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JFK & Israel's Nuclear Program: Memorandum on Kennedy's Proposals Regarding Middle Eastern Nuclear Capabilities

(March 26, 1963)

This is a memorandum from the National Security Action Commitee introducing President Kennedy's request for proposals to forestall Israeli or UAR development of nuclear weapons.

The President desires, as a matter of urgency, that we undertake every feasible measure to improve our intelligence on the Israeli nuclear program as well as other Israeli and UAR advanced weapon programs, and to arrive at a firmer evaluation of their import. In this connection he wishes the next informal inspection of the Israeli reactor complex to be undertaken promptly and to be as thorough as possible.

In view of his great concern over the destabilizing impact of any Israeli or UAR program looking toward the development of nuclear weapons, the President also wishes the Department of State to develop proposals for forestalling such programs; in particular we should develop plans for seeking clearer assurances from the governments concerned on this point, and means of impressing upon them how seriously such a development would be regarded in this country.

McGeorge Bundy

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