8. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State 1

676. In conversation yesterday with Embassy Counselor2 Raphael Foreign Ministry adviser on Arab affairs said there rumors Washington would send out someone soon to shuttle back and forth between Cairo and Jerusalem in “Jacksonian operation”3 designed to settle matters between two countries.

Raphael said in his judgment such an approach would prove abortive. Israel Government convinced Nasser not serious but merely playing for time while impressing United States with his reasonableness. There is no incentive for Nasser to make settlement at this time because he believes a few months hence his position would be stronger than today. GOI had received corroboration of this analysis in form of report of Pearson’s (Canadian Minister for External [Page 13] Affairs) conversation with Nasser in which latter advocated settlement based on Bernadotte proposals which would have given entire Negev to Arabs and repatriation by Israel of all Arab refugees. These proposals so ridiculous they revealed complete lack of sincerity on Nasser’s part.

In view of foregoing Israel Government “was not prepared to disclose its hand to any third party”. Negotiations with Egypt would prove possible only when Egypt had taken some dramatic step to change among Israelis prevailing view of Nasser’s intentions. Atmosphere here could be entirely changed if Nasser and Ben-Gurion were to sit down together. Furthermore such personal meeting between two leaders was requisite to progress because only in this manner could their mutual distrust be dispelled.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/1–556. Top Secret; Alpha; Limit Distribution. Received at 6:57 a.m., January 6. Repeated to Cairo and London.
  2. Ivan B. White.
  3. Reference is to Elmore Jackson of the American Friends Service Committee.