244. Study Prepared by the National Security Council Ad Hoc Group1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY/NSSM 231: ISRAELI MILITARY REQUESTS

This study develops recommendations for (1) a Presidential response on military supply issues during Rabin’s visit, and (2) a strategy for handling Israel’s medium-term (5-year) requirements.

Conclusions

The principal conclusions of the study are:

—Israel retains the near-term capability of defeating any combination of Arab armies. (Tab A)2

—Analysis does not support Israel’s need for the force levels projected in Matmon B. (pp 5, 14; Tab D)3

—Given the altered political situation in the Middle East and the sharply increased magnitude of our military supply relationship with Israel, changes are required in our procedures for deciding: First, how much new matériel Israel should acquire in a given year; and Second, how much security assistance should be made available to help Israel procure those requirements. (pp 6–8)

—Completion of U.S. deliveries already approved and scheduled, plus production in Israel, will satisfy requirements for major weapons systems considered fully adequate to satisfy Israel’s needs in 1980.

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(Since October 1973, Israel has ordered $3.4 billion in matériel, of which over $2 billion will be delivered during the next two years or so; the FY 76 request is in addition to these previous orders.) (pp 8–9, 14)

Recommendations

The principal recommendations flowing from these conclusions are:

Security Assistance

—We should not release items that would be politically or psychologically destabilizing (e.g., Pershing), technologically compromising (e.g., FLIR), or still in R&D (e.g., CBU–84, an air-delivered land mine). (p. 9; Attachment 2)4

—All equipment to be provided from this point should come from production excepting those few cases where it is available from stock without adverse impact on our own forces. (p. 9)

—For most items on the list, Israel should be placed normally in the production queue as Letters of Offer are signed. (An option is provided, although not recommended, which would permit quicker deliveries on certain critical items by special placement for the GOI in the production queue.) (p 10; Attachment 4)5

—We should reaffirm to Rabin our continuing commitment to Israel’s security and agree to an annual joint review to determine appropriate new agreements for sales of matériel. In other words, by indirection we would indicate that a commitment to fulfilling Matmon B per se on a multi-year basis is out of the question. This annual review process would begin with an examination of the political-military situation, move in a systematic manner to the new equipment required to meet this situation, and the payment flow for this equipment. The USG would then unilaterally arrive at a security assistance level for the next year. A systematic approach on an annual basis is essential to enable the decision process to evaluate changing conditions, to review the flow already in the pipeline, and to make a recommendation that will allow the USG to maintain control over both the security assistance levels and the equipment flow. (pp 18–20)

Logistics Contingency Planning

—We should support a restrained version of the logistics contingency plan proposed by Israel, whereby we would preserve U.S. flexibility regarding the circumstances under which the plan would be exe[Page 859]cuted. The plan would be based on a 30-day in-country level of supply, with certain critical consumables stockpiled in the U.S. Where possible, Israeli sea-lift or air contract carriers would be used. The plan would be subject to annual review. (pp 28–29)

Research & Development (R&D) and Co-production Cooperation

—Based on our extensive existing agreements for R&D cooperation and co-production, and our conclusion that for the most part agreements in this area result in higher costs and longer development time for Israel, we should continue to offer cooperation on a case-by-case basis rather than agree to sweeping commitments. Our guidelines would preserve both our advanced weapons technology from compromise and our arms exports from direct competition while at the same time helping Israel where appropriate. (pp 33–34)

[Omitted here are the table of contents and the body of the draft study.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files, NSSMs, Box 38, NSSM 231, Israeli Military Requests, Folder 5. Secret. This study was prepared in response to NSSM 231, Document 243. The study has six attachments and eleven tabs (A–K), all attached but not printed.
  2. Tab A is entitled “Intelligence Estimate.”
  3. Tab D is entitled “Medium Term Program of Assistance to Israel.”
  4. Attachment 2 is entitled “Items on Current Year Request List to Which Objections Pertain.”
  5. Attachment 4 is entitled “Alternative Delivery Options for Current Year Request List.”