368. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic 1

293090. 1. Ghorbal at his request called on Davies December 27 after week’s absence in New York catch up on current state of play in Middle East. Davies reviewed your conversation with Mohamed Riad on Gromyko visit (minus protected section).

2. Davies informed Ghorbal of noon announcement of agreement with GOI for sale of Phantoms. Noted that all concerned with agreement regretted decision which would not have been made had there been movement toward peace or restraint on delivery of Soviet supersonic aircraft to area.

3. Ghorbal became increasingly emotional as he reacted. Described decision as “abhorrent” and most damaging action by Johnson Administration since war. Forecast that meeting Israeli request would make it even more intransigent and that timing of announcement was most inappropriate in view of recent progress of resumption US-UAR relations.

4. Davies noted again that US action had been taken after study of developments over past year and in light ratio of holdings supersonic aircraft on both sides. Pointed out further that by meeting some of Israel’s security concerns decision could contribute to more flexible position in Cabinet as regards settlement terms.

5. Ghorbal said decision could only be viewed with dismay.

Rusk
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 1 UAR-US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by James Johnston (NEA/UAR) and approved by Davies.