74. Editorial Note

In response to the British War Office request to purchase recoilless rifles and ammunition conveyed in telegram 764 (see footnote 2, supra), the Department of State on the evening of August 9 forwarded to London and Paris a telegram, approved by Dulles, which reads:

“As a matter of policy and within framework normal reimbursable aid procedures, Washington agencies prepared receive and handle on emergency basis British reimbursable requests which may be submitted as indicated reference telegram [telegram 764]. Decisions on specific requests will of course have to be taken in light individual supply situations, whether diversion from U.S. forces involved and similar factors. You should particularly make clear that recoilless rifles and ammo present particularly difficult problem, as these items in extremely short supply.

“In present circumstances, foregoing conditional upon arrangements to assure no publicity. We particularly would insist upon assurances of no indication that requests related to NE crisis.” (Telegram 860 to London, repeated to Paris; Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–856)

On August 9 and 10, Dillon conveyed to the Department separate accounts of a conversation with French Defense Minister Bourgès-Maunoury in which the latter had discussed joint Franco-British military planning in regard to the Suez situation. Bourgès-Maunoury told Dillon that the current plan contemplated the French sending 120 fighter aircraft to Cyprus, including 90 F84F’s, and he asked for top priority assistance in obtaining necessary spare parts [Page 178] for this type of aircraft. (The file copy of telegram 708 from Paris is a corrected copy dated August 12; ibid., 974.7301/8–956; also telegram 717 from Paris, August 10; ibid., 974.7301/8–1056)

On August 12 the Department responded to the French request in telegram 583 to Paris, as follows:

“You are authorized to confirm to French that U.S. is prepared in principle to supply France with items mentioned reftel [telegram 717 from Paris]. Question of whether items will be supplied on grant or reimbursable aid basis can be determined only after French have given MAAG list of specific items requested. In conveying foregoing to French you should make clear that conditions contained last paragraph Deptel 860 to London, rptd Paris Topol 208, apply.” (Ibid.)