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John F. Kennedy Administration: Komer Comments On Israeli Response On Refugee Issue

(January 23, 1963)

This is a memorandum from Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy commenting on David Ben-Gurion's reply to President Kennedy's statements at his meeting with Golda Meir on the refugee issue.

Here is BG's highly skillful reply to your Palm Beach talk with Golda. State feels as I do that BG's conditional "yes" on refugees is in fact a flat "no".

By making Israeli agreement to a refugee plan conditional upon prior working out of a total, final solution which must be firmly accepted beforehand by the Arabs, BG has posed impossible conditions. The Johnson Plan was based on tacit Arab acquiescence to a creeping process on the grounds that this was the utmost we could get the Arabs to accept. Nasser, for example, might tacitly agree to a 100,000 limit on repatriation but he could never do so openly, for fear the other Arabs would hang him.

Before abandoning ourselves to unrelieved pessimism we'll talk with Harman on return, but I see little give.

R. W. Komer

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