225. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to the President’s Special Consultant (Bundy)1

You have asked what action we are taking to control deliveries of military equipment to Middle Eastern states.2 The following rules are in effect:

No additional matériel can be released for delivery to any Middle Eastern state under either a military assistance program or a Defense Department controlled sale, without the approval of a representative of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense.
Military equipment, previously released for shipment to Arab states which have broken relations with us, is being repossessed to the extent that it remains under our control. Today we are tracing a shipment of 134 radios to Iraq, the only remaining shipment in this category.

Both the Arab states and Israel have purchased directly from manufacturers substantial quantities of ammunition, military vehicles, and military spare parts. The manufacturers apply to the Munitions Control Board for licenses to export such equipment. A number of such licenses are outstanding. The Department of State’s policy concerning exports of such arms is as follows:

Licenses issued for shipments to Arab states which have broken diplomatic relations with the United States have been suspended. United States Customs is refusing clearance of munitions destined for those countries. (This action has gone as far as unloading shipments to Iraq from a Dutch vessel in New York on June 7.)
No new munitions licenses are being approved for shipments to Israel or any Arab nation at war with Israel.
Existing approved licenses for munitions shipments to Israel and Arab countries which have not broken relations with the United States have not been suspended.

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We anticipate Israel will request assistance in procuring substantial quantities of ammunition, spare parts, and replacement equipment. Any such requests for items under U.S. control will be personally reviewed by Messrs. Vance and Katzenbach, and their recommendations will be submitted for approval to the National Security Council Subcommittee of which you are Executive Secretary.

Robert S. McNamara
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Committee, Military Aid. No classification marking.
  2. A June 8 memorandum from McNamara to the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and to the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Installations and Logistics and for International Security Affairs directed the immediate suspension of all matériel shipments, whether grant aid or military sales, from depots, manufacturers’ facilities, or other sources, to Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait. Matériel already shipped was to be delivered. It directed that new sales agreements and related commitments should not be signed but that on-going negotiations should not be broken off. All supply actions of either a grant or sales character to Algeria, Mauritania, the UAR, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria were to be suspended. (Ibid., Minutes, Control Group Meetings)