229. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

155. Re Tel Aviv 1692 and 171;3 Cairo 316.4 You should see Prime Minister earliest and say that US Government is informed and believes that Egyptian actions August 25 took place despite orders from Egyptian Commander in Chief against any aggressive moves and were due to failure of communications to reach all units in time, and that Army has issued strict orders against any border activities.

US Government wishes express its hope in strongest way that GOI will not permit episode to start vicious circle of reprisal and counter-reprisal. This especially important since any IDF reprisal might well be construed by world opinion as GOI reply to Secretary’s statement. We believe statement offers best hope that Israel may have for considerable time to come to achieve settlement and security she has so frequently spoken for and it would be major disaster if opportunity were to be thrown away by hasty action [Page 407] which could serve no purpose. We have already spoken urgently to GOE in this regard.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/8–2755. Secret;Niact. Drafted by Russell and approved by Allen, who signed for Henderson. Repeated priority to Cairo, Paris, and London.
  2. Document 225.
  3. The Embassy reported on August 26 in telegram 171 that Sharett indicated to White that he was uncertain whether Israel would retaliate for the incidents of the previous night. (Department of State, Central Files, 120.1580/8–2655)
  4. Byroade informed the Department on August 27 in telegram 316 that the August 25 attacks were “not connected in any way Secretary’s speech. Action planned after incident August 22 as retaliation. We obtained sufficient evidence here yesterday to approach officials and obtain reversal of orders to troops but word did not reach outlying units in time—otherwise by Nasser’s own admission total effort would have been ‘much heavier’.” (Ibid., 674.84A/8–2755)
  5. Lawson informed the Department on August 28 that he was trying to arrange an appointment with Sharett and that he would strongly emphasize the considerations set forth in the second paragraph of telegram 155 to Tel Aviv. (Telegram 176 from Tel Aviv;ibid., 674.84A/8–2855)