14. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy0
- Review of United States Policy Toward Israel
An extensive and intensive review of our policy toward Israel has been conducted in recent weeks. We were fortunate in having as part of the review a thorough discussion of all aspects of our policy in the Near East at the Chiefs of Mission Conference in Athens June 12–15. The results of our examination are compatible in all respects with the extraordinary degree of consensus achieved by the Conference, which concluded that the relatively high standing of the United States among the Arabs, while still fragile, provides us with a minor degree of maneuvering room in terms of adjustments in policy with respect to Israel.
From the time we assisted at Israel’s birth in 1948 until the present, the United States has had an unusually close relationship with, and has [Page 28]done a great deal for, Israel. We strongly supported Israel’s entry into the United Nations in 1949. We encouraged many other nations to recognize Israel and enter into diplomatic relations. Economically, Israel has received assistance from the United States unparalleled elsewhere, amounting to $665.9 million, or roughly $317 per capita, between 1952 and 1962. In addition, Export-Import Bank loans amounting to $209.3 million were granted in this period. We have encouraged Israel to broaden its horizons beyond the confines of the Near East and now find her engaging in commerce and technical assistance programs practically around the world. Over the years the Arabs have been made aware repeatedly of our continuing deep concern for the security and well-being of Israel.
Against this backdrop, Israel seeks from us a close military relationship, a security guarantee specifically formulated for Israel, and access to a wider range of military equipment including specifically the Hawk missile. Frictions that have arisen between Israel and the United States are found in Israel’s use of large scale retaliatory raids, Israel’s uncooperativeness with the United Nations peacekeeping machinery in the Near East (also true of the Syrians), Israel’s (as well as Arab) distrust of Dr. Johnson’s mission on the refugee question, the question of sovereignty over Lake Tiberias, Israel’s objection to United States initiative toward persuading other states not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, Israel’s pursuit of a “direct negotiations” resolution in the United Nations General Assembly, and our policy of restraint on training third country nationals in Israel.
The enclosed memorandum details those measures which we are implementing. In addition, I would appreciate your decision on several recommendations presented in the enclosure. They relate to (a) sale of the Hawk missile to Israel, should there prove to be no possibility within the next two months of achieving (b) an informal understanding on arms limitation for the Near East, and (c) an explanation to Israel of our legal position on the question of sovereignty over Lake Tiberias.
In the near future I shall forward specific proposals for pursuit of an arms limitation arrangement based on work now being done by the Departments of State and Defense.
I believe the measures being taken and those recommended together constitute a well-balanced and feasible policy which duly safeguards United States national security interests and meets Israel’s needs realistically.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.84A/8-762. Secret. Drafted by Strong. An earlier draft of this memorandum, dated July 16, is attached to the source text. A memorandum from Talbot to Rusk through McGhee, July 26, indicates that changes were made in the original draft of the Israeli package to reflect "a meeting of the minds between NEA and Messrs. Bundy, Feldman and Komer of the White House staff.” Among other points, the revised version contained "a more positive approach to sale of the Hawk to Israel and an offer of the Hawk to the United Arab Republic (acceptance doubtful) on the same terms as any offer to Israel.” (Ibid., 611.84A/7–2662) An August 3 note from Talbot to Rusk indicates that additional changes were made in accordance with suggestions from Rusk on July 31. (Ibid., 611.84A/8-2762)↩
- Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.↩
- Secret. The source text bears no drafting information.↩
- Not attached to the source text. The Tripartite Declaration of 1950 is printed in Department of State Bulletin, June 5, 1950, p. 886. Only Tab J is attached to the source text. Copies of the tabs are in Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 304, The Israeli Package, 1962. Tabs B-G and J are in the Supplement, the compilation on Israel.↩
- Tab B is a memorandum entitled "Security Assurance, Reaffirmation of the 1950 Tripartite Declaration.”↩
- Tab K is President Kennedy’s June 13 letter to Prime Minister Ben Gurion and Ben Gurion’s June 24 response; see vol. XVII, pp. 723 and 725 and 751– 754.↩
- Tab C is a memorandum entitled "Measures To Enhance UNTSO’s Effectiveness.”↩
- Document 15.↩
- Tab D is a memorandum entitled "Location of Diplomatic Missions in Israel.”↩
- Tab E is a memorandum entitled "United States Position on Arab-Israel Direct Peace Negotiations.”↩
- Tab F is a memorandum entitled "Third Country Training in Israel.”↩
- Tab G is a July 16 memorandum by Strong (NEA/NE) entitled, "Hawk Missile.” Tab H is Document 3.↩
- Tab I is telegram 1337 from Athens, June 15; see vol. XVII, pp. 728– 730.↩
- Tab J is a draft Aide-Mire from the U.S. Government to the Israeli Government regarding the U.S. position on sovereignty over Lake Tiberias.↩
- Tab L is a memorandum entitled "Strategy and Timetable (Security Assurances, Hawk Missile, Arms Limitation and Sovereignty on Lake Tiberias).”↩