30. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Minister of the Israeli Embassy (Shiloah) and the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy), Department of State, Washington, January 22, 19571


  • Israel Withdrawal

Mr. Shiloah handed Mr. Murphy the paper setting forth the Israel position on the Sharm el Sheikh area and the Gaza Strip. The original had been handed to the UN Secretary General by Ambassador Eban.2 On Sharm el Sheikh, the Israelis were willing to withdraw their forces from the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba to be replaced by the UNEF. What was required was the making precise of the function of the UNEF, the fact that its departure from the area was a matter for UNEF to decide, and the stationing of UNEF in the Sharm el Sheikh area until another effective means had been found to secure free navigation through the Gulf of Aqaba and to prevent hostilities in that area. Israel felt that the Secretary General should take some initiative along these lines but up to now he had been quite formalistic. Mr. Shiloah thought it would be helpful if the United States exerted its influence to prevent the present situation from becoming frozen or reaching an impasse.

On Gaza, Israel hoped that the United States would see the merit of Israel’s proposal that Israel’s services be used in the administration of the area. Israel foresaw a situation where there would be three effective elements in the administration of Gaza: the United Nations, local government, and Israel elements, particularly in the field of internal security.

Mr. Murphy said that we would look into these matters. Mr. Shiloah thought it would be useful if Mr. Eban and he had an opportunity to discuss this situation with the Secretary. What he envisaged was a private talk along the lines of previous discussions, where the press was not informed of the fact that the Israel Ambassador was calling, and the private entrance to the Secretary’s office was used. Mr. Murphy said he would see if this could be worked out. He mentioned the Secretary’s heavy schedule during the next few days.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A.1–2257. Confidential. Drafted by Bergus.
  2. On January 24, Hammarskjöld transmitted a copy of the Israeli Aide-Mémoire to members of the General Assembly. (“Note by the Secretary-General transmitting an aide-mémoire on the Israel position on the Sharm el Sheikh area and the Gaza strip,” U.N. doc. A/3511) Hammarskjöld’s note and the Israeli proposals are in Department of State Bulletin, February 18, 1957, pp. 273–275; and the Israeli proposals in United States Policy in the Middle East, September 1956–June 1957, pp. 255–259.