253. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1

211. Jackson (Embtel 2032) informs me that he met with Sharett and later Ben-Gurion today who have requested that he take important message to Nasser. Jackson arriving Cairo 1845 this evening (Cairo time) and will endeavor through own efforts meet Nasser on urgency basis. Later he will report developments to Embassy Cairo but feels direct association himself and Embassy at this time should be kept to minimum. Jackson hopes to receive from Nasser sufficient encouragement to warrant return to Israel, which very much desired by Sharett and Ben-Gurion, although Jackson probably meeting Rafael in Cyprus September 3 for secret talks with Sharett and Ben-Gurion, Jackson convinced that Israel, now that it has made sharp retaliation, feels it has balanced the score and taught Egyptians a lesson and is anxious that all violence on border and sabotage within [Page 440] Israel can be completely stopped. To that end, the messages consist of two proposals to Nasser:


GOI will accept General Burns’ cease-fire3 if GOE will give complete and satisfactory assurance that the armistice will be strictly observed and all acts of sabotage and violence stopped. This means not only military action on border but mining and sabotage.

Sharett and Ben-Gurion think it very important that Nasser be directly informed on sabotage acts within Israel, which have so completely aroused all of the country, and that he believe that they are taking place. In reply to my specific and clear question Jackson said that at no time was mention made of an Israeli requirement that GOE acknowledge and take responsibility for acts which have led to this round of retaliations on both sides, a condition included in GOI reply to Burns request for cease-fire (Embtel 196).

GOI will agree to 48-hour complete cease-fire (including mining and sabotage activity), during which it hopes that arrangements can be worked out for some kind of discussions which would set stage for strict and complete observance of armistice.GOI would agree that such conference would involve no discussions outside armistice operation but would not limit conferees to military people only. Conference could be held any agreed place (kilometer 95, Cyprus, etc), should be secret and could be held under chairmanship Jackson, General Burns, or any other agreed neutral person—there would be wide flexibility in regard to place and chairman. Jackson confident GOI much prefers proposal number 2 but confident that if he can return with genuine assurances by Nasser meeting terms of number 1 it will accept Burns cease-fire proposal. He feels that GOI will undertake no further military reprisals pending outcome his visit to Nasser unless Egyptians engaged in provoking actions and serious sabotage incidents in Israel continue.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/9–155. Secret;Niact. Received at 2:53 p.m., September 2. Repeated niact to Cairo, London, and Paris.
  2. Document 247.
  3. See Document 242.
  4. On September 3,Byroade reported: “Nasser would not commit himself to Jackson nor British Ambassador to effect GOE would not retaliate for Khan Younes attack (nor in fact has he ever done so with me). He has, however, carried out his promised efforts control refugees and regain control over commandos.Nasser told British Ambassador about noon today that while GOE had not yet reached final decision, no orders for any retaliation had been issued up to that time. Nor from many little things does it appear he is expecting new wave of trouble, particularly since as of that time he was planning visit with his family in Alexandria greater part of next week.” (Telegram 386 from Cairo; Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/9–355)