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1964-1968, Volume XVIII
Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1964-67

Department of State
Washington, DC

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

New York, June 6, 1964, 1:30 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, REF PAL. Confidential.

4390. Reference: Urtel 3171./2/ Subject: Arab refugees.

/2/Not printed.

At dinner last night, Stevenson discussed refugee question with PM Eshkol of Israel. After emphasizing seriousness of problem for both Israel and US in Near East and in UN, Stevenson asked what plans Israel has for dealing with problem. Eshkol replied that he fully appreciated difficulties question presented for us but that Israel had no new suggestions to advance. After expressing firm opposition to Johnson proposal he said that adding 100,000 Arabs to the 250,000 now in Israel, and assuming the present rate of Jewish immigration continued at about 30 to 35,000 per annum, the higher birth rate of Arabs would "create a Cyprus situation" within 25 years. On this assumption he estimated Arab population would become one quarter of total. Arabs will force refugees back into Palestine by various devices and he was not sure that any open-end formula could even restrict repatriation of 100,000.

While extremely cordial and appreciative of US and UN problem, his position appeared inflexible and he advanced sundry arguments as to why any increase in Arab population was hazardous for Israel, including fact that Arabs do not serve in army. Eshkol referred repeatedly to integration of many of refugees into Arab countries and left no alternative but absorption of balance by Arabs.

Following his departure, Jacob Blaustein asked Stevenson if he had discussed refugee problem, adding that if formula could be devised which would limit Arab repatriation to 100,000, he felt confident GOI could be persuaded to accept it in final settlement of problem. Stevenson concluded that Eshkol's official position at least no more tractable than Ben Gurion's.

Plimpton also brought subject up with Peres (Deputy Defense Minister) saying that time pressures had prevented its being discussed in Washington, but that US Government regarded problem as very serious one for Israel and US in Near East and in UN. We realize that there is no overall solution in sight, but we do look to Israel for constructive suggestions that would lead to some partial progress. Peres entirely negative: he said only solution was to abolish UNRWA and turn over decreasing amounts of relief funds to host governments and let them handle refugees pending absorption into local economies. He rejected concept of admitting limited number of refugees on an experimental basis to see what could happen and shied away from compensation problem.



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

Cairo, June 8, 1964, 11 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL UAR-US. Top Secret; Exdis.

2974. Deptels 5566,/2/ 5567, 5592./3/ Near East Arms Control.

/2/Telegram 5566 to Cairo, May 28, referred to a statement Badeau had made in a May 7 conversation with Nasser and warned that any implication that production of fissionable material could be monitored unilaterally not only was factually incorrect but also tended to undercut the U.S. position on IAEA safeguards for the UAR and Israel. The U.S. position at the Geneva Conference and elsewhere was that a complete cutoff of fissionable materials for weapons purposes by the United States and the Soviet Union required inspection. (Ibid., DEF 18-4)

/3/Documents 62 and 64, respectively.

In seventy-minute farewell interview with President Nasser on June 7, I made brief tour d'horizon of specific current issues between USA-UAR as reported Embtel 2975./4/ At close of this I turned to subject of Near East arms control, saying this was one of most fundamental and urgent USA interest in Middle East area. Progress in this field with UAR assistance would form strong bond of mutual interest and would help keep relationship of two countries in balance even when differences on specific matters generated some heat. President Kennedy had inaugurated discussion of this topic beginning with McCloy mission last summer. President Johnson equally concerned in and urgent for it.

/4/Dated June 8. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL UAR-US)

I opened presentation by handing President original copy of President Johnson's letter of May 20 re this subject. I then recalled last discussion (Embtel 2632)/5/ regarding UAR "declaration of intent" on non-acquisition nuclear arms and acceptance IAEA safeguards. President Nasser immediately responded by saying he was prepared to answer President Johnson's letter with a statement that UAR had no intention of building or procuring atomic weapons. As to IAEA, he would be prepared to accept this international safeguard at time construction of nuclear power plant in UAR imminent.

/5/Document 52.

To accept safeguards before any possibility of plant existing would put him in difficult position since he had no reason to issue statement and he would be accused of doing so only under "great power pressure". However, once UAR decided to build nuclear installation it would be appropriate to [accept?] IAEA safeguards and this he was prepared to do. He requested I personally and directly inform President Johnson of this.

In response I suggested statement covering this might be included in same letter that disavowed intent acquire nuclear weapons. We would hope this letter could be discussed quietly and off the record while in draft form to be sure it met purposes both parties. President Nasser opined this would be possible although he did not give me a firm commitment.

I then turned to larger topic of Arab-Israeli arms race, opening presentation with detailed recapitulation of reftel 5592. In connection with this I cited UK newspaper report re possible number of missiles in 1966 and development of CW warheads [garble--possibility] that made international community nervous and would certainly generate matching response from Israel. Nasser said he had not seen article in question but had read report in Bonn newspaper claiming UAR developing nuclear warheads for SSM's. He said this was completely untrue, as letter assurance to President Johnson would make clear. Beyond this I could not draw him out [garble] number of missiles or type of warheads being developed.

On basis above, I expressed deep concern that level of weapon sophistication was rising so rapidly that ultimate explosion in Middle East seemingly unavoidable. Since Israel and UAR now apparently in defensive positions sufficiently balanced to provide mutual security, this seemed logical and most favorable moment to consider how arms level might be frozen. While fully recognizing inhibitions to direct UAR-Israeli contact USG believed that quiet, unpublicized third part action could well bring arms growth to halt, without imperiling reasonable security interests of both parties.

Nasser answered by saying UAR defensive position versus Israel was indeed much better than it had been five years ago. Israel had a certain advantage in ground to air missiles since the country was so small that a dozen Hawk installations would adequately protect its air fields. In contrast, UAR so large with air fields necessary in such scattered areas that protection by ground to air missiles not entirely practical. Hence his military people agreed SSM's as necessary counterbalance to values Israel derives from Hawk installations.

Nasser admitted arms escalation was under way, saying every time Israel acquired more sophisticated aircraft, he had been forced to do same or to seek some compensatory weapon. In the beginning Soviets had sold arms to UAR at 30% discount, but during past few years they had charged UAR full price. This applied specifically to last two purchases of Super MIGs. While recognizing this continuous matching and over-matching of armaments expensive and unending, he had real problem with his military men who kept urging increase of quantity and sophistication of arms. "All military men are alike--American, Russian, and Egyptian," the President said. His problem is how to bring about halt in SSM increments without being open to accusation he has been bludgeoned into this by great power pressure.

I immediately rejoined that it was not great power pressure which urged the move but inherent and inescapable danger of arms race in itself. Unless Israel and UAR could find some way to scale down or stop arms race the day of final conflict marched inexorably nearer. Should such a conflict come, it might be much more difficult to control than was Arab-Israeli clash of 1956. Then only two major powers were involved--USSR and USA. Now a third power has appeared on scene--Communist China. While USSR and USA had made some initial steps toward approaching problem of arms limitation and, I opined, shared mutual interests in avoiding world conflagration, same could not be said of Communist China. President agreed ChiComs a new and intransigent element on world scene. I then traversed again arguments for seeking unpublicized, basic steps towards arms limitation, saying we would welcome any specific ideas he could put forward. This requires broad and statesmanlike thinking and no other Arab leader either in position or with capability to do this but Nasser himself. We therefore would welcome his ideas. President could be sure we would continue to present this topic to him both by Ambassadorial representation and through direct communication between highest Government sources. If at this time he told me that door was closed and this matter was not to be raised again, I would of course report this to my Government. Nasser answered he took no such view and would look forward to further representations on matter.

In course of above presentation I specifically reviewed matter of inspection of production of fissionable material re reftel 5566.

At close of interview Nasser spent some moments discussing our personal relationship, expressed his gratitude for the 43 interviews we have had during the past 35 months, then accompanied me to my car for a final farewell.

Comment: I believe we should now move to rivet down statement on non-acquisition of nuclear arms and IAEA commitment. Although no concrete progress made in general arms control, I believe Nasser is certainly open to further and more specific approaches in this field. I doubt if much will be gained by continuing to urge that he "put his ideas forward." Here as elsewhere Nasser usually reacts rather than acts. Most productive next move would probably be a detailed proposal from USG, probably presented by special and high ranking Presidential emissary to which Nasser can give definite response.



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

Washington, June 8, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Corresponddence File, Syria, Presidential Correspondence. Secret.

When you see Ambassador Knight at 6 p.m., we recommend you give him a brief oral private message to take back to Syria's President. The Syrians have been the loudest in denouncing our Arab-Israeli stand, and in claiming you have changed our Arab policy. Following doesn't give him much, but would serve highly useful purpose of letting him know you care enough about Syria.

"I wish to take the occasion of Ambassador Knight's return to Syria to assure you of the unchanged and unchanging nature of our American policy in the Near East. I intend to continue to pursue it in the same spirit as President Kennedy.

"While I realize that there are aspects of our policy that cannot fully satisfy any country in the area, I hope that you, Mr. President, your Government, and your people will appreciate the friendliness of our position and our desire for good relations between Syria and the US."


/2/This option is checked. The message was transmitted in telegram 462 to Damascus, June 10. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 1 NEAR E-US) Telegram 896 from Damascus, June 22, reported that Ambassador Knight delivered the message to President Hafiz, who stated that he had no doubt about U.S. friendship and friendly intentions but that the Arabs continued to feel "grievance and injury" resulting from the events of 1947-1949. Knight noted that fundamental U.S. policy was unchanged by the Eshkol visit and remained opposed to aggression by either side. (Ibid.)

R. W. Komer


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

Washington, June 15, 1964.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 69 D 492, POL 22/1, Arab-Israel Dispute, May-June 1964. Secret.

The Palestine Problem, 1964-65

We have just concluded a "think-session" outside of Washington on possible new approaches to the Arab-Israel problem. Representatives of AID, IO, PPC, INR, AFN, and CIA, as well as NEA and NE, pooled their background knowledge and imagination in an effort to provide guidelines for future policy decisions. The consensus of the group is set forth in the attached "Possible U.S. Initiatives on Arab-Israel Issues in 1964-65". The recommendations were concurred in by all present in their capacities as participants in the conference, although their concurrences do not represent formal clearances from their respective agencies or bureaus.

You will see from the paper that we didn't discover opportunities for dramatic new departures. I believe, however, the suggestions made therein will help inch the situation forward.




/2/The attachment is unsigned and undated. A copy with the notation "Recommendations Adopted by Participants in Airlie House Discussions in Final Session, June 14," is filed with a record of the discussions described in Talbot's covering memorandum, which were held June 12-14 at Airlie House in Virginia. (Ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 304, Airlie House Discussions, June 1964)

1. U.S. interests in the Near East have long been vulnerable to pressures arising out of indigenous social change, the outward thrust of Arab nationalism against the remaining points of Western privilege, Communist ambitions, and intra-area disputes, particularly the Arab-Israel conflict with attendant military escalation. Nevertheless, we have managed to maintain our basic interests in the area--access, transit, oil, and the integrity of Israel and other states--at relatively low costs. Our objective is to continue to do so.

2. Despite the bellicose statements we hear, neither Israel nor the Arab states are prepared to gamble on settling their differences by war. Neither side has confidence it could win or would be permitted to keep its gains, or even limit the course of hostilities or number of participants. Nonetheless, escalation to sophisticated weaponry and possibly (first on the Israeli side) to nuclears is intensifying the risk of accidental war and decreasing the certainty that we can deter or stop it.

3. Israeli and Arab positions on their principal disputes continue to be set in concrete. At best there is tacit acceptance of most elements of the stalemate. Our minimum objective is to prevent this stalemate from blowing up; if it persists, it might gradually take the shape of a modus vivendi. Our maximum present objective is to find ways to dissolve some of the most dangerous of its aspects. The problem is to encourage the modus vivendi without stimulating Arab-Israel tension by what we do or fail to do.

4. Israeli and Arab capabilities to resist unpalatable compromises continue high. Neither side is particularly responsive to initiatives by the U.N. or by individual nations, including the U.S. In 1964-65 the U.S. should be relatively well placed to use its limited leverage, however. Israeli confidence in U.S. security assurances has risen. Some Arab confidence in the U.S. has been demonstrated and Arab reactions to several difficult developments (e.g., Jordan waters diversion, Eshkol visit) have proved containable. The U.S. can expect to have an active administration with a strong mandate.

5. It follows that certain limited initiatives may be possible.

On the Arms Race:

1. Our objectives are

a. To concentrate above all else on preventing the proliferation of nuclears (which are within the capability of Israel in 2-4 years), and

b. To resist further rocket programs and thus impede the spread of nuclear delivery systems and associated weaponry.

2. In working toward these objectives, we should

a. Press on urgently with efforts to bring Nasser to self-denial of further rocketry and to IAEA inspection of any reactors. He would find this a good deal if it resulted in blocking rocketry and nuclears in Israel. This effort with Nasser should be the early business of our new Ambassador, and perhaps of a special Presidential emissary. After the election, it might call for a visit to Egypt by the Secretary of State or the Vice President, followed perhaps by a Nasser visit to the U.S. Hope of success in this effort would rest on maintenance of effective political and economic relations with Nasser.

b. While working on Nasser, continue pressing against the Israeli rocket program and registering our unalterable opposition to any Israeli activity in the direction of nuclear weaponry.

c. Exploit any breakthrough with Nasser to get categoric equivalent assurance from Israel.

d. Consult with Britain, France, Germany and, as necessary, other Allies on cooperative actions to impede Israeli and Arab development of rocketry or nuclears.

e. Consider a possible understanding with the Soviets on mutual denial of assistance in nuclears and rocketry to Israel and the Arabs.

3. There are also dangers in the conventional arms race. We should be alert to targets of opportunity to restrain and reduce this competition.

Regarding Refugees:

We see no prospect in 1964-65 for another major refugee initiative. Without some U.S. effort, however, the refugee issue could become more troublesome than it is. We can usefully pursue the following limited objectives:

1. Follow up the PCC property identification report by urging Israelis to take some initiative now to accept applications from individual Arabs for settlement of property claims and to enlarge possibilities for the reunion of families. A small office might be attached to the PCC to facilitate this process.

2. Set the stage for expansion of the PCC to five members, leaving the door open for ultimate U.S. withdrawal.

3. As proposed from the 1950's onward, begin devolution of UNRWA to national units working under supervision of individual host states. As a two-year process, this might start with an agreement, to be sought by the UNSYG strongly supported by the U.S., with the U.A.R. to take over administration of relief and works in the Gaza strip.

4. Make some cut in the U.S. contribution to UNRWA for FY-1966, as a means of pressing the SYG and UNRWA to tackle rectification and reduction and look to national management of relief and works.

5. Accept a two-year extension of UNRWA on the understanding that efforts would be made by the SYG along the lines of (3) above.

6. Pre-empt the General Assembly situation by laying the groundwork for a middle-of-the-road resolution.

Other Issues:

1. We should remain steady on our present course of supporting all works in consonance with the 1955 Unified Plan including leadership in finding finances for the Maqarin Dam.

2. We should continue to urge maximum utilization of UNTSO including participation by the parties in ISMAC and EIMAC.

3. We see no prospect of fresh initiatives in this period on such other questions as boundaries, boycott, and freedom of navigation.


74. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, June 29, 1964, 12:45 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. II. Confidential. Drafted by Talbot and Badeau and approved by the White House on July 23. According to the President's Daily Diary, the meeting was held at the White House from 1:02 to 1:16 p.m. (Ibid.)

U.S.-U.A.R. Relations

The President

The Honorable John S. Badeau, Ambassador to the United Arab Republic
NEA--Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs

Ambassador Badeau was received by the President at 12:45 PM for his final call prior to his resignation from government service.

The President opened the conversation by expressing warm appreciation for the Ambassador's fine work in Cairo and regret that he was terminating his service. The Ambassador responded by expressing his own regret that unavoidable personal responsibilities had made his resignation necessary. He had found the post in Cairo challenging and stimulating, and felt that significant progress had been made in furthering American interests in the Arab world as these relate to the United Arab Republic. The Ambassador particularly noted the strong support accorded him by the Department of State and the Administration and said that, in whatever progress has been made, this was a chief factor.

The President then inquired as to the current state of American-Egyptian relations. The Ambassador answered that basic relations continued to be good. Throughout his 35 months of service in Cairo, President Nasser had received him frequently, and the dialogue thus developed had proved highly useful, both in setting forth the American viewpoint and in avoiding incipient conflicts. In recent months, however, the Egyptian Government had been somewhat suspicious that the United States might be changing its policy. While no concrete evidence of such a change existed, the pressures of an election year and the fact of a new Administration made policy-making circles in Egypt unusually sensitive to American actions.

The President then asked what course American policy could most profitably take in the future in relation to the United Arab Republic. The Ambassador replied with a brief summary of American relations with Egypt since the rise of the present Revolutionary Regime in 1952. During this time, the Ambassador pointed out, the United States had followed four distinct policies toward Egypt. The number and variety of these policies indicated something more than changing administrations in the United States, although such changes were naturally a factor in them. Basically it had been difficult for the United States to define and pursue steadily a single policy toward Egypt because there are certain mutual irritants which periodically push the two nations apart. Twice during the last 12 years Egypt and the United States had approached a major confrontation. The first occasion was in 1955, at the time of Egypt's first arms purchases from the Soviet Bloc. The second resulted from the Suez Canal nationalization, and came to its climax in the landing of American Marines in Lebanon in 1958.

On each occasion it seemed as though both countries were prepared to throw their weight into a major confrontation. However, just as this became imminent both parties stopped, being unwilling to take the final step. In effect, they said: "We cannot do this to each other; let us pick up the pieces and try again."

The Ambassador said that the reason for this lay in the mutual capacity to hurt each other's interests, which both Egypt and the United States possessed. Were Egypt determined to do so it could cause considerable trouble for the United States in areas of the Near East where there are basic American interests--as witness the recent Libyan response to President Nasser's call for the abolition of Wheelus Air Base. Equally the United States had the capacity to hurt Egypt in areas such as Yemen, Syria, and Jordan if she were determined to do so. Neither party possessed as great a capacity to hurt as it professed, but the capacity was sufficiently large to imperil certain basic national interests.

It was this fact that had prevented a major confrontation in the past. The Ambassador believed that it would continue to make a major confrontation unlikely in the future unless the U.A.R. should threaten an American interest of so basic a character that the United States would be willing to risk imperiling its position in adjacent Arab lands. This was to say that American-Egyptian relations might well continue to fluctuate between cordiality and opposition, but always avoiding the final step of major confrontation.

If this analysis was correct, the Ambassador said, it suggested that the two countries should strive to develop an on-going relation similar to that in existence between many countries. This relationship assumed a continuing bond based upon mutual interests but allowed room for direct opposition on specific issues. To illustrate this the Ambassador cited the American-French relationship. At the moment there were several aspects of French policy with which the United States strongly disagreed, i.e., the independent nuclear deterrent, certain attitudes toward NATO, opposition to British participation in the Common Market, and policy toward Communist China and Southeast Asia. It could be expected that America would oppose France on all these issues, but neither the United States nor France assumed that such opposition called into question the basic and longstanding Franco-American tie.

The Ambassador suggested that this approach could be taken toward the U.A.R. It was inevitable that both the United States and the U.A.R. would find it necessary to oppose specific policies adopted by the other. Egypt had long opposed American policy toward Israel, while in recent months the United States had been in opposition to U.A.R. policy on foreign bases and the British position in South Arabia. But opposition on such specific issues need not continuously call into question the basic mutual and continuing interests on which a lasting American-Egyptian policy could be built.

During the past three years a good beginning had been made in identifying and supporting these basic and mutual interests. If this support could be continued, the United States might be able to enjoy a reasonable and long-term relation with the U.A.R., yet retain freedom of movement on specific issues.

The President inquired as to whether President Nasser would understand such a sophisticated policy. The Ambassador replied that he thought the chances were reasonably good for its acceptance. During a long and cordial farewell visit with President Nasser on June 7,/2/ the Ambassador had advanced this view in detail. After discussing some aspects of it, President Nasser had replied that this was probably "the only possible policy between the two countries." The Ambassador recognized that it would be difficult for some Americans to understand this approach--and even more difficult for some Egyptians. Nevertheless, it was the only alternative to the "off-again, on-again, gone-again" relation which had vexed the two countries during the past 12 years.

/2/See Document 71 and footnote 4 thereto.

In concluding the interview, President Johnson suggested that he might wish to communicate with President Nasser as a result of this talk with Ambassador Badeau. With this, interview closed.


75. 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, June 30, 1964, 9:42 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Rusk Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Prepared by Rusk's personal assistant Carolyn J. Proctor.


Sec asked if we would sell supersonic aircraft to Israel. T said no. Sec asked why we sell to the Lebanese./2/ T said basically because we are doing for the Lebanese, Saudis and possibly the Jordanians what we would not do for the three main Arab countries on the grounds that Lebanon is acknowledged by Israel to be no threat. Sec said he did not see our selling supersonic aircraft to any of the Arab neighbors if we are not prepared to sell to Israel. T said there was a paper which has been on its way to the Sec since April; last week we asked for the beginning of a study on the implications of the whole idea of military sales; there has been a great change in what is being offered without any policy considerations being given. Sec asked if we asked Israelis if they minded what they would say. T said they would rather we sell nothing to any Arab country but they have accepted tacitly our support of these three. Sec said he had an uneasy feeling that we do not have our policy lines straightened out on this issue; let's give some thought to that; it would be possible for govts in these three to change or for united command to be set up. T agreed; T said he wanted to get whole question of military sales up to high level consideration.

/2/Talbot informed the Lebanese Ambassador on June 30 of U.S. willingness to enter into an agreement to sell 16 F-8A aircraft but not "Sidewinder" missiles. (Telegram 2 to Beirut, July 1; ibid., Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 LEB) A July 7 memorandum from Talbot to Rusk outlined the background of the sale. (Ibid., DEF 19-3 US-LEB) An agreement was signed July 15. (Telegram 68 to Beirut, July 16; ibid., DEF 12-5 LEB)


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

Washington, July 2, 1964, 2:35 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Ball Papers, United Arab Republic. No classification marking. Prepared in Ball's office.

Ball wanted to mention that Lord Harlech said he was sending down an economic study of the UAR which demonstrates the very great dependence of the UAR on the economic assistance we are giving them and the great value of our leverage. He wanted Talbot to know of this.

Ball voiced concern at the wild statement of Nasser about war being unavoidable with Israel. Talbot mentioned the President called saying he would like to recheck the decision on the loan before it became final. Our present plan is to defer action on this for some time and take a good look at it when the American claims have moved farther along.


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

Washington, July 13, 1964, 7:38 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 ISR-SYR. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Officer in Charge of UN Political Affairs in the Middle East Stephen Campbell of UNP, cleared by Paul W. Jones of UNP and Davies, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to USUN, Damascus, and Jerusalem.

34. Ambassador should approach FonOff at highest appropriate level to make following points:

1) We again wish to counsel greatest restraint on GOI in matter of patrolling in and around DMZs./2/ At this juncture with tensions running high it idle to argue over what constitutes violation of GAA and what does not. Important thing is avoid incident which could get out of hand with unpredictable consequences and no benefit to anyone, including Israel.

/2/A July 13 memorandum from Talbot to Harriman states that the Israeli Charge informed the Department of an Israeli decision to resume patrolling that morning in an area where from July 2 to 6 there had been three separate Israel-Syrian clashes. (Ibid.)

2) However if Israel does feel that a show of its right to patrol was necessary, that right was reasserted on July 13, fortunately without Syrian reaction. Accordingly we strongly urge that patrolling again be suspended in order avoid senseless and perhaps dangerous incident. Such prudent course would cost Israel nothing.

3) In circumstances we would also urge GOI suspend any other extraordinary military activity which might be construed by SARG as provocative, especially since Arab dels to MACs reportedly meeting in Damascus. (We referring especially to paradrop reported by ACOS Marsh, but to protect him, you should not mention this specifically unless you have word of it from other sources.)

4) We hope GOI will renew its excellent relations with General Bull when he returns and believe Israelis should take up with him any reservations they may have regarding fairness or accuracy of UNMO's reports.

5) GOI should realize, in event possible incidents are taken to SC, that it will be very difficult to defend any activity which contravenes GAA, whether both sides guilty or not, and if UNMO's initial reports show they unable to establish which side first started shooting.

6) We again ask Israel to discuss recent incidents in ISMAC if ISMAC chairman can arrange that the only item on the agenda will be the recent incidents and not the question of Israeli sovereignty over the DMZs.

You should inform GOI that Ambassador Knight has called on Syrian FonMin and urged restraint on part of SARG./3/

/3/Telegram 55 from Tel Aviv, July 14, reported that Barbour presented these points to Director General Yahil. (Ibid.)



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

Washington, July 22, 1964.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret. Drafted by Symmes and Davies; concurred in by Officer in Charge of Politico-Military Affairs in NR Colonel Donald W. Bunte and Colonel William B. Robinson of G/PM; and sent through Harriman.

Jordanian Arms Requests: A Policy Problem


The rapprochement between the UAR and Jordan and Jordan's participation in the Unified Arab Command (UAC) set up as a result of decisions taken at the Arab Summit meeting in January, 1964 are beginning to pose some nettling problems for us. The attached [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] cable/2/ conveys King Husayn's comments on current pressures on Jordan from the UAR and the Soviet Union to expand its forces and to begin to "standardize" on Soviet military equipment. This graphically portrays the complexities of one of these problems.

/2/Listed on the memorandum as [text not declassified]; not found.

1. The King and his military have been interested for some time in expanding and modernizing Jordan's forces and the "confirmed requirement" for a squadron of twenty supersonic jet fighters, additional tanks, and other modern equipment to be provided at UAC expense is tempting.

2. At the same time, the King has been told by the Egyptians that the primary initiative for the introduction of Soviet equipment into Jordan came from Prime Minister Khrushchev who during his visit to the UAR this spring urged the UAR strongly to pressure the Jordanians to accept Soviet equipment in the interest of breaking the western monopoly on arms in Jordan.

3. The King tells us he insisted in his discussions with the UAC that Jordan could satisfy its need from the United States and was authorized to negotiate for the equipment decided on. If we are unwilling to provide the equipment, Soviet equipment will be delivered either through the UAR or directly from the Soviet Union.

The King's representative, Brigadier Amer Khammash is now in Washington with a shopping list. (He is responding to Secretary McNamara's suggestion to King Husayn during the April visit that Jordan give the United States an opportunity to sell hardware when Jordan had funds from the UAC.) Jordan reportedly is to receive initially five million pounds sterling from the UAC to contract for its requirements. The UAR has "guaranteed" the Jordanians continuing funds and sources of supply even if the UAC should disappear.

Jordan has agreed with the UAC to add the irregular 9,000-man National Guard to the regular army, to alter the army brigade organization to include greater firepower, supporting armor, and increase in the number of brigades and brigade strengths, and to add a squadron of 20 supersonic fighters to the RJAF. Counting on our concern at the prospect of Soviet aircraft in Jordan, they are requesting twenty F-104-G aircraft from us.

Problems Posed

Should we fail to hold the line on sale of supersonic aircraft and other sophisticated hardware to Jordan, we would be subject to pressures from the other Arab states and Israel, thus encouraging the Near Eastern arms rivalry. Israel's reaction to creation of an air cover for Jordan's army, be it made up of Soviet or Western aircraft, is another factor entering the equation. We must also recognize the inevitably adverse effect on the Jordan budget of an expanded and more costly military establishment if UAC/UAR commitments of support are not carried out.

Actions We Are Taking

In coordination with Defense we have developed a position designed to persuade the Jordanians to concentrate on modernization rather than expansion of their forces. We will make clear to Brigadier Khammash, and subsequently to King Husayn, that yielding to UAR/UAC pressure to accept Soviet equipment poses grave risks to Jordan's integrity and to U.S.-Jordan relations. We will seek to persuade Jordan of the disadvantages of acquiring aircraft beyond its present inventory of Hawker Hunters until Jordan can maintain and operate these effectively. If we are unable to accomplish this, to preclude Jordan's being forced to accept MIGs, we will indicate our interest in facilitating Jordan's acquisition of a modern Western, preferably British, jet interceptor. With respect to ground equipment, we are proposing that we assist Jordan in the formulation of a long-range plan for equipping and modernizing its ground forces within Jordan's capability to operate, maintain, and support.

We have discussed this problem informally with the British and are awaiting London's comments on our proposed position. The British apparently are aware that the UAC has advised Jordan not to acquire British military equipment.

The decisions we must take with regard to the Jordanian requests are, of course, relevant to our overall Near Eastern arms policy. The accompanying memorandum/3/ discusses the rationale for continuing our traditional policy. Your reaffirmation of the policy will be useful in setting forth guidelines for the entire Executive Branch.

/3/Reference is to a memorandum from Talbot to Rusk, dated July 21, on the subject "Near East Arms Policy," to which Talbot apparently attached the memorandum printed here. Both were forwarded to Rusk by Harriman as attachments to Document 79.


79. Information Memorandum From the Department of State's Executive Secretary (Read) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/

Washington, July 24, 1964.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 18 NEAR E. Secret. There is no drafting information on the memorandum. Concurred in by Davies and sent through Harriman. A handwritten notation indicates that it was seen by Rusk on July 28.

Near East Arms Policy

Attached are three memoranda submitted by NEA which advocate continuation of our present Near East arms policy. These papers consist of:

a) A summary memorandum (Tab 1)/2/ which notes that our policy is under heavy pressure on three fronts: 1) US balance of payments considerations; 2) the desire of Israel and its supporters for modern US weaponry; and 3) rising Arab arms appetites generated by the formation of the United Arab Command. The particular immediate problem is the Jordanian arms request. The paper concludes that we must continue to hold the line and suggests firmness with Jordan in order to avert a major crisis in our overall relations with the Arabs and Israel. (At Tab 4 is an outgoing telegram to Amman setting forth the proposed US position.)/3/

/2/The tabs are not attached. The summary memorandum is cited in footnote 3, Document 78.

/3/The sentence in parentheses was added by hand. In a list of attachments at the end of the memorandum, Tab 4 is telegram 45 to Amman, July 25. A copy is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 JORDAN.

b) A contingent action memorandum (Tab 2)/4/ which spells out the background and objectives of our present policy and discusses in detail the three pressures for relaxation of our curbs on arms sales. DOD representatives have not concurred, for balance of payments and other reasons, in the NEA viewpoint. NEA considers it essential to reiterate our policy to individual US Government agencies.

/4/The action memorandum from Talbot to Rusk, dated July 15, on the subject "Near East Arms Policy," is ibid., DEF 18 NEAR-E.

The paper recommends: 1) that if necessary you seek Presidential approval for continuation of our established Near Eastern arms policy; and 2) in the absence of DOD concurrence in this recommendation, that you seek Presidential approval for his informing the Secretary of Defense of the decision to follow established Near East arms policy. However, NEA plans further consultation with McNaughton and Solbert and will inform you as to whether differences can be resolved.

c) An information memorandum (Tab 3)/5/ which reviews the background of and the problems posed by the Jordanian arms request and notes that in coordination with Defense we have developed a position designed to persuade the Jordanians to concentrate on modernization rather than expansion of their forces. It points out that the decisions we must take with regard to the Jordanian request are relevant to our overall Near East arms policy, and concludes that your re-affirmation of this policy will be useful in setting forth guidelines for the entire Executive Branch.

/5/Document 78.

H Gordon/6/

/6/Herbert Gordon signed for Read above Read's typed signature.

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