87. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir1
The Secretary of State has brought to my attention your letter dated May 12,2 in which you have outlined your country’s major concerns. Let me assure you, Madame Prime Minister, that I read it with great attention and understanding, for you know that during my entire Administration I have given concrete evidence of my own feelings for and commitment to Israel’s continued survival in peace and security. I would like now to refer to those items which you raised.
With regard to your request to enter with the United States into a long-range military arrangement which will assure Israel the supply of the necessary military equipment for the next ten years, you have my full backing. I have noted the figures that you have quoted, and I understand your basic needs. With respect to modern aircraft, I understand that preliminary talks have already been held with Secretary Schlesinger, and I recognize your need to move into the new generation of aircraft. With respect to ground-to-ground missiles, I agree that Israel should be equipped with weapons similar to those supplied by the [Page 369] Russians to both the Egyptians and the Syrians. I assure you of my support in this program.
I suggest that a mission from your country come to Washington in the month of June to work out all concrete details. This will give me the opportunity to review the specifics sympathetically and within the framework of the aforementioned principles.
I realize that such a long-range military program will entail a heavy financial burden. I was mindful of this fact when I proposed special emergency assistance of $2.2 billion subsequent to the October war. I fully realize that substantial U.S. financial assistance will be needed to support this program, and I intend to ask Congress to provide such support.
I fully understand your concern for working out a contingency plan to provide Israel with military supplies, both ammunition and replacement of major equipment, in case of emergency. I have authorized our appropriate agencies to work with your officials to devise such a plan.
I noted your particular concern with regard to the continued supply of oil to Israel, in case any interruption occurs resulting from change of circumstances or other development. I suggest that appropriate representatives of our two countries meet in order to devise a plan whose objective would be to assure uninterrupted oil supply to Israel.
Madame Prime Minister, as you leave office, I want to pay tribute to the strong and effective leadership which you have given to Israel and its people.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1–July 1, 1974. Secret. A handwritten notation at the top of the first page reads, “Peter Rodman hand delivered to Min. Shalev 6/9/74, 5:00 p.m.” A handwritten notation at the bottom of the second page reads, “I shall look forward to seeing you in a few days.”↩
- The letter has not been found.↩