6. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel0

79. Following July 17 meeting to hear Israel’s views of Arab-Israel arms balance (Dept pouching to Tel Aviv details this presentation which designed emphasize Israel’s vulnerability to low-level air attack),1 Talbot reviewed with Israel Ambassador Harman following results of recent intensive USG study several major aspects US-Israel relations:2

As accommodations to Israel views, Talbot said that:
USG has reiterated its concern for security and well-being of Israel.
US has confirmed its approval and readiness give appropriate diplomatic support Israel’s planned water withdrawals from Lake Tiberias provided these adhere Johnston Plan allocations. Israel has given reciprocal assurances. This exchange is solid foundation upon which consider in coming months steps which may usefully be taken by Israel and US to ensure that execution of Israel’s projects has minimum disruptive consequence for area stability.
US has examined previous practice of taking initiative in giving its views on status of Jerusalem to other governments when we learn establishment of a diplomatic mission in Israel is being considered. We have decided practice can be discontinued without consequence for our position on status of Jerusalem. We will continue regard interests of international community as paramount and precluding recognition of Israel’s claims to Jerusalem as its national capital. This voluntary action [Page 13]and fact we have not taken stronger position closure FLO3 should not be construed as watering down of our stand on principle nor as inference we would acquiesce in moves by Israel which we would regard as eroding principle such as requesting that official Americans obtain visas for travel within corpus separatum or that US consular officers in Jerusalem obtain Israel exequaturs.4
While not prepared subsidize any fixed number of spaces, we willing support training in Israel of third country nationals on normal case-by-case basis and provided training in Israel clearly makes best sense for US programs.
Foregoing accommodations should be viewed against background of “uniquely generous” US economic assistance to Israel.
Talbot said that as consequence US deep concern for stiffening fibres area stability against new tensions which will be caused by Israel’s water withdrawal and in keeping USG objective of facilitating establishment permanent peace between Israel and Arab states:
US gratified have Israel’s pledge that retaliatory raid has been abandoned as an adjunct of Israel policy toward Arab states and full use of UN machinery will instead be Israel’s policy in efforts prevent serious trouble on frontiers. US will naturally continue use its influence seek restraint by Arabs.
US reviewing with UN several proposals for strengthening UNTSO. We hope these will shortly be put into discussion with Israel and other states concerned.
Department has carefully considered Ambassador’s July 6 comments re desirability move for direct negotiations resolution at 17th General Assembly (Deptel 22 to Tel Aviv).5 We do not think such resolution would realistically contribute progress nor can we concur Israel’s estimate its tactical utility for UN consideration of Johnson mission. On contrary, [Page 14] we see renewal moves for such resolution as certain feed immoderate Arab influences and place further obstacles in Johnson’s path. We strongly and seriously urge Israel not pursue this course. US views will be made clear to other governments which seek them.

Re accommodations cited Section I, Harman expressed appreciation.

Re retaliatory raid, Harman said there might be situations such as prolonged series provocations by Arabs which would compel Israel take action restore the peace on its borders to which it entitled. Talbot said it important break cycle provocation and reaction.

Re UNTSO, Harman asked for opportunity present Israel views on strengthening this body, to which Talbot assented.

Re direct negotiations res, Harman asked whether US has abandoned its attachment to UN Charter and support of principle for concept of direct negotiations. He dissented sharply from US estimate tactical undesirability for Johnson mission of renewed proposal similar to 16-power Brazzaville res at 16th GA.6 Requested opportunity present Israel’s views in detail and undertake general discussion Near East 17th GA issues at early opportunity. Talbot said Department would be glad hear Israel’s views if Israel comes to assessment different from ours; i.e, if Israel concludes direct negotiations res will genuinely contribute to optimum atmosphere for advancing Johnson mission which is to USG of "extraordinary importance”.

For USUN: In line Talbot statement II(3), Mission authorized express this US attitude re introduction direct negotiations res at 17th GA to such other delegations as may inquire. However, we wish avoid lobbying against this move.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.84A/7–1862. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Crawford; cleared by Buffum, Cleveland, and Strong; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to USUN and repeated to Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Cairo, Jerusalem, and London.
  2. During the afternoon of July 17, U.S. and Israeli representatives held a lengthy discussion on the Israeli view of the Israel-Arab military balance. Ambassador Harman headed the Israeli delegation; Talbot headed the U.S. delegation. A summary record of the meeting’s proceedings is ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 304, U.S./Israel Discussions July 17, 1962.
  3. Talbot’s July 17 conversation with Harman was recorded in two memoranda of conversation. (Ibid., Central Files, 611.84A/7–1762) A briefing memorandum from Strong to Talbot, prepared on July 16, is ibid., 611.84A/7–1662. It proposed that Talbot raise privately with Harman the subject of “Israel Embassy’s Improper Efforts To Influence US Relations With a Third Country” by giving a U.S. journalist “inaccurate and misleading” information about UAR arms purchases. A marginal note on the briefing memorandum next to this point reads: "not raised.” A legal opinion on the subject is in a memorandum from Hewitt (L/NEA) to Strong, July 6. (Ibid., 811.0086B/7–662)
  4. On July 6, the Israeli Government informed the Embassy in Tel Aviv that as of July 15 Israel would close its Foreign Liaison Office in Tel Aviv. Henceforth foreign governments with Embassies in Tel Aviv should send all communications directly to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. After consultations with French, British, and Italian representatives in Tel Aviv, the Embassy advised that nothing could be done about the decision, which would have little effect on Embassy business. (Telegram 27 from Tel Aviv, July 6; ibid., 784A.13/7–662) The text of the U.S. note to the Israeli Government expressing regret over the FLO’s closure is ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 229, Status of Jerusalem.
  5. The Israeli Embassy followed up on the subject of the U.S. use of the term corpus separatum in regard to Jerusalem during discussions with U.S. officials on July 20 and 30 and August 6. On July 30 Strong qualified Talbot’s remarks by indicating that Talbot’s use of the term corpus separatum was in a geographic sense. (Memorandum of conversation, August 6; ibid., Central Files, 611.84/8-662) Additional information is in a memorandum from Ludlow to Crawford, August 8 (ibid., 684A.85/8-862), and a memorandum from Hewitt to Crawford, August 10 (ibid., 684A.85/8-1062).
  6. Dated July 7. (Ibid., 601.0084A/7–762) The memorandum of conversation is ibid., 684A.86B/7–662.
  7. Reference is to the draft U.N. General Assembly Resolution that called for direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The United States was opposed and the resolution was defeated in the Political Committee on December 19, 1961. For text, see U.N. Doc. A/SPC/L.80/Rev.1 and Corr.1. Documentation regarding the U.S. position is in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, volume XVII.