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John F. Kennedy Administration: Telegram on Israeli Concerns Regarding UAR-Israel Military Balance

(October 16, 1963)

This is a telegram from the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel addressing Israeli security concerns.

Eyes only for Acting Chief of Mission from Secretary. I am disturbed by indications reftel and conversations between Department officers and Israel Embassy that Israeli concern with security leading GOI endeavor broaden scope November 12 talks I proposed to Mrs. Meir. GOI apparently seeking full-scale review of Israel-UAR military balance as preliminary to 1) establishment procedure for joint military planning and regular military consultations and 2) requests for additional weaponry. Our failure clearly define limits of talks now might lead GOI assume our silence reflects tacit acceptance Israeli proposals and could result in serious erosion US position set forth in President's letter October 3.

You should inform FonMin Director-General Yahil, or if appropriate, Prime Minister Eshkol that:

1) I am concerned that talks with Israeli officers in Washington and Tel Aviv reflect misunderstanding by GOI of US intent in proposed November 12 talks, and wish avoid any disappointment arising from false expectations.

2) As evidence US sympathetic interest in Israel's security, I proposed to Mrs. Meir September 30 exchange views on specific information Israel might have that has given rise to Israeli concern about UAR progress in development missiles and other sophisticated weapons affecting UAR-Israel military balance. We willing study any information Israel may wish to submit on this subject or for proposals for regional disarmament and arms limitation. I did not, however, and do not contemplate entertaining proposals involving joint planning or regular military consultations.

3) November 12 talks not forum designed consider Israeli requests for additional weaponry.

Department also informing Israel Embassy my views outlined above.


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