V. Buzan Lyndon Johnson’s Administration Policy Towards the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1963–1969

DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.46.2018.136743

Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

The article deals with U.S. policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict during the
presidency of Lyndon Johnson. Special attention is paid to U.S. decision-making
process. The author analyses discussions and disagreements within Jonson’s administration
about U.S. policy regarding Arabs and Israel. A relationship between
the United States and the Soviet Union on the eve and during Six Day War is considered
in the paper. Basic U.S. goals in the Middle East were determined.
The article describes U.S. Middle East policy-making process during the presidency
of Lyndon Johnson. It was concluded that the White House and the State
Department had different approaches to the Middle East problems. The State Department
tried to be even-handed and impartial to the Arabs and Israel. The U.S.
experts cautioned that deterioration relations between the USA and the Arabs could
give the Soviets opportunity to improve their positions in the Middle East.
U.S. military assistance to Israel during the presidency of Johnson is also considered.
The State Department was reluctant to sell arms to Israel and warned that shipments of weapons to Israel could deteriorate U.S. relations with the Arabs,
increase anti-American sentiments in the Arab world, damage U.S. interests in the
Middle East, ignite an arms race in that the region. The White House was more
flexible in this matter. Initially, USA encouraged European allies to sell conventional
arms to Israel and then made a decision to sell arms to Israel directly.
U.S. policy during Six Day War is considered. It should be emphasized that
Johnson’s administration tried to prevent Arab-Israeli war. The USA restrained
Israel and Egypt from taking military action. The USA was not involved in the battles
and imposed an embargo on new arms agreements to all states of the Middle
East, including Israel. The USA tried to minimize the danger to their interests
in the Arab world and reduce the likelihood of Soviet intervention.
In article particular attention is given to U.S. perceptions of Soviets intentions
in the Middle East. It was found that U.S. officials didn’t believe that the Soviets
initiate the Middle Eastern crisis of 1967. At the end of the Six Day War, the USSR
made a declaration of the possible use of military force against Israel. U.S. officials
assumed that such Soviets moves were precautionary only.
The author reached a conclusion that Johnson’s administration tried to support
political and economic stability in the Middle East, maintain a military balance
and prevent an arms race in that region. During Middle Eastern crisis of 1967
American behavior was cautious and sometimes ambiguous.

Keywords: the USA, the USSR, the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Six
Day War, Lyndon Johnson.


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