17. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations1

507. Re Israeli withdrawal, Delga 4582 and Delga 460.3 We believe time has come give SYG our views as to measures required bring about withdrawal Israeli forces and extent to which US will support him in carrying out these measures. You should accordingly pass on following suggestions soonest unless you perceive objections:

We are concerned that impending GA debate on Israel’s delay in withdrawing forces may serve to harden Israeli and Arab positions and make more difficult full implementation UN resolutions relating to withdrawals and role of UNEF.
We suggest accordingly SYG consider following measures: [Page 28]
Bulk of UNEF forces will move to strategic positions along Israel–Egypt armistice lines as Israeli forces withdraw behind lines.
UNEF forces in strength to be determined by Gen Burns will be stationed in Gaza strip and no Egyptian military or para-military forces will enter strip. Egypt will assume provisional civilian administration of strip under arrangements to be worked out with Gen Burns on understanding no interference will be permitted with UNEF’s security functions in strip as these functions are determined by Gen Burns.
UNEF forces in strength to be determined by Gen Burns will be stationed along coast in Sharm el Sheikh area and if necessary on offshore islands and no Egyptian military forces would return at this time. Thus as practical matter there will be no challenge to passage vessels through Strait of Tiran.
Negotiations on final Suez settlement will be pursued as matter greatest urgency and on basis Convention 1888 and agreed six principles which will guarantee all users, including Israel, right of free passage.
UNEF’s functions along Israel-Egypt armistice lines will be exercised on understanding parties will scrupulously observe provisions of Israeli-Egyptian Armistice Agreement. (We assume functions of UNTSO along Israel-Egypt armistice lines will not conflict with UNEF’s role and that appropriate liaison arrangements will be worked out.)
Israel should make clear to SYG its withdrawal plans in relation above phased take-over UNEF forces and should authorize SYG make these plans known in time head off proposed Arab-Asian action.
You may also inform SYG that after above measures taken we prepared at appropriate time state US belief Gulf Aqaba international waterway and freedom of passage should be assured.

You should also inform SYG we would not support sanctions against Israel so long as Egypt also continues in default UN resolutions.

We would appreciate SYG’s comments soonest.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/1–957. Confidential; Niact. Drafted by De Palma; cleared by Wilcox, Rountree, Phleger, and Greene; and approved by Dulles.

    On January 11, Greene forwarded the text of telegram 507 to Dulles under cover of a note which reads: “Attached for your approval is the redraft of the telegram on Israeli withdrawal discussed at the meeting in your office yesterday. The new draft incorporates a change in paragraphs 2b and c about the strength of UNEF forces; it now provides that these are to be in a strength to be determined by General Burns. It was my understanding that at the meeting you thought the strength should be agreed between the SYG and General Burns.

    “The end of the telegram, particularly paragraphs 2f and 3 have been redrafted in the light of the discussion yesterday and language has been added to indicate that we would not support the sanctions against Israel as long as Egypt is in ‘default’ of UN resolutions. This is somewhat more limited language than discussed yesterday along the lines that we would not apply sanctions against one party in the dispute who might be in violation of UN resolutions as long as both parties are in violation.” (ibid., 674.84A/1–1157)

    According to Dulles’ Appointment Book, the Secretary met with Rountree, Phleger, Wilcox, and several others regarding the Israeli withdrawal, beginning at 3:50 p.m. on January 10. (Princeton University Library, Dulles Papers) No account of this meeting has been found in Department of State files.

  2. In Delga 458 from USUN, January 9, Lodge reported that the Arab governments were pressing for early consideration of the Israeli withdrawal question and reportedly had a preliminary text of a draft resolution which called for sanctions against Israel. Meir, however, had indicated in a series of meetings with Arabs, Asians, and Latin Americans that her government would not withdraw unless its conditions were met on freedom of transit through the Suez Canal to Elath and guarantees that the Egyptians would not reoccupy Sinai. Lodge also noted that Dixon and Australian Ambassador Percy Spender had advocated support for the Israeli position and had pressed Lodge as to the U.S. position. (ibid., 674.84A/1–957)
  3. In Delga 460 from USUN, Januarys, Lodge reported that Indian Representative Lall had shown him a text of a draft resolution, which the Arab representatives were strongly pressing members of the Asian-African group to sponsor, and urged that the United States obtain from Israel assurances that it would withdraw, as well as a list of the dangers feared by Israel if it withdrew. Lall hoped this would head off what he said would be an acrimonious and unhelpful debate. (Ibid.)