28. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic0

190. Eyes only for Ambassador and Strong from the Secretary. Our study of Feldman’s useful exploratory talks in Israel leads us conclude that although Israel’s leaders are understandably hesitant to state carte blanche acquiescence in implementation Johnson Plan, equally they have apparently not found in Plan sufficient hazards to Israel to justify its immediate rejection. Objections put up by Ben-Gurion and Mrs. Meir seem to us essentially diversionary. In short, we have come out of this phase just about where we might have expected.

Having explored preliminary reactions on one side without meeting rejection, we think similar exploration should be carried out on other. By these we not necessarily committed finally to proceed with Johnson Plan at this time. Rather, we will have facts on which this Government can determine whether worthwhile commit US to Plan and attempt proceed its implementation.

Accordingly, you instructed proceed with Alternative one as modified by Deptel 184,1 particularly in regard to stress you should lay on essentiality of UAR’s avoiding provocative propaganda if Plan to work.

In stating situation on Hawks for Israel, you should make clear that this not matter of our desire make offer or gift, but of the inability of US, along with other countries, turn down repeated and insistent requests for purchase, in the light of continuing UAR acquisitions of new types of equipment and in the absence of any limitation on the arms race in the area. You should emphasize purely defensive character this system and the long lead time in any undertaking which leaves room for effective work toward arms limitation in the area.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/8-2262. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Crawford; cleared by Grant, Furnas, McGeorge Bundy, and Komer; and approved by Rusk.
  2. Document 26.