Saunders-Nixon Memo Re. Phantom Sales to Saudi - 1973 [Declassified] | Foreign Relations Of The United States | Unrest

MEMORANDUM

NATI O TAL SECURI T Y COU NCI L AC T I ON 308 0
8:EGftET / NODIS (XGDS ) J u ne I , 19 73
ME M ORANDUM FOR: DR. KISSINGE R
F ROM: HA R OL D H. SAUN DE RS { ~
SUBJEC T : Count e ring I s r a e li Reacti on to F - 4
Sales to Sau di A r a b ia and Kuwait
You wi ll have r e a d in t h e daily b r i e f tha t Am b a s s a do r Dinitz h a s con ­
v e y e d a st r on g I s r a e li a c t i on a ga i nst the US de ci s ion to sell F - 4
P h a rit orn.s to Saudi A r a b i a. It s e e rns t o me that we migh t s ave the
Adm i ni s t r a t i on som e t r oub l e by you r talk i ng t o Dinitz n ow abou t thi s .
He is all ove r town wh i pp i n g up p r e s s opp os i ti on to t h e sale.
T h e poi nts Di niLz rnade t o Si sc o are that the sale woul d re duce I s r a e l ' s
psyc h ologica l a d v a n tage ove r th e Arabs ; w ould detrac t f r om the s y m.­
b ol i c val ue of a weapon h e r e t of o r e made a v a ila b l e in the r e gi o n only t o
I r a n a nd Is rael (h e coul d hav e m.entio n e d Tu r k e y and Gr e e c e ); c o uld
set a p rece de n t f o r e ve n t u a l US F-4 s a l e s to J o r d a n and e v e n Egy p t ;
could i nh ibi t p rogress t owa r d a Middl e Eas t s ettlement by encouragi ng
A r a b hopes of bei ng a b l e t o pres sure Is r a e l ; woul d s i gn i f i c a n Lly e nh a nce
the m i l i t a r y c apab ili ties of Saudi A r a bi a , a na ti on "at war ! ' with I s r a e l;
would p r ob a bl y lead t o E gy ptian p res s u r e on the Sa u di s t o t a ke a m o r e
aggre s s ive sta nce t owa r d I s r a e l ; a n d could e ncourage t h e Sovie t s a nd
the French to step up a r m s t r a n s f ers to th e A r a b s . Di n i t z a l s o s a i d
h i s govern m e n t w a s c onc e r n e d a b ou t the dang e r tha t F-4s m i g ht b e
transfe rred f r orn S a u di Ara bia to o t he r A r a b state s and about the US
ability to co ntrol the di s p o s i t i on of the s e a i r plan es in a n unp r e dic t abl e
p o s t - F a i s a l era i n Sa u di A r a b i a . He s a i d Saudi acqu is i ti on of t h e F - 4 s
would oblige I s r a e l II t o re view it s c once p t of s e c u r e b o r de r s . "
Ap a r t from the f a c t t h at a ny delive rie s w ou ld b e 3 -4 yea rs awa y . The
poi nts to be rna.de to Di nit z a r e:
1.
XGDS- 3
DE C L AS - I1nposs i ble to Dete r m i n e Date.
BYAU TH - Dr. He n r y A. Ki s s i ng er
BE C KE T /NODIS (XGDS)
- 2 ­
of b o t h I s r ael and the Un i te d Stat es to k e e p the s e is s u e s a s
sep a r a te a s p ossibl e . It i s n o t in the inter est of I s r a e l t h a t
t he US vulnera b i li t y to p r e s s u r e s in the oil a r e a s be inc r e a s ed.
It is al s o n o t in Israel ' s i n t ere s t to ob j e ct s o v o c if r ou s l y to
t he US st r e n g t h e ni n g of i t s pos i t ion in Sa u di Arabi a th a t the
A r abs wi ll be enc ourage d to u s e t h a t as a p r e s s u r e p oi n t on
th e US.
2. We have car e f u lly weighed a ll the c on s i d e r a t i on s whi c h the
I sraelis h a v e rnen ti one d a n d h a ve rna de the j u d g me n t that it is
in the US int e r e st to rna k e t his s a le. T her e f o r e , we st r ongly
u r g e the I sraeli governITlent to think twi c e bef ore it contin ue s
i t s ac t i ve c a rripa i.g n again st the Adrrri ni s t r a t i on on this i s s ue .
Recom m. e n d a t i o n : Tha t you c a ll Di ni t z in the n e x t day o r two with the
a b ove lin e .
(XG DS )

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