45. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Memorandum from Secretary Laird on the Arab/Israeli conflict

Mel Laird sent me the attached memo (Tab A)2 on the Arab/Israeli conflict.

The most interesting section of the paper concerns military sales to Israel (Section 5). In summary, it states that:

1. Further sales to Israel will almost certainly be seen as escalating the arms race.

2. US-supplied equipment will be used in retaliatory strikes, including strikes against civilian targets such as the East Ghor Canal.

3. The Israelis will accept no restrictions on the use of the equipment. They have turned down some cluster bombs because we tried to restrict their use.

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4. The sale of sophisticated equipment carries the implied obligation to continue supply regardless of the Israeli use of the equipment.

5. As we continue to supply nuclear capable equipment (Phantom jet fighters) our leverage on the Israeli nuclear program decreases.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 634, Country Files, Middle East, UAR, Vol. I. Top Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Both Nixon and Kissinger were at the Western White House in San Clemente.
  2. Attached but not printed at Tab A is the August 22 memorandum in which Laird wrote: “The present situation in the Middle East is of grave concern to the Department of Defense. Because of the rather sizeable Middle Eastern involvement of the Department of Defense in matters ranging from U.S. military bases to the sale of arms, we are giving constant attention to the relationship of military to political questions in this region, especially as these matters relate to the Arabi-Israeli dispute. In this connection, I am sending to you a short report, prepared by OSD/ISA, on the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Department of Defense interest in the Middle East.” On the memorandum itself, Laird handwrote: “Henry, I do feel this report is well done and wanted you to have it—Mel.” The undated report is attached but not printed.