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

985. Foreign Ministry official advised Embassy officer March 21 of late news reports (not then carried in press) re US request for Security Council consideration of ME situation.2 Commented as follows:

GOI could only consider this another delaying tactic designed further to postpone “real solution” of furnishing arms. There had been 3 such delaying steps which Israelis considered we had proposed for primary purpose of justifying continued non-shipment of arms to US public by implying other activities working to preserve peace. These 3 steps were (1) US exploratory talks with both Arabs [Page 398] and Israelis re possibilities settlement, (2) US-UK talks, later amplified to tripartite talks, and (3) call for Security Council meeting.

Since first 2 of these steps had failed, and situation further deteriorating, GOI had impression third step was only another “do nothing” explanation designed to keep State Department “off the hook”. Israel particularly disappointed this juncture, since action seemed timed to frustrate growing US public sympathy for Israel which might have resulted its receiving arms. (He cited favorable Life editorial March 19.)

He repeated that conditions were sharply worsening, and only deterrent of arms comparable quality would prevent Egyptian attack.

Embassy officer denied validity “three steps” analysis and pointed out: US diplomatic contacts on situation with Arab leaders, “on same pattern as with GOI” by no means pro forma, were intense and continuing; tripartite consultations continuing, as reference of problem to UN was fulfillment of policy earlier announced by President.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/3–2256. Confidential. Received at 3:04 p.m., March 23. Repeated to London, Paris, Cairo, Amman, Damascus, and Beirut.
  2. See Document 206.
  3. Reference is to the U.S.–U.K. declaration issued at Washington on February 1, 1956. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, February 13, 1956, p. 231.