184. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

208743. Ref: Paris 197262 and 19871.3

Begin FYI. For variety of reasons we prefer hold up on previously-authorized sale of remaining 143 half-tracks to Israel at this sensitive time. While sale unlikely to alter military arms balance in current hostilities there could be political risks in associating US with transaction of “visible” military hardware at this moment. We intend however to keep issue under review. End FYI.
You should find pretext which not related to Middle East crisis to delay acting on Israeli request.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–8 US–ISR. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Drafted by Political-Military Adviser Colonel Edgar J. Fredericks (NEA/RA); cleared in substance by Davies, Director for Operations Joseph J. Wolf (G/PM), and Director of Foreign Military Rights Affairs Philip E. Barringer (DOD/ISA), and in draft by Atherton; and approved for transmission by Sober.
  2. Telegram 19726 from Paris, June 2, reported that U.S. military authorities had asked the Embassy about the previously approved sale to Israel of 200 half-track personnel carriers, 57 of which had been sold and delivered and the remaining 143 of which were in French military depots and were yet to be sold. Unless it was otherwise instructed, the Embassy planned to inform the U.S. military that the vehicles should be sold. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 19871 from Paris, June 5, stated that the Israeli purchasing mission was pressing hard for the sale of the personnel carriers and that in view of the outbreak of hostilities, the Embassy was advising U.S. military authorities not to complete the sale pending instructions from Washington. (Ibid.)