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John F. Kennedy Administration:
U.S. Willing To Sell Hawk Missile System to Israel

(September 14, 1962)


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This is a circular telegram from the Department of State to certain post stating U.S. willingness to sell Hawk missile system to Israel.

Israel has been informed US willing sell ground-to-air missiles and UK mentioned also as possible source of supply. However UK has not yet informed GOI of willingness to compete for sale. Details to be worked out later. Possibility of early leak can not be discounted. Accordingly following constitutes stand-by guidance for use quietly with responsible officials of government to which accredited and other leaders only after becomes public knowledge.

We have been consistently reluctant become major supplier of sophisticated weapons in NE. Despite long-standing Israel requests US previously resisted this step. However in view build-up of offensive air and missile capability in area we obliged to respond sympathetically Israel's request for short-range purely defensive ground-to-air interceptor missiles. USSR has already agreed supply such missiles to Iraq and possibly UAR. This is specific action designed to meet specific situation and by no means constitutes change in US policy in area.

US remains deeply troubled by dangers and by burdens on economies of countries concerned to which undesirable proliferation of sophisticated weapons in NE gives rise. We are giving careful consideration in near future to means whereby we might be helpful in halting NE arms spiral. We would welcome any thoughts in this regard now or in future.

If asked whether US would sell same missiles to Arab countries, you may respond US would give careful consideration to any request.

FYI. At such time as response to public inquiries necessary, Department proposes make low key statement. Posts should avoid public statements. End FYI.

For London: Foregoing cleared with UK Embassy.

For Paris: You may immediately inform FonOff at high level in confidence.

Rusk


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

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