189. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel 1

177706. 1. During Rabin’s June 4 call at Dept (septel), Under Secretary Rostow expressed pleasure with Israeli payment of Liberty 2 death claims and with GOI statement in UN on NPT.3

2. Re NPT, Rabin said he wanted to convey central point of GOI thinking on this matter. Israel believed it would be a mistake in present situation to make clear to Arabs that they faced no Israeli nuclear threat. If Israel removed the question mark from this issue, it would remove a factor which Arabs must now consider in approaching a peace settlement. Problem was therefore a psychological one rather than question of whether or not Israel should have nuclear weapons.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Atherton, cleared by Battle and Sisco, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to USUN.
  2. Documentation on the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, will be printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XIX.
  3. On May 29 Israeli Permanent Representative Tekoah spoke in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on the draft non-proliferation treaty being considered by the General Assembly. Despite a number of unresolved Israeli concerns about the draft treaty, Tekoah indicated that in recognition of the importance of the treaty, Israel would vote in favor of it. (UN doc. A/C.1/PV.1576)