Kissinger Memo gives lie to Chomsky depiction of Israel as mere Regional Sheriff
by Peter Myers on 08 Mar 2012 1 Comment

Noam Chomsky is the expert on the US Media who did not notice its Jewish ownership or control. The world’s leading intellectual has consistently denied that the Jewish lobby manipulates Presidents and Congress. Instead, he puts the line that Israel is a mere Regional Outpost of the Empire - a Sheriff implementing US policy in the Middle East.


Kissinger’s Memo to Nixon gives the lie to Chomsky’s line. It shows that the highest level of the US Government was unable to impose its will on Israel as regards development of Nuclear Weapons, and was aware of its inability to rein Israel in because “enormous political pressure will be mounted”. That “enormous political pressure” is a reference to the Lobby which Chomsky insists does not exist.


This material is at Kissinger’s Memo is transcribed here for the first time.


(1) Israel more likely to use its Nukes - Memo From Kissinger to Nixon, July 19, 1969

Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal Vexed Nixon


Published: November 29, 2007

Correction Appended


WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 — In July 1969, as the world was spellbound by the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, President Richard M. Nixon and his close advisers were quietly fretting about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Their main worry was not a potential enemy of the United States, but one of America’s closest friends.


Memo from Kissinger to Nixon on the Israeli Nuclear Program (July 19, 1969)

“The Israelis, who are one of the few peoples whose survival is genuinely threatened, are probably more likely than almost any other country to actually use their nuclear weapons,” Henry A. Kissinger, the national security adviser, warned Mr. Nixon in a memorandum dated July 19, 1969 — part of a newly released trove of documents.


Israel’s nuclear arms program, which Israel has never officially conceded exists, was believed to have begun at least several years before, but it was causing special problems for the young Nixon administration. For one thing, the president was preparing for a visit by its prime minister, Golda Meir, who was also in her first year in office and whose toughness was already legendary.


Should Washington insist that Israel rein in its development of nuclear weapons? What would the United States do if Israel refused? Perhaps the solution lay in deliberate ambiguity, or simply pretending that America did not know what Israel was up to. These were some of the options that Mr. Kissinger laid out for Mr. Nixon on that day before men first walked on the moon.


The Nixon White House’s concerns over Israel’s weapons were detailed in documents from the Nixon Presidential Library that were released on Wednesday as the result of declassification requests by researchers at the National Security Archive of George Washington University and elsewhere. The documents provide insights into America’s close, but by no means problem-free, relationship with Israel. They also serve as a reminder that concerns over nuclear arms proliferation in the Middle East, now focused on Iran, are decades old.


The papers also allude to a 1972 campaign by friends of W. Mark Felt, then the second-ranking FBI official, to have him named director of the bureau after the death of J. Edgar Hoover in May of that year. Mr. Nixon, of course, did not take the advice, instead naming L. Patrick Gray. Mr. Felt later became the famous anonymous source “Deep Throat,” whose revelations during Watergate helped topple the president.


There are also snippets about Washington’s desire to manipulate relations with Saudi Arabia, so that the Saudis might help to broker a Middle East peace deal; discussion of possibly supporting a Kurdish uprising in Iraq; and a 1970 clash in which four Israeli fighters shot down four Russian MIG-21s over eastern Egypt, even though the Israelis were outnumbered by two-to-one.


But perhaps the most interesting material, and the most pertinent given the just-completed peace conference in Annapolis, Md., concerns Israel and its relations with its neighbors, as well as with the United States.


“There is circumstantial evidence that some fissionable material available for Israel’s weapons development was illegally obtained from the United States about 1965,” Mr. Kissinger noted in his long memorandum. He also said that one problem with trying to persuade Israel to freeze its nuclear program was that inspections would be useless, conceding that “we could never cover all conceivable Israeli hiding places.” “This is one program on which the Israelis have persistently deceived us,” Mr. Kissinger said, “and may even have stolen from us.”


Although Israel has never publicly acknowledged possessing nuclear weapons, scientists and arms experts have no doubt that it has them, and the United States’ reluctance to pressure Israel to disarm has made America vulnerable to accusations that it has a double standard when it comes to stopping the spread of weapons in the Middle East. Mr. Kissinger’s memo, written barely two years after the 1967 Middle East war and while memories of the Holocaust were still vivid among the first Israelis, implicitly acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself, as subsequent American administrations have done.


But Mr. Kissinger reflected at length on the quandary faced by the United States. “Israel will not take us seriously on the nuclear issue unless they believe we are prepared to withhold something they very much need,” he wrote, referring to a pending sale of Phantom fighter jets to Israel.


“On the other hand, if we withhold the Phantoms and they make this fact public in the United States, enormous political pressure will be mounted on us,” Mr. Kissinger went on. “We will be in an indefensible position if we cannot state why we are withholding the planes. Yet if we explain our position publicly, we will be the ones to make Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons public with all the international consequences this entails.”


One of those consequences might be to “spark a Soviet nuclear guarantee for the Arabs, tighten the Soviet hold on the Arabs and increase the danger of our involvement,” Mr. Kissinger wrote at another point.


After he met with Mrs. Meir at the White House in late September 1969, Mr. Nixon said: “The problems in the Mideast go back centuries. They are not susceptible to easy solution. We do not expect them to be susceptible to instant diplomacy.”


But Avner Cohen, the author of “Israel and the Bomb,” (Columbia University Press, 1998) who is a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, said on Wednesday that there was enough historical evidence to indicate that the president and the prime minister had reached a secret understanding on at least one issue: Israel would keep its nuclear devices out of sight and not test them, and the United States would tolerate the situation and not press Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that has been embraced by scores of countries around the world.


“That understanding remains to this day,” Mr. Cohen said.


Correction: December 7, 2007

An article on Nov. 29 about the Nixon administration’s alarm over Israel’s nuclear weapons program described incorrectly the process that prompted the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum to release previously classified documents. The release was the result of declassification requests by researchers at the National Security Archive of George Washington University and elsewhere; it was not because of a regulation requiring review and possible declassification of documents after 25 years.


[NOTE: Israel wanted US Phantom fighters because during the 1967 War, France refused to supply parts for Mirage jets and declared a weapons boycott. Israel decided to replace the Mirage jets in the light of USSR’s rearming Egypt and Syria]


(2) Kissinger MEMO to Nixon on Israel’s Nuclear Weapons

July 19, 1969

Transcribed by Peter Myers, February 22, 2012. The original uses uppercase and underlining for emphasis. That is retained; in addition, bold emphasis is added here.






FROM: Henry A. Kissinger

SUBJECT: Israeli Nuclear Program


You will recall that you created a special group -- because of the sensitivity of the issue -- to consider the status of the Israeli nuclear program and our possible responses to it. We have met twice at the top level (Packard, Richardson, Helms, Wheeler, Kissinger) to consider analyses drawn up by a small working group under us.


The paper at Tab A is my summary of the situation as our group sees it after reviewing the intelligence and of our discussion of the issues which that situation raises. This is long, but I believe you will want to read through it because this is a complex problem.




{one sentence blacked out} We judge that the introduction of nuclear weapons into the Near East would increase the dangers in an already dangerous situation and therefore not be in our interest.


Israel has 12 surface-to-surface missiles delivered from France. It has set up a production line and plans by the end of 1970 to have a total force of 24-30, ten of which are programmed for nuclear warheads.


When the Israelis signed the contract buying the Phantom aircraft last November, they committed themselves “not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Near East.” But it was plain from the discussion that they interpreted that to mean they could possess nuclear weapons as long as they did not test, deploy, or make them public. In signing the contract, we wrote Rabin saying that we believe mere “possession’ constitutes “introduction” and that Israel’s introduction of nuclear weapons by our definition would be cause for us to cancel the contract.


Delivery of the Phantoms is scheduled to begin in September. But some of the aircraft will be ready at the factory in August, and the Israelis have asked to begin taking delivery then.




There was general agreement in our group that we must recognize one important distinction to begin with:


1. Israel’s secret possession of nuclear weapons would increase the potential danger in the Middle East, and we do not desire complicity in it.


2. In this case, public knowledge is almost as dangerous as possession itself. This is what might spark a Soviet nuclear guarantee for the Arabs, tighten the Soviet hold on the Arabs and increase the danger of our involvement. Indeed, the Soviets might have an incentive not to know.


What this means is that, while we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact.


In our discussions, the following positions were taken:


1. Everyone agreed that, as a minimum, we want Israel to sign the NPT. This is not because signing will make any difference in Israel’s actual nuclear program because Israel could produce warheads clandestinely. Israel’s signature would, however, give us a publicly feasible issue to raise with the Israeli government -- a way of opening the discussion. It would also publicly commit Israel not to acquire nuclear weapons.


2. Everyone agreed that, in addition, we should try to get from Israel a bilateral understanding on Israel’s nuclear intentions because the NPT is not precise enough and because the Phantom aircraft are potential nuclear weapons carriers.


3. Opinion was divided on the nature of the assurances we should seek and on the tactics of seeking them:


-- The JCS felt that if Israel’s program becomes known, we should be in a position to say we did everything in our power to prevent Israel from going nuclear. JCS felt that we should try to stop Israel’s missile production and use the Phantoms as leverage.


-- Defense felt that we could live with the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons provided they were not deployed. Defense agreed that we should try to stop missile production and that we should use the Phantoms as leverage to get the assurances we want.


-- State believed that we should try to keep Israel from going any further with its nuclear weapons program -- it may be so close to completion that Israel would be willing -- and make a record for ourselves of having tried. State has joined in suggesting asking the Israelis to halt production of the missiles. State would not threaten to withhold the Phantoms in the first approach to the Israelis but would be prepared to imply that threat if they were unresponsive to our first approach.


At the end of our discussions, State, Defense, and JCS agreed to describe a course of action which represented as nearly as possible the consensus of our group. Despite the different shades of opinion expressed in our discussions, the State, Defense and JCS members have concurred in the paper at Tab B which proposes asking the Israelis to:


1. Sign the NPT at an early date (by the end of this year) and ratify it soon thereafter.


2. Reaffirm to the US in writing the assurance that Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Near East, specifying that “introduction” shall mean possession of nuclear explosive devices. [For our own internal purposes, we would decide that we could tolerate Israeli activity short of assembly of a completed nuclear device.]


3. Give us assurances in writing that it will stop production and will not deploy “Jericho” missiles or any other nuclear-capable strategic missiles. [NOTE: I do not believe we can ask Israel not to produce missiles. Israel is sovereign in this decision, and I do not see how we can ask it not to produce a weapon just because we do not see it as an effective weapon without nuclear warheads. We might persuade them not to deploy what they produce on grounds that the rest of the world will believe that the missiles must have nuclear warheads.]


This paper recommends approaching the Israelis in two steps:


1. First step. Richardson and Packard call in Rabin and say that, in connection with Israel’s request to advance the delivery date for the first Phantoms to August, we want to tie up the ends left by the exchange of letters surrounding that contract (i.e., the difference over what would constitute “introduction” of nuclear weapons). They would stress the importance of Israel’s signature of the NPT and ask for Israel’s confirmation that “possession” of nuclear weapons as well as testing and deployment would constitute “introduction”. They would also say that Israel’s development and deployment of missiles -- a nuclear weapons delivery system -- would cast doubt on its nuclear assurances. They would not in this first meeting explicitly link delivery of the Phantoms with Israel’s response.


2. Second step. If Rabin tried to stonewall, Richardson and Packard would state exactly what we want and make clear that Israeli unresponsiveness would raise a question about our ability to continue meeting Israel’s arms request.




Our problem is that Israel will not take us seriously on the nuclear issue unless they believe we are prepared to withhold something they very much need -- the Phantoms or, even more, their whole military supply relationship with us.


On the other hand, if we withhold the Phantoms and they make this fact public in the United States, enormous political pressure will be mounted on us. We will be in an indefensible position if we cannot state why we are withholding the planes. Yet if we explain our position publicly, we will be the ones to make Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons public with all the international consequences this entails.




In the end, we have these broad options:


1. Initiate discussion now and try to reach an understanding before delivery of the Phantoms becomes an active issue in September.


2. Initiate discussion of the nuclear issue in September when Mrs. Meir comes, letting delivery of the Phantoms begin.


3. Initiate discussion of the issue in September and not let delivery begin until we have a satisfactory response to our request for assurances.


4. Not raise the issue.


I recommend the first. I would propose that:


1. Richardson and Packard call in Rabin and go through the first step as outlined in their paper -- express our desire to tie up loose ends on Israel’s nuclear assurances to us but not explicitly link delivery of the Phantoms to their reply.


2. If Rabin’s reaction is negative, I call Rabin in and stress your concern that they sign the NPT, confirm that they will not “introduce” (defined as ‘“possess”) nuclear weapons, and agree not to deploy their missiles.


3. We then take stock before committing ourselves on withholding the Phantoms.


The rationale for this approach is that:


1. It raises the question with the Israelis before delivery of the Phantoms becomes an active issue. We shall have to find an excuse for not delivering in August, but the scheduled delivery would begin in September. By raising the question now, we at least have a chance to keep the Phantom delivery from becoming an issue.


2. By relating our discussion to the contract, it implies - without committing us -- that we are questioning the Phantom delivery and thereby encourage the Israelis to take us seriously.


3. It maintains your control over the point at which we do or do not introduce the threat of withholding the Phantoms.


Approve         Disapprove              Other


I recommend that you read through the papers that follow before you decide, because this is a complex issue. They are written to help you, work your way in more detail through the pros and cons of the major issues (Tab A), to enable you to see how the consensus of the group would play itself out in a course of action (Tab B), and to present to you systematically the principal issues for decision (Tab C). The two remaining papers are background: at Tab D, the exchange of letters consummating the Phantom sale for your reference; at Tab E, the basic working group papers that our group started from.




(3) Israel recruited Jewish nuclear scientists from Soviet Union in its last years


{What about that discrimination against Jews that the Soviets are accused of?}


Israel’s Nuclear Shopping List

The Risk Report

Volume 2 Number 4 (July-August 1996)


Despite Israel’s impressive achievements in nuclear weaponry, it still needs imports to maintain and develop its existing arsenal. According to a 1992 Pentagon study, “The Militarily Critical Technologies List,” Israel’s strongest capabilities lie in processing nuclear materials and in developing high explosives for nuclear weapon detonation. Israel is less capable in enriching fissile material, building power reactors and mastering thermonuclear fusion.


One of Israel’s most important recent imports has been people. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Israel began recruiting Soviet nuclear scientists. In 1991 alone, nearly 20 top Soviet scientists reportedly emigrated to Israel, some of whom were involved in operating nuclear power plants and planning for the next generation of Russian reactors. In September 1992, German intelligence was quoted in the press as estimating that 40 Soviet nuclear scientists had emigrated to Israel since 1989.


The biggest challenge for Israel’s nuclear weapon program has been its inability to openly conduct explosive tests. To compensate for this limitation, Israel must rely on imported high-speed computers. Supercomputers can simulate what goes on inside both fission and fusion weapons. Israel will also have a continuing need for other diagnostic and development tools such as vibrational test equipment, flash X-ray machines and multistage light gas guns.


To continue enriching uranium with gas centrifuges, Israel will need to replace worn-out centrifuges and their parts. This, in turn, will require continued access to high-speed balancing equipment, high-strength rotor materials such as fibrous and filamentary materials, to filament winding machines, and to frequency changers and inverters. Israel also needs a steady supply of tritium to boost the yield of its existing nuclear bombs. Tritium decays at the rate of approximately 5 percent per year, so existing supplies must be constantly replenished. This means that Israel must continue to run the Dimona reactor to irradiate lithium, Israel’s only means of producing tritium. In addition, Israel will continue to need tritium storage containers, oil and rubber-free mechanical vacuum pumps, and palladium and palladium alloy diffusers for separating tritium from helium-3 and other gases. Cryogenic distillation equipment will also be needed to handle tritium.



Peter Myers is a writer who lives a simple life on a small farm. Apart from writing, he builds whatever’s needed, does the plumbing, and grows subtropical and tropical fruits. He has done a number of academic courses, but finds academia (in the West) too narrow and ex-cathedra in its mindset: stifling of genuine creative thought. Genuine independent thinking now takes place outside official circles, on the internet. His website is

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