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Kennedy Letter to Eshkol Rejecting Idea of Formal Alliance

(October 3, 1963)

President Kennedy wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in response to David Ben-Gurion’s earlier request for a formal security arrangement with the United States. Kennedy assures Eshkol that the United States is committed to its security and prepared to “deter or halt swiftly any aggression against Israel.” Kennedy also expresses confidence in Israel’s ability to defend itself. The president’s principal concern, and reason for rejecting Ben-Gurion’s proposal, was the fear that Arab states would then turn to the Soviets for their own security arrangements.

Source: Israel State Archives