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

866. Tel Aviv’s 1098.2 You may assure GOI that USG has not receded from commitment most recently stated in President’s letter to Prime Minister hand-carried by Shriver in January 1964 which stated “We stand behind you in your right of withdrawal in accordance with the Unified Plan.” It was, however, made absolutely clear to GOI in memoranda of conversation between Jernegan and Gazit of January 9, 10 and 14, 19643 that the USG considers the Unified Plan to be the [Page 380] version which was presented to the Arabs in October 19554 rather than the version embodied in our draft note of July 5, 1955 to the Israeli Government.5 These January 1964 memoranda of conversation were reviewed with the Israeli Embassy and agreed-on copies given to Israelis so as to constitute joint record of discussions. In conversation January 10 Jernegan stated (bottom para page 2 of memcon) that re the two disputed allocations, “United States does not share Israel’s view on the allocations, and we would have to say that we support the 85/15 and 25 mcms allocations if the issue should arise.” Throughout memcon Jernegan is quoted as explaining our final version of Plan provided for UN involvement in supervisory mechanism. Subsequently in conversation with Ambassador Harman January 246 (memcon pouched Tel Aviv) Assistant Secretary Talbot in referring to July 5, 1955 note to Israelis specifically stated, “That was a draft” (page 3).

As indicated in briefing memorandum, US continues to be committed to Unified Plan as an equitable standard. Israel, however, is not so committed and has never agreed to final version of plan. Agreed language of proposed “Summary and Technical Formula” worked out with Israelis in Department on January 9, 19647 makes this clear.

While we stand by Israel’s rights to its allocations according to final version of Unified Plan, we are not bound unilaterally to ensure, nor do we have the capability to ensure, that the Arabs will abide by Johnston allocations, although we assume that when all is sorted out, the combined Arab off-takes may well be within the combined Arab allocations.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 33–1 JORDAN RIVER. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Lucien L. Kinsolving of NEA/NE, cleared by Davies and McGeorge Bundy, and approved by Talbot.
  2. Document 174.
  3. See Document 11.
  4. For documentation on Johnston’s October 1955 talks with representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria in Cairo, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XIV, pp. 586587.
  5. Regarding the “Draft Memorandum of Understanding” that U.S. and Israeli representatives accepted on July 5, 1955, see ibid., p. 278, footnote 2.
  6. See Document 11.
  7. The technical formula is quoted in footnote 5, Document 11.