. At that time, Israel's historic usage of Jordan waters in the triangle was at most 15 mcms. Ambassador Johnston offered 25 perhaps out of recognition that there might in future be a more intensive irrigation and cultivation in the triangle. Ambassador Johnston made it clear he could not accept Israel's claim to 40 mcms, since this would have established a water/land ratio considerably higher than that approved for the rest of the lower Jordan Valley. Thus, had Ambassador Johnston gone along with the Israel claim, Jordan could have countered with a request for more water and the result would have been less residual water for Israel diversion out-of-basin.

Fourth, we wish to obtain official confirmation of the assurances given Mr. Criddle that Israel would be willing to release Jordan's upper Jordan entitlement on a reasonable demand schedule to permit most efficient usage during summer months.

Fifth, we would like Israel to keep us informed of streamflow and salinity data so that we will be in a position to reinforce our arguments that Israel's actions are in accord with the Unified Plan and are not depriving other riparians. Obviously, the supply of this data to the United States would no longer be necessary if and when Unified Plan arrangements for international observation came into being.

Mr. Jernegan said Mr. Criddle also put forward the concept, inherent in the Unified Plan, that Yarmuk flood water picked up by Israel might be stored in Tiberias for release to Jordan. We are not now pursuing this with Israel, but we would expect to return to the point at some later date.

Lastly, points two and three seem to us of particular importance. Our phrasing of these conforms to Ambassador Johnston's position in 1955 as he explained this to both Israel and the Arabs. Any variation from this position as we have again expressed it would in our view constitute a revision of the Unified Plan and be, necessarily, ad referendum to the other riparians.

Mr. Crawford noted that for those officers in the Department who have worked on the Jordan waters problem over the years current developments are regarded as among the most constructive and hopeful in which the U.S. is involved in the area. Mr. Jernegan said what we are driving for here is sensible and will benefit all parties, particularly Israel and Jordan.

Ambassador Harman said he assumed the Department does not expect him to react in detail until his Government has had a chance to study the presentation. It is somewhat difficult to grasp what the U.S. is seeking to accomplish here. Certain of Mr. Jernegan's remarks convey "an undertone of conditionality" regarding U.S. support. Such conditionality would not be consistent with the President's exchange of letters with Prime Minister Ben-Gurion. Further, Israel has in the past made suggestions in a spirit of cooperation which are now being put to Israel as U.S. requests. The Ambassador said he hopes he can report to his Government that there is no element of conditionality and that the current discussion is in the same spirit of common approach that has prevailed in the past.

Mr. Jernegan said the principle of U.S. support is not in question. Our wish is to confirm previous understandings and push on to consider one or two points which had been left hanging in the past: the use of the fourth theme we suggested Israel include in low-key public statements, and the Yarmuk allocation for Adasiya.

Ambassador Harman said a third unresolved question is that of the saline waters component of Jordan's entitlement. Mr. Jernegan said that we would regard this as a matter on which agreement has already been reached. According to our report of the October 13, 1955, meeting between Prime Minister Sharett and Ambassador Johnston, the latter then agreed on the fifty-fifty sharing formula.

Mr. Gazit commented that in October 1955 Israel had said there would be no problem in accepting a 25 mcms allocation for Adasiya if this were the only final gesture necessary to win Arab signature on an agreement. With the Arabs rejection of the plan, this offer immediately became null and void.

Mr. Jernegan replied that our position in support of 25 mcms only is based on the more fundamental consideration that anything in excess of this amount would not be consistent with the land/water allocation elsewhere in the Jordan Valley, and therefore could not be defended under the broad principles of the Unified Plan.

Mr. Gazit referred to an earlier informal suggestion he had made to Mr. Davies, in which Jerusalem has now concurred, that the United States consider speaking to the Yugoslav Government about the Maqarin Dam project. Presumably the Yugoslav Government would have enough influence over the Yugoslav engineering firm now surveying Maqarin to suggest the firm recommend that a dam capable of storing more than 300 mcms would be uneconomic. Such independent confirmation of Ambassador Johnston's position would help Jordan in justifying to other Arab states a limitation on the size of the dam.

Mr. Crawford said this is an element in our thinking. Our objective today, in the same spirit with which we have discussed these problems with Israel in the past, is to pin down certain loose ends. Once this is done we would contemplate talking to the Jordanians to help them in the problems they will face once diversion begins and to show them how they can make most effective, prompt use of their just share of the waters. In conjunction with our approach to Jordan, we have had it in mind to suggest that they revise their contract with the Yugoslav engineering firm to seek not just one blueprint for an excessively high Maqarin but cost-study estimates for several alternative sizes of dam. We are confident these would confirm that 300 mcms storage is as high as Jordan can go and still hold the cost of water within an economically justifiable range. We have leverage because Jordan is unlikely to receive the necessary international financial help for the dam unless it is a sound economic proposition.

Mr. Gazit said this might be a good approach but the Yugoslav report might be turned in before the U.S. has had a chance to go to the Jordanians.

Mr. Jernegan said we would look into the feasibility of talking to the Yugoslav Government.

Note: Following the foregoing conversation, Mr. Bar-Haim discussed his record with Mr. Crawford. On several of the critical points Mr. Bar-Haim was provided with the precise phrasing used in this memorandum. Mr. Bar-Haim assured Mr. Crawford his report to Jerusalem would use verbatim quotes on these points.


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

Washington, October 16, 1963, 6:12 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 US/KENNEDY. Secret; Routine. Drafted by Russell on October 14; cleared by Grant, Symmes, Padelford (NR), Johnson (G), Robinson, Moose, Kitchen, Stoddart (OSD/ISA), and Rusk in substance; and approved by Grant. Repeated to Istanbul eyes only for Talbot and Barbour.

360. Embtel 446, Deptel 355./2/ Eyes only for Acting Chief of Mission from Secretary. I am disturbed by indications reftel and conversations between Department officers and Israel Embassy that Israeli concern with security leading GOI endeavor broaden scope November 12 talks I proposed to Mrs. Meir. GOI apparently seeking full-scale review of Israel-UAR military balance as preliminary to 1) establishment procedure for joint military planning and regular military consultations and 2) requests for additional weaponry. Our failure clearly define limits of talks now might lead GOI assume our silence reflects tacit acceptance Israeli proposals and could result in serious erosion US position set forth in President's letter October 3./3/

/2/Both dated October 14. (Ibid., POL 15-1 US/KENNEDY and DEF 12 UAR, respectively)

/3/See Document 332.

You should inform FonMin Director-General Yahil, or if appropriate, Prime Minister Eshkol that:

1) I am concerned that talks with Israeli officers in Washington and Tel Aviv reflect misunderstanding by GOI of US intent in proposed November 12 talks, and wish avoid any disappointment arising from false expectations.

2) As evidence US sympathetic interest in Israel's security, I proposed to Mrs. Meir September 30/4/ exchange views on specific information Israel might have that has given rise to Israeli concern about UAR progress in development missiles and other sophisticated weapons affecting UAR-Israel military balance. We willing study any information Israel may wish to submit on this subject or for proposals for regional disarmament and arms limitation. I did not, however, and do not contemplate entertaining proposals involving joint planning or regular military consultations.

/4/See Document 331.

3) November 12 talks not forum designed consider Israeli requests for additional weaponry.

Department also informing Israel Embassy my views outlined above.



340. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Istanbul/1/

Washington, October 16, 1963, 9:56 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Seelye; cleared by Symmes, Moose, Ozzello, Campbell, Komer, and Sisco; and approved by Grant. Repeated to Jidda, Cairo, London, Taiz, Dhahran, Aden (by pouch), USUN, and Kuwait.

77. For Chiefs of Mission Conference. Following are steps re Yemen we now have under consideration on which we desire your comment:



1. Objective: UAR formally indicate its willingness to SYG, Canadians and Yugoslavs continue financing UNYOM as long as necessary.

2. Tactic: Insure UAR follows up its latest undertaking to UNSYG to urge Canadians and Yugoslavs continue UNYOM participation for at least another month.


1. Objective: Get UK complement our efforts urge Faysal support extension UNYOM.

2. Tactic: If current efforts fail, Secretary or possibly President speak to British Ambassador.

C. Canada and Yugoslavia

1. Objective: Keep Canadian contingent in Yemen (assuming UNYOM stays).

2. Tactic: Since Canadians now state retention their contingent dependent on continuation Yugoslav contingent, urge Yugoslavs leave their troops in Yemen.


1. Objective: SAG indicate its willingness to SYG continue finance UNYOM beyond November 4.

2. Tactic: Upon return to Jidda Ambassador Hart inform Faysal UAR has agreed to extension of UNYOM and that, if UNYOM withdrawn as result Saudis unilateral refusal support and continue financing UNYOM, YAR might call for SC meeting on grounds Saudis arming and supporting dissident group within Yemen; such meeting could result (1) condemnation of SAG for threat to peace; (2) establishment UN presence in Yemen to report on Saudi interference and infiltration into Yemen.


1. Objective: Get SYG to agree UNYOM should continue after November 4.

2. Tactic: Stevenson and Cleveland approach SYG to this end in NY. (See Deptel 78 to Istanbul)/2/

/2/Dated October 16. (Ibid., POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)



1. Objective: Prior November 1 have UAR stop its bombing attacks inside Yemen and make appreciable net withdrawal of troops; and continue desist from bombing Saudi Arabia under any circumstance.

2. Tactic: As soon as possible Ambassador Badeau deliver Presidential message stressing our belief Saudis are carrying out their end of disengagement bargain and urging most strongly Nasser comply with foregoing three points, emphasizing that Nasser's failure do better re disengagement definitely risking invalidating whole disengagement agreement by (a) forcing end of UNYOM and inviting resumption Saudi aid to royalists, (b) causing more chaotic situation in Yemen which can only benefit Soviets, and (c) indefinitely postponing day when UAR enabled withdraw troops from Yemen. While actual economic assistance would necessarily depend on progress re political solution, we will seek through our UN channels and bilaterally to develop framework for such support. We would state this readiness to Nasser in specific terms conditioned on sufficient troop withdrawals within the next 2 weeks to serve as positive evidence of significant disengagement. We would also confirm our readiness to make moves aimed at mobilizing necessary economic support for Yemen.

B. Saudi Arabia

1. Objective: Prevent Saudis from resuming aid on or after November 4.

2. Tactic:

a. See I,D,2 above

b. Ambassador Hart make approach Deptel 302 to Jidda/3/ or feasible variant.

/3/Telegram 302 to Jidda, October 15, discussed ways of bringing U.S. influence to bear on Saudi Arabia to dissuade it from resuming aid to the Royalists. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN)

c. Speak to British Ambassador (I,B,2) urge UK inform Faysal he cannot rely on UK military support should he resume aid to royalists.

d. If appears necessary following meeting with Faysal, Ambassador Hart follow up with Presidential message recapitulating recent history USG-SAG relations and strongly urging Faysal not resume aid to royalists.


1. Objective: Obtain assurances from UK that on UAR achievement substantial withdrawal (e.g. down to 15,000 in Yemen) UK would recognize YARG and that UK would publicize this prospect in advance.

2. Tactic: Raise both in London and Washington.



1. Objective: Persuade Nasser support or, if necessary, encourage YARG implementation of Amran resolutions and inform new leaders in YARG (VP Iryani, etc.) that they are free to take into YARG as many royalists elements as compatible with maintenance of republic. Also (a) inform Nasser re US willing use its good offices get parties together but it not suitable for USG supply names or details reconstituted YARG, and (b) report plans to coordinate outside economic assistance, including budgetary support, to help make broad-based YARG viable contingent, however, upon establishment such regime and evidence UAR satisfactorily complying with terms of disengagement.

2. Tactic: Mention substance first sentence in Presidential letter (II, B, 2).

B. Saudi Arabia

1. Objective: At minimum, get Faysal to refrain from upsetting incipient course of political reconciliation Yemen; at maximum, get him to influence Royalists to cooperate with reconstituted YARG.

2. Tactic: Mention in Presidential letter (II, B, 2, d).

C. UN.

1. Objective: Expedite and assist UN undertaking to provide appropriate technical assistance to reconstituted YARG and coordinate outside aid.

2. Tactic: Send Department economic experts to New York for consultation with UN.

D. Kuwait

1. Objective: Get Kuwait, which has recently displayed active interest in assisting resolution Yemen problem, agree to provide required initial budgetary support to enable reconstituted regime survive, recognizing that Kuwait's contribution would form part of overall outside economic assistance effort coordinated through UN.

2. Tactic: Following his arrival in Kuwait Ambassador Cottam raise with Emir and Department discuss with Ambassador Ghoussein.

E. Yemen

1. Objective: Let Yemeni people know that UN, USG and other free world countries prepared coordinate economic assistance program, including initial budgetary support, contingent upon establishment broad-based YARG and evidence satisfactory UAR compliance with disengagement.

2. Tactic: Department inform YAR Ambassador; Cortada inform YARG leaders; Embassy Taiz spread word as appropriate; and Department officer informally and discreetly inform ex-Yemeni royalist Charge in Washington with request he transmit to royalist headquarters in Yemen.


1. Objective: Get UK pass word to royalists that (a) it supports current efforts broaden base YARG and hopes royalists can eventually participate, and (b) in HMG's view restoration of old Imamate out of question.

2. Tactic: Raise both in London and Washington.



1. Objective: Get UAR to suspend its covert propaganda attacks against Saudi Arabia and to continue offer meet with Saudis.

2. Tactic: Since Sabri has recently indicated receptivity to this possibility, Ambassador Badeau raise with Nasser upon return from Istanbul and press for immediate commitment for suspension or major abatement.

B. Saudi Arabia

1. Objective: Persuade SAG agree sit down with UAR if and when latter suspends propaganda attacks.

2. Tactic:

a. In Jidda keep pushing at Saqqaf level for time being.

b. In Kuwait Ambassador Cottam raise with Emir (III,D,2), suggesting Kuwait use its good offices with SAG to bury hatchet with UAR.



341. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, October 17, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Special Group, Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451. Secret. Drafted by Dingeman and circulated to the Special Group on October 21 under cover of a memorandum from Moor.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Special Group (CI)

2:30 p.m., Thursday, October 17, 1963

Mr. Johnson vice Governor Harriman, Mr. Bell, Mr. McCone, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Wilson vice Mr. Murrow, Mr. Bundy vice Mr. Gilpatric, General Krulak vice General Taylor, Mr. Nolan vice The Attorney General
Mrs. Bracken was present for Item No. 1.
Ambassador Young and Mr. Hannah were present for Item 2.a.
Mr. Kattenburg was present for Item No. 3.
Mr. Maechling was present for the Meeting.

1. Progress Report on the Internal Defense Plan for Iran/2/

/2/The Iran Country Team's third quarterly progress report on the Internal Defense Plan for Iran is summarized in an October 14 memorandum by Grant for the Special Group (Counterinsurgency), sent through Harriman. (Ibid.) On October 15, Grant sent a memorandum to Harriman recommending that Harriman propose to the Special Group that Iran be removed from the critical list. An October 22 note attached to the memorandum indicates that the Special Group deferred action on the recommendation "because the whole subject of countries on the 'critical list' is going to be reviewed in the near future, together with the question of criteria for criticality." (Ibid., NEA/NE Files: Lot 68 D 100, POL 23-1-a Internal Defense Plan)

Mrs. Bracken, Director, Office of Greek, Turkish and Iranian Affairs, Department of State, reviewed for the Group the quarterly report and commented that progress is being made in programs related to internal security. This report and later developments indicate a more favorable situation in Iran than previously reported to the Group. The recent parliamentary elections were peacefully conducted. Although land distribution has slowed down, it has not stopped. Progress is being made to resolve problems in the economic area and steps are being taken to stimulate the economy. As no clearly identifiable threat to internal security exists, it is believed that the insurgency threat in Iran is now more in the latent rather than incipient stage.

Mr. Johnson observed that during his recent trip to Iran, he was concerned over the heavy reliance placed on the Shah.

Mr. Bundy stated that although this report indicates favorable progress, we should recognize that problems still exist, as much remains to be done in programs to increase the effectiveness of both police and military forces. Mr. Bell added that although the insurgency threat could be called latent, it remains explosive.

Mr. Bell reported that he is discussing independently, with State, the advisability of sending a team to Iran to assess the land reform program. In commenting on police programs, he said that the question of supporting the "Commando Brigade" of the National Police has not been resolved as the status of this request from the Government of Iran is still not clear.

Mr. Bell questioned the accuracy of the reference made in the State memorandum on the status of the outstanding loan application for the Iranian portion of the CENTO-Turkey-Iran rail link. He stated that this is a complicated issue, including legal ramifications, and is still under review by both DOD and AID.

The Group approved the County Team's quarterly progress report for planning purposes as qualified by the State memorandum.

[Here follow items 2a, 2b, 3, and Miscellaneous concerning unrelated matters.]

James W. Dingeman

Executive Secretary

Special Group (CI)


342. Telegram From the Consulate General in Istanbul to the Department of State/1/

Istanbul, October 18, 1963, 4 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Immediate. Repeated to Jidda, Cairo, London, Taiz, Dhahran (also for CHUSMTM), Aden, USUN, and Kuwait.

82. From Talbot. Reference Deptel 77./2/ In considering how to reduce dangers Yemen situation Mission Chiefs meeting here have reached consensus largely paralleling points in reftel on analysis, objectives and tactics. Essential point is to preserve disengagement process as best safety valve available. No way to achieve this without continuation UNYOM beyond November 4 and restraint of Faisal from resuming active support of Royalists. These steps in turn depend heavily not only on reaffirmation by Nasser of intent carry out withdrawal commitments but also immediate convincing action by UAR.

/2/Document 340.

We need therefore to make exceptional effort with Nasser, while not basing our approaches to Faisal solely on prospective success with Nasser. Simultaneous and similar approaches should be made to Ambassador Kamel and Mahmoud Riad.

Specific comments on proposed steps re Yemen follow. References are to paragraph numbering given in reftel.

I. Preservation of UNYOM.

Concur generally in recommendations. May be useful point out to Canadians (I,C,2) that developments since establishment UNYOM have not indicated that Yugoslav security elements necessary, particularly in Saudi territory. Need has been primarily for increased number of observers.

Re I,D,2 Ambassador Hart's presentation to Faisal should include indication that US has made exceptional demarche to UAR and that further report will be forthcoming. Otherwise Faisal who has now come to regard one-sided disengagement as hunting license for UAR mop-up of Royalists may consider arguments advanced for SAG support of UNYOM to be insufficient. Also desirable that Ambassador Hart be able to present at this juncture critical Presidential message proposed II,B,d.

SYG should be informed that Ambassador Badeau has been instructed to urge Nasser instruct UAR commander in Yemen cooperate fully with UNYOM in facilitating inspections UNYOM believed necessary.

II. Continued Adherence to Terms of Disengagement Agreement.

Concur in recommendations with additional suggestions.

Additional points should be made in Presidential message to Nasser (II,A,2) that:

1) Failure UAR to live up to commitments in international agreement negotiated under US auspices mars UAR image and is increasingly limiting our ability carry forward our policy of close cooperation with UAR in areas of mutual interest such as UAR economic development.

2) USG has no indication of infiltration into Yemen of any significance either from north or south and will take strongest position with SAG and UK to ensure that this remains the case. In the meantime, allegation cannot be accepted as excuse for UAR nonfulfillment its undertakings.

3) As General al-Qadi recently indicated in informal conversation [garble] that military position UAR/YAR Army could be secured and maintenance security in north could be carried out initially by force of one division strength (he estimated ten thousand to twelve thousand), USG believes UAR affirmation on intent and action to reduce troop strength to this level without delay is essential ingredient in efforts resolve Yemen conflict.

Re II, C. Concur in London's recommendation in Embtel 1885/3/ that re Faisal request to UK for defense commitment, we suggest that HMG make clear that defense Saudi Arabia not feasible without active US participation (II, B, C).

/3/Telegram 1885 from London, October 16. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)

Re II, D. Inasmuch as Faisal's reaction (Jidda tel 392 to Dept)/4/ seems to have been triggered by SYG's statements to Pharaon and Faisal's belief US views reflected by U Thant believe Presidential message to Faisal should state categorically that USG cannot agree with Faisal's formulation that disengagement has failed and situation reverts to status quo ante. It should also make clear that US pledges of support are conditioned on SAG's for [not] undertaking provocative activities and that US and SAG must not work at cross purposes in efforts to restore peace in Yemen. Manner in which these points are put to Faisal is of overriding importance in gaining his cooperation. Suggested text of message follows in separate telegram./5/

/4/Dated October 12. (Ibid.)

/5/Telegram 83 from Istanbul, October 18. (Ibid.) See the final message in Document 346.

Re Deptel 68 to Istanbul, Deptel 290 to Jidda./6/ No decision re Hard Surface should be taken pending results our present diplomatic initiative. Saudis have been put on notice that provocative action on their part may bring about withdrawal so that its effect as leverage has been applied. Given implications withdrawal in terms inviting resumption UAR air strikes at interior supply points (and possibly Taif and Riyadh) we may wish in any case to leave it in place with curtailed patrol mission pending developments which may necessitate highest level decision as to extent to which US willing involve itself militarily in area of prime US economic and strategic interest.

/6/Telegram 68 to Istanbul was also sent as telegram 302 to Jidda; see footnote 3, Document 340. Telegram 290 to Jidda, October 11, is in Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US.

We are not sanguine re success of efforts with UK (II, C) given present disarray in London, but approaches should be made. Preferable not to cite numbers for withdrawals, but to indicate we working for cutback to training mission for YAR Army.

III. Political Settlement in Yemen.

UAR acquiescence in or support of Yemeni efforts achieve viable coalition of tribal and other elements sine qua non for solution.

Despite reservations expressed in Kuwait's 100/7/ believe it advisable continue to stimulate Kuwait's interest in problem because of importance of its financial capabilities and desire to play role in Arab area politics (III, D).

/7/Dated October 15. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN)

Ambassador Hart can also pass to Royalists our ideas on nature of political settlement through contacts in Jidda (1888, 3, 1)./8/

/8/Reference not identified.

In approach to UAR on cessation its propaganda attacks, Ambassador Badeau will note that campaign has been one-sided since May. Saudi action has not been reciprocated. "Major abatement" as specified in IV, 2 not adequate for this situation. Suppression of anti-Saudi propaganda essential if Faisal to be brought to cooperate in objectives we seek.

While recognizing external aid, probably including US aid, will sooner or later be essential to the ongoing solution of the Yemen problem in order to furnish Yemen an alternative to complete dependence on the UAR or the USSR, that question need not be dealt with in relation to the specific objectives of securing a sufficient withdrawal of UAR troops to set the stage for the continuance of UNYOM.



343. Letter From Secretary of State Rusk to the British Ambassador (Ormsby Gore)/1/

Washington, October 19, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23-10 YEMEN. Secret. Drafted by Seelye on October 18. The Department of State transmitted the text of this letter to the Embassy in London in telegram 2590, October 22. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, UK Officials--Secy. Rusk, 1962-1964)

Dear David: I have your letter of October 15 conveying Alec Home's views on the Yemen situation./2/ I am glad that Phillips Talbot's talks in the Foreign Office on October 11/3/ were useful and I hope we can continue our dialogue on Yemen on a regular basis.

/2/The text is in telegram 2516 to London, October 18. (Ibid., Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN)

/3/The Embassy in London conveyed a summary of the main points made during a meeting between Talbot and Deputy Under Secretary of the British Foreign Office Sir Geoffrey Harrison in telegram 1810, October 11. (Ibid., POL 32-1 ADEN-YEMEN)

I am entirely in agreement with the view that Nasser must do better on disengagement. His performance thus far, even bearing in mind certain extenuating circumstances, has been far from satisfactory. As you know, we have been pushing the Egyptians hard on this at both the Nasser and Sabri levels. I did the same with Foreign Minister Fawzi last week. During the recent visit of the UAR Minister of Economy to Washington we made it quite plain that further United States Government aid to the United Arab Republic is to a great extent dependent upon satisfactory performance in Yemen. We intend in other ways to use the carrot and stick in our forthcoming approaches to the United Arab Republic. Your two suggestions for a minimum United Arab Republic performance over the next two weeks are good ones. They are incorporated in the approach we are making to the United Arab Republic.

We believe firmly that there are no feasible alternatives to the course of action in the Yemen which we are now pursuing and that it would be dangerous to allow the situation to drift. We do not see any advantage to us or you in risking a major confrontation between the United Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia in which you and we might end up burning our bridges again with Nasser, not for some vital interest of ours or even Saudi Arabia, but over a backwater like Yemen. Thus we were particularly pleased to learn that your colleague in Jidda has been instructed to make representations to Saqqaf concerning the importance of continuation of UNYOM and to inform him that your government would be in no position to provide aircraft to patrol the Saudi borders. We deeply appreciate this support of our position as well as your urging the Canadians to retain their contingent in UNYOM.

As a further step in helping bring to fruition current Yemeni efforts to create a broader-based regime, I wonder whether it might not be possible at an early date for you to pass the word to the royalists that Her Majesty's Government supports in principle Yemeni efforts to broaden the base of the Yemen Arab Republican regime and hopes the royalists will give serious consideration to eventual participation. It would also be very helpful if you could indicate privately to the royalists that your government would be prepared to recognize a reconstituted and representative Yemen Arab Republic regime.

I might add that we are now consulting the United Nations with regard to ways of endowing a coalition government with an economic base. We contemplate informing Nasser that United States Government assistance in mobilizing outside economic support for Yemen would be contingent on his acquiescence in a newly constituted republican regime, as well as on much better United Arab Republic performance on disengagement. Also at an appropriate time in the course of current Yemeni negotiations for a political settlement, Yemeni political factions might be apprised that outside economic assistance would be forthcoming if a suitable coalition government is formed. Hopefully, this would serve as an incentive to crystallizing current efforts toward reconciliation in Yemen.

I would be grateful for your passing on these views to Alec and your telling him we appreciate your support and hope that we can continue to keep in close touch on this matter./4/



/4/On October 23, the British Embassy in Washington passed to the Department of State verbatim extracts from a Foreign Office telegram that contained Foreign Secretary Home's comments on Rusk's October 19 letter. The telegram noted that the British Government could not go as far as Rusk proposed in his fourth paragraph, because the United Kingdom had "no preconceptions or prejudices about the form of government which the Yemenis may choose, and although we entirely sympathize with the aim of broadening the basis of such a government we could therefore not tell the Royalists that we support the concept of a specifically Republican regime. Nor could we limit our readiness to recognize a Republican regime, as the form of government is irrelevant to our criteria." Otherwise, the British Government could do, or had already done, most of what Rusk proposed. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, UK Officials--Secy. Rusk, 1962-1964)


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

Washington, October 19, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 10/63. Secret.


We're moving forward on preventing Yemen crisis, on which I'm spending all necessary time. Some progress is in sight but not enough, I thought, to warrant a weekender for JFK.

We finally got Stevenson to beat up Paul Martin on keeping Canadians in UNYOM (I've been threatening to urge JFK write Pearson if State didn't get off the dime). Canadians have agreed if Yugoslavs will stay, plus certain other conditions not yet clear. But we told Canadians President had braced Tito, and this greatly impressed them with JFK interest. As you know, Tito said he'd certainly consider it and JFK drove point home by asking Tito to let us know pronto./2/

/2/A memorandum of this portion of Kennedy's conversation with Yugoslav President Tito on October 17 at the White House is in Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204.

Meanwhile, we've been working hard on UK; London 1919/3/ indicates they've caved, will support UNYOM continuance, and will tell Saudis so. We think main reason they caved is because of our thinly veiled threat to withdraw our jets, leaving them to field inevitable Saudi requests to provide air defense.

/3/Dated October 18. (Ibid., Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)

Istanbul Chiefs of Mission conference has endorsed (Istanbul 82)/4/ plan of action Grant and I worked out (Deptel 77 to Istanbul)./5/ We may fail but not for lack of trying.

/4/Document 342.

/5/Document 340.

Next step is to go back hard at Nasser, using JFK message as lever along lines I showed you mid-week. Regrettably this will be along Saturday/6/ afternoon (State insisted on waiting for Istanbul OK, and Grant couldn't see Rusk until this morning). We must get some gestures from Nasser in time for us to use them with Faisal (President will also have to go after Faisal but we have already insinuated risk of Hard Surface withdrawal).

/6/October 19; see Document 347.



345. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Syria/1/

Washington, October 19, 1963, 5:10 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 JORDAN-US. Secret. Drafted by Symmes and Killgore, cleared by Jones, and approved by Grant. Also sent to Baghdad, Amman, and Cairo and repeated to Tel Aviv, Beirut, and Jerusalem (by pouch).

167. Maintenance internal stability and integrity of Jordan remains as a primary objective USG policy in Middle East. If either threatened, specter raised of new Arab-Israel war with all this entails. In our view most serious potential danger from Nasser-Baath conflict is that Jordan will become cockpit. We note King Hussein appears feel Baath poses greater danger than Nasser. Department concerned that Baath belief in unity and revolution, in context its rivalry with Nasser, could lead Party to intensify effort subvert Jordan.

Recent Damascus and Baghdad propaganda attacks against Hussein appear to have reached heightened crescendo as aftermath Hussein-Haikal September interview in Paris. FYI: We have no corroboration to date, but note [document number not declassified] reporting King's apparent belief concerted Syrian-Iraqi plan exists to overthrow GOJ. End FYI.

For Damascus and Baghdad: Department believes time may have come make unmistakably clear to responsible Iraqi and Syrian Baath leaders that attempt subvert HKJ would touch vital interests USG. We propose Ambassadors inform GOI and SARG Prime and Foreign Ministers of USG concern at deterioration their governments' relations with Jordan (e.g., propaganda, official statements). USG supports maintenance internal stability and integrity Jordan. Approach would also indicate USG does not oppose peaceful change brought about by freely expressed wishes Jordan people. However, we have noted with some concern anti-Hussein attitude embodied in statements by GOI and SARG leaders and in propaganda broadcasts. Expression of USG concern not to be taken as implying any lessening our firm policy to take no sides in inter-Arab domestic or international disputes, and to hold ourselves aloof from Nasser-Baath rivalries, except as disputes threaten impinge on important USG interests. President's May 8 statement commits US oppose direct or indirect aggression against Jordan and other Near Eastern states from any source.

USG is basically well disposed towards GOI and SARG. We shall continue do everything feasible cultivate good relations with both regimes. In interests of that full understanding on which cordial relations depend, however, USG feels duty caution GOI and SARG against taking positions that could endanger relations with USG.

For Cairo: Ambassador should take suitable occasion to inform President Nasser of USG concern that Nasser-Baath dispute not be permitted imperil Jordan, integrity and internal stability of which USG continues fully support. We remain aloof from dispute while continuing to do our best maintain normal relations with each side. USG also informing Jordan's neighbors of our concern.

For Amman: After foregoing demarches were made, Ambassador in his discretion could inform King on basis we wish him know our policy.

For Action Addressees:

Would appreciate reactions and comments.



346. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/

Washington, October 19, 1963, 8:13 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Hart and Killgore on October 18; cleared by Sisco, Grant, Komer, Symmes, and Marvin; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Cairo, London, Dhahran, and USUN and by pouch to Taiz, Kuwait, and Aden.

315. Following is text oral message from President to be delivered by Ambassador when he sees Faysal:/2/

/2/In telegram 426 from Jidda, October 21, Ambassador Hart recommended some changes in the text of this letter before delivery to Faysal. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN/UN) Rusk approved Hart's recommendations and made an additional change in telegram 318 to Jidda, October 21. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 476, Saudi Arabia) The approved changes are indicated in footnotes 3 and 4 below. No single composite text of the final message has been found.

"Royal Highness:

"I have been informed by my Ambassador of your conversation with him of October 12. You read to him an exchange of messages with your mission to the United Nations concerning the possible termination of the United Nations observer operation on November 4. I fully comprehend the critical problems this would pose for you and I am keenly aware of the dissatisfaction which you entertain, and which I share, with the one-sidedness of the observance of disengagement during recent weeks. I wish to assure you categorically that whatever may have been said to your representative in New York, it continues to be our firm policy to see disengagement carried out and the United Nations Observation Mission remain until this is achieved.

"We intend to exert strong pressure on President Nasser and expect to be able to see the results shortly. The UAR has meanwhile agreed to a further prolongation of UNYOM and in other interested quarters we are working to be sure that this essential element in the disengagement structure is preserved. I am reasonably confident of success if you also will continue to give it your full support.

"You have asked Ambassador Hart what we will do if the effort fails and, resuming aid to royalists, you are attacked. There can be no question of our abiding concern with the integrity of your country nor of our support for your leadership of it as expressed to you in my letter of a year ago. For that very reason disengagement must not be allowed to fail nor should you and I ever contemplate finding ourselves at cross purposes in seeking to preserve the integrity of Saudi Arabia and area peace. We have long since agreed that fulfillment by both sides of the commitments undertaken in the disengagement agreement was the only feasible route for obtaining the peace and stability in the Yemen which is a prerequisite for peace and stability in your country. We must keep this formula. To do otherwise would be to lose all the benefit of the relative quiet we have won. It would reopen the crisis and prolong it indefinitely, with attendant suffering in the Yemen and renewed enlargement of the area of conflict.

"We considered it necessary to recognize the YAR largely to preserve the stability of Saudi Arabia./3/ Having established relations with the YAR we cannot be an accomplice to renewed attacks upon it. As a leader with the highest sense of Arab honor, you will readily see in what an impossible position this would place us. Similarly we would not condone aggression against Saudi Arabia. We cannot permit the problem to be posed in this fashion, particularly since we believe in the feasibility of a reconciliation of forces within Yemen. I hope, therefore, that you will join us in support of that reconciliation which alone seems to offer the hope of eventual peace for that unhappy land.

/3/The following sentence was inserted at this point: "Had we not done so we would have yielded our position within the Yemen to forces which could threaten that stability unchecked by any moderating pressures whatever from the United States."

"I am gratified that you have expressed your readiness in principle to participate in economic assistance for Yemen. I take this as another sign of your statesmanship. The achievement of political stability in the Yemen may take some time. However, recent developments show that a broadening of its present base is recognized as a necessity by the Yemenis themselves. What this may lead to eventually is for the Yemenis to decide, as we have both agreed. To this end, therefore, let us bend our efforts to make disengagement work. Your own posture in the international scene has been greatly strengthened by your adherence to disengagement and support of UNYOM. I am confident you agree that maintaining this posture is of great importance to the long-term interests of your country and its future generations.

"I take this occasion to renew to your Royal Highness warm expressions of my personal admiration and enduring friendship."/4/

/4/The following was substituted for the final paragraph: "I take this occasion to congratulate your Royal Highness on measures which I have learned were recently taken toward modernization of provincial administration of Saudi Arabia and to expedite development plans on a wide scale. I am confident that within the near future the efforts which you are vigorously expending on uplift and construction will be a source of pride to the Saudi people, setting the example of an enlightened monarchy with interests inseparable from those of its people and energies dedicated tirelessly to them."

Separate telegram contains detailed instructions./5/

/5/In telegram 313 to Jidda, October 19, the Department of State reconfirmed the course of action described in telegram 77 to Istanbul, Document 340, as modified by Talbot's comments in telegram 82 from Istanbul, Document 342. It also directed Hart to deliver the President's oral message to Faysal and presented additional talking points. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.



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

Washington, October 19, 1963, 8:14 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 UAR-YEMEN. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Symmes, Jones, and Komer on October 18; cleared by Sisco, Grant, White House, and Marvin; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Jidda, London, Taiz, Dhahran, USUN, and Kuwait and Aden by pouch.

1618. Following is oral message from President to be delivered by Ambassador when he sees Nasser./2/

/2/A telegram from Bundy for the President, sent through Clifton on October 19, reads as follows: "We're moving ahead fast to keep Yemen from flaring up again November 4 by keeping UNYOM in business beyond that cut-off date. First need is to get Nasser to show some movement, which we can then use as lever on Faysal. Badeau has braced Nasser and Rusk pressed UAR FornMin. As next step Badeau sees Nasser Monday [October 21]. It will help greatly if we can lead off with brief oral message indicating President's personal interest in the matter. Rusk and I approved following Komer draft; we need Presidential approval or amendment this evening." A handwritten notation indicates that President Kennedy read the message and approved it. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 09/63-11/63)

"In the spirit of frank exchange which I believe we have both come to value, I must tell you of my own personal concern over the UAR's failure to date to carry out its part of the Yemen disengagement agreement. I think it fair to say that the Saudis are carrying out their end of the bargain. Indeed I gather the UAR shares the view of our own intelligence that arms supply over the border has been almost if not entirely cut off. We are confident that the UKG and the SAG are honoring their assurances to us that they are not aiding the Royalists. I therefore have no leverage with Faysal when, having carried out his end of the bargain, he continues to see Egyptian troops in Yemen and hear expressions of UARG hostility from Cairo.

"On the other hand, the UAR has not made phased withdrawals on a scale consistent with our understanding of the spirit of the agreement. While we think we understand some of the reasons, we cannot blink the fact, which is becoming public knowledge, that the UAR is not carrying out a compact made with the UN, and in effect underwritten by the US as a friend of both parties. Because of my own personal role in the matter, I think you will understand why I feel involved when the US is criticized both at home and abroad. This issue is inevitably complicating, not least in the Congress, my own effort to carry forward our policy of friendly collaboration in areas of mutual interest with the UAR.

"I continue to believe in this policy. I also continue to believe that disengagement, under an UNYOM umbrella, is in the long-term interest of the UAR. Thus I feel you will not misconstrue my friendly intent when I ask you to take those measures, some of which I have asked Ambassador Badeau to suggest, which will demonstrate that disengagement is proceeding sufficiently well so that UNYOM can be extended and a political solution worked out. The alternative--a breakdown of disengagement, withdrawal of UNYOM, and probable renewal of direct Saudi-UAR confrontation--could not but lead to a situation in which the US and UAR, instead of moving closer together, would drift further apart. If we should let Yemen affect our larger interests in this manner, we would have lost our ability to shape events and have permitted events to dominate us."

Separate telegram contains detailed instructions./3/

/3/In telegram 1610 to Jidda, October 19, the Department of State reconfirmed the course of action described in telegram 77 to Istanbul, Document 340, as modified by Talbot's comments in telegram 82 to Istanbul, Document 342. It also directed Badeau to deliver the President's oral message to Nasser and presented additional talking points. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.



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

Cairo, October 21, 1963, noon.

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

904. Deptels 1550,/2/ 1597,/3/ 1610,/4/ 1618./5/ In ninety minute conversation with President Nasser at 1830 October 20, reviewed in detail Yemen situation and transmitted USG views as set forth in reference telegrams.

/2/Telegram 1550 to Cairo, October 16, was sent for action to Istanbul as telegram 77, Document 340.

/3/Dated October 19. (Department of State, Central Files, AID (UN) 8 YEMEN)

/4/See footnote 3, Document 347.

/5/Document 347.

Conversation began with transmission President Kennedy's oral message (reference telegram 1618). After digesting this President asked for detailed presentation which I made as follows:

1. From beginning Yemen affair USG chief concern support tranquility in Arab world, safeguard evolutionary stability of SAG and prevent Yemen involvement becoming cause celebre in UAR-USG relations. To this President Kennedy had committed personal interest and prestige in seeking to mediate as friend both parties.

2. Now clear hopes of YAR stability envisioned at time USG-Yemen recognition and subsequent disengagement negotiations somewhat premature. Situation continued perilous to all parties concerned and military solution obviously insufficient.

3. In answer to President Nasser's previous request for specifics USG position on political and economic development in Yemen (Embtel 779)/6/ I outlined approach set forth in reference telegrams, emphasizing beginning of political readjustment inescapable condition for effective international participation in economic development.

/6/Dated October 6. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)

4. [Garble] USG is to consider these essential long-term needs, absolute precondition maintenance of UNYOM beyond November 4 date. Without this USG and other interested parties could not act. Therefore chief point of present presentation fate of UNYOM and strategy make continuance possible.

5. As President Kennedy indicated in oral message, USG considers UAR has not matched SAG in fulfilling disengagement responsibilities. In addition to this, impossible to obtain Faisal's support for continuance UNYOM without public and dramatic UAR disengagement gesture prior to November 1. Without request from SAG, Secretary General unlikely support extension UNYOM.

6. In view above I urged UAR announce and begin some major troop withdrawals prior November 1, citing recent UAR military-Davies conversations in Yemen re sufficiency single division to secure present situation in country. I also mentioned utility of abandoning bombing within Yemen except when UAR-YAR troops under direct attack.

Nasser's response emphasized following:

1. While appreciative of frank tone President Kennedy's message, President apparently not fully informed about SAG activities, which continued larger and more ominous than President apparently realized.

2. Recalling Bunker conversations re disengagement, President Nasser pointed out SAG had only partially fulfilled disengagement since (A) Saudi supported activity had continued in DMZ; (B) supply bases in Jizan and Najran (which President claimed were included within DMZ) had not even begun to be dismantled; (C) heavy shipments arms and ammunition recently building up in Jizan and Najran and this being done surreptitiously; (D) SAG had not denied use of soil to Badr; within past two weeks UAR had information Badr had visited Jizan and reliable intelligence report October 18 stated King Saud had communicated to Badr within last few weeks stating his unfailing support of Badr and royal family. (FYI: Cortada confirms he heard similar information in Yemen from non-Egyptian sources.)

President Nasser then reminded me he had told Bunker during conversations that major troop withdrawals could not reasonably begin until after lapse of three month period from actual beginning disengagement but that he had agreed to small immediate token withdrawal which had been carried out. In course of making above points, Nasser referred repeatedly to UAR intercept operation citing messages between members of SAG Government and Royalist forces re movement of supplies under cover of darkness. He admitted that a division or division and a half of troops would probably be sufficient to maintain present military position but said this posited on reasonable assurance that SAG stimulated Royalist activity would not flare up after troop withdrawal. So long as current surreptitious SAG support for Royalists continued, he feared any major troop withdrawals would trigger immediate expansion Royalists activities necessitating slow and costly operation of returning troops to Yemen.

I then took line that most basic and critical issue was effect discontinuance UNYOM. Whoever might win battle of mutual recrimination re sluggishness of disengagement, all parties would lose disastrously if UNYOM ended. Clear from my talks with Ambassador Hart that Faisal prepared to reinstitute massive aid to Royalists. While deeply concerned over this, USG not in position to force SAG to desist. Result would be immediate outbreak tribal guerrilla activity in North Yemen, twilight for any prospects UAR ridding itself of heavy Yemen burden, and strain on UAR relations with neighbors and USA. In these terms vital question not who at fault but how to get action. This meant in effect making gesture enabling us to elicit Faisal support for continuance UNYOM.

Nasser admitted return to pre-disengagement conditions of last winter most undesirable. However, political situation among tribes better as result of recent activities such as those described in earlier meeting (Embtel 779). I refused to accept this as either factual or logical, pointing out that renewed massive SAG help would certainly result in shift of some tribal loyalties away from YAR and that situation year hence would be much worse than last winter. I then returned to UAR military and Nasser statement that only one division sufficient to insure present military position if SAG aid not reinstituted. On basis of this I found it hard to understand why UAR could not make some substantial troop withdrawal that would be both earnest of its disengagement bona fides and gesture making possible effective representations to Faisal for continuance UNYOM.

Nasser then said that some troop withdrawals had been made. I stated by last current estimate UAR strength approximately 28,000 troops as compared to 32,000 at height Yemen campaign. In this connection I queried President further about the statement maximum troop strength in Yemen had been 40,000 (Embtel 779). Nasser stated approximately this figure had been reached in Yemen for short period due to overlapping between departing battalions and their replacements. However, by inference he accepted 32,000 troop number as effective maximum operational force and 28,000 as present strength. I said one difficulty in situation was that UAR had never made official statement regarding troop withdrawals either to UN or to USG. If in fact substantial troop withdrawals had been made, it was much to UAR's interest to make this fact known. I then suggested that UAR inform SYG directly of troop withdrawals to date and plans for further withdrawals, emphasizing strongly necessity of some public and admitted major troop movements before November 1.

Nasser said he would consider this but returned to his fear that while SAG had indeed diminished direct financial and arms support to Royalists since July 4, it had no real intention of allowing situation in Yemen remain quiet and was awaiting first opportunity of troop movement to reinstitute aid. He said he had foreseen this and had therefore warned Bunker that significant troop withdrawals could not take place in less than three months. I pointed out that more than three months had passed since positioning of UNYOM and again urged inescapable necessity of making possible continuance of UNYOM by withdrawal gesture. In this connection I felt UAR should not equate its position with that of SAG. UAR large and important state well on road to modernization and thus could afford gestures that would be difficult to expect from Faisal. Statesmanship at this juncture would pay rich dividends in quieting Yemen and in UAR public reputation.

With this as lead I then expressed my personal disquiet at foreseeable effects of continuing Yemen imbroglio on UAR-USA relations. Reason for this realities of public opinion in western world and USG which then sufficiently aroused could seriously circumscribe ability of administration to carry through given foreign policy. What I said was not to be interpreted as a threat but rather as a realistic appraisal of foreseeable pressures within USA generated by failure to UNYOM mission which would be laid at least partially at door of UAR.

I then briefly repeated argumentation for continuance UNYOM and dire results of its collapse, urging Nasser inform SYG directly of withdrawals to date and plans for future. Nasser answered he could inform SYG of past withdrawals and would consider what further steps he could take. I pointed out it would be necessary also to inform Canada and Yugoslavia directly of UAR desire continue UNYOM and Nasser said he knew these two countries had been hesitant about continuing role.

In final word, I told Nasser I would report conversation as held and we would expect him to communicate directly with Secretary General.

Comment: In contrast with earlier conversations (Embtel 779), Nasser much less willing to admit UAR burdens in Yemen. He said if only alternative was to continue struggle with SAG, he was duty bound to do so since he had committed himself to cause of progress in Yemen. While conversation was very frank and baldly direct on both sides, Nasser displayed no irritation and was disposed to give me as much time as necessary. Fuller comments follow./7/

/7/Badeau's comments are in telegram 918 from Cairo, October 22. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN) On October 27, during a lengthy conversation, Nasser told Badeau that he thought he could withdraw another 5,000 troops from Yemen by January 1, 1964. Badeau reported on the conversation in telegram 969 from Cairo, October 27. (Ibid.) Both telegrams are in the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.



349. Telegram From the Consulate General in Dhahran to the Department of State/1/

Dhahran, October 24, 1963, 3 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Also sent to Beirut and USUN and repeated to Cairo, London, Taiz, Aden, Kuwait, and Jidda.

113. From Ambassador Hart. Department telegrams 313/2/ and 315/3/ to Jidda. Have just finished three hours very intense argument with Faysal,/4/ most of it with him alone, at which delivered President's oral message (he wants copy and I will deliver him Arabic version unsigned and headed "secret") and accompanying instructions. Details will follow from Jidda. Important results are as follows:

/2/See footnote 5, Document 346.

/3/Document 346.

/4/Hart's report on his conversation with Faysal on October 23 was transmitted in telegram 435 from Jidda, October 24. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

1. Faysal will weigh with Council of Ministers in immediate future question of extension mandate UNYOM. His mood is very negative but I think he realizes burden which he would assume in being the party which cancels UNYOM. Also believe warning of possibility that YARG will call for special SC session charging SAG with violation Yemeni sovereignty and of possibility special presence might be established in Yemen to observe and report on Saudi interference and infiltration may have given him pause.

2. He construes President's message and my accompanying explanations as meaning that Hard Surface could be withdrawn if aid Royalists resumed and that under certain circumstances therefore he could not rely upon US for defense of Saudi Arabia and must consequently discuss with Council of Ministers "in next day or so" problem of national defense and how to obtain it by other means and from other sources. He clearly has in mind purchase of planes and hiring of mercenary flyers. He mentioned he was aware this would take time. I warned him very strongly of adverse effect mercenaries would have on morale RSAF.

3. Regarding reconciliation with UAR he takes position Nasir will stop propaganda attacks against Saudi Arabia whenever Nasir is ready. When he does and seeks restoration relations with SAG latter will respond positively. There is no need for "secret" talks, which could not succeed in promoting better atmosphere unless Nasir had so decided in advance. Faysal has no fear of UAR propaganda attacks, regards them as of no importance and does not care how long they go on.

I made clear that in my personal view Hard Surface could not remain and become a screen for renewed Saudi help to Royalists. Faysal did not directly comment, except to say that he would have to look to other sources of help. Although he reiterated he could not sit with hands folded he did not say he would not give us further time to exercise pressure on Cairo. He simply would not give UAR right to buy time to crush Royalists. He considers self obligated to Royalists by Treaty of Jidda 1956.

Faysal read for me excerpt text Nasir's October 22 speech at Suez in which Nasir stated he had withdrawn total 12,000 troops while sending back 6,000 replacements and that under no circumstances would the Yemeni revolution [sic] and would always leave sufficient forces within Yemen to ensure this. I remarked to Faysal that I felt this open defiance of Nasir's commitment was bound to evoke sharp reaction in Washington.

Request to Beirut: That Omar Saqqaf be contacted, given foregoing info plus my personal recommendation he return to Saudi Arabia at once. This is time for basic decision making and voices of reason are needed at this very moment. Even Saturday (his planned date of return) may be late.



350. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/

Washington, October 28, 1963, 9:06 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN. Secret; Flash; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Cleveland, Komer, and Moor; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Cairo, London, Taiz, and USUN.

342. For Ambassador from Talbot.

1. You should disclose to Faysal by most expeditious appropriate means UAR statement to UNSYG that in addition to announced withdrawal six thousand troops he expressed intent withdraw another five thousand by end of year. (This parallels Nasser's statement to Badeau in Cairo's 969.)/2/ This indicates withdrawal process is continuing albeit not as rapidly as we had hoped.

/2/See footnote 6, Document 348.

2. Cable from USUN informs you that SYG has decided to publish his report Tuesday PM (New York time). We have not seen report but understand it will announce termination UNYOM and place primary responsibility on Saudi unwillingness to agree to its continuance. Report will cite Faysal statement that, in absence evidence disengagement agreement will be implemented soon, SAG will make no further commitment to share costs. While we hope to gain postponement, believe Faysal should be aware of deadline and that Saudi unwillingness to agree to extension now will have effect of taking pressure off Nasser for disengagement and place onus on Saudis to own political disadvantage. We hope Faysal will ponder carefully full implications of failure to agree to UNYOM extension which in our judgment would leave him, at least in eyes of international opinion, in weaker political position than necessary. If you think it effective you should remind Faysal again that in your judgment if the demise of UNYOM can be blamed on him in above manner USG will have no alternative but to withdraw Hard Surface aircraft.

3. You should inform Faysal that in light of these new developments President again urges HRH to continue support of UNYOM to permit continued progress toward our mutual objective of reducing UAR presence to insure that Yemenis can determine their own future. President desires you to push Faysal hard to continue support UNYOM and disengagement agreement.

FYI. President has authorized me to inform you that his present intention is to withdraw Hard Surface if Saudis resume supply of arms to royalists; however, if Saudis continue support of UNYOM and disengagement President prepared leave them longer--say to end of year. End FYI./3/


/3/Hart met with Faysal on October 30. His telegraphic report is in telegram 463 from Jidda, November 1. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN) A memorandum of the conversation was sent in airgram A-156 from Jidda, November 7. (Ibid., POL 15-1 SAUD) On October 31, after further U.S. representations, Faysal agreed to continue financing UNYOM for an additional 2 months, but asked for additional U.S. pressure to obtain a UAR withdrawal. (Telegram 116 to Kuwait, November 4; ibid., POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)


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

Washington, October 30, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 10/63. Secret.


I am most concerned lest Komer's war is well on the way to becoming Talbot's war again. The combination of Faysal's stubbornness and of U Thant's reluctance to do his job is leading to the demise of UNYOM and with it our painfully constructed disengagement scheme. However rickety these expedients have been and however poorly carried out, they are still a far better road than the alternative of renewed clashes between UAR and Saudis which I see in prospect.

Now that SYG's report is out, IO and USUN are most reluctant to go for SC action (I beat up Harlan/2/ for an hour this afternoon). They think we should wait and see if things flare up again before going to the SC. I regard such a hiatus as highly dangerous--why would Faysal be so dead set against anteing up $200,000 unless he intended to renew supplies to the royalists? If he does, it is almost certain Nasser will resume bombings if not worse. We, of course, will withdraw Hard Surface, thus appearing to desert Saudis.

/2/Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Harlan Cleveland.

Time is short, since U Thant is already starting to dismantle UNYOM. Attached is my view of bidding. Could you tell Rusk he ought to grab hold of this one before it is too late? I have reserved JFK's desire to clear any course of action, but first step is to get Rusk to decide between NEA and IO.

Bob K.




We must decide now between essentially two courses of action on Yemen. U Thant has reported to the SC that UNYOM is to be withdrawn by 4 November because Saudis haven't agreed to extension. Faysal probably won't voluntarily sign on, though he might not reject extension if thrust on him.

A. One course would be to let UNYOM die on 4 November, banking instead on SYG's substitute of 20-man observer/political team led by a senior UN official. We could simultaneously call on both parties to continue disengagement scheme. This approach might give the UN more leverage on Yemeni internal politics, though leaving little buffer between the UAR and SAG. We'd wait and see, however, whether fighting (and UAR bombing) flared up again. If so, we'd ask SC to put in a real peacekeeping operation.

Advantages: (1) We could pull out our squadron (on grounds it tied to UNYOM presence) or tell Faysal we'd pull it out if he resumed aid;/4/ (2) we wouldn't have to keep prodding both sides so hard to pay up, and comply; (3) we avoid merely postponing issue another month or two, at which point we'd probably have to go through this wholly messy business again.

/4/In telegram 350 to Jidda, October 31, the Department of State discussed the timing for the withdrawal of Hard Surface from Saudi Arabia. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6-3 US)

Disadvantages: (1) We lose leverage on UAR to pull out, since disengagement much harder to police; (2) if Saudis resume aid, we risk renewed UAR bombing and resultant pressure on us to help Saudis; (3) with UNYOM dismantled, chances that a better UN buffer can be created later are dim--risk of Soviet veto later, when UAR is under the gun, are greater than now. So if Faysal resumes aid and we pull our squadron out, we risk giving Nasser a green light to resume bombing (unless we warn him unmistakably that doing so will cost him US aid or lead to US defense commitment to Saudis). But do we want to offer these hostages?

B. Alternate course is to get a new SC mandate for UNYOM right now, counting on Faysal's reluctance to buck the UN. We could call on the SYG to finance it out of UN funds.

Advantages: (1) We optimize chances of keeping war damped down by maintaining UN buffer in between; (2) we avoid dilemma of whether to withdraw our squadron and risk crisis of confidence with Saudis; (3) we keep onus for wrecking disengagement and resuming aid clearly on Faysal; (4) we buy a little more time to get political solution working; (5) we retain excuse for keeping pressure on Nasser to withdraw.

Disadvantages: (1) We create trouble with Faysal by going against his grain, though keeping squadron there should avoid an even worse blow-up; (2) by going to SC, we raise whole thorny issue of SC approval for financing SYG's peacekeeping operations; (3) we draw down our capital with SYG, who's obviously reluctant to get too involved.

I conclude that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Advantages of trying to keep war from flaring up again in first place (thus facing US and UN with even tougher decisions) outweigh those of getting out from under a faltering disengagement scheme. More preventive diplomacy just looks better than risking another blowup.

In fact, why couldn't we get best of both worlds by going to SC now for a new broadened UNYOM mandate, instead of waiting for situation to deteriorate? This minimizes risks, while maximizing our continued leverage on situation.

R.W. Komer/5/

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


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

Washington, November 5, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 11/1/63-11/6/63. Secret.

Jordan Waters

There have recently been increased public rumblings of Arab opposition to Israel's imminent diversion of Jordan waters./2/ Despite the threats, however, it is far too soon to predict with certainty how far the Arabs will attempt to proceed in practice with their long-standing announced determination to stop Israel at all costs.

/2/Additional documentation is in Department of State, Central File POL 33-1 ISR-JORDAN.

On present balance, we think there is a somewhat better than even chance the Arabs will not initiate military action over this issue. Some action in the United Nations seeking to inhibit the Israelis is more likely. The UAR, which is pivotal, does not wish war with Israel now. Certainly Lebanon does not, even though President Chehab fears all the Arabs might be drawn into military action by the slightest misstep of one. Particularly if we succeed in our current efforts to ensure Jordan's utilization of its allocation of Jordan water, the latter will have a national interest in moderation.

Syria, and to a lesser extent Iraq, will be the problems. The temptation to externalize domestic problems and embarrass Nasser, the sense of support that impetuous Syrian military elements will derive from the Syro-Iraqi military union, even the impact of Baathi ideology itself, will create a real danger of Syria's stepping over the brink regardless of the counsels of the United States and other states. The Syrian tactic might be a limited military action in the hope of impelling either support by the other Arabs or a prompt United Nations intervention to forestall Israel reprisal. In the latter case, Syria would then be free to make a maximum propaganda uproar internationally and in the United Nations in an effort to halt Israel's action. To deal with this and prevent escalation of any limited conflict, we consider strengthening of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) peace machinery to be of utmost importance. The UNTSO Chief of Staff, General Bull, has made recommendations to this purpose and is expected to report to the Secretary General in December on his progress in implementing these. At the same time firm reaffirmation of United States intentions to prevent or put a stop to any aggression and of our belief that Israeli diversion is consistent with the rights of other riparians, generally, and the 1955 Unified Plan, specifically, should be made to Arab leaders periodically in the hope of deterring them from any foolhardy ventures. If military action and reaction can be forestalled, the success of our support of Israel in any United Nations consideration of the diversion should be manageable, particularly in light of the preparatory measures already taken or under way.

There is enclosed a more detailed study of past, present, and contemplated United States actions regarding the Jordan waters problem.

John A. McKesson/3/

/3/McKesson signed for Read above Read's typed signature.




October 1963.


Background of the Unified Plan

Recognizing the explosive potential of this problem, the United States acted through Ambassador Eric Johnston during 1953-55 to prepare a comprehensive plan for Jordan waters development that would protect the interests of the Jordan riparian states: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. In 1955 virtual agreement was reached on Johnston's "Unified Plan", but one or two small allocational problems were left hanging. Efforts to tie these up lapsed in October 1955 when the Arab League Council shelved the Plan, despite approval by Arab technicians, on grounds that its ratification would be tantamount to recognition of Israel.

After 1955, the United States changed field. Instead of making further efforts to win general agreement on the Unified Plan, we quietly provided "piecemeal" aid to the riparians for national water structures, in each instance in exchange for assurances that these did not conflict with the Plan. In the period 1955 to date we provided some $50 million to Israel and $13 million to Jordan.

The Maqarin Dam

As of 1961, the major structural component of the Unified Plan remaining to be initiated was a storage dam and Maqarin on the upper reaches of the Jordan's major tributary, the Yarmuk, which constitutes the border between Jordan and Syria. Convinced of the merits of proceeding with as much implementation of the Unified Plan as we could get; aware that Jordanian farmers might suffer if the Israelis began upstream diversion before compensatory structures had been built to help Jordan; sensitive to the $50-13 million imbalance in the United States assistance to the Israel and Arab sides, respectively; and anxious to involve an international agency in the Jordan waters problem to serve as a technical escape valve in anticipation of the day when Israel would begin diversion; we privately told King Hussein in September 1961 that we would look favorably on his going ahead with the Maqarin Dam and would assist him in finding international financing for the dam which we estimated would cost $65-85 million. Subsequently, we encouraged IBRD interest. In March 1962, we stimulated an unofficial visit to Jordan by Sir William Iliff, then IBRD Vice President. On Jordanian request, Iliff tentatively acknowledged that the Bank might play a partial role in Maqarin, but he insisted on a full engineering survey as prerequisite.

Regrettably, the Jordanians were compelled to make haste slowly. Syria's consent had to be sought, since the dam abuts on Syrian territory. King Hussein displayed considerable skill in winning this consent in the face of constant risk that he might be accused of implementing the Unified Plan, but it was not until May 1963 that Jordan, with the help of a loan from Kuwait, was able to conclude a feasibility and engineering contract with a Yugoslav firm./5/ We understand the engineering design will not be completed until the spring of 1965. Nevertheless, we have recently reminded the IBRD of our hope that it will display a sympathetic interest in this project.

/5/The proper height and storage capacity of Maqarin was a difficult point between the Arabs and Ambassador Johnston throughout the 1953-55 negotiations. The Arabs sought to maximize the amount of water stored under their own control in the upper Yarmuk, preferring this to storage for their account but under Israel control in Lake Tiberias. Johnston held that Lake Tiberias was the natural and most economical storage available. In the end, he proposed a compromise whereby equal amounts of Arab waters would be stored at Maqarin and in Tiberias. The Jordanian-Yugoslav engineering design contract stipulates a dam far larger than agreed to in 1955. Were Jordan, by construction of this, to move outside Unified Plan confines, the web of assurances we hold would be ruptured, and Israel might consider itself no longer bound to Unified Plan limitations. In the end, it would thus be Jordanian farmer users who might suffer. We are preparing a further approach to Hussein to get Jordan back on the reservation in terms of the size of this dam. [Footnote in the source text.]

Assurances of Support to Israel

Concurrently with these efforts to help Jordan catch up, the United States on June 13, 1962, pledged support of Israel's diversion provided the diversion stayed within Unified Plan allocations. A number of steps were initiated to make this support effective and dissuade the Arabs from making diversion a casus belli.

Preparations to Support Israel

1. Israel Statements

In July 1962, we suggested to the Israelis that they begin to use the following four themes in occasional public references to this problem: (1) belief in the desirability of unified, equitable development of the Jordan waters in a manner benefiting all riparians; (2) willingness to discuss unified development with other riparians at any time; (3) Israel's intention to hold its withdrawals to a level which will protect traditional usages and rights of Jewish and Arab in-basin users even though international agreement on unified development has not yet been reached; and (4) willingness at any time to accept international observation of its Jordan water usage provided the Arabs do likewise. All were designed to cast Israel's actions as "on the side of the angels" and facilitate our support. Israel has used three of the themes but balked at the fourth, which is fundamental to the Unified Plan. We think such a statement is quite important in presenting an appearance of virtue, particularly since the Arabs will tend to suspect United States statements that Israel is staying within Plan allocations.

2. Criddle Survey

Concerned over the fact that with completion of Maqarin still four to five years in the future Jordan would suffer when Israel began extensive withdrawals upstream, both we and the Israelis began thinking of measures that might minimize Jordan's problems. (Israel's concern presumably stems from recognition that a genuinely aggrieved Jordan might provide the Arabs with good grounds in international law either to call for suspension of Israel's diversion or for damage payments.) In May 1963 the Israelis came to us unofficially with some interesting proposals about what Jordan might do. In June-July, we sent Mr. Wayne Criddle, an internationally respected hydrologist who had worked with Ambassador Johnston from the beginning, on an unpublicized trip to Jordan and Israel with the twofold purpose of (1) providing the United States with firm technical assurance that Israel's intended actions were consistent with the Plan, and (2) evaluating Israel's suggestions for remedial measures in Jordan.

3. Criddle Report

Mr. Criddle's report confirms that Israel is so far within Unified Plan confines. First test of Israel's withdrawal system will begin early in 1964. First sustained withdrawals will take place in early summer 1964 but remain at a low level for at least a year thereafter. Equally important, the report built on the Israeli suggestions of May in pointing to several ways in which Jordan could improve its situation in the interim before completion of Maqarin if it could count on scheduled Israeli releases, from Lake Tiberias, of water allocated to Jordan under the Unified Plan.

4. Criddle Report Implementation

We propose to put Criddle's suggestions quietly to Jordan (a) at the highest level by an Ambassador Macomber-King Hussein approach, and (b) thereafter by asking Criddle to sell Jordanian technicians on his ideas. Mr. Criddle is, in fact, already corresponding with the Jordanian technicians to this purpose. Before going to the Jordanians officially, however, it has been essential to take up with the Israelis the one or two small loose ends concerning allocations which have been unresolved since 1955, as these directly affect the amount of water Jordan was given to understand it would receive under the Plan. On October 10, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jernegan opened talks with Israel Ambassador Herman. We hope to complete these in a month and then go to King Hussein. If we are successful, the result will be to increase Jordan's all-important vested interest in a quiet acquiescence in Israel's diversion and lessen the chances that Jordan, denominated under the Unified Plan as primary rightful beneficiary of the Jordan water resources, will add its voice to Arab opposition to Israel's plans.

5. Other Preparations

Given (a) Israel's private official assurance to us that it will stay within the Unified Plan, (b) Mr. Criddle's technical confirmation that this is presently the case, (c) Israel public statements that put its intentions in an internationally unexceptionable light, (d) measures afoot to protect Jordan, including Maqarin construction with IBRD and, as necessary, United States and other Free World financial help, (e) studies showing the consistency of Israel's actions with established international water practice and law, (f) rebuttals for expected Arab arguments, we will have the firmest possible base for representations to the Arabs (and in appropriate world capitals to win support) to show the futility of efforts to stop Israel. The converse of this will be encouragement of the Arabs to proceed with early utilization of their equitable shares of the waters. Premature representations, however, might well exacerbate the anticipated Arab reactions. The just concluded Istanbul Conference of Near East Chiefs of Mission has concurred in our general approach.


353. National Intelligence Estimate/1/

NIE 36.7 - 63

Washington, November 6, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Near & Middle East. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet: "The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and NSA." All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on November 6, except the Atomic Energy Commission Representative and the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who abstained because the subject was outside their jurisdiction.



A. The Sallal republican regime, through the support of some 30,000 UAR troops, controls about two-thirds of Yemen. The royalist northern tribes, which have been supplied from Saudi Arabia, remain in control of the mountains in the north and northeast. A decisive military victory by either side appears unlikely. (Paras. 1, 4-8)

B. Many Yemeni leaders feel that major changes in the republican regime are required to end the civil war, establish a central government acceptable to most Yemenis, reduce tribal dissidence to manageable size, and cut down UAR domination. (Para. 9)

C. Nasser is under various pressures to reduce his commitments in Yemen. He is tied down in an inconclusive war which is costly in money and casualties and he is facing a growing challenge from the Baath in the Arab world. He would insist that any settlement preserve a Yemen government republican in form, friendly to him, and subject to a considerable measure of Egyptian influence. (Paras. 10-11, 18)

D. Saudi Arabia wants to see the UAR out of Yemen and relies primarily on the US to force Egyptian withdrawals. We believe Faysal is not likely to resume large-scale aid to the royalists in the next two months or so, but that unless there is a substantial reduction of the UAR presence by the end of that period, he may resume it. (Paras. 12-13, 15)

E. Under the best of conditions, the situation during the next few months will be fragile and fighting could resume on a wide scale at any time. We believe that if there is no resumption of large scale aid to the royalists, with a consequent upsurge in the fighting, and if the various pressures on Nasser to facilitate a settlement increase, he will in time be forced, though reluctantly, to effect a sufficient diminution of the Egyptian presence to permit a political settlement as described in C above. (Para. 19)

F. The USSR has won considerable good will in Yemen by its prompt military and economic support. The Soviets are likely to maintain a significant presence in Yemen for the foreseeable future, although the indigenous Communist movement is small and the population is difficult to manipulate. The USSR will probably get civil air rights and perhaps be able to achieve a small capability to render clandestine support to operations in nearby countries. The Soviets will probably continue to have an edge over the West in Yemen, but we do not believe the Yemenis would grant military base rights to them. (Paras. 27-28)

[Here follows the Discussion section of the Estimate, which is included in the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.]


354. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, November 6, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 116, DEF-19, Saudi Arabia. Secret. Drafted by Seelye on November 5 and cleared by Davies.

Dear Bill: I had delayed replying to Paul Nitze's letter of October 8 concerning the extension of Hard Surface in Saudi Arabia pending clarification of recent developments connected with Yemen. Now that Prince Faisal has agreed to the extension of UNYOM's mandate, we are in a position to report our current views./2/

/2/In telegram 476 from Jidda, November 4, Ambassador Hart expressed his hope that given Faysal's promise of continued support for UNYOM, the United States would plan for the extension of Hard Surface until early January. (Ibid., Central Files, DEF 6-3 US) Nitze's letter is Document 336.

We welcome the "negotiating instruments" listed in the referenced letter as means of cushioning any adverse effect the withdrawal of Hard Surface would have on the Saudi Government. We have already instructed Ambassador Hart again to make clear to Faisal the temporary nature of the Hard Surface deployment. At the appropriate moment before Hard Surface is withdrawn from Saudi Arabia, we agree we should carry out the other courses of action you recommend.

As you will recall, last month we indicated to Faisal that we would withdraw Hard Surface should Saudi Arabia resume its aid to the royalists upon the termination of UNYOM's earlier mandate (November 4). This played an important role in getting Faisal both to continue to go along with UNYOM and to refrain from resuming his aid to the Yemeni royalists. Therefore, we believe it is particularly important that Hard Surface should be kept in Saudi Arabia several weeks longer, preferably until the end of this year. This appears to accord with the President's views as reflected in the National Security Action Memorandum No. 262 of October 10, 1963,/3/ and in the Department's telegram No. 342 of October 28 to Jidda./4/

/3/Document 337.

/4/Document 350.

I would be happy to discuss this matter with you further at your convenience./5/

/5/This letter was transmitted to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under cover of a memorandum from Nitze, indicating that the White House staff had confirmed that the President did not wish to withdraw Hard Surface pending clarification of events in the area, and that the Joint Chiefs should consider continuing the deployment until December 31. Nitze assured General Taylor that the Defense Department would continue to emphasize to the Department of State that the forces should be withdrawn as quickly as possible. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 9180/3100 (27 Feb. 63), Sec. 2) On November 9, the Joint Chiefs extended the deployment of Hard Surface until December 31 in JCS telegram 3520, DTG 091747Z Nov 63. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia)

Sincerely yours,

Phillips Talbot/6/

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


355. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33-1 JORDAN. Unclassified. Drafted by Kinsolving on October 31, cleared by Wehmeyer and Campbell in draft, and approved by Davies. Sent to Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Jidda, London, Tel Aviv, USUN, Ankara, Athens, and Tehran.


Washington, November 7, 1963, 11:07 a.m.

Jordan Waters

FYI: The following information on the plan for unified development of Jordan Valley waters ("Unified Plan") is based on the Department's authoritative summary of January 31, 1956./2/ This, in turn, was derived from the Memoranda of Understanding between Ambassador Eric Johnston with the Israelis dated July 5, 1955, and with the Technical Committee of the Arab riparian states dated October 11, 1955. The present summary should in no circumstances be presented as substituting for, or amending, the contents of the Memoranda of Understanding.

/2/The summary was written by Oliver Troxel, who had been on the staff of the Johnston Mission, and was distributed to the parties informally by the Department of State at the end of the negotiations. A copy of the summary is ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 229, Jordan Waters Jordan Valley Plan--January 31, 1956.

At the conclusion of Ambassador Johnston's negotiating missions with the Arab states and Israel, he was informed in September 1955 that from the technical viewpoint this Plan was acceptable to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. End FYI.

1. Basic Premise

The main premise of the Plan was that the reasonable needs of all in-basin users in the riparian states must be provided for before out-of-basin uses can be considered. Particular care was taken to assure to Jordan, as the primary beneficiary, the largest amount of water which could be economically captured and used in its cultivable areas of the Jordan Valley. The share accruing to Israel represented the residue after equitable Arab claims had been deducted. There was in 1955 clear understanding that this Israel share could be used legitimately either in or out of the basin.

2. Storage

A. The Upper Yarmuk: The Plan envisioned construction of a dam on the upper Yarmuk River to impound 300 million cubic meters (mcms) of regular flow of Yarmuk River water, and to generate 150 million kilowatt hours of electric energy a year.

B. Lake Tiberias: Since no dam on the Yarmuk can economically capture and store all Yarmuk flows, the Plan proposed storage of flood waters, which are absolutely essential for complete irrigation of Arab lands, in Lake Tiberias for the "account" of Jordan. Averaged out over a period of years, these flood flows would amount to approximately 80 million cubic meters a year.

C. The Hasbani: The Plan provided for a survey to determine the feasibility of constructing a storage dam on the Hasbani River to assure that water allocated to Lebanon could actually be made available.

3. Division of Water

International law recognizes that each of the nations on an international river system has a right to an equitable portion of the water. Since there is no single, generally accepted principle on which the division of water can be based, in the present Plan the basic principle was adopted of assuring to the in-basin users enough water to meet the needs of all their lands that could feasibly be irrigated. In accomplishing this objective, the Plan divided the waters as follows, in mcms:

To Lebanon

35 mcms from the Hasbani

To Syria

20 mcms from the Banias


22 mcms from the Jordan


90 mcms from the Yarmuk


132 mcms total

To Jordan

377 mcms from the Yarmuk


100 mcms from the Jordan


243 mcms from the side wadis of the Jordan


720 mcms total

To Israel

25 mcms from the Yarmuk

The Plan stated that except for the above withdrawals and deliveries the waters of the Jordan River would be available for Israel's use. The Plan further stipulated that if and when it became possible to collect and channel off the highly saline water from certain springs in Lake Tiberias, half of this saline water so diverted, amounting to 15 mcms, might be considered part of Jordan's 100 mcms share of upper Jordan waters from Lake Tiberias.

4. International Supervision

An essential ingredient in the Plan would be an impartial body of water engineers, none of whom would be a national of any Arab state or of Israel, or be in their employ. This body's functions would include ensuring that no project inconsistent with the Plan be undertaken, establishing patterns for and supervising withdrawals and releases of water, making calculations for releases, keeping records, and making reports.

5. US Public Position

The Unified Plan was negotiated by the United States and the riparian states pursuant to UN survey recommendations such as the 1949 UNCCP Clapp report and the 1953 UNRWA-TVA-Charles T. Main report. Technical representatives of the riparian states, in collaboration with whom the Plan was devised, unanimously endorsed it and submitted recommendations favoring it to their respective governments. Although the Arab League Political Committee failed to endorse the Plan on a political basis and returned it to the Technical Committee for "further consideration", the negotiations were carried out in an international atmosphere, no feasible alternative to the method of reaching the necessary international agreement on this issue has been suggested, and no comprehensive proposal for the equitable distribution other than that outlined above has been formulated since the technical agreement by any body of technical representatives of either party. The US therefore considers that the Unified Plan represents the tacit but effective consensus of the international community.



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

Washington, November 9, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF-12 UAR. Secret. Drafted by Russell on November 7 and cleared by Talbot, Davies, Johnson, and Robinson and Stoddart in substance.

Letter from Israeli Prime Minister

The enclosed letter from Israeli Prime Minister Eshkol is a reply to the President's letter of October 3, 1963./2/ The main points are:

/2/The enclosure is not printed. A memorandum from Komer to Kennedy, November 5, also commented on Eshkol's November 4 letter to Kennedy that was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram 518 from Tel Aviv, November 4. (Ibid., POL ISR-US) Komer's memorandum is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 11/1/63-11/6/63. For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Israel. For the President's letter, see Document 332.

1. Appreciation for the United States commitment to deter or halt any aggression on Israel;

2. Need to strengthen this commitment in view of the evolving situation in the Near East;

3. Need to keep pace with U.A.R. missile progress to maintain deterrent against aggression;

4. Imbalance between Israeli and U.A.R. armored and naval forces;

5. Financial burden of maintaining a deterrent balance exceeds the capacity of small states such as Israel;

6. Hope that Israeli appraisal of arms balance to be given November 12 in Washington will receive earnest and positive consideration.

The thrust of the letter is that in the absence of a formal U.S. security guarantee, Israel must seek alternative means to assure its security in the face of U.A.R. missile and sophisticated weapon development and its conventional arms build up. Mr. Eshkol concluded that Israel will not possess the necessary capacity in the near future to deter aggressive U.A.R. moves without considerable help in obtaining ground-to-ground missiles, tanks and increased naval power.

The Eshkol letter clearly is designed to set the tone of the November 12 U.S.-Israeli talks on U.A.R. missilery proposed by the Secretary to Mrs. Meir as a result of their meeting September 30./3/ On November 12 the Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence will give Israel's appraisal of U.A.R. military capabilities. We understand they intend to concentrate on the urgent need for secret U.S.-Israeli staff consultations and on making the November 12 talks the base for future discussions.

/3/See Document 331.

The care and thoroughness that has characterized Israel's preparations for the November 12 talks, beginning with Foreign Minister Meir's meeting with the President December 27, 1962/4/ and ending with Prime Minister Eshkol's letter, suggested that Israel all along may have discounted the possibility of obtaining a U.S. security guarantee and even now entertains little hope of obtaining missiles from the United States. Israel, however, may want to have our refusal in hand for public use in justifying open collaboration with the French or in explaining some new development in its existing missile or nuclear development programs.

/4/See Document 121.

In the November 12 talks we hope through open and frank responses to convince the Israeli representatives of our sympathetic interest in their security concerns and of our genuine desire to help Israel to the best of our ability. We will press the view that U.S. ability to deter aggression against Israel makes less imperative the need for Israel to maintain clear military superiority over the U.A.R. in all fields and underlines the futility of large expenditures of time, effort and money on a spiralling arms race. We will stress that Israel's acquisition of missiles could result in a Soviet supply of missiles to the U.A.R. and that a missile race increases the chance of a missile exchange in which Israel as a small, compact target would inevitably suffer most. Consistent with the President's letter of October 3, we wish to avoid moving toward 1) joint contingency planning, 2) further periodic military consultations, 3) sales of missiles and sophisticated weapons or 4) sales of heavy, offensive conventional weapons.

The Department prefers to defer a reply to Prime Minister Eshkol's letter pending the conclusion of the November 12 talks and the receipt of the further communications he said he would send regarding Israel's security concerns.

Marion A. Baldwin/5/

/5/Baldwin signed for Read above Read's typed signature.


357. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to Senator J. William Fulbright/1/

Washington, November 11, 1963.

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

The President has asked me to pass to you for information the substance of a message over the week end from Ambassador Badeau in Cairo. Ambassador Badeau reports that when Mayor Brandt had a long session with President Nasser on November 8, Nasser spent a large part of the meeting speaking bitterly and at length against the American tactics of using aid to put pressure on him. He is reported to have said that the UAR emerged from the Suez crisis convinced that it could not depend on the Western world, but that American policy in this Administration had made him hope that this judgment could be reversed. It now seemed clear that he would have to go back to 1957.

Other dispatches from Cairo make it clear that the Gruening Amendment/2/ has had a strong impact there, but unfortunately the effect is the opposite of what supporters of the Amendment must have intended. On the evidence so far, there seems no alternative to the conclusion that we make people more, and not less, nationalistic by actions which seem to them to be "neo-colonial pressure."

/2/On November 7, by a vote of 65 to 13, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment to Section 620 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, introduced by Senator Ernest Gruening, that would withhold U.S. foreign aid, including agricultural sales, to any country that the President determined was engaging in or preparing for aggressive military action against the United States or any country receiving U.S. assistance. (Circular telegram 884, November 8; Department of State, Central Files, AID (US)) In circular telegram 889, November 9, the Department of State informed posts of an intense campaign being mounted in the U.S. Senate by opponents of aid to the United Arab Republic, particularly Senators Kenneth Keating, Jacob Javits, and Ernest Gruening. (Ibid.) The amendment was subsequently amended to exclude suspension of the Peace Corps and the Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The final bill was signed into law by President Johnson on December 16. (P.L. 88-205; 77 Stat. 387)

McGeorge Bundy/3/

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


358. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Rusk and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot)/1/

Washington, November 13, 1963, 2:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Drafted by Bernau.


Sec said Hickenlooper is shortly planning to introduce into the FRC a resolution that would express the sense of the Senate that since the Yemen disengagement has not been carried out we should reconsider our recognition of it. This could be buried in Comm but he feels Faisal has the impression we have let him down. It will be known as there will be a speech. T asked if it would be helpful for him to talk with Hickenlooper. Sec asked how damaging would this be? T said it would be unhelpful. Sec said to draw a distinction between its being introduced and acted upon. T said things are not good with the Arabs generally. Things could become eruptive again. T said if he could wait until Jan in the new session and see whether our intensive efforts in this 60-day period bear fruit then he would be less able to say we should oppose this effort of his. This is the almost last extension of UNYOM. Sec asked if T thinks the hint of the possibility of withdrawal of recognition would serve any purpose. T thinks what we are doing is far more revolutionary than that. Sec asked T for a list of points in connection with the various problems we are having with the Arabs and mentioned those relating to Yemen.


359. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

Washington, November 13, 1963, 9:11 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF-12 UAR. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Russell, cleared by Davies and Jernegan, and approved by Talbot. Sent to Tel Aviv and repeated to Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, and Jerusalem and by pouch to Kuwait and Taiz.

897. For Ambassadors from Talbot.

US-Israeli Talks

Talks with Israeli representatives on UAR military threat involved two three-hour sessions under chairmanship Talbot November 12-13./2/ First session devoted to Israeli presentation consisted half hour general intelligence assessment UAR order of battle and one-hour discussion UAR missile and sophisticated weapon capability. Balance on over-all UAR military threat concentrated heavily upon talks and conventional weapons. UAR missile threat characterized useless for military targets but capable disrupting Israeli mobilization effort by strikes upon heavily populated areas. Also possession missiles might encourage over-confidence in UAR offensive capability precipitating general conventional and non-conventional attack. Only comment to query on status Israeli missile program was certain preparatory studies made, but still need much money, knowledge, and know-how to get into business.

/2/A November 23 memorandum from Read to Bundy transmitted a summary of the transcript of the November 12-13 US-Israeli talks. (Ibid.) The summary is in the Supplement, the compilation on Israel. Additional documentation concerning the talks is in Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 304, U.S.-Israeli Talks, November 1963; Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7275, US-Israel Discussions on UAR Missiles--November 1963; and National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 9180/9105 (2 Dec 63) Sec.1, which contains a stenographic transcript of the proceedings.

Second session comprised military critique Israeli presentation stressing 1) exaggeration UAR tank and naval threat and 2) US doubts about UAR missile and sophisticated weapon capabilities. Following discussion period Talbot made summation:

1. Both sides appear agree UAR missile capability limited.

2. Acquisition missiles by Israel would cause intense UAR effort obtain Soviet missiles, thus enhancing rather than reducing threat war in Near East.

3. Resulting cold war polarization in area would cause more difficulties for Israeli security than does present UAR missile capability.

4. Secretary and President concerned about escalation arms race in Near East.

5. Any suggestions on how to effect arms limitation welcome.

6. Nasser well aware UAR could not attack Israel without sparking seriously damaging non-Israeli reaction.

7. Israel has assurances given both publicly and in bilateral official communications of deep US concern for Israeli security and intent to safeguard it.

8. If in pursuit this goal US should choose course of aligning itself with Israel through security guarantee, joint planning and arms buildup, Arabs would react by seeking similar arrangements with USSR.

9. Resulting cold war polarization detrimental to US security interests as well as to Israel's.

10. We perceive tacit but growing Arab acceptance of Israel and desire avoid steps that would reverse this trend.

11. Would hope Israel in addition to military preparedness would see value in pressing forward toward accommodation with Arabs.

12. US appreciates frank expression Israeli views and would be glad receive through military attaché channels further pertinent information Israeli reps indicated they wished supply in response some questions raised in our critique.

Ambassador Harman responded he appreciated discussion and US concern for Israel security and would like take away from conference areas of agreement:

1. There is minimum margin safety below which Israel defense capabilities must not be permitted to drop.

2. Minimum margin safety for tanks ratio one Israeli to two or three Arab.

3. Based upon this minimum margin, necessary replace with new tanks 300 out-moded Sherman tanks and acquire additional 200 to meet anticipated UAR tank build up by 1965.

4. Principle minimum margin safety also applies to Israeli naval defense requirements.

5. No great difference over facts on UAR missile capability. UAR has missile, corps experts and working improve weapons in inventory. Economic cost production unimportant to UAR.

6. Israel fears possession missiles plus military build up in other areas could trigger UAR offensive.

7. UAR has missiles in production and far more advanced in this field than Israel.

8. Israel supports concept total disarmament coupled with mutual inspection but no indication readiness any form disarmament on other side.

9. Israel looks forward to continuous association along lines present discussion.

Talbot concluded purpose talks not reach agreed conclusions but merely exchange views on Israeli intelligence presented.

You should disabuse Israeli officials regarding conclusion any agreements on UAR military capabilities, Israel's needs, or any intent that November 12-13 talks should be base for future discussions.

More detailed report after study transcript talks.



360. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, November 14, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel. Secret. Drafted by Komer on November 18. Copies were sent to William Bundy, Sloan, Talbot, and Kitchen.

General Rabin, Major Ron and Minister Gazit came in November 14 for a recap on the week's US-Israeli talks on UAR military capability. The discussion began around a 1:250,000 map of Israel, with General Rabin describing probable UAR offensive tactics. He said the Egyptians slavishly follow Soviet tactical doctrine (partly because this minimizes need for individual initiative). So they would use a set-piece attack learned from the Soviets, which relies on an initial heavy artillery barrage followed up by mechanized and infantry units to breach defenses, then by armor to exploit. He expects the main Egyptian thrust across the border immediately south of the Gaza Strip around Korem Shalom, with perhaps a secondary push farther south near Quezio't. He didn't think Nasser would dare deploy units in the Gaza Strip itself; they would be too vulnerable. He discounted an Egyptian attempt to link up with Jordan across the Negev. If they tried to link at all, he thought it would be in the narrow southern tip near Elat. This would give Israel little problem because it was so far from Israel's "heart".

In response to my questions, he ranged over some of the AT weapons Israel would rely on. Certainly they would employ AT mines but only to defend certain fixed positions. Defense of the whole border this way required too many mines, and anyway the Egyptians can easily breach mine fields. (I said I thought he over-estimated the courage of Egyptian soldiers.) The Israelis hadn't had much luck marrying the SS missile with the helicopter. They found that perfect accuracy requires the helicopter to hover within range of ground machine guns. The SS-10 wasn't much good, although Israel had "several hundred"; they would get more SS-11s, however, and mount them on half tracks, rather than jeeps as we did, because they thought the gunner needed a little protection. He also compared the limited fuel capacity of Israeli tanks (about five hours) with the Soviet T-54, which has a 15-hour range. He said they needed increased fuel capacity to exploit the greater maneuverability of their tanks compared to those of UAR.

I then told General Rabin I wanted to summarize informally my impressions of our two-day session. Despite Ambassador Harman's masterful summation, I felt there was still a substantial difference between our estimates of UAR capabilities (Rabin nodded agreement). I said I regarded the Israeli intelligence estimates presented to us as typical high side, gross capabilities estimates which our own services often tended to make, especially when confronted with evaluating a new order of threat, e.g. missiles. I cited our own experience of miscalculating Soviet intentions in our original estimates of our "missile gap." We recognized that the Egyptians could achieve the kind of force goals the Israelis forecast, i.e. the Israelis were in the ballpark, but we didn't think they would.

For instance, we doubt that the UAR now has an operational missile capability with 80-100 missiles or would spend the more than $500 million it would take to build a 1000-missile inventory by 1968. We don't have convincing evidence that UAR is going ahead with that kind of production, or can achieve a militarily effective system even if they do. Since Rabin agreed with us that these missiles would have no value against military targets but only in terrorizing urban population and perhaps disrupting mobilization, why couldn't the UAR get the same psychological effect with 100? In sum, don't differ much on the present technical evaluation--but chiefly on where the Egyptians are headed. Rabin interjected that this is the crucial question because he has to order hardware now to meet the 1966-7 threat.

I then chided Rabin about the way in which Israeli intelligence seemed to be overselling the top political level of the Israeli Government about UAR unconventional capabilities. The way in which PM Eshkol and FM Meir spoke had conveyed the impression that Israel had much harder evidence in the nuclear, RW, CW, and now missile fields than turned out to be the case. I cited Eshkol's letter as flatly describing a serious military threat against Israeli airfields, which Rabin and Yariv then dismissed. In sum, while we do see the possibility of a gradually widening deterrent gap, we question Israel's estimate of its likely size; we hope the talks have narrowed our difference.

Rabin countered by describing the problem in psychological terms. The danger, he said, would be Nasser's overconfidence (as a result of having a big missile force) that he might pull off a successful quick strike. The question is not how militarily effective Egyptian missiles are (though the Egyptians are improving their accuracy), but what the Israelis must have to deter an attack. Nasser has apparently decided to put missiles into production, even though his R&D hasn't yet achieved military desirable accuracy. It is obvious he believes the simple fact of having them is a major asset. I asked if this alone was sufficient to justify Israel investing in a very expensive counter-deterrent, of marginal military value compared to what else could be bought for the same money. Rabin admitted that, in purely tactical and monetary terms, the Israelis might do better by investing in armor rather than in missiles. But that judgment, he argued, didn't take account of the psychological deterrent value of missiles. Moreover, while he as a military man might accept some civilian casualties, the political leaders couldn't think in these terms.

I then told Rabin we had a much lower opinion of UAR naval capabilities than they. In general we doubted UAR technical and tactical proficiency would be sufficient to exploit properly the Soviet vessels they'd gotten. Anyway, what good did all those destroyers and subs do in a quick 3-5 day campaign? Rabin said we couldn't escape the Navy question by arguing numbers. He cited the threat of Komar-based cruise missiles to Israeli power plants, all of which were near the coast, and to coastal cities. When he talked with Admirals Ricketts and Taylor this very day, they hadn't seemed to know of any very effective answer to the Komar. Attack from the air seemed the best answer, but Israel couldn't spare aircraft for this purpose.

He then launched into a description of Nasser's master plan as depending heavily on surprise and on a crippling initial blow. Nasser realized he didn't have the logistical base to support a sustained military effort. Also he knows the international situation won't permit local wars to go on more than few days. So he's counting on a quick early success.

I granted that this was the most militarily sensible rationale for making the most of Nasser's capability, if indeed he were contemplating attack. But if Nasser thinks this way, why does he waste his money on things like destroyers and submarines that don't fit this concept? Rabin countered by acknowledging that Nasser probably decided on this sort of naval force shortly after Suez when he saw the need of blocking the sort of limited landings that Britain and France tried. Moreover, we didn't think a big surprise attack with the kind of weapons Nasser had could be decisive in the short period cited. I reiterated General Quinn's argument that if the UAR sought maximum strategic surprise for a missile/jet attack, it would not jeopardize this surprise by bringing such substantial forces forward into Sinai as would maximize the risk of Israeli discovery. Even if the UAR could bring three divisions forward secretly, as in February 1960, was this force enough to permit a decisive thrust, or would it have to pause after a few days till substantial reinforcements could be brought up, thus permitting an Israeli counter-offensive? In any case, after the 1960 experience, the Israelis were taking precautions against being surprised in this manner again; I noted their overflight program (which General Quinn had pointed out).

I reminded Rabin that we did not accept Yariv's argument that the UAR had a blank check for anything it wanted from the Soviets. We had indications this was not wholly the case. But the best evidence was the fact that Nasser was going in for a "home-grown" capability in several key categories--missiles, jet fighters, and APCs. Didn't this indicate he feared he might not be able to get all he wanted from the Soviets? Wasn't it reasonable to assume Nasser felt the same way about Soviet support as Rabin felt about US help? Moreover, we doubted that the UAR would become "dangerously overconfident" about the military effectiveness of its homemade weapons. The Egyptian scientists surely could draw their own conclusions about the accuracy, reliability, and salvo capability of the Victor and Conqueror. Would they really think they could fire off 1000 or even 500 of these within twelve hours, or even 48? So I hypothesized that, instead of directing all its efforts toward an effective striking capability against Israel, the UAR was seeking generalized prestige and psychological advantage through being the only Arab country which could produce its own rockets and jets. Why should it build 1000 primitive missiles to prove this point? This would be an extremely expensive operation for a country so poor in hard currency. Rabin disagreed that Nasser was only after prestige. He warned against assuming Nasser would act on the same military assessment of the value of his weapons that we have.

Rabin noted that I had not mentioned their tank estimates. He alleged that our attempt to dispute numbers yesterday had been an evasion. I countered that it seemed to me to be simple misunderstanding--they had counted SU assault guns as tanks, and we had not. He granted that their last year's figures had not done so, but they had found out that the UAR was going to use the SUs as AT weapons rather than artillery, so they'd switched to including them with the tanks. I granted that the USSR could provide 600 additional tanks by 1967-68 but said neither we nor they had any firm evidence; their estimate was a strict TO&E projection. So I felt we could neither accept nor reject their estimate. I conceded that they had a problem about modernization of their armor, but the risk was that if they bought more tanks this would simply egg on the UAR to buy more Soviet models than otherwise likely. In sum, we did not see the conventional deterrent gap as becoming so wide as to create the serious additional risk of UAR attack they seemed to see. Moreover, we felt they weren't taking adequate account of the inferiority of the Arab soldier as compared to the Israeli.

When Rabin emphasized that Israel must have sufficient strength in every key category to deter UAR attack, I switched to the US role in such deterrence. Citing Phil Talbot's point that the Arabs almost certainly believed that the US would intervene immediately if they attacked Israel (Rabin shook his head), I argued that even if Nasser could achieve an initial advantage he could count on losing it rapidly as we and others got into the fray. So what would surprise attack get him, unless he could eliminate Israel by such a blitzkrieg that our intervention would be too late? We did not see him, even under the worst case assumptions just presented by the Israelis, as being able to do so. Nasser could see that we had tactical air as close as Adana, the Sixth Fleet was nearby, UK Bomber Command was on Cyprus. Having just reviewed our own capabilities before the recent meetings, we were confident we could meet any need. Why did Israel always seem to question our will or ability to react, which we had underlined again and again both publicly and privately?

Rabin said he would give me three candid reasons why Israel regarded US assurances as not being comparable to our commitments to NATO and other allies. First, they were not against a Communist enemy. The US would fight if their chief opponents attempted aggression, but it might be a different matter where no Communist enemy was involved. Though Communist influence certainly affected Nasser, he could not honestly claim that the UAR is Communist. Second, we had open formal treaty commitments to our other allies but not to Israel. These open commitments were a stronger deterrent. Third, we did joint planning under our other alliances, and this was essential to make them militarily effective. He illustrated this last by saying that in the desert dust it was very hard to tell friendly tanks from enemy without pre-arranged recognition signals. They'd shot up a lot of their own tanks in 1956. Without prior staff consultation, how could our intervention be militarily effective? He very much doubted that we'd bomb Cairo, for example. But even so, what would happen if US and Israeli planes arrived over a target simultaneously without ways of recognizing each other?

I strenuously objected that these were differences of form, not kind. The primary reason why we questioned the value of formal bilateral security arrangements with Israel was that, without adding anything to our existing determination to act, these would drive the Arabs to seek compensatory arrangements with the Soviets, thus bringing the USSR right back into the Middle East. They would stimulate further Arab demands for Soviet arms. Why make such a counterproductive gesture?

Our chief policy aims in the Middle East were (1) to forestall Soviet penetration of this strategic area; (2) protect Israeli independence; and (3) maintain access to Middle East oil. Keeping the USSR blocked out of the area directly served the other two objectives, and was at least as much in Israel's security interest as ours. And it was Soviet arms sales to the Arabs beginning in 1955 which created the military threat to Israel. So here was the real problem--how to prevent a competitive arms race. We ourselves had contributed to this situation by our policy in the mid-fifties vis-a-vis Nasser. It was in reacting to US/UK policy that he turned to Moscow, and we didn't want to make this mistake again. Indeed we felt the Soviets had lost considerable ground in the area (Rabin agreed); it was emphatically in Israel's interest as well as ours to forestall a polarization of forces in which we backed Israel exclusively and the USSR backed the Arabs. Then Israel would truly have to become a garrison state.

Why, after our consistent support of Israel over the years, our extensive financial aid, and our repeated declarations since 1950 (most recently the President's 8 May statement and letter to Eshkol), did Israel still question our reliability? Rabin cited the 1947-48 experience as making Israel wary. When the Arab armies invaded, no major power helped them and the US actually embargoed arms shipments. They only beat back the Arabs because of the Czechoslovak arms they got. I retorted that much had happened since 1948, and we certainly supported Israel as a going concern. He said he had a long memory. (Obviously, his personal experience in Jerusalem weighed heavily here.)

Gazit interjected that Israel felt it could depend on us, but that it couldn't let its own margin of safety become too thin. Because of the increasing threat, Israel needed either stronger security guarantees or a stronger deterrent posture. Rabin added that Israel could not depend solely on assurances of outside support. It must be able to defend itself come what may.

I rejoined that we did not feel they should rely solely on outside assurances either. We recognized their need for a reasonable deterrent posture. We had helped subsidize it and even contributed directly to it, most recently via the Hawk sale. Where the difference seemed to lie was between their estimate that the threat was becoming so great as to require major defense add-ons and our more confident estimate that they remained quite superior to the Arab states. As we saw it, this plus our assurances seemed to fill the bill. They and we should think hard before Israel embarked on such major new programs as acquiring 500 new tanks, 100 SSMs, and a much larger navy.

According to General Rabin, Israel greatly appreciated our private assurances of help, but couldn't rely solely on them, or expect them to be effective without the sort of joint planning allies must do. Furthermore, the deterrent value of vague public statements and private assurances was significantly less than that of a formal alliance. The only long run hope for Israel was to kill the last cell or Arab hope for the destruction of Israel. Until that hope disappeared, he saw no chance for normal Arab-Israeli relations. I said I was sure Nasser understood our determination to defend Israel every bit as clearly as if we had a formal alliance. Rabin disagreed.

I told Rabin we hoped for more information on Israel's own plans. We had heard, for example, that they were interested in a French solid fuel missile being developed by Marcel Dassault. Did they intend to buy these or develop their own? Rabin said they were interested in this missile, but had made no decisions on what to go for or how many yet. They were still studying the possibilities. When I suggested they seemed to have decided not to build their own missiles but to buy them elsewhere, he denied this. However, I took the occasion to underscore Talbot's point that if they deployed superior missiles with good accuracy, Nasser would almost certainly seek Soviet SSMs; he'd know his own homegrown missiles wouldn't suffice to counter such a threat to him. Thus Israel would have spurred the UAR toward acquiring the kind of capability which might be quite dangerous. What would also spur the UAR on would be its likely knowledge that Israel had a breeder reactor which could, if Israel so chose, be turned to weapons material production, and provide warheads for Israeli missiles. In one sense, this capability might seem to give Israel a real deterrent against the Arabs; in another sense Israel would be opening Pandora's box to a new and unpredictable escalation of the arms race, with new opportunities for Soviet exploitation. We were opposed to such escalation, and above all to nuclear proliferation. If the UAR's so-called "missile capability" seemed so utterly marginal in military terms, why run these risks?

Gazit said that Israel was determined to get missiles somewhere. General Rabin took this up to say that even if their military saw only a "psychological" threat from UAR missiles, it was Israel's political leadership which had to face the country, and to demonstrate that it was taking adequate measures to deter an Arab second round. I was left with the distinct impression that Israel intended to go ahead on SSMs.

Our discussion ended with Gazit's complaint that the intelligence exchange had been "abstruse and academic"; the real question was where did we go from here. Instead of answering, I bridled at his characterization of the talks. We had found them highly useful in clarifying our impressions as to how Israel viewed the Arab military threat. But we still had points of obvious difference in threat assessment, which might need further clarifying. Instead of giving us credit for honest disagreement, the Israelis often seemed to regard us as being evasive. Quite candidly, we on our part often felt that we needed to know more about Israeli plans and programs than we'd been told. So we appreciated the Rabin/Yariv talks.

Walking out the door, I mentioned the advantages of soft shelters for aircraft and of dispersal as complicating enemy attack and reducing losses. Israel had underground revetments for its aircraft, but what about dispersal? Rabin said they planned to build another airfield, probably costing $15-20 million. I asked about using existing airfields; he smiled.

R.W. Komer

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