Memorandum by Charles B. Marshall of the Policy Planning Staff to the Director of the Staff ( Nitze )1


Subject: Grant to Israel.

Since being called in last week to a short meeting in your office relating to the prospective legislative proposals for a $150,000,000 grant to Israel, I have looked further into the subject. What I have learned prompts me to this initiative.

I do not wish to labor the analysis of the proposal. It has been ably dealt with in a March 15 memorandum from NEA to the Secretary.2 A few points, however, are worth emphasizing.

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The proposed grant would increase by 15,380 per cent Israel’s portion of economic aid as contemplated in the foreign assistance program put forth by the Executive.

An increase of contemplated aid for neighboring countries on a proportional scale would entail a grant of more than $40,000,000,000 to the Near East.

The Israeli proposal is based upon an obvious claim for favoritism. The Israeli ambassador’s note of March 15 putting the touch on Uncle Sam makes no attempt to conceal this. The plea is based on “special ties” between the two countries and “the maintenance and extension of a traditional relationship firmly established in the hearts of both peoples”.

Despite many allusions in the note attempting to pass off the proposed aid as being just the same sort of thing the United States has been doing for a lot of nations, the undertakings envisaged by Israel are quite different. They involve plans for resettlement for undefined numbers of Jews from other countries in years to come. The note attempts to put the United States in the position of being obligated to underwrite these undertakings. The development is envisaged in the note as sharpening the contrast between Israel and neighboring countries. The numbers, the superiority in economic power, and the greater degree of prosperity developed in Israel is envisaged as having a great impact in neighboring states. This impact of contrast is presented as contributing to “the stability of the entire Near East”. How it would do so is not clear.

The logical sequel of great expansion of the Israeli population in an enclave of advancement amid an area of lag would be further expansion of the dimensions of Israel. This is made quite articulate in various Zionist pronouncements, though not expressed in the Israeli note.

Obviously the United States could not underwrite the Israeli undertaking without being involved in all its implications. All of our economic assistance must be related to the ends sought. In giving such assistance in such extraordinary degree the United States would become fully associated with Israeli’s ambitions. It would become associated with Israeli as an object of Arab fears of attempts to expand the present Israeli holdings to include the entire Fertile Crescent.

This would be virtually fatal to all efforts to enhance support of the United States in the Moslem world. The impact would not be confined to the Arab states. It would probably run all the way to Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.

In that sense, the proposal is in sharp contrast to all preceding economic assistance. It would not conduce to—it would militate [Page 610] against—the security and other interests of the United States not in a slight but in a drastic degree.

The potential impact of this proposal in hurting our position in the Near East is illustrated by the circumstance that four Arab states, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, have already articulated their protests against it officially, while Italy has made known its fears about the proposal in relation to upsetting the delicate situation bearing on the Mediterranean.

My friends at the Capitol tell me that the points against the plan are not understood up there. They tell me that most of the supporters lined up for the Israeli proposal are under the impression that the Executive branch looks with favor on this plan. I am advised that it is highly advisable to get the word around as rapidly as possible that this proposal involves implications quite counter to our security interests. I am advised that it would be particularly important to get this word right away to the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee lest a number of them be committed to the plan in ignorance of its broad implications. If several of them should be committed as sponsors of the bill it would be virtually impossible to block favorable action in the Committee. My friends at the Capitol tell me that the two leading sponsors of the measure in the Senate are cagey legislators most adept at quietly lining up support in advance of introducing a bill and that it would therefore be well to make the opposing views known without delay.

My recommendations, which underscore and go beyond those in the NEA paper, are that you should urge upon the Secretary and support all action to the following ends:

That the President be fully informed about the implicit dangers.
That the Department seek Presidential clearance, if it is necessary, for actively opposing the proposal.
That the known congressional sponsors be fully and emphatically advised of the basis of opposition.
That the members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate in particular be apprised of the basis of opposition.
That every legitimate effort be made to ensure defeat of the legislation in the Congress.
That the President be urged to veto it if it should be passed as a separate item.
That, in event of enactment, the President be advised to reserve the right to use the funds only in the ways and to the extent compatible with the foreign policy objectives and the security interests of the United States and to make public this position and the underlying reasons.

  1. This memorandum bears the typed notation “Cleared with NEA.”
  2. Memorandum by Mr. Berry, p. 594.