418. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs (Rountree) to the Acting Secretary of State1


  • Arms Shipments to the Middle East


Attached (Tab B)2 is a memorandum on arms shipments to the Middle East prepared by representatives of the US,UK and France in Geneva and subject to final approval by the Foreign Ministers. The French subsequently expressed a reservation regarding paragraph 4 (Tab C),3 and the US delegation at Geneva has suggested that final coordination of the memorandum take place in Washington. The memorandum calls for consultation in Washington by the French and British Ambassadors and a representative of the Department on arms deliveries to Israel and the Arab states.

On instructions from the Secretary we asked the Italians if they wished to participate in the consultations. The Italians replied affirmatively (Tab D).4 The British and French have approved the suggestion (Tab E).5


That you authorize us to invite the Ambassadors of the UK, France and Italy to call and that you preside at the first meeting.
That at the meeting you suggest the procedures set forth in the attached paper (Tab A).6

[Tab A]

Procedures for Quadripartite Consultations with Respect to Arms Deliveries to Israel and the Arab States7

A committee of Ambassadors should be formed composed of the British, French and Italian Ambassadors and a representative of the Department. The committee should first consider the question of approval of the draft “Agreed Minute” of the Tripartite meeting at Geneva. Subsequently, it should consider broad policy questions; the policy to be followed regarding representations to other friendly governments; basic procedural matters; and any contracts and shipments or other problems on which there is disagreement at the NEACC level. The Committee would meet at the request of any member.
The present NEACC, expanded to include Italy and with the present level representation, should be continued.NEACC will be charged with the following responsibilities: a) maintenance of records on all shipments and all proposed shipments by members or by other countries including the Soviet bloc; b) preparation of current studies on the relative armament strengths and capabilities of Israel and bordering Arab states; c) preparation of an agreed list of light equipment which could be shipped without consultation and submission of the list for approval to the committee of Ambassadors; d) consideration in the first instance of proposed contracts or shipments by the participating countries; e) immediate examination of all existing contracts not previously approved by NEACC; f) submission of recommendations to the committee of Ambassadors regarding representations to friendly governments about the supply of arms. The procedural and secretarial arrangements of the present NEACC should be continued with the addition of Italy.
It should be agreed by the ambassadors that the existence of the Committee and its work should be kept secret.
  1. Source: Department of State,NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518, Alpha—Memos, etc., during the Geneva Conf., Nov. 1–Dec. 10, 1955. Secret. Drafted by Burdett and concurred in by Russell,Beale, and Bryan.
  2. Tab B is Secto 302, Document 409.
  3. Tab C,Secto 330 from Geneva, November 16, stated that Henri Roux had informed members of the British and American delegations that Pinay on November 15 had “expressed reservation with regard words ‘where substantial quantities are involved’ in para 4 and said his understanding was that Secretary and Macmillan had agreed with him previously that existing contracts could be discharged in full. Roux said Pinay hoping have word with Secretary and Macmillan today to clear this matter up.” (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/11–1655)
  4. Tab D, telegram 1706 from Geneva, November 16, not printed. (Ibid., 396.1–WA/11–1555)
  5. Tab E,Secto 334 from Geneva, November 16, not printed. (Ibid., 396.1–GE/ 11–1655)
  6. Hoover initialed his approval of both recommendations. The initial meeting of the Ambassadorial Committee occurred at the Department of State on December 9. As had been recommended. Under Secretary of State Hoover presided at this session. Those in attendance included Ambassador Makins for the United Kingdom, Ambassador Maurice Couve de Murville for France, and Ambassador Manlio Brosio for Italy. For the memorandum of this conversation, drafted by Wilkins, seeibid., 480.008/12–955.
  7. Drafted by Burdett on November 18.