444. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1
584. At suggestion of Foreign Ministry yesterday afternoon I made what I thought was to be a courtesy call on Acting Foreign Minister. In an 80-minute conversation Myerson made following points: [Page 839]
- Nasser’s recent protestations about wanting peace were designed to mislead western powers and were made to gain time.
- His real intentions were set forth in hisNew York Post interview (October 13) when he “declared war on international Jewry, especially American Jewry, as well as on Israel”.
- Nasser’s ultimate objective was destruction of Israel, but he might be planning to do this in stages by taking Negev first.
- Could not understand Britain’s support of Nasser’s objective to link up Egypt and Jordan. He was already engaged subversion in Jordan and territorial contiguity would hasten Egyptian takeover to Britain’s detriment.
- Myerson next said Soviet move into Egypt was directed at western powers; Soviets were not supplying arms to Egypt for purpose of destroying Israel but if in process Israel was destroyed Soviets would not mind. She added: “Who knows, if we had requested Soviet arms we might have received them, but we have made no such request.”
- When I asked Myerson whether she was convinced that Nasser would attack Israel when militarily strong enough, she replied that “there is not shadow of doubt in my mind.”
- In reply to my question as to whether her views on Nasser reflected doubt as to his desire for settlement or skepticism that he would honor an agreement Myerson replied “both”. Her subsequent remarks however were concentrated on latter aspect and she illustrated her views by referring to Suez settlement and subsequent “double cross” which Nasser had given United States.
- When Myerson said that immediate problem was for Israel to get arms from west I replied this would be nothing better than stopgap and that our view which we shared with British was that definitive settlement was imperative.
Comment:Myerson’s concentration on Nasser with virtually no reference to Egypt or RCC is characteristic of current Israel public and governmental thinking which personalizes Egyptian-Israel relations as fight between Nasser and Israel plus Diaspora.
In my judgment Myerson’s stated conviction Nasser will attack when able represents her real belief; the overwhelming majority of Israelis share this view; and it constitutes one of most dangerous aspects of situation in months ahead.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/12–855. Top Secret; Alpha; Limit Distribution. Received at 1:39 a.m. Repeated to London and Cairo.↩