6. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

3073. French Ministry Defense officials have approached Embassy on several occasions, independently of Foreign Office (Embtel 29292), urging prompt reply to French request for United States concurrence to sale of Mysteres to Israel. They state there is a contractual commitment to deliver such planes. While this confirms Sharett statement reference contract (Tel Aviv telegram 667 to Department3) it is not clear whether contract with firm or government.

Embassy has informed Defense officials that since French request made at political level any reply transmitted to Embassy will be delivered to Foreign Office. In view last sentence Deptel 23894 question of Ambassadorial committee not mentioned to Defense.

Maillard of Foreign Office had following explanation reference Defense Ministry’s approach to Embassy:

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Foreign Office had asked French Defense Ministry to ascertain from the Embassy if it was technically possible to transfer 12 MDAP/OSP Mysteres IVA for delivery to Israel. If Embassy agreed this was possible from purely technical standpoint, Foreign Office, before reaching any final decision, would submit its recommendation to Ambassadorial committee for consideration. Foreign Office fully aware Foreign Ministers decision later confirmed by Ambassadorial committee that no planes or other equipment should be delivered Israel prior Security Council consideration of Lake Tiberias incident but wants only to clear ground in event Ambassadorial committee approves plane deliveries to Israel after Security Council deliberations.

Maillard emphasized that Defense Ministry’s current request reference possibility transferring MDAP planes to Israel should not be interpreted as commitment United States or French Government to deliver planes to Israel. At same time if Embassy found such transfer technically impossible, French would then be relieved of political decision reference final delivery.

Maillard regretted that Sharett has apparently placed onus for delay in delivering French Mysteres on US Government (Tel Aviv telegram 667) but explained Israel must know Mysteres were to come from MDAP source and that production priorities therefore controlled by United States.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 784A.56/1–556. Secret. Received at 3:59 p.m. Repeated to Tel Aviv, London, and Rome.
  2. See vol. XIV, footnote 2, p. 884.
  3. Document 2.
  4. Vol. XIV, p. 884.