68. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson1
Your soft sell to Eshkol connected a lot better than we realized yesterday.2 Israelis came around this morning and:
- Agreed to let us reassure Nasser on Dimona.
- Agreed to IAEA observers in joint desalting study.
- Agreed in principle to IAEA controls on any big desalting reactor.
- In return for a nine month extension of present US bilateral on existing small reactor, agreed to ask for IAEA agreement within that time.3
For what it’s worth, I gave Israelis a hard line after your meeting yesterday, saying I knew that while you didn’t want to press Israelis so hard as to spoil good atmosphere of visit, you as well as rest of us were disappointed at lack of Israeli response on any points. This may just have helped.
While all returns aren’t in, this visit seems to have netted out a distinct plus. So far Arab reaction, especially from Cairo, is most restrained (your warning to Kamel took), while Israelis are highly pleased. We also managed to steer press successfully (so far) away from sensitive arms issue.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Eshkol Visit, 6/1–3/64. Secret.↩
- President Johnson and Prime Minister Eshkol met alone from 4:10 to 4:25 p.m. on June 2. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) No record of this meeting has been found. A June 2 briefing memorandum from Komer to the President stressed that he should urge Eshkol to agree to give Nasser reassurances about Dimona and to accept IAEA controls. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Israel, Eshkol Visit, 6/1–3/64)↩
- Memoranda of a June 3 conversation on these subjects between Peres and Talbot are in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AE 6 ISR–US and AE 11–2 ISR.↩