355. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • F-4 Agreement


  • Israeli Side
    • Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.—Ambassador Rabin
    • Deputy Commander IAF—B/General Peled
    • Defense and Armed Force Attache—B/General David Carmon
  • United States Side
    • Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA)—Paul C. Warnke
    • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (NESA)—Harry H. Schwartz
    • Deputy Director, Near East & South Asia Region, ISA—Robert J. Murray

Ambassador Rabin said he had called to review the status of the F-4 agreement. He said that the political side was finished with his exchange of letters with Mr. Warnke.2 The negotiations with Mr. Schwartz are also finished. Ambassador Rabin asked if they may start tomorrow to develop a letter of offer. Mr. Schwartz said that they could.

Ambassador Rabin said that the answer on financing had been given to Mr. Kuss;3 Israel would only take government credit. Rabin said: “If someone asks why our reserves in the United States go down, this is it.” General Carmon said that the overall package would cost about $300 million. Some of this would be on credit with the remainder a “dependable undertaking.”

Mr. Schwartz said he had just learned that Israel had decided to buy 6 RF4C aircraft now and, working with the company, have the engines changed to make it compatible with the F-4Es. General Peled confirmed that this was their decision.

Ambassador Rabin said there was still one problem: early deliveries. Mr. Warnke said that we had done our work and sent the facts to the President. He said that the decision rests with the White House. Ambassador Rabin observed that there were two aspects: political and technical. He said the President would of course decide the political. He asked, however, whether Mr. Warnke could tell him whether early [Page 706] deliveries were possible on the technical side. Mr. Warnke said anything was possible; it was a question of whether it was desirable.

General Peled said that he had talked with everyone he could in the Air Force about how the IAF would handle early deliveries. He complained that the USAF people would not engage him in a discussion—they just listened. Peled asked whether we thought he had been convincing. Mr. Warnke said he did not appear to have convinced the Air Force. He said that while General Peled’s sincerity in pleading his case was not at all doubted, it was a difference of professional judgment. General Peled asked if he may talk further with the Air Force people. Mr. Warnke replied that he could and that General Larson was the man to talk to. Mr. Warnke said that it would be the President who made the decision, in any case.

General Carmon suggested that a draft letter of offer be completed for General Peled to take back to Israel with him. Israel could then make decisions and these decisions could be communicated to the United States after the holidays. Mr. Warnke agreed.

Ambassador Rabin raised the question of publicity and said, somewhat unhappily, that he presumed that we wanted to continue to say the same thing as before. Mr. Warnke said yes. We would say only that negotiations were continuing. Mr. Schwartz suggested this was a matter primarily for the Department of State.

Ambassador Rabin asked Mr. Warnke if he would like to sign the agreement in Israel. Mr. Warnke said he would like to very much but was not sure he would be able to do so.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 91-0017, Israel 452 (Sen). Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Murray on December 21 and approved by Schwartz. The meeting was held in Warnke’s office.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 332, and Document 333.
  3. Henry J. Kuss, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Logistics Negotiations.