246. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


  • Message from Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to the President

On May 14, the Israel Ambassador handed the Department the enclosed letter of May 12 from Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to the President. This letter replies to the President’s message of May 5.1

The Prime Minister’s message contains the following principal elements:

A long, critical commentary on Nasser and Nasser’s intentions.
Mention of the threat to Israel which could follow any change of government in Jordan.
Rejection of the Tripartite Declaration or other unilateral declarations as of “no value”.
Reiteration of the belief expressed in the Prime Minister’s April 26 letter2 that “calamity” in the Middle East can best be avoided by a US-USSR joint declaration supporting the territorial status quo and compelling UAR acquiescence, if necessary, by withholding aid.
An alternative to the suggested US-USSR security guarantee, if that is not feasible:
Demilitarization of Jordan’s West Bank if Hussein should fall.
A US-Israel bilateral security agreement, with which US allies would be invited to associate themselves.
Provision to Israel by the United States of “all the equivalent kinds of armament with which the armed forces of Egypt and the other Arab states are equipped.”
A plan of general disarmament between Israel and the Arab states under a system of mutual and international inspection and control (although the Prime Minister acknowledges doubt that this is a practical proposition).

The Department will prepare a suggested draft reply for the President’s consideration.

P.W. Kriebel3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 ISR-US. Secret. Drafted by Crawford and cleared by Strong and Talbot.
  2. The memorandum of Harman’s conversation with Talbot, May 14, is ibid., POL ARAB-ISR. Ben Gurion’s letter is attached to the source text but not printed. For Kennedy’s letter, see Document 236.
  3. See Document 220.
  4. Kriebel signed for Brubeck above Brubeck’s typed signature.