80. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Rountree) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen)1


  • Ambassador Eban’s Request for Arms

The Secretary spoke to us again this morning regarding Israel’s request for helicopters, half tracks and machine guns from the United States. The Israelis contemplate that these American shipments will enable the Canadians to supply F–86s and the French the Mysteres.

I had endeavored to have the meeting put off until after your return today but was unable to do so because of the Secretary’s tight schedule prior to his departure for London. During the several discussions with the Secretary I recited your views,2 making it clear that you thought arrangements for American shipments might be made whose effects would not be too great.

The Secretary agreed it would be wise to separate the American shipments from the Canadian and French shipments. He did not believe that we should hold up the American shipments, but that we should stagger them over a period of time. He also thought that we might again look into the question of jet training for Israeli pilots in France and Italy. The Secretary directed that we discuss the general question orally with Ambassador Eban.

There is attached a talking paper3 which outlines the substance of the oral response which the Secretary thought you might make to Ambassador Eban. He thought we should make our agreement to release any American shipments contingent on Israeli assurances [Page 198] there would be no publicity or any reference to American shipments by Canada if it should decide to ship F–86s to Israel.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 784A.56/8–1356. Confidential. Drafted by Wilkins.
  2. According to a memorandum by Howe of August 9, Allen told Dulles that although there were many reasons for holding up arms shipments to Israel, several considerations in favor of supplying the arms included: (1) sending Nasser a message that “both sides can play at the armaments game;” (2) offsetting the British and French suspicion that the United States was favorable to Nasser because it opposed the use of force over Suez; and (3) rectifying the contradictory signals sent to Canada on the question. Allen also noted that Nasser’s refusal to attend the London Conference would be a good psychological time to announce the release of at least the helicopters. (Ibid., 784A.56/8–956)
  3. Not printed.
  4. On August 15, the Department instructed the Embassy in Ottawa to inform the Canadian Government of the decision to approve the arms sales to Israel on the specific conditions that: (1) the Israeli Government agree to make every effort to prevent publicity concerning the sales and (2) neither France nor Canada refer publicly to U.S. arms shipments to justify their own sale of arms to Israel. (Telegram 83 to Ottawa; ibid., 784A.5622/8–1556) On August 17, Murphy and Allen informed Eban of the Department’s decision and the conditions attached thereto. (Memorandum of conversation by Wilkins, August 21; ibid., 784A.56/8–1756) Subsequently, Eban conveyed the assurances that every effort would be made on the part of the Israeli Government to avoid publicity, and U.S. officials made clear to Israel that they planned to move forward on the orders. (Memorandum of conversation by Wilkins, August 22; and Tedul 24 to London, August 22; both ibid., 784A.56/8–2256) On August 28, Foreign Minister Pearson provided assurances that the Canadian Government would not, in its announcement concerning release of the F–86s, link its decision to U.S. actions. (Telegram 111 from Ottawa, August 28; ibid., 784A.5622/8–2856)