396.1 LO/5–1250: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State

Secto 233. Following is suggested revision draft tripartite statement on arms shipments and security NE received from FonOff:

  • “The Governments of the United Kingdom, France and the United States, having had occasion to review certain questions affecting the peace and stability of the Near East, and particularly that of the supply of arms and war material to the states in that area, have resolved to make the following statement:
    • “1. The three governments recognise that Israel and the Arab states all need to maintain a certain level of armed forces for the purposes of assuring their internal security and their legitimate self-defence and to permit them to play their part in the defence of the area as a whole. All applications for arms or war material for these countries will be considered in the light of these principles. In this connection the three governments wish to recall and reaffirm the terms of the statements made by their representatives on the Security Council on 4th August, 1949, in which they declared their opposition to the development of an arms race between Israel and the Arab states.
    • “2. The three governments declare that assurances have been received from all the countries of the Middle East to which they permit arms to be supplied from their countries that the purchasing country does not intend to undertake any act of aggression against any other state in the Middle East.
    • “3. The three governments take this opportunity of declaring their deep interest in and their desire to promote the establishment and maintenance of peace and stability in the Near East and their unalterable opposition to the use of force or threat of force between any of these states. The three governments should they find that any state in the area was preparing to violate existing frontiers or armistice lines would, consistent with their obligations as members of the United Nations, immediately take action, both within and outside the United Nations to prevent such violation.”

Following is preliminary comment:

Revision in the order of presentation of points accords with suggestion of Secretary (Secto 218, May 11).1
Revision in paragraph 2 to indicate necessary assurances already received is designed to meet British treaty complications and also is in accord discussion between Bevin and Secretary (Secto 218). Paragraph as drafted, however, does not cover except possibly by implication countries other than those to which arms being currently shipped. We are discussing this further with the British.
There are also certain minor drafting points, such as the use of term Middle East in paragraph 2 which should be changed so as make clear application is only to Arab states and Israel.
Basic elements in text approved by Department in Tosec 1532 retained unimpaired in above draft.
Method of prior approach to Arab states and Israel still under discussion. Wright indicated yesterday FonOff felt obligated immediately make preliminary and informed approach to Egypt and Jordan (but not Iraq at this point) without reference deliberations here in hope stimulate “voluntary” assurances and clear way for subsequent approaches these and other states by countries sponsoring statement. Fact that AL Political Committee is currently meeting in Cairo presents difficulty this connection since would probably be disastrous if approaches to Arab states and Israel became matter collective discussion there.
French are not being brought into discussions pending further clarification with British.
British also submitted draft identic statement which conforms mutatis mutandis exactly to the tripartite draft quoted above.

  1. Supra.
  2. See footnote 2, supra.