6. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

675. Tel Aviv’s 786.2 Dept concerned that Ben Gurion may have erroneous impression of Secretary-Meir conversation of December 28. By this time you will have received Deptel 6673 which contains account that conversation; memorandum being airpouched.

At early opportunity and in manner you deem most effective, it should be made clear to Ben Gurion that point which Secretary stressed throughout conversation was need for Israel to adopt and carry out long range policies aimed at winning Arab friendship. Secretary said it was of concern to us to learn in due course about Israel’s plans for its long range future. It should be made clear to Ben Gurion that despite US friendship for Israel we feel our ability cooperate with Israel dependent on Israel’s own policies which, we are convinced, must stem from Israel recognition of need seek peaceful relations with Arabs. Past Israel policies have in our view left great deal to be desired on this point.

There follow comments on points raised by Ben Gurion:

Armistice Agreements. Deptel 661 to Tel Aviv4 gives our views. We would add that Nov. 2 UNGA resolution, which US sponsored, enjoins parties to observe terms Armistice Agreements. We are doubtful that Israel’s interests are served by insistence Israel–Egypt agreement no longer valid. Agreement contains no provision for unilateral termination. In any event, Israel assertion that while Israel–Egypt agreement invalid, state of belligerency does not exist between parties does not seem soundly based.
Gaza. Dec. 28 conversation Meir maintained that Gaza had never been Egyptian. Secretary replied that neither was it encompassed by Israel armistice line. Question of ultimate disposition of Gaza remains open. We continue support UNGA resolution November 2 which calls upon parties to withdraw forces behind Armistice lines. It seems to us presence of UNEF in Gaza charged with implementation of November 2 resolution could create possibility for practical solutions of problems which have arisen in past.
Straits of Tiran. Secretary stated belief Straits were international waterway but cited this as example of problem where we might agree with Israel on merits of case but found it difficult work out peaceful solution view past Israel policies and actions. Conditions for Israel passage through Straits would have to be worked out with UNSYG. We believe that full compliance with November 2 resolution and presence of UNEF in area at mouth of Gulf Aqaba could open way toward practical solution of this problem.
UNSYG. It should be made clear we strongly support UNSYG in his efforts obtain compliance Nov. 2 and other applicable UNGA resolutions.
Justification for Attack on Egypt. In introducing Nov. 2 UNGA resolution Secretary said were we to agree that existence of injustices which UN had so far been unable to cure meant that principle renunciation of force could no longer be respected, that whenever a nation felt it had been subjected to injustice it should have right resort to force to correct that injustice, we would be tearing UN Charter to shreds and world would again be world of anarchy.
Future US–Israel cooperation. See Secretary’s general remarks to Meir above. We feel primary imperative of Israel position is obtaining friendship neighboring Arab states. Recently Israeli policies have made this difficult objective even harder to attain.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/12–3156. Confidential. Drafted by Bergus. Approved by Rountree who signed for Dulles. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, London, Paris, and USUN.
  2. Document 3.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/1–357) The memorandum of conversation is printed in vol. XVI, p. 1341.
  4. Ibid., p. 1338.