130. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

97781. For Ambassador. Following is revised draft letter approved by the President. You should deliver it promptly to Prime Minister Meir.2 Previous text prepositioned with you can be drawn upon by you to make additional points contained in it orally.3

[Page 451]

QUOTE: Dear Madam Prime Minister:

Ambassador Barbour’s report of his conversation with you yesterday reached me this morning.

From his report and that of Ambassador Rabin’s talk with Secretary Rogers,4 I am concerned that you are interpreting our decision on aircraft as having an element of conditionality prejudicial to Israel’s security needs. I want to assure you categorically this is not the case. There is no relationship in our decision between the question of negotiations and the supply of aircraft. What we have said is simply that a situation might arise where timing would be important to both of us in the course of an effort designed to move the Middle East from a state of ever more dangerous hostilities to a state of peace.

I can assure you that we in no way under-estimate the weight of your concerns. I ask, however, that you study our decision and proposals with deliberation and avoid taking any irreversible action. I would hope that you could adopt a positive public posture toward our efforts. If that is not possible, however, it is my hope that you will reserve judgment and not respond until the other side has reacted. For Israel to take on the onus for the failure of the new effort to get negotiations started between the parties would be a major setback both for Israel and the United States.5


Richard Nixon END QUOTE

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 756, Presidential Correspondence 1969–1974, Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir 1970. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted and approved by Sisco.
  2. Barbour reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry delivered the letter to Meir “first thing” in the morning, June 21. (Telegram 3203 from Tel Aviv, June 21; ibid., Box 1155, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files)
  3. Reference is to Barbour’s talking points regarding Nixon’s decision on the supply of U.S. aircraft to Israel (see Document 129) which were contained in telegram 96573 to Tel Aviv, June 19. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 12–5 ISR)
  4. See footnote 8, Document 129.
  5. Nixon received a reply from Meir on July 2. She thanked him “warmly” for taking the time to send her a personal note, commenting that it in itself was evidence that he appreciated how “vital” the aircraft decision was to Israel and that he understood the “gravity” of Israel’s situation. She continued: “But we are convinced that the possibility of peace with our neighbors will not be furthered by a weakened Israel. Therefore, we could not understand why any developments in peace negotiations should affect the delivery of aircraft to us. We, of course, all know that whatever negotiations take place, the continuous supply of Russian arms, and probably personnel, will not be affected. For this reason I particularly welcome your assurance that there is no relationship between the question of negotiations and the supply of aircraft, and I venture to hope that the question of timing will not arise.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 607, Country Files, Middle East, Israel, Vol. V)