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John F. Kennedy Administration: News Conference on U.S. Support for Security of Israel

(November 14, 1963)

I don’t think that the balance of military power has been changed in the Middle East in recent days. Obviously there are political changes in the Middle East which still do not show a precise pattern and on which we are unable to make any final judgments. The United States supports social and economic and political progress in the Middle East. We support the security of both Israel and her neighbors. We seek to limit the Near East arms race which obviously takes resources from an area already poor and puts them into an increasing race which does not really bring any great security.

We strongly oppose the use of force or the threat of force in the Near East, and we also seek to limit the spread of communism in the Middle East which would, of course, destroy the independence of the people. This Government has been and remains strongly opposed to the use of force or the threat of force in the Near East. In the event of aggression or preparation for aggression, whether direct or indirect, we would support appropriate measures in the United Nations, adopt other courses of action on our own to prevent or to put a stop to such aggression, which, of course, has been the policy which the United States has followed for some time.

Source: Public Papers of the President