21. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Other Israeli Items

In talking with Luke Battle yesterday, Ambassador Harman made the two following points:

1.
Prime Minister Eshkol would like to make an official visit to the US. Early October would be particularly convenient because he could stop here in conjunction with a visit to Argentina. He would simply like to discuss future trends in the Middle East. Ambassador Harman noted that this request pre-dates the current crisis. Luke acknowledged the request and said he assumed that the Israelis would not expect an immediate response.
2.
He asked whether there were any further progress on the aid package. Luke said we would not have any final answers yet and suggested that now might not be the time for us to go before the world with a large aid commitment to Israel. Harman said that, of course, it could be kept quiet for as long as we wished.

We have had other quiet suggestions from the Israeli Embassy that an answer on the aid package now would be a big boost for morale in Jerusalem. I think, if you want, we could give them answers on everything but the APCs without much harm, provided we asked them to keep it quiet for the moment. They do want to get on with their PL 480 and long range military spares buying.

One new note has been injected into the problem of APCs. The Israelis announced quietly right before their Independence Day Parade that they would be buying some armored cars from France. They probably still want the APCs from us but these French cars are ideal for patrolling, so it looks as if they want the APCs for other purposes. This might provide an added reason for our separating APCs from the rest of the aid package. We could give them the rest of our answers and ask them to explain where these French cars fit into the picture before talking about APCs further.

Rostow

Go ahead with economic parts of the package and military credit

Ask about French armored cars too2

Don’t do anything

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. I. Secret.
  2. The last two options are checked.