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Ronald Reagan Administration: Declassified Briefing Secretary of State's Meeting with Prime Minister Shamir

(October 14, 1987)

Briefing Memorandum


To: The Secretary

From: NEA - Richard W. Murphy

Subject: Your meeting with Prime Minister Shamir: Bilateral Issues

I. Shamir Visit

  • Shamir will visit U.S. in November to give speech in Florida; President Reagan has agreed to meet with him on November 20 and you have offered to host a luncheon.
  • Shamir's visit closely follows state visit of President Chaim Herzog on November 10.
  • We expect the White House will also agree to your proposal for a Shamir visit in early 1988.


  • April-August emigration of about 800 per month; slight drop in September to 700; 80% of those leaving are pre-1987 refuseniks. Compares with 914 total for 1986.
  • Soviets told Morris Abram last spring that they do not object to direct flights; only obstacle is U.S. opposition.
  • Recent indications Soviets may issue exit visas for the country from which the applicant has submitted an invitation.
  • Shamir wrote you, asking that you tell Shevardnadze that we have no objection to direct flights. We have sent you a proposed reply saying our position is based on freedom to emigrate and freedom of choice, and this is unchanged.
  • Peres proposed direct flights to Shevardnadze at UNGA.


  • JSAP and JPMG talks scheduled for October 5-7, cancelled due to death of MOD Director General Ivry's son. Will be rescheduled later this year.
  • GOI will press for:

    -- Reduction of F-16 price by eliminating non-recurring costs;

    -- Greater U.S. funding for joint R&D on SDI/ATBM and the Arrow;

    -- Improved Israeli access to U.S. armed forces European workload contracts; and

    -- Increased DOD procurement in Israel

  • Gramm-Rudman-Hollings legislation may cut Israel's FMS program.
  • Concern that Israel will ask for supplemental assistance.


  • Jordan and Syria have agreed to build Maqarin Dam on Yarmouk river; Jordan has formally requested U.S. aid to help finance feasibility studies and construction; cost would be several hundred million dollars.
  • Dam would significantly benefit Jordan but will also affect Israeli access to Yarmouk waters; GOI officials have expressed concern about Dam; Jordan-Israel agreement on water sharing is critical if dam is to be built; GOI desire for water allocation for West Bank, which Jordan resists, is one of many tough issues.
  • Previous efforts to build dam foundered because Syria and Jordan could not agree on water sharing.
  • We have told Israel and Jordan that we are willing to act as intermediary in negotiating water sharing.
  • Despite periodic flare-ups, Israel and Jordan continue to cooperated in managing Yarmouk near entrance to Jordan's East Ghor Main Canal.


  • Economic development in the occupied territories constrained by Israeli and Arab (primarily Jordanian) barriers to Palestinian trade.

    -- Efforts, supported by EC, to obtain GOI approval of direct Palestinian agricultural exports to Europe via Israeli ports unsuccessful to date.

    -- Recent EC study found that potential Palestinian exports did not pose a serious threat to Israeli farmers.

  • Harsh Israeli security measure which deny due process and severe limits on family reunification undermine impact of quality of life initiative.


  • Peres and Shamir have publicly criticized plan to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.
  • You asked Peres at the UNGA to refrain from public criticisms; he has continued to voice opposition when questioned by the press.


  • Shamir will be interested in your views on Lebanon. He will also want to hear what we are accomplishing there:

    -- With Ambassador Eagleton back in Damascus, we are again acting as conduit between Gemayel and Asad.


  • The Senate appropriations committee has zeroed out our request for $19.3 million in FY88 contributions to UNIFIL, although the House approved $18.7 million.
  • UNIFIL is crucial to us. It stabilizes south Lebanon and helps block attacks on Israel inspired by Iran and radical Palestinians.
  • Congress believes Israel is against UNIFIL or indifferent to its continuation.
  • Privately, Rabin tells us he favors UNIFIL continuation. He has declined, however, to issue a public statement of support.
  • We need a GOI statement to convince Congress that UNIFIL merits continued support.


  • Peres will be interested in your views on U.S.-Syrian relations since Ambassador Eagleton returned in September.


This meeting has been arranged to start as a one on one discussion with Shamir. The meeting will take place in Shamir's office at the Prime Ministry, and there will be a large number of journalists outside with intense interest in what transpires. Although the primary purpose of the meeting is to discuss the peace process, Shamir has a number of bilateral issues on his mind, several of which could have a bearing on the elections That will occur within the next year. At the top of Shamir's agenda is his continuing desire for your support in urging the Soviets to agree to direct flights from the Soviet Union to Israel. He may well raise his concerns about the impact of the Lavi cancellation on IAI's skilled workforce and his hope for further US support for Israel's defense industry. He may also raise, if only for the record, Israel's objections to our proposed arms ales to Saudi Arabia.



The Secretary
Ambassador Pickering
Assistant Secretary Murphy
Dennis Ross, NSC
Ambassador Cluverius
William Kirby, NEA
Joseph Sullivan, Political Counselor (notetaker)


Prime Minister Shamir
Ely Rubinstein, Cabinet Secretary
Yossi Ben Aharon, Political Advisor
Arye Mekel


Talking Points.

Sources: The American Presidency Project