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Lyndon Johnson Administration: Israel Expresses Concern Regarding Arms For Jordan

(December 9, 1966)

This memorandum discusses Israel's discomfort with the proposal that the United States donate arms to Jordan.

CAP 661223. Information. Forewarned is forearmed and you should be aware that the Israelis are now zeroing in on our proposed small military aid package for Jordan. Ambassador Harman was in to see me this afternoon/2/ and conveyed the clear message that the Israeli Government is very much concerned that anything we do for Jordan will unsettle the delicate military balance in the area. We will be sending you more formally in the next day or two a specific proposal on Jordan. Defense still has not quite wrapped up all the details, but it is fair to say that the package will be minimal and will not seriously affect the Israeli-Jordanian military balance. However, we will have to reckon with an Israeli reaction no matter what we do. We are on firm logical ground in saying that we would be doing nothing more for Jordan than already planned if the Israelis had not raided on 13 November. After all, we are only picking up the pieces in a mess they created. But regardless of how firmly we take that line, the Israelis have regained their composure and are going to be pretty tough to deal with.

/2/A memorandum of the December 8 conversation is ibid.

We will include recommendations for handling the Israeli side of the problem when we send our final proposal to you. However, I wanted you to be forewarned of this aspect of the problem in case someone should try to reach you at the Ranch.

Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. VI. Secret. The telegram was received at the LBJ Ranch at 6:52 p.m. on December 8. A handwritten "L" on the telegram indicates that it was seen by the President. A notation in an unknown handwriting reads as follows: "Walt: Let Komer tell Abe Feinberg do not want this--unless they want an enemy."

Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 18, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1964-1967. DC: GPO, 2000.