MR. CHANCELLOR. Would you tell us what you think about the idea that is going around a little bit--and perhaps you have heard it as well, perhaps you know a great deal about it, I don't know--that if the Israelis made a significant pullback on various fronts in the Middle East, that that could be followed by some sort of American guarantee for their security?
THE PRESIDENT. John, I really do not think I ought to get into the details of what might or might not be the grounds for a negotiated settlement. This is a very difficult area because of the long history of jealousies, antagonisms, and it is so delicate I really do not think I ought to get into the details of what might or might not be the grounds for a settlement.
MR. CHANCELLOR. Would you entertain a question based on the reported Israeli desire for a threefold increase in our aid to them?
THE PRESIDENT. The United States, over the years, has been very generous in economic and military aid for Israel. On the other hand, we have been quite generous to a number of Arab nations. The State of Israel does need adequate military capability to protect its boundaries or its territorial integrity.
I think because of the commonality of interest that we have with Israel in the Middle East that it is in our interest as well as theirs to be helpful to them, both militarily and economically. There has been no determination by me or by us as to the amount of that aid.
MR. BROKAW. Mr. President, I wonder if we can come back at you again about Israel's security in another way. As you know, reporters don't give up easily on some of these questions.
THE PRESIDENT. I found that out, Tom.
MR. BROKAW. On a long-range basis, do you think that it is possible for Israel to be truly secure in the Middle East without a United States guarantee of some kind?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, Israel, to my knowledge, Tom, has never asked for any U.S. manpower or any guarantee from us for their security or their territorial integrity. I think the Israelis, if they are given adequate arms and sufficient economic help, can handle the situation in the Middle East.
Now, the last war, unfortunately, was much more severe from their point of view than the three previous ones. And I suspect that with the Arabs having more sophisticated weapons and probably a better military capability, another war might even be worse. That is one reason why we wish to accelerate the efforts to find some answers over there.
But I think the Israelis, with adequate equipment and their determination and sufficient economic aid, won't have to have U.S. guarantees of any kind.
Sources: Public Papers of the President