Message From Ben-Gurion to Kennedy Regarding UAR Threats

(April 27, 1963)


Summary of message from Ben-Gurion to President Kennedy's expressing concern about UAR actions and threats to liberate Palestine..


By the enclosed Note of April 26, 1963, the Israel Embassy conveyed to the Department a personal message from Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to the President..

The Prime Minister's message contains the following principal points:

1. Recent Middle East events (inclusion in the April 17 UAR federation declaration of a promise to establish a "military union" to "liberate Palestine") adversely affect area stability and Israel's security.

2. Israel is not helpless: in a test of strength it can defeat all three but it is not eager for such a victory.

3. Israel finds it difficult to believe that the United States and the civilized world would acquiesce in such an attempt at "liberation".

4. Egypt receives Soviet military assistance and, despite these threats to annihilate Israel, large-scale financial aid from the United States and other Western powers. The latter serves "to set the Russian arms in action against Israel".

5. Most effective in forestalling a disastrous effort at "liberation" would be a United States-USSR joint declaration (a) guaranteeing the territorial integrity and security of all states in the Middle East and (b) promising termination of all assistance to any state which threatens or refuses to recognize the existence of its neighbors. Israel acknowledges uncertainty as to whether the United States would be willing to propose, or the USSR to sign, such a declaration now, but if this suggestion is not feasible "the situation in the Middle East assumes a gravity without parallel".

6. The Prime Minister expresses a willingness to fly to Washington for discussion with the President without publicity.

7. Israel is appreciative of the Hawk missile, but regrets that in the light of new offensive weapons being prepared by Israel's neighbors, the Hawk alone is not a deterrent.

The Department will promptly acknowledge receipt of the Israel Embassy's Note transmitting the message to the President and will prepare a suggested draft reply for the President's consideration.

B.H.


Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII. DC: GPO, 2000.