Saturday, November 10, 2007

Feinberg III

Third, the President framed policy in such a way to give the façade that Israel would actually decide the policy. In fact, the Eshkol government was given an either/or choice: it (and its U.S. supporters) could either back the Jordan arms deal, or all U.S. military aid to Israel would be cut off as well.

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President Johnson: We think—all of our people think—that the place for this decision is the Prime Minister of Israel. He’s talking to us, and he’s making it clear what his position is. But the ambassador’s kind of taking a different position.

And we gather, from what [Israeli ambassador Avraham] Harman says to you, and what we hear from other reports, that he feels that it’s better to go the other way.

Well, now, just to be perfectly blunt about it, I don’t want to persuade him.

Feinberg: I know.

President Johnson: I just don’t want to be in a position of trying to force him to do something.

So I’m just going to say to Eshkol, “Now, here’s what we get. We get this reaction over there. And we get this reaction from you. And Averell [Harriman] will tell you what we’ll do.

“If you want us to limit out thing [arms aid] and control them [Jordan], and try to finish out your thing [the German tank aid], and supply you, we’ll furnish both of you. If you don’t want that, we’ll furnish nobody. Now, whatever you think you’d rather do. And you just make a decision, and then you get a hold of Abe Feinberg, who’s the man I trust most, and tell him.

“And then I want some editorials asking me to do it. I don’t want to be out there on a limb that I’ve got to walk back on.”

Feinberg: You mean, asking you not to do it?

President Johnson: Yeah, asking me to either supply them both, or not supply them.

Feinberg: Uh-huh.

President Johnson: Now, I cannot imagine any Jew in America getting mad at me for saying, “Mr. Prime Minister, you write the ticket.”

Feinberg: No.

President Johnson: Can you?

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