2. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


Attached fascinating report (from a source reliable in the past) is one indication among many that Arabs sense a change in our ME policy.2 Though largely the product of circumstance (JFB’s assassination, Jordan Waters crisis), it comes out as LBJ being pro-Israeli and reversing the three years of skillful Kennedy handling of the Arabs. It’s around here too; Joe Kraft and Rollie Evans both mentioned it to me—and I most stoutly denied.

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Somehow LBJ has gotten wind of this. He was strong against saying too much in Weizmann speech;3 more recently he chided Harriman for getting him in trouble with the Arabs.

But more is needed. I’m putting together with State a program of steps needed to protect our Arab policy through 1964, and to balance the things we’ll do for Israel: (1) a loan to the UAR under certain conditions, (2) reassurance we’re not helping Israel go nuclear; (3) LBJ letter to Nasser, etc. (4) Hussein visit; (5) another quiet try at arms control with Gamal. We’ve worked hard under JFB to come up with a promising NE policy; it worked—in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and at Cairo Conference. We can’t let it slide away by inaction—and I don’t think LBJ would want this, because among other things it would create painful problems for us in the area (which with luck and suppleness we can avoid).4

Bob K.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Komer Memos, Vol. I. Secret.
  2. Reference is to TDCS 3/572, 910, February 12, from Cairo; not attached.
  3. Regarding the President’s speech at the Weizmann Institute of Science on February 20, see footnote 3, Document 13 in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XVIII.
  4. A notation in Bundy’s handwriting reads: “Good, Do it—and let’s get LBJ Nasser letter ready to go with Eshkol answer.” For documentation regarding the actions Komer proposed, see ibid.