426. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

1072. Secretary took advantage of visit by Sharett to Washington November 212 to speak to him in strongest terms re importance of calm along armistice lines. He said it was imperative that Israel do its utmost to preserve such calm and avoid aggressive or “retaliatory” measures. He also stressed importance of cooperating with Burns.Sharett declared that Israel would act only to defend its territory and had no thought of “preventive war”.

Please let Nasser know that Secretary has spoken to Sharett in these terms and that he is disturbed by reports of Fedayeen activity from Jordan. Egypt for its part must take all possible steps including discontinuance of guerilla activities to avoid incidents along frontiers with Israel if calm is to be preserved.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/11–2355. Secret. Drafted by Allen and Wilkins, cleared by the Secretary, and approved by Allen, who signed for Dulles. Also sent to London and Tel Aviv.
  2. See Document 421.
  3. Byroade reported on November 27 that he had a long conversation with Nasser the previous day on the subject of fedayeen operations inside Israel and had conveyed to Nasser the Secretary’s concern about such activity. According to Byroade,Nasser stated emphatically that Egypt was not directing operations of a guerilla nature into “Israel.” He declared that a great deal of the trouble was spontaneous and was not directed by his representatives, but he admitted “that there was an organization [in Egypt] for such operations and he supposed knowledge of this might be being used as evidence of Egypt’s complicity in present operations.” (Telegram 1028 from Cairo; Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/11–2755)