493. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Canada1

37. Eyes only Ambassador from Acting Secretary. Embtels 40 and 41.2 I congratulate you on effectiveness your efforts with [Page 888] Canadians. We wish take advantage favorable developments you report.

As you know, our intent is to find way Israel meet real defense needs without creating impression in Arab world that West has taken policy decision to support Israel against Arabs. Delicate situation further complicated by recent developments. Arabs may attribute withdrawal US–UK offer on Aswan Dam to Zionist pressures and we anticipate Egypt may try to encourage this erroneous belief. Undue publicity on sudden release major arms to Israel might support this thesis. Also, Operation Stockpile likely be interpreted by Arabs as designed primarily assist Israel. In addition to sale of F86s by Canada and proposed release by US of helicopters, machine guns and scout cars, France has notified NEACC of intention ship 40 Sherman tanks, 60 light tanks, 175–75mm guns, unspecified number 155-mm guns and additional items. Simultaneous public disclosure of these shipments, if made, could give cumulative impression of greater support for Israel than is in fact contemplated.

Under circumstances we believe best procedure is as follows: Announcement by Canada of intention release 12 F86 Planes as scheduled; subsequent release of announcement regarding Operation Stockpile (without indicating items involved) in August.

Believe you will wish explain situation to Pearson verbally as outlined in second paragraph this telegram, emphasizing importance of timing and avoidance publicity regarding US shipments. We think you will also wish to make following modifications in proposed top secret letter: Delete “immediately” from first sentence paragraph two; rephrase second sentence paragraph two to read “these items would not be released simultaneously and the US would make a strong effort to prevent publicity at this time”. Omit last paragraph unless you regard it as essential to achieve Canadian action. If it is, omit “greatest” and “at least”. Add last paragraph in following sense: “I know you also recognize the necessity of avoiding the sudden public disclosure of a series of moves involving major shipments to Israel by the Western powers. Accordingly, we think our program should be carefully spaced out with strict attention to avoiding premature public knowledge.”

Because of delicate nature this matter I thought it preferable provide you our latest thinking by telegram.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 784A.56/7–2356. Top Secret; Niact. Drafted by Allen and Burdett, cleared with Murphy and Elbrick, and approved by Hoover.
  2. Documents 487 and 488.
  3. In telegram 53 from Ottawa, July 25, Merchant reported he had made the changes in the letter and delivered it to Pearson. “I explained to him orally additional considerations contained Deptel 37. He understands, will discuss matter with St. Laurent today and remains optimistic of positive results.” (Department of State, Central Files, 784A.56/7–2556)