306. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


Phil Talbot and I have agreed that he will do a scenario tying together the various moves we contemplate on Arab-Israeli policy. The idea would be to give JFK (and the rest of us) the kind of comprehensive fill-in we all need. I also think President should sign off personally on any such policy, and perhaps have a prior session with the key actors on it.

Meanwhile both State and Defense seem to favor selling Hawks to Israel as soon as UARstarts actually getting the various types of missiles USSR has contracted to give.

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Before doing so, however, we ought to make an effort to sell mutual (though tacit) arms limitations instead. This would involve an approach to Nasser, probably at highest level, saying “before we give Hawks to Israel to restore balance upset by your missile purchases from Sovs, we’d like to see if both of you wouldn’t consider cheaper and safer self-denial route.” I doubt Nasser would bite at this point, but at least we would have explained to him in advance our plans to help Israel and hopefully make him more cautious about further Soviet arms deal.

Above gambit may call for a high level approach to Nasser, perhaps a JFK letter in response to one Nasser reportedly writing to thank us for aid. But main effort would almost certainly have to be in course of a Nasser visit. State is now thinking of proposing a Ben Gurion visit in October or so, to be followed by Gamal.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer. Secret.