179. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Battle)1
- An Updated Look at Phantoms
In the last two months, there have been at least five new studies of the Arab-Israeli military balance and its relation to our Phantom decision. After going over these new papers, I did the attached summary to bring together their main conclusions. Since I intended this mainly as a summary that would not go beyond recent papers, I hesitated to add the last section on policy questions. But I succumbed to temptation and tried to wrap them up too.
What this seems to add up to is the Israelis have some legitimate basis for concern. I don’t see how, on the basis of our own studies, we can flatly dismiss their concerns. What we do is a big question, but it [Page 352] might help us as a start to be absolutely clear about the nature of their problem as our most recent round of studies presents it.
You suggested a meeting soon to go over this, and I think that would be a good idea. Perhaps something like the attached could serve as a chopping block in sharpening our conclusions on where we stand.
Harold H. Saunders 2
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 80 D 102, NSSM 81. Secret. Copies were sent to Davies, Atherton, Sober, Director of the INR Office of Research and Analysis for Near East and South Asia Granville S. Austin, and Katzenbach’s Executive Assistant Philip B. Heymann. Saunders also sent a copy to Walt Rostow under a May 21 covering memorandum. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. VI, Memos, 8/67-7/68)↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- Top Secret; sensitive.↩