345. Memorandum of Discussion at the 262d Meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday, October 20, 1955, 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.1

Present at the 262nd meeting were the Vice President of the United States, presiding; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of Defense; and the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General;2 the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Special Assistant to the President on Disarmament;2 the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission;2 the Director, U.S. Information Agency; the Under Secretary of State; the Deputy Secretary of Defense; Assistant Secretary of State Bowie; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; the Deputy Assistant to the President;3 Special Assistant to the President Dillon Anderson; Special Assistant to the President Nelson Rockefeller; theWhite House Staff Secretary; the Executive Secretary,NSC; the Deputy Executive Secretary,NSC.

[Here follow, at the morning session of the meeting, a report by Dillon Anderson of his conversation with President Eisenhower on October 19 at Denver; discussion of the forthcoming Foreign Ministers meeting at Geneva; a report by the Director of Central Intelligence about significant world developments affecting United States security; an account of the recent NATO Defense Ministers meeting at Paris; a consideration of the psychological implications of the Geneva Conference for United States information programs; an acknowledgement of the progress report on developments in United [Page 617] States policy toward Iceland; a discussion of United States policy toward South Asia; and a further consideration of the impending Foreign Ministers meeting at Geneva in light of a meeting that the Secretary of State had just concluded with bipartisan congressional leaders.]

8. U.S. Objectives and Policies with Respect to the Near East (NSC 5428;4NSC Action No. 1447–c;5 Memorandum to NSC from Executive Secretary,NSC, dated October 17, 1955, subject, “Deterrence of Major Armed Conflict Between Israel and Egypt or Other Arab States.”6)

At the beginning of the afternoon session of the National Security Council, Secretary Dulles said he would like to comment briefly on the two hour meeting he had had between eleven and one o’clock with the legislative leaders of both parties.7 He said that he had briefed the Congressional leaders on the prospects and possibilities for the Geneva meeting of the Foreign Ministers.8 The briefing had gone off very well as even General Persons had agreed and “JerryPersons was knowledgeable in these matters. Senators Clements and George had both made nice statements of support, had raised no particular questions of substance and seemed to go along with the courses of action outlined by Secretary Dulles. Two courses of action with respect to the agenda item on contacts between East and West, it was agreed, might require Congressional action in the shape of amendments to the McCarran Act9 and the Agricultural Act.10 The leaders had said that if I thought well of these proposed courses of action, it was all right to suggest them at the Geneva meeting, but of course that they could not speak for the Congress as a whole.

Mr.Dillon Anderson reminded the Council that the Director of Central Intelligence had postponed his briefing on the Near East until this afternoon in order that it might be taken up in connection with the Planning Board report on the subject which was to be [Page 618] considered by the Council this afternoon. He then called on Mr.Allen Dulles for his intelligence report.

Mr.Allen Dulles said that he had at hand a detailed play-byplay account of the origin and development of the arms deal between the Soviet Union and Egypt.11 He warned that this report was made on the basis of the highest classification of intelligence materials. He also pointed out that the intelligence community viewed what had happened in connection with the arms deal with the highest degree of gravity. Such Soviet maneuvers could easily have a devastating effect on the position of the Free World in the Near East.

Mr.Dulles then proceeded to read his account of the development of the arms deal from its origins in March 1955. He followed this by a brief comment on approaches made by the Soviet Bloc to other Arab States than Egypt.

At the conclusion of Mr.Dulles’ report, Mr.Dillon Anderson commenced to brief the Council on the background of the draft report, submitted by the Planning Board, as a revision of the “Supplementary Statement of Policy” set forth in NSC 5428. (A copy of the brief along the lines of which Mr.Anderson reported to the Council is included in the minutes of the meeting.)11

Mr.Anderson first read the objectives and courses of action in the existing statement of policy with respect to the tensions between Israel and the Arab States. He thereafter summarized the content of the draft report submitted by the Planning Board revising the earlier statement. The analysis, he pointed out, in the new draft had been formulated in the light of the recent Soviet maneuvers in the Near East. He concluded by reading the revised courses of action in Paragraphs 10 through 13 and explained the reasons underlying the splits in these paragraphs.

The Vice President addressed to Admiral Radford a question as to the effectiveness of a blockade in deterring or ending a war between Israel and the Arab States. Would such a blockade suffice or would the United States have to contemplate further action?

Admiral Radford replied that in the case of Israel a blockade would probably prove very effective in a very short period of time. Israel simply did not have sufficient resources to fight for any considerable length of time. In the case of Egypt, the effect of a blockade would not be felt so quickly.

Secretary Wilson said that he believed one of our difficulties might be that of insuring the support of the major countries for a blockade which we might establish. Admiral Radford replied that, of [Page 619] course, a blockade would have to be effective in order to be recognized. Secretary Wilson added that if the blockade were challenged, it would mean war.

Secretary Humphrey then stated that he wished to inform the members of the Council that he disagreed completely with the views of his representative on the NSC Planning Board12 with respect to the revised courses of action presented in the Planning Board revision.

Admiral Radford explained that he wished to inform the Council of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Planning Board report.13 He pointed out that there had not been sufficient time to circulate these views prior to the meeting and that he would therefore read them now. He stated that the Joint Chiefs of Staff took no issue with the non-military courses of action either in this paper or in the existing U.S. policy in the event of war between Israel and the Arab States. Nevertheless, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were concerned with the timing of the application of these non-military courses of action. With respect to Paragraph 10–d which dealt with the establishment of a blockade in the event of aggression by Israel or by one of the Arab States, Admiral Radford stressed the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all possible preventive measures should be taken before there was any resort to such a blockade but nevertheless the blockade action should be clearly set forth in the policy statement. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended wording which indicated in sub-Paragraph 10–d that if it appears that the non-military courses of action are not likely to end the hostilities promptly, a blockade should be established with Congressional authority. The Joint Chiefs of Staff did not believe that the paragraph should read merely that the United States would consider the establishment of a blockade. As to sub-Paragraph 10–e which called for military intervention to end hostilities in the event that economic sanctions and blockade did not end the hostilities, Admiral Radford pointed out that U.S. military intervention in the Near East would inevitably involve a very large withdrawal of U.S. military forces from other areas in the world to which they had been committed. Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were opposed to any reference in this policy to the possibility of military intervention by the United States in a war between Israel and the Arab States. While it might be necessary to contemplate such intervention, the decision to do so or not to do so should be made in the light of the situation existing at the time. Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would [Page 620] proceed to make military plans to enable the United States to meet such a contingency if it arose. Admiral Radford indicated that the Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that the courses of action set forth in sub-Paragraphs 10–f and 10–g should either precede or be concurrent with the courses of action in sub-Paragraphs 10–a through 10–e.

As for Paragraph 11 which called for U.S. collaboration with the United Kingdom and other friendly countries in the development of military plans in support of the measures in Paragraph 10, Admiral Radford explained that the Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that such collaboration by the United States should occur only after it has been clearly ascertained that these other countries will join with the United States in carrying out the courses of action in Paragraph 10. The Joint Chiefs also desired a clarification of the time phase during which our military people would discuss plans for joint military action with other nations. It was obvious that when we do get down to discussing military plans with other nations, knowledge of these plans would leak and become known widely.

With respect to Paragraph 12 which called on the United States to make known to Israel and to the individual Arab States the policy in Paragraph 10 at a time and in a way deemed most likely to deter resort to major hostilities by any of them, Admiral Radford pointed out that such disclosure entailed certain serious disadvantages. In thus making known our policy, particularly with respect to military action, the disclosures should be made only in very general terms lest detailed knowledge of it reveal in advance our military movements and naval maneuvers. (A copy of the written views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from which Admiral Radford commented, are included in the minutes of the meeting.)

Secretary Dulles informed the Council that the policy problem to which the Council was now addressing itself was a heritage from the previous Democratic Administration which had dealt with the Arab-Israeli problem on a purely political basis. The views of the Departments of State and Defense had generally been overruled by theWhite House on purely domestic political grounds. Secretary Dulles cited an instance of this which occurred at Paris in 1948. The recommendations of General Marshall who was then Secretary of State had been overruled in such humiliating fashion that if General Marshall had not been a real patriot, he would have felt himself compelled to resign.

As a result of this method of handling the Arab-Israeli problem, we are now confronted with a situation which has never been accepted by the Arab States. Unless it can be settled, this situation will continue to be a source of very grave danger to the United States and to the Western World. Basically, close ties exist between the Arab World and the West.One such obvious tie was religious. [Page 621] The religious beliefs of the Arabs were incompatible with Communism. Beyond this there were strong economic ties represented by the oil resources of the various Arab States, particularly Saudi Arabia. Thus, while we have these two fundamental ties operating to keep the Arab and the Western Worlds together, the Israeli issue operates to keep them apart and is, moreover, a highly inflammable issue. Secretary Dulles predicted that this danger would never end until a real and a final settlement could be made along the lines of his own statement on the subject of August 26, 1955.

Secretary Dulles then pointed out that of course the present draft report did not deal with the broad sweep of U.S. policy for the Middle East as a whole. Such a report will be forthcoming from the Planning Board at a later time. The present report dealt strictly with the problem of Israel and its neighbors, especially Egypt, a problem now made critical by the recent Soviet arms moves. The basic U.S. purpose in dealing with this problem must be to prevent the situation from getting worse, and to explore every possible way toward an acceptable solution along the lines of the August 26 statement. The Soviet arms deal with Egypt, continued Secretary Dulles, does not exclude the possibility of achieving such a settlement even though the receipt of arms from the Soviet Bloc might well cause the Arabs to insist on a more favorable settlement from their point of view than they had been demanding heretofore. Moreover, the increased military resources of the Arab States might conceivably induce the Israelis now to make concessions in the direction of a settlement which they have not hitherto been willing to consider.

In the opinion of Secretary Dulles the principal obstacle to any genuine settlement of the quarrel between Israel and Egypt was the disposition of the Negev Triangle. Colonel Nasr professes that he is prepared to move to secure that portion of the Negev Triangle which would be necessary to provide a direct border and corridor between Egypt and its Arab neighbors. Difficult as this claim would make the settlement, Secretary Dulles said he did not exclude the possibility of achieving a permanent settlement in this area—a settlement which the national interests of the United States requires. Obviously, however, if the Soviets continue to throw fuel on the fire, achievement of such a settlement will become increasingly difficult. Secretary Dulles added that he did not think that it would be Soviet policy to keep adding fuel to the flames in the Near East. The Soviets were well aware of the influence of Judaism and Zionism throughout the world. If they had not been aware of this influence, they would have moved even sooner to stir up trouble for Israel.

The immediate problem which the United States faces is what to do in the face of certain practical problems and certain practical [Page 622] questions which will require answer almost in a matter of hours. The Israelis have made known to us that they desire armaments sufficient to match those which the Egyptians will obtain from the Soviet Bloc and/or a security guarantee from the United States of the present armistice lines. Lacking one or both of these desiderata, they have implied that they might start a preventive war while still in a position to win it. An answer must be given by the United States to the Israelis within the next two or three days. Prime Minister Sharett was going to meet with Secretary Dulles in Paris shortly.

Meanwhile, for their part, the Egyptians are telling us that their arms deal with the Soviet Bloc does not portend an anti-Western policy nor a refusal to settle their dispute with Israel. The Egyptians say that all they want is to place themselves in a stronger defensive position and that they had purchased their arms where they could buy these arms most advantageously. The arms deal, therefore, had no political significance.

At this point Secretary Humphrey interrupted Secretary Dulles as to the Israeli demands to which Secretary Dulles had just referred. In reply Secretary Dulles pointed out that in his statement of August 26, he had said that if both sides could reach agreement on a boundary, the United States might agree to undertake to guarantee such a boundary. Secretary Dulles warned that if the United States replies in the negative to the requests of the Israelis, mentioned above, the Administration would not be popular with certain elements in the community.

Dr.Flemming inquired of Secretary Dulles whether if we agreed to do what the Israelis were asking, the result would not be a further increase in the mischievous activities of the Soviet Union. Secretary Dulles replied that for the United States to sponsor an arms race between Israel and the Arab States would be a very futile action. For one thing, Israel, with its small territory and population could not absorb more than a certain amount of armaments, much less than the Arab States with their large territories and populations. He was, accordingly, inclined to feel that our best course of action is to assume that the arms deal between the Soviet Bloc and Egypt was a “one-shot affair” and reply in the negative to all three of Israel’s requests. While, said Secretary Dulles, he would not be adverse to seeing Israel get a certain amount of additional armament, he did not wish this to extend to the point where it looked as though the United States was participating in an arms race among the nations of the Near East. In any event, we would probably lose out in backing Israel because in the long run the Arab States can absorb much more armament.

As for the security guarantee sought by Israel, Secretary Dulles very much doubted its practicality. Such a U.S. guarantee of the [Page 623] boundaries of Israel would, of course, have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Such ratification was unlikely although admittedly no one could predict what Congress might do in an election year. In any event, however, Secretary Dulles stated that it would be a severe strain on his own conscience to recommend any such guarantee to the Congress unless a boundary agreement had previously been reached between Israel and the Arab States. Finally, it was obvious that the United States must make clear to both sides of the fight that in some fashion or other, the United States would react against an act of aggression by either side even though it might be extremely difficult to discern which side had been the aggressor. Secretary Dulles pointed out that we certainly have the capability of clamping down on Israel because of that country’s heavy financial dependence on the United States. While it would make us very unpopular thus to clamp down, it was hard to see how we could recommend any other course of action. What particularly troubled him, continued Secretary Dulles, is the absence of any comparable pressures which we could apply to Egypt. A blockade against Egypt or even financial sanctions applied to Egypt would, of course, cause most unfortunate repercussions throughout the entire Arab World. On this point Secretary Dulles turning to Mr.Anderson asked him whether he and the NSC Planning Board had considered another possibility; namely, the effect of an Arab blockade of Western Europe. He said, of course, that he was not referring to a physical blockade but to the possibility that the Arabs would shut off their oil exports on which Western Europe was so heavily dependent. While such an action would be suicidal for the Arabs, many of them were fanatics and were capable of such misguided action. Secretary Dulles said he felt that the present policy did not adequately weigh the consequences of Arab reaction to pressures which the Western World might place on Egypt.

As for the rest of the paper, Secretary Dulles explained that he could not attach very much importance to the disagreements on wording in sub-Paragraphs 10–d and 10–e. There was not much substance in the distinction between “considering” establishing a blockade or military intervention and “establishing” a blockade or intervening with military force. The reason for this was that you would have to consider and reconsider such courses of action when you go to Congress to request support for these courses of action.

Turning to Secretary Dulles, Secretary Humphrey asked just what was the real basic bone of contention between Israel and its Arab neighbors and how could the misunderstanding be fixed up.

In reply Secretary Dulles said that the basic issues were three in number at the present time. The first issue concerned the fate of some 900,000 Arab refugees who had been driven from Palestine by [Page 624] the Israelis. The Arabs were insisting that Israel take back these refugees and Israel refused to accept them. Since, as a matter of fact, the State of Israel was already packed-jammed with people, the demand of the Arabs for the resettlement of the refugees in Israel was altogether impossible to accept. Our proposed solution to this problem was for the United States to put up the money to irrigate existing lands in the Arab States and put these unfortunate refugees on the newly irrigated lands. The second bone of contention between Israel and the Arabs went back to the 1947 United Nations Resolution on Israel’s boundaries. The Arabs wished to go back to the boundaries established at that time but this would deprive Israel of considerable territories in the northern part of the State which they seized from the Arabs in the hostilities which followed the United Nations’ finding. Secretary Dulles did not believe that this Arab demand was practical either. The third issue was the disposition of the Negev area which was of very special interest to Egypt since Israel’s possession of the Negev Triangle deprived Egypt of land access to Saudi Arabia. The Egyptians, accordingly, want a slice of the Negev territory. This matter, Secretary Dulles said, could be settled if the Israelis could be persuaded to give up a good portion of the Negev territory.

Mr.Allen Dulles interposed at this point to say that he was impelled to point out his own view that neither side to the Arab-Israeli dispute really desired a permanent solution. They were merely using the issues just analyzed by Secretary Dulles as a means of keeping their quarrel alive.

Admiral Radford expressed the belief that Israel desired to keep the Negev area because of its hopes that oil would be discovered there. He doubted very much if the Israelis really needed a port on the Gulf of Aqaba. After further discussion of this point the Vice President stated that it seemed to him that as far as courses of action 10–d and 10–e which called for a blockade or military intervention by the United States, even assuming that we could establish the identity of the aggressor, we would have “a hell of a time” getting Congressional support for sending U.S. forces to fight the Israelis. As far as the Vice President could see the only useful purpose served by sub-Paragraph 10–e was to use this as a threat to Israel and a deterrent but not certainly as a practical course of action which could be followed. As for sub-Paragraph 10–d, the Vice President expressed the opinion that it was pretty generally agreed that the immediate danger of aggression came from Israel and that the establishment of a blockade would be very effective action against Israel. Secretary Dulles expressed the opinion that the course of action in sub-Paragraph 10–c which would “prevent the direct or indirect transfer of funds or other assets subject to U.S. control” [Page 625] would be in itself quite sufficient to stop Israeli aggression. Actually, a blockade of dollars would be more effective than a blockade by boats.

Secretary Humphrey stated that it seemed to him a singularly poor time for the Administration to have any policy paper on this subject at all. The existing policy on U.S. action in the event of war between Israel and the Arab States was now wholly “out of place”. As far as this proposed new draft was concerned, Secretary Humphrey believed that the State Department was in the position simply to take the stand that we would prevent the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Arab States without stating at all how we would do this. This State Department position was all that we needed in the circumstances. To spell out what we would precisely do to deal with or prevent such a war inevitably meant that we would be closing doors on other courses of action which might prove useful. Meanwhile, if this simple position were adopted, there was nothing to prevent the Joint Chiefs of Staff from continuing to make military plans to meet any contingency which might arise.

Admiral Radford interposed to state that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been directed under the existing policy in NSC 5428 to develop military plans in collaboration with the United Kingdom and if feasible with other countries. They strongly objected and continued to object to concerting their military planning with the United Kingdom or any other country. What they needed therefore was a revision which would authorize unilateral U.S. military planning for the contingency of Arab-Israel hostilities.

Secretary Humphrey then forcefully reiterated the position he had taken above. He insisted that all that was required was that Secretary Dulles talk with the British and the French and try to find the opportune method, manner and time for getting a solution of the Arab-Israel problem by recourse to the United Nations and to achieve a territorial boundary settlement which might be expected, said Secretary Humphrey, to quiet this strife down for at least a long period of time to come. Accordingly, Secretary Humphrey said he would omit all of the specific courses of action set forth in Paragraph 10.

At this point Secretary Dulles arose and said that he must leave to go and talk with the Ambassador of Iraq and that Mr.Hoover would take over for him. Before leaving the room, Secretary Dulles said that while, in general, the present draft report was acceptable to him, he did not place much value on the courses of action in Paragraph 10–d and 10–e (calling for blockade and military intervention) except as things “to think about”. Admiral Radford agreed with him that this was a situation which could not be covered by policy made ahead of the event.

[Page 626]

The Council agreed to what Secretary Dulles proposed to say to Prime Minister Sharett in response to the demands which it was believed the Prime Minister would make on the Secretary when they meet in Paris.

After Secretary Dulles had left, Mr.Dillon Anderson pointed out to the Council the problem with which it was now faced.NSC 5428 was approved Presidential policy. Accordingly, it would remain in effect unless the Council determined that the policy was invalid in part or in whole or, unless the proposed new policy was substituted with or without modification for NSC 5428. In short, the matter could not be left to the solution suggested by Secretary Humphrey. Secretary Humphrey replied that the policy we have (NSC 5428) was “no good”. We should get rid of it. It will do nothing but get us into trouble and its removal was the first thing to insure. As for a substitution, until we knew what we wanted to do there was no sense whatever in writing down another series of actions. Secretary Humphrey repeated his conviction that it was enough for Secretary Dulles to say to the Israeli Prime Minister what he has just been authorized to say.

On the contrary, Dr.Flemming said he was much opposed to this idea of abandoning any attempt to formulate a policy to deal with the Arab-Israel problem. He expressed the opinion that the Planning Board’s draft which the Council was now considering had been very responsive to the Council’s request. Moreover, he added that he warmly approved of the revisions suggested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Accordingly, if the Council could now agree on a paper revised in the light of the proposals of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we would be much better off in the long run. Otherwise the Council would find itself entertaining different views as to what it had agreed to at this discussion. The Secretary of State had seemed to be willing to accept the revisions suggested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dr.Flemming said he agreed with the Secretary.

Secretary Humphrey still insisted that a one-page paper simply authorizing the Secretary of State to say to the Israeli authorities what he had just told the Council he desired to say, and which would include authorization for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to proceed to make their military plans, was really all that was necessary and feasible at this time. Emphatically, specific courses of action should not be included as a means of insuring a deterrent to warfare. It would be a terrible mistake to specify such courses of action. Secretary Wilson then read to the Council a very short restatement of Paragraph 10 which he believed would meet the point made by Secretary Humphrey.14 Secretary Wilson said that this confined [Page 627] itself to listing the things that the Secretary of State and the Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to say and to do.

The Vice President then called on Under Secretary Hoover to explain to the Council what the State Department might need by way of authorization for the Secretary of State to respond to the Israeli demands. Secretary Hoover replied that any paper adopted by the Council should contain courses of action which would cover ultimate possibilities and alternatives. The Secretary of State wanted to be in a position to state to the Israelis that we would not sell them arms or provide them with funds with which to buy arms elsewhere. Thirdly, and finally, that we believed that the Israeli Government must go ahead and attempt to work out a solution. Meanwhile, we would see to it that the Egyptians do not start anything if the Israelis themselves avoid a preventive war.

The above statement by Secretary Hoover of what Secretary Dulles wished to say to the Israeli authorities seemed to Secretary Humphrey to omit one important point that Secretary Dulles had made; namely, that the United States would make no guarantee of the borders of Israel unless and until a boundary settlement had been achieved with the Arabs.

Secretary Wilson then again called attention to his own one-page solution. Secretary Hoover said he took no particular exception to Secretary Wilson’s paper as such, but that the Council should realize that NSC policy statements constituted the guides to action for all the operating departments and agencies of the Government. Accordingly, by inference, the proposals of Secretary Humphrey and of Secretary Wilson could not be a reasonable substitute for a full policy paper. Accordingly, Secretary Hoover recommended that the draft report presented by the Planning Board should be adopted with such modifications as the Council deemed desirable.

In response to a complaint by Secretary Humphrey that the policy reports presented to the Council by the Planning Board were always too long and involved, Mr.Dillon Anderson pointed out that the length of the present draft was occasioned by the inclusion of a detailed analysis of the problem. As far as the U.S. objectives and courses of action were concerned, these took up little more than a page in the Planning Board report. He went on to warn that if the Council now chose to invalidate a Presidentially approved existing policy, it was under obligation to accept a substitute for the existing policy. Mr.Anderson also pointed out that the economic sanctions listed in sub-Paragraphs 10–a, b, and c were actions which could be taken by the Executive Branch of the Government acting alone and on its own initiative. Admittedly, the military courses of action in sub-Paragraphs 10–d and e would require Congressional support or Congressional authorization. Secretary Humphrey replied by stating [Page 628] that he not only disapproved of the proposed military courses of action, he likewise disapproved of the economic sanctions set forth in sub-Paragraphs 10–a, b and c. There was simply no occasion whatsoever for listing these courses of action.

The Vice President commented that in his view the National Security Council had reached an impasse in its consideration of this policy. In point of fact it could not agree on precisely what the Secretary of State had a few moments ago said that he wanted to say to Prime Minister Sharett in Paris. The Vice President said he was quite sure that Secretary Dulles had expressed a willingness to go along with the economic sanctions set forth in sub-Paragraphs a, b and c but that he would substitute for the specific military action described in sub-Paragraphs d and e a generally-worded statement of willingness to undertake further action necessary to deter aggression and prevent war between Israel and the Arab States. If his understanding was correct, the Vice President could not see why the Council should not accept sub-Paragraphs 10–a, b and c and request the Planning Board to revise sub-Paragraphs 10–d and e along the lines suggested by the Secretary of State and by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and present this revised statement to the National Security Council in its meeting next week.

Secretary Humphrey said he strongly objected to this approach to the problem. Admiral Radford also expressed doubt as to whether Secretary Dulles would wish to follow the course of action set forth in Paragraph 13 which read “as a matter of urgency enlist Congressional support for the measures in Paragraphs 10 and 12 above.” Secretary Humphrey commented that in his opinion this was just about the last thing on earth that we would want to do.

Dr.Flemming expressed very grave anxiety as to the dangerous course of action the Israeli Government might decide to take after Secretary Dulles talked with Prime Minister Sharett and gave him negative answers to his request. In such a situation the departments and agencies of the U.S. Government ought to know how to plan for what might transpire. Such difficult problems as this should certainly not be played entirely by ear. Admiral Radford said that supposing that, after Secretary Dulles talked with the Israeli Prime Minister and turned down his demands and that Sharett then said that the Israelis would have to consider a preventive war, the Secretary of State might feel obliged to issue a warning to Sharett. He might even want to be very specific as to the terms of the warning but in any case it would have to be a strong general statement. Secretary Humphrey commented that the less the Prime Minister knew about what specific actions the United States was planning, the better it would be.

[Page 629]

After further discussion and a calling for a consensus by Dr.Flemming, the Vice President felt able to state that in his opinion the Council had reached a consensus. It had agreed to make all of the actions in Paragraph 10 permissive rather than directive and had changed the introductory language in this sense. The Council had also agreed to recommend adoption of the economic sanctions set forth in sub-Paragraphs 10–a, b and c in the light of the permissive character of the paragraph as a whole. As for sub-Paragraphs d and e these were to be returned to the Planning Board to be revised in the light of the views expressed in the discussion. As for Paragraph 13, it was agreed that this should be revised to remove the suggestion of immediate resort to Congress for support of the courses of action which were proposed.

At the end of the meeting Secretary Hoover pointed out that in view of the President’s absence and in view of the approaching interview between Secretary Dulles and Prime Minister Sharett, the Council’s Record of Action should show that the Secretary of State had been authorized by the Council to state to Prime Minister Sharett the position which had been outlined earlier at this meeting.

The National Security Council:15

Noted and discussed an oral briefing by the Director of Central Intelligence on the situation in the Near East following the Soviet-Egyptian arms deal.
Noted and discussed the draft report prepared by the NSC Planning Board, pursuant to NSC Action No. 1447–c, and transmitted by the reference memorandum, in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as read at the meeting.
Noted and concurred in, as being within existing policy, a proposal by the Secretary of State to advise the Israeli Government generally as follows:
The United States will not provide to Israel at this time grant aid in the forms of arms or funds to buy arms but will not interpose objections to Israel’s buying moderate amounts of arms with its own resources.
The U.S. Government will not now consider a treaty guaranteeing Israel’s borders, except under the conditions stated in the speech by the Secretary of State on August 26, 1955.
The United States, in accordance with existing policy, will seek to prevent resort to armed aggression by either Israel or the Arab States, and that we expect to make this position clear to the Arab States as well as to Israel.

Tentatively agreed to recommend the following revisions in the supplementary statement of policy in NSC 5428:

“10. In the event of major armed conflict between Israel and the Arab States, the U.S. should be prepared to take the following action against the state or states which are determined by a UN finding or, if necessary, by the U.S., to be responsible for the conflict or which refuse to withdraw their forces behind the Palestine Armistice line of 1950:

“Economic Action

“a. Discontinue U.S. Government aid.

“b. Embargo U.S. trade.

“c. Prevent the direct or indirect transfer of funds or other assets subject to U.S. control.

“13. As appropriate, enlist Congressional support for the measures in paragraphs 10 and 12 above.”

Referred the draft revisions of paragraphs 10–d through g, 11 and 12 back to the NSC Planning Board for review in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the discussion at the Council meeting, and report back to the Council at its next meeting.

Note: The action in c above [was] subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of State.

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File,NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Gleason on October 21. The time of the meeting is from the President’s Daily Appointments. (Ibid.)
  2. Did not attend the reconvened meeting at 2 p.m. [Footnote in the source text.]
  3. Did not attend the reconvened meeting at 2 p.m. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. Did not attend the reconvened meeting at 2 p.m. [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. Did not attend the morning session of the meeting. [Footnote in the source text.]
  6. See footnote 4, Document 326.
  7. See footnote 9, Document 326.
  8. See the enclosure to Document 340.
  9. A summary of this meeting that Dulles conducted with six Senators and eight Representatives is in Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199.
  10. For further documentation on the meetings of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union at Geneva, October 27–November 16, 1955, see volume V.
  11. Reference is to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which became Public Law 414 on June 27, 1952. For text, see 66 Stat. 163.
  12. Reference is to the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954.
  13. Not found.
  14. Not found.
  15. Andrew N. Overby.
  16. Seesupra.
  17. Not found.
  18. The following paragraphs constitute NSC Action No. 1460. (Record of Actions by the National Security Council at its 262d Meeting held on October 20, 1955, and approved by the President on November 2, 1955. Department of State,S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95,NSC Records of Action)