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September 15, 1981

Memorandum for the President [Ronald Reagan] from Alexander M. Haig, Jr.

Instructions for the U.S. delegation to the IAEA's annual General Conference (GC) which told them to anticipate a “severe attack” against Israel by objecting “vigorously [to] suspension of technical aid.” Later on, this instruction would change, and the delegation would be instructed to leave the building should the Israeli credentials be rejected.

June 7, 1981

Attack on the Iraqi Nuclear Research Centre, 7 June 1981: Statement by the Director General

After the raid Israel initiated a PR campaign, explaining its reasoning behind the attack. Following this campaign, the second causality of the raid, in addition to Iraq’s reactor, was the credibility of the IAEA. And its officials staged their own counter campaign.

August 13, 1982

Memorandum for the President [Ronald Reagan] from Secretary Weinberger, ‘Weekly Report of Defense Activities’

Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger openly conveyed his dismay toward the Israeli leadership, expressing his support for the opposition, led by Shimon Peres.

January 8, 1982

Memorandum for the President [Ronald Reagan] from Secretary Weinberger, ‘Weekly Report to the President’

In a memorandum for the president from January 1982, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger expressed his criticism of Israel’s Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon and his tendency of “going public whenever it suits him”.

June 12, 1981

Memorandum for the President [Ronald Reagan] from Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., ‘U.S. Strategy for UN Security Council Meeting on the Israeli Raid on the Iraqi Nuclear Facility’

This document outlines Haig's proposed political strategy, which was approved by Reagan on 12 June, and was constructed around the notion of red lines: Washington would harshly condemn Israel but would also “draw the line on punishment” by Israel.

June 11, 1981

Memorandum for the National Security Council from Richard V. Allen, ‘National Security Council Meeting (NSC), Friday, June 12, 1981, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.’

ACDA Director-Designate Eugene Rostow explains his pro-Israel stance, and argues that Israel should be given an exemption from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

June 9, 1981

Memorandum for Richard V. Allen from Douglas J. Feith, ‘Israeli Raid on Iraqi Nuclear Facility’

NSC staffer Douglas J. Feith took the internal debate on the legitimacy of the raid a step further, stating that “no rebuke of Israel’s raid against Iraq should be issued without an equally emphatic rebuke of Iraq.” Feith’s argument was based on the fact that Iraq had continuously refused to acknowledge Israel’s existence and was officially at war with it.

June 9, 1981

Memorandum for Richard V. Allen from Raymond Tanter, 'Israel's Air Strike on Iraq's Nuclear Facility'

The NSC’s Raymond Tanter recommended a “middle course of action,” one which would distance Washington from the strike “while avoiding extreme measures designed to punish Israel.”

June 15, 1981

Memorandum for the President [Ronald Reagan] from Walter J. Stoessel, ‘Political Strategy for Responding to Israeli Attack’

Following Lewis’ cable, and the realization that the raid should have been at least somewhat anticipated, the administration opted to develop a more restrained, sober approach towards Israel, constructing what was termed a “political strategy for responding to Israeli attack”.

June 9, 1981

Cable, American Embassy Tel Aviv to the Secretary of State, ‘Israeli Strike on Iraqi Nuclear Facility: Background for the Decision’

While starting to construct the political strategy of response to the raid, the administration came face to face with what U.S. ambassador to Israel, Sam Lewis called in his cable to Washington a “gap” in the administration’s “institutional memory”, as assessments regarding Israel’s intention to launch a strike were not passed on from the Carter administration.