Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XVIII, Near East, 1962–1963

  • Nina J. Noring
General Editor:
  • Glenn W. LaFantasie


The primary focus of the documents in this volume is on the foreign policymaking process of the U.S. Government, including documentation illuminating policy formulation and major aspects and repercussions of its execution. Emphasis is placed on official memoranda that reveal policy positions, show differences within the U.S. Government over policy formulation, summarize developments and positions regarding an issue, contain intelligence or military assessments, and describe decisions or actions taken at the National Security Council. Some key instructions sent to diplomatic posts in the region are included when they demonstrate the details of the execution of foreign policy. Memoranda of conversations with foreign leaders both abroad and in Washington were selected to provide additional information on the origins and impact of foreign policy decisions.

The major topics and issues covered in volume XVIII are as follows:

1. U.S. policy toward the conflict in Yemen and relations with the United Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia. The large amount of documentation on this subject in the volume reflects the extensive attention it received from the Kennedy administration. The material covered includes the U.S. response to the overthrow of the Yemeni monarchy and subsequent civil war in that country; background to the U.S. recognition of the Yemeni Republic in December 1962; U.S. efforts to mediate the conflict, including the mission of Ellsworth Bunker; and the dispatch of a U.S. air squadron to Saudi Arabia (Operation Hard Surface) in July 1963. The selection of documents reflects the regional nature of the Yemen conflict, with emphasis on U.S. relations with the United Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia, rather than on the situation in Yemen per se. The documents record how the U.S. initiative to improve relations with UAR President Gamal Abdul Nasser waned as the United States sought to assuage Saudi Arabia's concerns for its security. The volume concludes with growing U.S. Congressional opposition to the administration's program of economic assistance to the UAR.

2. Israeli security issues and the Near East arms question. Emphasis is given to administration efforts to meet Israel's security concerns, including the decision in August 1962 to supply Israel with the Hawk missile, the first major weapon system provided to Israel by the United States. The volume records administration efforts to respond to Israel's request for a U.S. security guarantee and includes documentation on U.S.-Israeli military discussions in November 1963. The volume also documents the U.S. desire to avert the introduction of advanced weapons in the region, President Kennedy's concern over Israel's nuclear program, and the mission of special Presidential emissary John J. McCloy to Cairo to discuss the possibility of mutual arms limitation by the UAR and Israel.

3. Policies toward the Arab-Israeli dispute. Special coverage is given to U.S. support for the initiative to resolve the Palestinian refugee question (Joseph Johnson mission), and the initiative's demise. The volume also records the U.S. position on a number of Arab-Israeli issues, including incidents of violence, deliberations in the United Nations, the Jerusalem question, Israel's desire for direct negotiations with its Arab neighbors, and the growing importance of the Near East water question.

4. U.S. policy toward Iran. This volume documents U.S. relations with Iran during the Shah's implementation of an extensive program of social and economic reforms which the Kennedy administration had urged him to undertake. It also records the U.S. response to the first signs of violent resistance to the Shah's regime from Iran's Islamic religious community.

5. Other significant U.S. policies in the region. The volume also records U.S. support for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during a crisis that developed during the spring of 1963, the U.S. responses to coups d'etat in Syria and Iraq leading to changes in government, the U.S. reaction to inter-Arab unity talks in the spring of 1963, and U.S. concern over developments relating to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).