319. Letter From George D. Woods to President Johnson1

Dear Mr. President:

In May, 1968, my terms of reference as your coordinator on the Israeli power and desalting project were approved, and you said in a letter to me dated May 62 that I was “to feel free to manage this in the way that makes the most sense.”

I have attempted to be responsive to the terms of reference, although I have also proceeded in this complicated and highly sensitive problem as seemed to make the most sense to me in the present circumstances. My observations, conclusions and recommendations have been transmitted in the form of a memorandum to Mr. Walt W. Rostow, a copy of which is enclosed.3 The principal recommendation is to concentrate on a 40-million-gallon-per-day (MGD) water desalting plant in Israel; and, in my judgment, work on this should proceed as a matter of priority if the goal of massive desalting-plant capability is to be achieved within the next ten to fifteen years.

I applaud your desire to lay as much groundwork as possible for progress in desalting, to paraphrase your May 6 letter, and the above recommendation is put forward with this objective in mind. With the knowledge and experience which will accumulate with the construction and operation of a medium-sized desalting plant, it will be possible to see more clearly down the road toward the 100 MGD projects and, ultimately, toward the even larger plants of the future.


George D. Woods
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Harold H. Saunders, Israel-Nuclear-Dimona-Desalting, 11/1/68-1/20/69. Confidential.
  2. Not found.
  3. Also dated November 12, not printed.