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

Department of State
Washington, DC

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

Washington, July 28, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Komer Memos, Vol. I. Secret.


Tuesday Lunch Items.

[Here follows discussion of Cyprus.]

Jordan Arms. We seem to be heading for a McNamara/Rusk clash. Brigadier Khammash/2/ is here for an answer this week. He's told us that either US must sell a squadron of F-104s and a lot of ground force equipment (to be paid for with United Arab Command fund) or Jordan will have to buy from the Soviets.

/2/Brigadier Amer Khammash, Director of Operations and Chief of Purchases, Jordan Arab Army, was in Washington on an arms purchasing mission. Documentation on his discussions is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 JORDAN, and DEF 19-3 US-JORDAN, and Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A 306, 333 Jordan.

DOD is inclined to bow with the wind and offer F-5As, contingent on the other Arabs actually making the money available to Jordan (which most of us doubt). State is willing to show some give on ground force items, but balks at planes: (1) It would be economic insanity for Jordan to take on a heavy new arms burden--even if the other Arabs paid for the hardware, maintenance alone would be a heavy additional burden on a Jordanian economy already subsidized to tune of $45 million this year by us; (2) if it gets out we're offering planes to Jordan, Israelis may come in with a big pre-election plea for arms too; (3) in any case, these arms are for announced purpose of backing Arab scheme to divert Jordan headwaters--can we be in position of selling arms to support an action we oppose?

Sloan says he'll take issue to McNamara. Rusk personally opposed to selling planes. But issue hasn't ripened to point where LBJ should decide it. Instead he should say that he'll make final decision and wants opposing argument put to him. This is a genuinely tough decision, and best course probably is to show some give on ground force stuff but stall on planes, telling Hussein we have deep reservations so will check our bet till we see whether he can get ironclad Arab guarantees of all the dough involved. But we shouldn't give him a flat turndown now (note our Ambassador's appeal in Amman 55 attached)./3/

/3/Komer added this sentence by hand. Reference is to telegram 55 from Amman, July 27. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 JORDAN)

FYI, Nasser is sending a letter to LBJ; our hunch is it may refer to arms limitations. At any rate, it will give us a peg for a lot of things I've been wanting to say to Gamal about Libya, Cyprus, Yemen, Jordan, etc.



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


Washington, July 30, 1964.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A 306, 452.1 Jordan. Secret.

Sale of Supersonic Fighter Aircraft to Jordan (C)

1. Jordan, as a member of the recently formed United Arab Command (UAC), has requested the United States to sell various types of military equipment, including twenty (20) supersonic fighter aircraft. It has been reported that Jordan will be forced to accept supersonic aircraft from the Soviets or the United Arab Republic (UAR), if the United States refuses to sell them. The State Department proposes to take the position that "The United States cannot provide supersonic aircraft to Jordan at this time."

2. The basis for the State Department position is not known; however, it does not appear to be consistent with decisions of this type for other Arab countries. Lebanon, Libya, and Saudi Arabia have been authorized to purchase supersonic fighter aircraft from the United States, and it is to be expected that these authorizations are common knowledge among all Arab countries.

3. If the proposed US position is reversed and sale of supersonics to Jordan is authorized, certain complications can be anticipated. The reaction of Israel may prove to be a problem, although the US Ambassador to Israel doubts that the accretion in Jordan's military strength would seriously worry Israel. On the other hand, he has information that Israel would be seriously concerned over the presence of UAR instructors, technicians, and other military personnel in Jordan, which can be expected if Jordan procures supersonics from other than Western sources. The UK Ambassador to Israel generally agrees to these views. The over-all effect on the Middle East arms balance would be an addition to the existing numerical superiority of supersonics available to the UAC in comparison with Israel. However, the Free World Air Intelligence Briefs indicate the UAC already possesses 475 supersonics as opposed to 179 in the Israeli Air Force. The addition of twenty (20) more supersonic aircraft to the UAC inventory will not appreciably contribute to the existent imbalance.

4. On the other hand, there are implications inherent in the refusal to sell supersonic aircraft to Jordan. The most significant of these appears to be the potential loss of the restraining influence which the United States can exert on Jordan. Furthermore, the US position of influence likely would be replaced by the Soviet or UAR Government, either of which would be detrimental to Israeli and Western interests.

5. The basic issue appears to be not the selection of a position most advantageous to the United States; instead it appears to be the problem of selecting a US position that is least detrimental to our national interests. If Jordan is sincere in the goal to obtain supersonic aircraft, and there is ample indication that this is true, then it appears that US interests would suffer more if they were provided from Soviet/UAR sources than would be the case if the United States were to provide them. If Jordan and the UAC are not sincere, or the proposal fails for financial or other reasons, then the United States might very well gain by making the offer in principle and not having to fulfill it in the final analysis.

6. CINCSTRIKE/USCINCMEAFSA recommends that the United States agree in principle to sell high performance fighters to Jordan, and further concludes that, with proper phasing and adequate supervision, Jordan could support a twelve (12) to sixteen (16) plane squadron both financially and operationally. Under any circumstances, it is obvious that the United States must eventually consider provision of supersonic aircraft to Jordan if the United States is to remain the source of fighter aircraft. The current Jordanian fighter aircraft is the Hawker Hunter, twelve of which the United States bought for Jordan. These aircraft will become unserviceable over the next few years and a replacement will be required in the supersonic category, since all currently produced fighters are supersonic.

7. In view of the above, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that the United States agree in principle to sell supersonic fighter aircraft to Jordan. The type, phasing of delivery, and other details should be subject to negotiations involving finances, sincerity of UAC intentions, and aircraft availabilities. While the F-5 might be considered as a suitable aircraft for Jordan, the United States should be prepared to offer an appropriate model of the F-104 if necessary to preclude acceptance of UAR/Soviet aircraft.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

David A. Burchinal/2/
Lt. General, USAF
Director, Joint Staff

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


82. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/

Washington, August 4, 1964, 8:37 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret. Drafted by Stoddart and Colonel Donald W. Bunte; cleared by Solbert, John P. Walsh, Symmes, George L. Warren of G/PM, and Macomber; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Cairo and repeated to London.

64. At conclusion August 6 talks,/2/ US officers will provide Brigadier Khammash following resume of USG statements made to him. Resume will be marked "Secret" but carry no external indication of its source.

/2/Telegram 67 to Amman, August 6, stated that Talbot presented the U.S. reply to Khammash on August 6, using talking points transmitted to Amman in telegram 66, August 5, and telegram 71, August 6. (All ibid.)

A. General

1. Keeping in mind that there is no possibility of an increase in US budget support for Jordan, we are deeply disturbed that Jordan's economy and prospects for economic self-reliance may be jeopardized by the threat of new defense burdens.

2. In this context, we think it is essential to consider the serious repercussions to Jordan's economic development program should the UAC supporting contribution be insufficient to cover all military expansion and supporting costs, or should it suddenly be withdrawn or cut off.

3. The US has played a key role in enabling Jordan to develop economically and to contribute to the peace of the Near East. The stability of Jordan as well as the Near East area means a great deal to us. Jordan's plans and what Jordan and the UAR are proposing now represents a change in strategy and a potential threat to the stability of the area. This gives us deep concern.

B. Ground Equipment

1. With respect to Jordan's ground forces, we appreciate the pressures which are being exerted on Jordan by the UAC. To the extent that funds for the modernization, expansion, and continued support are available from other sources, we can understand why Jordan wishes to proceed with the UAC program which Khammash has outlined.

2. Recognizing the basic threats to Jordan's sovereignty and economic development inherent in the UAC proposals, we are prepared to assist Jordan in the formulation of long-range plans for equipping and modernizing Jordan's ground forces within its capability to operate, maintain, and support. To this end, if Jordan can obtain adequate assurance that additional money would be guaranteed by the UAC over a long period for expansion and continued supporting costs and if future Jordanian defense expenditures are held to the current budgetary level, the US is willing to consider selling military ground equipment to Jordan along the general lines of Jordan's shopping list against payments to be received by Jordan from the Unified Arab Command in accordance with the following program:

a. We are prepared to proceed immediately to negotiate the sale of a $7 million first increment of your total ground force requirements with deliveries of equipment to follow within 12 months of a signed contract. This increment would be directed principally at modernizing or filling equipment requirements for existing forces. Subject to Jordan's ability to secure adequate UAC funds for support and maintenance, we would also be prepared to provide in this increment for partial equipping of one National Guard unit converted to the regular force.

b. We are also prepared after negotiating sale of the first increment of $7 million to develop plans for sales against cash payments by Jordan of the additional ground equipment contained in Jordan's total ground force requirements. To facilitate planning and deliveries of purchases financed by the UAC, the US is prepared to consider extension of credit provided that the amount of credit would not exceed $7 million at any one time.

c. The foregoing arrangements would be conditioned on Jordan holding defense expenditures at the current level of 18.6 million pounds ($51 million) and on Jordan providing through UAC contributions and/or from adjustments in its own defense budget, adequate funds for maintenance and support of new equipment and additional forces.

d. To complement the first tranche of $7 million sales, we also are prepared to continue FY 1965 military assistance at the same level as FY 1964. As you know, this includes such major items as M-48 tanks and APC's.

e. The long-term program envisaged above should permit a gradual phased expansion of the JAA which the US would support on an incremental basis, provided UAC funds were forthcoming for materiel and maintenance support. In the event of default by the UAC in the provision of funds, this program would help minimize adverse effects on Jordan's army and economy--particularly if the bulk of the materiel delivered initially went into Jordan's existing forces.

C. Aircraft

We recognize that the Hawker-Hunter will become unsupportable at some point in the future and provision should be made by that time for the introduction of a replacement aircraft into the RJAF. Accordingly, we are prepared to consider the problem of replacement of the Hawker-Hunters by an appropriate aircraft. To ensure that our consideration of replacement aircraft is soundly based--militarily and economically--we propose that a study of Jordan's air requirements, taking into account UAC recommendations, be undertaken in the near future.

D. Our Embassy is prepared to discuss the foregoing matters at further length with you and King Hussein in Amman.



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


Washington, August 7, 1964.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Arabia 091. Secret.

Formal Clearance of the National Policy Paper: United Arab Republic (U)/2/

/2/See Document 45.

1. Reference is made to a memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I-26001/64, dated 10 July 1964,/3/ subject as above, which requested comments and reservations on Part I of the third draft of the National Policy Paper on the United Arab Republic (UAR).

/3/Not found.

2. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the draft policy paper provides a generally effective statement of US policy toward the UAR. However, Nasser's recent opposition to the US base in Libya, his overt and subversive pressures against the UK in Aden, his continued intransigence vis-a-vis Israel, are clearly inimical to US interests and objectives. Therefore, provision should be made to permit a firm policy toward the UAR, as necessary, to protect US interests. At the same time, any "harder" line toward Nasser should be developed with recognition of the possibility that punitive action might place important US interests at risk.

3. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the draft paper should give more emphasis to the possibility that war might break out in the Near East within the next several years. It outlines certain conditions under which Israel might attack; but it does not explain that relatively minor incidents could lead to Arab interference with Israeli activities (i.e., shipping through the Gulf of Aqaba or diversion of Jordan waters) and to Israeli military retaliation. It states that the UAR or Israel might pre-empt in the face of a nuclear threat; but it does not explain that the UAR could erroneously decide that such a threat exists. Such considerations lead to a dangerous possibility of overt hostilities--with related possibilities of escalation and US involvement. It follows that progress in the settlement of basic UAR-Israeli differences should be attempted with a greater sense of urgency than is reflected in the draft paper.

4. While the Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize the complexity of Arab-Israeli problems and the efforts of the United States and the United Nations to resolve such issues, they note that discussions with the UAR and Israel have usually focused on isolated problems. It is suggested that consideration be given to the initiation of appropriate international negotiations on the complete range of Near East political, economic, and security problems. Such negotiations should take into account the wide-range of US actions and inducements which might be used to encourage constructive solutions.

5. Subject to incorporating the views stated above and the specific changes recommended in the Appendix hereto,/4/ the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the draft policy paper provides an effective statement of US policy toward the UAR.

/4/Not printed.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

J. W. Davis
Rear Admiral, USN
Deputy Director, Joint Staff


84. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/

Washington, August 8, 1964, 1:54 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19-3 US-JORDAN. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Killgore, Symmes, and Duncan; cleared by Stoddart, Macomber, Warren, and Komer; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Cairo and London.

78. Amman's 60 to Dept./2/ We expect send you by separate telegram oral message from President to King Hussein/3/ to be used as opener for your meeting with him to explain our position. Following talking points are for use at that time.

/2/Telegram 60 from Amman, July 29, suggested that before Barnes left in mid-August for leave he should review with the King the situation on arms for Jordan. (Ibid.)

/3/Document 85.

As we envisage it objective this meeting with Hussein is to remind him of fundamentals US-Jordan relationship, to explain to him forthcoming aspects our partial compliance with Jordanian request, and to encourage in him the will to take positive stance in future discussions with UAC. Unless King himself has will to preserve integrity of Jordan even full US compliance with Jordanian request would be insufficient safeguard Jordan.

In your discussion with King you should concentrate on positive features our proposals to Khammash (as in resume for Khammash transmitted separately)/4/ and avoid final confrontations on any aspect of package we have developed.

/4/Document 82.

Following talking points incorporating helpful suggestions contained in Amman's 60:

1. USG has tried to be responsive to Jordan arms request. Despite our deep concern over box Jordan may be getting into, package we have developed shows we stand ready to be as helpful as feasible in meeting Jordan's recognized problem.

2. US response must be viewed in context of proven long-standing US support of Jordan. Few countries are receiving as much in relation to size as Jordan is from us. USG support has helped Jordan, perhaps poorest Arab country, to outstrip almost every other in sound economic and social progress. Moreover, firm US position in opposition to aggression against Jordan has protected it against attack. We are sure King in no doubt as to our determination support Jordan's integrity.

3. We are not mentioning the above in an effort to evoke gratitude, but to make clear our bona fides as Jordan's largest, most consistent supporter, which in turn justifies us in asking King to listen most seriously to our counsel.

4. While Jordan fully entitled to legitimate self-defense, we fear UAC proposed military buildup going much too far too fast. UAC proposals, if fully carried out, will distort balance heretofore maintained between economic development and military strength. In first place, military strength cannot be built in vacuum. Rather, it flows as natural consequence from strengthening economic and social fabric of society. UAC buildup would mean additional continuing expenses of at least $30 million annually. If UAC funds fail after buildup has been accomplished, where would King get extra funds to support larger military establishment?

5. Jordan is even now considering its seven year development plan. This plan reflects our mutual agreement on the desirability and necessity of gradually reducing HKJ's reliance on budget support as such. On the one hand we see no possibility of increasing our budget support to meet the ruinous recurring costs which the UAC plan may involve. On the other we stand fully ready to lend generous support for feasible economic development projects.

We sincerely hope King and Jordan will proceed coolly in this situation and avoid being pressured into commitments which could wreck so much of what Jordan and her friends have worked so long and hard to achieve.

6. Given absence of UAC funds, plus lack of assurances of continuing maintenance costs, UAC cannot reasonably expect Jordan go further at this time than USG proposals for buildup. Otherwise, GOJ is abdicating sovereignty to UAC. King needs press this point at September 5 Cairo meetings. Package provided Khammash stands on its own feet.

We are not forthcoming on aircraft because in our view these make no economic, political, or military sense for Jordan. Begin FYI. Even Brigadier Khammash admits Jordan does not need supersonic fighters. End FYI. We believe King can argue point at forthcoming Cairo sessions.

King must realize USG has its own problems. If Jordanian military establishment becomes distorted out of proportion, Congress may not be willing continue support Jordan so generously as in past. Adverse Congressional reaction would predictably be increased if Jordan accepts Soviet military equipment.

We wish HM to know there is no breath of threat contained in foregoing. As good friend we have to make sure he understands our genuine concerns over the threat to US-Jordanian relations bound up in exaggerated military appetites.

7. Jordan's concurrence with Arab decision to divert headwaters of Jordan River is not in Jordan's interests. Arab decision to spend vast sums of money on counter-diversion scheme of Jordan River headwaters makes no sense. Money could much better be spent on constructive projects in Arab countries. Jordan may end up with less water than under Unified Plan, to detriment of its development. (Employ points made in Sections 5 and 6 Reftel.)

8. We hope we can continue rely on HM's assurance to Ambassador Macomber shortly before latter's departure from Jordan that, in Jordan's own interests fundamentals of Jordan's relations with US could not be changed./5/ When Amman agreed exchange Ambassadors with Moscow, King made foregoing assurance. In our view old relationship is being threatened. Can King still assure us it is not? Hussein cannot believe Soviets have any real regard for him. For example, would he expect Soviet assistance if King were overthrown by internal coup or if Jordan attacked from outside? In our view Soviets are clearly engaged in wrecking expedition. We cannot understand HM's failure perceive this.

/5/Reference is apparently to Macomber's farewell conversation with King Hussein on December 23, 1963. Macomber reported in telegram 296 from Amman, December 24, 1963, that the King "spoke of his determination to continue this forward momentum [of Jordan's economic development] and his appreciation for USG friendship and major contributions to progress which had been achieved." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL JORDAN)

We do not wish discuss present sincerity of any Arab leaders. We merely hope King will remember the past. How much faith can he put in constancy of other Arab regimes if sudden shift seemed to dictate casting Jordan adrift? As King knows, we have always tried to maintain good relations with Nasser and have never opposed Arab unity freely achieved. In the past we jointly have considered Nasser's control over Jordan would be bad for Jordan. We assume King still feels same way.

9. So we trust King will keep his head until present situation is clarified. We hope King will agree USG has been understanding and forthcoming in effort to meet his problems. We believe he has enough to seek clarification of overall situation at forthcoming Arab Summit Conference in September. If Hussein comes out of September meetings with cash funds for military equipment, and assurances of annual maintenance support for future, which we jointly consider convincing, we will then consult further with the King on steps that appear most likely to advance our mutual interests.

FYI. As to best time for you approach King, we inclined believe you should not wait until Khammash has returned to Jordan and reported to King. In final session August 6 reported separately Khammash himself urged King be informed as soon as possible. Accordingly we favor your seeing King as soon as appointment can be arranged.



85. Oral Message From President Johnson to King Hussein/1/

Washington, undated.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Confidential. Filed as an attachment to telegram 80 to Amman, August 8, which transmitted the text of the message and instructed the Ambassador to deliver it when he met with the King to discuss Jordan's arms requests. A note on the message in Komer's handwriting states that it was approved by the President at 2:20 p.m. on August 8. The original message, drafted in the Department of State and only slightly revised, is also attached to telegram 80.


Your recent visit to Washington underlined the deep and cordial ties between Jordan and the U.S. For me personally, the visit was an occasion to take stock of the progress that has been achieved in Jordan under your wise leadership and to reaffirm the close relationships between our two countries. I felt your friendship for the US and sensed in turn your appreciation of the factors underlying our policies toward Jordan. I particularly appreciated the truth of your assurances to Ambassador Macomber several months ago that in Jordan's own interest there could be no basic change in our relations growing out of the exchange of Ambassadors between Jordan and the Soviet Union.

No one is in a better position than Your Majesty to understand the sincerity of US interest in a fully independent and progressive Jordan. Our support has been proven over time. It is because I know you understand our great stake in Jordan's continued stability and progress that I want to raise with you may concern over recent developments that could adversely affect Jordan's very integrity. We understand your present problem regarding arms for Jordan. We desire to help you face it--sensibly and realistically--in ways which will preserve our happy relationship and not jeopardize your interests or ours.

So I have asked Ambassador Barnes to review with you my concerns in the fullest confidence and candor. He will speak frankly on my behalf and I shall welcome from Your Majesty a similarly frank and friendly response.


86. Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State/1/

Washington, undated.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, UAR-Nasser Correspondence, Vol. I. Top Secret. Filed with a covering memorandum from Read to Bundy. The covering memorandum is also undated, but another copy is dated August 8 and indicates the memorandum was drafted by Dickman and Symmes and cleared by Gathright, Freund, James W. Spain, Talbot, and Harriman. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 US/JOHNSON)

Nasser's July 26 Letter to the President


That the President express his gratification to Nasser for his letter of July 26 and affirm our understanding of the commitments Nasser has made in his response. A suggested letter is enclosed./2/

/2/Nasser's letter of July 26 is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, UAR-Nasser Correspondence, Vol I. The draft letter is not printed, but see Document 90.


Nasser's letter carries out his promise to put in writing his oral assurances that the UAR will not develop nuclear weapons or introduce them into its defense program. We judge that his response meets our present requirements with respect to the UAR policy on nuclear weapons.

The letter makes two important assertions concerning UAR intent and capability with regard to nuclear weapons: 1) Intent--Nasser personally assures the President that the UAR has no thought of bringing the "terrifying danger" of nuclear war into the region. 2) Capability--The letter states the Egyptian people and government "have neither the effort nor the resources to devote to weapons of total destruction."/3/ The latter clause suffers from the literal translation, which we understand was prepared by the Office of the Presidency in Cairo. As we and the UAR Embassy interpret the phrase from the Arabic text, which is governing, it says that the Egyptian people and their government are neither endeavoring to develop weapons of mass destruction nor do they have the resources to devote to this purpose. Whether the term "weapons of total destruction" might also cover radiological, bacteriological, and chemical weapons would require further clarification.

/3/The paragraphs under reference read as follows:

"In this connection, I assure you that the United Arab Republic, as she resists the possibilities of nuclear war or the impositions of peace through nuclear terror in the entire world, does not think of bringing that terrifying danger to the region she lives in. I believe I hardly need explain the efforts deployed by the United Arab Republic for her development, or the strong and at the same time heroic efforts her people exert to rebuild their life on new bases while faced by the difficulties and obstacles of underdevelopment.

"Through these aspirations and the great achievements to which the United Arab Republic people look forward, our people and their Government have neither the effort nor the resources to devote to the weapons of total destruction."

While Nasser does not suggest any abandonment of his hostility toward Israel, by implication the letter suggests that Nasser does not intend to resort to nuclear weapons to resolve the Palestine problem. The letter clearly rejects the balance of nuclear terror that exists between the West and the Soviet bloc or the imposition of peace by means of nuclear terror in the entire world. The tone and content on Arab rights in Palestine and the absence of any reference to UAR intentions toward its neighbors suggest that Nasser probably had in mind possible publication of this letter. He would of course have in mind the probable reaction of other Arab countries that have accused Nasser of being soft on Israel.

Our favorable assessment of the letter is reinforced by a CAS report that at the recent OAU (Organization of African Unity) meeting in Cairo, the UAR introduced a resolution proposing a worldwide agreement by non-nuclear powers not to acquire nuclear weapons. The resolution was put forward to replace a proposed African denuclearization agreement which of course would not have included Israel. It is our understanding that this resolution received the endorsement of the OAU leaders and that they have expressed their willingness to enter into such an agreement. The resolution has not yet been publicly released./4/

/4/A copy of the proposed resolution is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, UAR-Nasser Correspondence, Vol. I.

In conclusion, we believe that Nasser's private assurances, coupled with the proposed OAU resolution on nuclear non-acquisition, satisfy our requirements with respect to a written statement of UAR policy on nuclear weapons. The proposed letter from the President expresses appropriate gratification and affirms our understanding of Nasser's assurances.


87. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, August 10, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, United Arab Republic, Kamel Visit, 8/64. Secret. Prepared by Komer on August 12. Copies were sent to Harriman, Bundy, Bell, and Talbot. Marginal notations in Bundy's handwriting read: "Approved con amore. McGB." and "You make me so much smarter than I am. McGB."

Meeting with UAR Ambassador, August 10, 1964


UAR Ambassador Kamel

Mr. McGeorge Bundy
Asst. Secretary of State Phillips Talbot
Mr. R. W. Komer

Mr. Bundy welcomed the Ambassador and asked if he'd care to summarize his discussion with the President./2/ Ambassador Kamel did so at some length. Highlights were that:

/2/Kamel met with the President on August 10 from 6:20 to 6:32 p.m. and delivered Nasser's July 26 letter (see Document 86). (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) The meeting is recorded in a memorandum for the record by Komer, dated August 11. (Ibid., National Security File, United Arab Republic, Kamel Visit, 8/64)

(1) Kamel stressed the value of good US/UAR relations, pointing out that US political and economic interests in the Middle East were quite adequately protected as a result of present US policy--not one Middle East country had gone Communist and none were likely to do so; (2) we were managing to keep the Israeli issue in the icebox; (3) the exchange of presidential correspondence was extremely valuable; and (4) Nasser's latest letter made clear that the UAR did not intend to go nuclear. The Ambassador's advice was that the US should now go back to the UAR with a specific program to build on the nuclear assurances received.

Mr. Bundy assured Kamel that President Johnson, like President Kennedy, wanted effective communication with Nasser. Such communication had broken down before 1961, with adverse results to both countries. As a further indication, President Johnson took a direct personal interest in finding a suitable successor to Badeau. In Bundy's opinion he couldn't have found a better man. Luke Battle's appointment would help to keep up the tradition of effective communication which had been built up over the past few years. Bundy reiterated the President's great appreciation of Nasser's nuclear assurances; we would now consider "next steps" as Kamel had suggested.

Kamel remarked that President Johnson had noted the upcoming Arab Summit and neutralist conferences in Cairo and expressed confidence that the UAR would play a constructive role in them. He hoped in turn that the US would be forthcoming in its attitude toward these conferences. Bundy's rejoinder was that "conferences are as conferences do." We had no bias whatsoever against conferences per se, but we naturally hoped they would avoid the pitfalls of bright words and excessive propagandizing. It was a little too much to expect us to be forthcoming in advance, when we didn't know what the participants were going to say. However, Kamel could count on us not to bite unless we were bitten.

Bundy went on to say that the new Administration had tried "ever since we have been here" to develop better relations with the UAR. Bundy himself was a determined "icebox" man. He felt that for the first 2-1/2 years we had made considerable progress in US/UAR relations. In the last year, however, there were some signs that the "icebox" policy wasn't quite so cool. The Jordanians, under some pressure from other Arabs, were talking about a new arms buildup. This would inevitably create counter-demands from other quarters. As for the Yemen problem, it was simply not moving very fast. So we saw a number of issues that made it harder for the US and UAR to move closer together.

Bundy stressed that what concerned us was giving even more concern in the country as a whole and to the Congress in particular, especially in an election year. Not everybody was as sophisticated in their view of US/UAR relations as those who dealt with them regularly. So Bundy asked the Ambassador to make sure that these dangers were understood in Cairo. When Kamel asked him to be more precise about what dangers, Bundy reiterated that they included Yemen, Arab arms, and apparent UAR support for that difficult man Makarios, who was complicating the UN's task. Bundy assured Kamel that in dealing with UAR relations, our starting point was respect for Arab purposes and for the central role of the UAR in Arab policy. We too would like to see our relations closer and to avoid a drift away from the Kennedy/Johnson policy.

In response, Kamel urged that we distinguish between long-range matters and those which were non-essential (by implication Yemen and similar problems); the latter should not be permitted to stand in the way of good US/UAR relations. The important things were that Communists were being kept out of the ME, that Israel was in the "icebox," and that US oil wasn't being disturbed. Kamel then explained at some length his personal role, ever since he had come to the US, in working for good relations. The question as he saw it was how to keep up the momentum achieved over the last few years. For eight months the US hadn't done any real business with the UAR. He--Kamel--understood this matter but the "impatient young men" who ran the government in Cairo were beginning to wonder. The multi-year PL-480 agreement/3/ had done great things for US/UAR relations. Kamel recommended that we begin negotiations on renewal to show our good intentions. He also stressed the importance of development loans. Cairo kept asking where the $20 million stabilization loan was. Third, Kamel felt it important to encourage US private capital to flow to the UAR.

/3/Reference is to an agricultural commodities agreement signed at Washington October 8, 1962, covering fiscal years 1963, 1964, and 1965. For text, see 13 UST 2166.

Bundy felt that the causes of delay on the $20 million loan were not on our side. We had made clear that it could only be given in the environment of three conditions, which would permit us to defend the loan before our own people. He did not believe that the three conditions had been fully met. Kamel granted this, but said that Cairo was taking the loan as proof of whether the US would continue its present policy.

Kamel then said that the fourth thing he would like to discuss was a consortium to support UAR development. He described how Egyptian development was essential to stability. He had not been asked to raise the consortium question, but felt that such a device would help block extreme socialism or communism in the UAR. Bundy regarded the prospects for any consortium as affected by UAR dealings with the UK as a whipping boy. It was hard for the British to join in a consortium when the UAR was causing so much trouble over Aden, for example.

The Ambassador described the UK problem as "a matter of confidence." The UAR had no confidence in UK intentions. The issue now was Yemen. Why couldn't the British accept the YAR? Then all UK/UAR difficulties would disappear. Bundy's view was that nothing would do more for US/UAR relations than some withdrawals of UAR forces which would establish Nasser's intent to carry out the disengagement agreement. Kamel made a lengthy rejoinder the gist of which was why couldn't the US, after the next UK election, use its good offices to get British recognition of the YAR. Present British policy served no useful purpose. In Kamel's view, US policy toward Yemen was far wiser than that of the UK. Bundy granted that it might be difficult to achieve a UK/UAR understanding before October. We had indeed tried several times to bring the UAR and UK together, but neither side seemed inclined to give.

Summing up, Bundy said he was trying to explain that US/UAR relations must be regarded as a "two-way street." It was just as important that the UAR not give disquieting signals to us as that the US make economic signals to Cairo. Kamel wondered whether the issue over Yemen was "troops or something else." In Kamel's view Nasser wanted to withdraw troops, but found it very difficult to do so because of British machinations against the YAR. Bundy thought that it was not just a matter of troop withdrawal per se, but of the damage to the UAR reputation from having agreed to disengagement and not performing. On Mr. Komer's suggestion that we were not going to solve the Yemen matter that evening, the meeting broke up amicably.



88. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/

Washington, August 12, 1964, 7:51 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19-3, US-JORDAN. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Killgore; cleared by Symmes, in draft by Bunte, and in substance by Komer and Stoddart; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Cairo, London, and CINCSTRIKE/CINCMEAFSA.

86. Amman's 84 to Department;/2/ Deptels 64, 76 and 78 to Amman./3/ Department commends your presentation to King Hussein of USG position on arms for Jordan which we had all foreseen would be unpleasant to King's ears. While Hussein's over-all reaction negative, we were encouraged by King's apparent recognition of at least some of dangers and disadvantages to Jordan inherent in UAC arms buildup and by his stated intention postpone any final decisions until over-all situation has been clarified by September Summit Conference. In accordance his request, you should provide King with copy of resume of USG position on sale of military equipment as contained in Deptel 64 beginning with "A. General" and concluding at the end of paragraph "C. Aircraft." Paragraph D should not be contained in summary handed to King.

/2/Telegram 84 from Amman, August 11, reported that Barnes met with King Hussein on August 10, read the President's message (Document 85), and continued along the lines of telegram 78 to Amman (Document 84). (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19-3 US-JORDAN)

/3/For telegram 64 to Amman, see Document 82. Telegram 76 to Amman, August 7, stated that in a meeting with Talbot and Macomber before leaving Washington, Khammash said he found the U.S. package insufficient to withstand pressures from the United Arab Command. He handed back the resume, saying he would prefer not to have to give it to the King. The telegram instructed the Embassy not to give the King the resume until officials in Washington could consider possible revisions in the manner of presentation. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19-3 US-JORDAN)

In oral presentation to King before handing him summary of USG position you should stress once again that USG has done more for Jordan in past and will unquestionably do more in future to preserve basic integrity of Jordan than any other country or group of countries. In light of problems posed for USG by Jordan's arms request, our response to King cannot be viewed as other than generous. We are glad King apparently sees this with respect to ground equipment, as judged by his remark that our suggestions can probably be drawn up in such priority order as to satisfy UAC.

We continue to maintain that a supersonic fighter squadron for Jordan makes no military, political or economic sense. In view total number of supersonic fighters at disposal various countries represented on UAC, we unable understand why supersonic squadron for Jordan could and should have assumed such apparently overriding importance. If UAC had been looking for issue most likely to render permanent damage to US-Jordanian relationship as well as threat to area stability no better could have been found than ordering Jordan to accept supersonic fighter squadron. King says key to present issue is F-104 squadron. This is very issue which faces USG with such impossible choices.

Hussein's argument that Israel might well not be upset if Jordan acquired supersonic US squadron may be well taken. However, apart from internal economic effects on Jordan, this misses main point, namely, if USG provides Jordan with supersonics that symbolize offensive modern military power, little will be left of its Near Eastern arms policy of avoiding becoming major supplier of offensive weapons to countries involved in Arab-Israel context. If we provide supersonics to Jordan, our arguments against providing similar and possibly larger quantities of material to other countries, including Israel and other Arab states, would lose validity. Once embarked on, end of this road would be clear--a polarized situation in Middle East with Arabs lined up with Soviet Union and US in such ill repute in area that King Hussein could no longer afford political liability of being associated with us. We ask the King to search his mind carefully. If he will do so we believe he will see validity of our position.

In summary, we see Jordan's acquisition of supersonic fighter planes at this time as beginning of process that may ultimately destroy relations with US. A MIG squadron for Jordan would be little if any better from our point of view. Congress will simply not understand how Jordan needs such extensive US support if it can afford an expensive supersonic squadron. We think King has good arguments that will make sense to most of other Arab leaders. We hope the King will make these arguments with full force and effect in coming meetings with his fellow Arab leaders. The King must know from past experience that we are with him. We would hope he would remain in close consultation with us and not close any doors at Summit.

FYI. At very least we hope you will get assurances from King that in meetings with UAC next week he will avoid any commitments that will foreclose further discussions with us. End FYI.



89. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson/1/

Washington, August 12, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. II. Top Secret; Exdis. The memorandum does not include drafting information, but another copy indicates it was cleared by Talbot and Gathright. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 US/McCLOY) An attached note in Komer's handwriting states that the memorandum was not used since Johnson was not going to see McCloy, but Johnson did meet with McCloy for 5 minutes on August 14. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) An August 15 note from Dickman to Symmes states that McCloy said he had briefly outlined the high points of his proposed presentation to Nasser, and the President commented that this seemed to make sense and that he hoped Nasser would view McCloy's presence as a symbolic link between the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. (Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 72 D 438, Background Papers for 2nd McCloy Probe w/Nasser, 9/64)

Second McCloy Mission on Near East Arms

Mr. John J. McCloy has agreed to make another probe of Nasser's intentions regarding Near East arms limitation. Mr. McCloy's first probe in June 1963 was followed up by others and eventually resulted in Nasser's letter of July 26, 1964. In that letter Nasser assured you the UAR would not introduce or develop weapons of total destruction. The dialogue begun by Mr. McCloy probably also influenced the UAR to introduce the resolution on nuclear non-acquisition at the recent Cairo meeting of the Organization of African Unity. In our view Nasser's letter together with the OAU resolution satisfy our requirements so far as UAR intentions toward nuclear weapons acquisition are concerned.

The purpose of the present probe is to pursue the question of restraining the surface-to-surface missile rivalry between the UAR and Israel. Mr. McCloy's objective is to let Nasser know we believe we can convince Israel to exercise nuclear and missile self-denial if Nasser will limit his acquisition of major offensive missiles either to the number he now has or to a low ceiling. He will present specific proposals for an arrangement by which this might be done.

Mr. McCloy will see you on August 13 for a final briefing. The following are suggested points:

1. Thank Mr. McCloy for undertaking this new mission.

2. Request he emphasize to Nasser that you share President Kennedy's strong desire for peace in the Near East. This is why you have asked him to see Nasser again.

3. Ask him to deliver your reply to Nasser's letter of July 26 (proposed reply submitted separately)/2/ and to express personally your gratification for Nasser's response and your understanding of the commitments he has made.

/2/Document 90.

4. Tell Mr. McCloy you recognize he has a difficult mission. We would be surprised if Nasser accepted immediately proposals that would freeze his missile effort. Your hope is that this new probe will lay the foundations for frank discussions of the missile question with Ambassador Battle. It will be the important opening session in a dialogue that we hope will convince Nasser to adopt as statesmanlike position on missiles as he has on acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary for Near East and South Asian Affairs, will also attend the meeting.

Dean Rusk

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