Thursday, July 14, 2016

71 - Reuven Shiloah, Report of Meetings with F. H. Russell, Washington, December 7 and 11, 1955

Coded Cable WIA578
Washington, 11 December 1955

Personal. On Thursday I was summoned by Russell to come over and receive details of Dulles' plan which the Secretary of State deems to be the proper solution and compromise for the Israeli-Arab conflict. This plan, which has evolved during prolonged research and deliberations by the Secretary prior to his speech of August 26, and which has not been changed following the Egyptian-Czechoslovak [arms] deal, includes eight main points:
1. Refugees. They agree with us that the vast majority should be resettled in Arab countries even though Israel must make a contribution to the solution of the problem by absorbing a certain number. Dulles, while stressing that it is his personal opinion only, tentatively suggests a total number of 75,000 refugees to be absorbed by Israel during five years, 15,000 annually. Israel would pay compensation for real abandoned property. The government of the United States, and perhaps other governments as well, would participate in the financing of the compensation but Israel would have to raise a certain part of it from its own resources and from world Jewry. At the same time, Israel would give up her demands of indemnities from the Arab States.
2. Jerusalem. Israel's and Jordan's sovereignty over the parts of Jerusalem held by each of them would be recognized. Jerusalem would be recognized as Israel's capital, and the government of the United States would see to it that a resolution would be adopted by the UN which would guarantee free passage and control over the holy places.
3. Boycott and blockade. The Arabs would ease actions of the secondary boycott and would completely desist from restricting Israeli shipping through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba. The Government of the United States is of the opinion that it is impossible at the present stage to bring about the Arabs' resumption of direct and normal commercial relations with Israel.
4. Transportation. The government of the United States highly appreciates our preparedness to allow Jordan rights to a free zone within the Haifa port, as well as free use of our roads and skies for Jordanian vehicles and airplanes, and realizes that this would be implemented on the basic principle of full reciprocity
5. The Johnston Plan.
6. Territorial Questions. The Government of the United States is of the opinion that final borders should be established according to the armistice lines. No-man's-lands and demilitarized areas should be divided by agreements between the two sides. As far as possible, lines should be changed [but?] with the aim of uniting villages where the armistice line separates a village from its lands. Jordan should give up a part of the Latrun enclave to facilitate the renewal of transport on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road. In the Negev an agreement should be reached which "will provide an Arab area joining Egypt with the rest of the Arab World." [italicized phrase in English]
         Russell repeatedly stressed that there is no intention of disconnecting Eilat and the passage to it, and there is also no demand from Israel to give up any economically valuable territories. The Government of the United States is of the opinion that it is possible to find a solution which would guarantee Israel's interests and fulfill Nasser's demands.
7. An agreement on ending the state of war between Israel and Arab countries. The government of the United States assumes that a formal state of peace cannot be reached at present.
8. Security Pacts. In accordance with Dulles' speech of August 26.
          Russell asked  me to  convey his message to the FM and expressed the hope of receiving an answer by Monday, since on Tuesday he is flying over with the Secretary of State to the NATO Council meeting in Paris.
          Following a meeting with the Minister [Sharett] and the Ambassador [Eban] in New York I saw Russell again today and told him that the FM is soon returning to Israel and will transmit a considered and authoritative reply only after his return home and deliberations with the PM. I reiterated in the name of the FM our opinion against any thought of Israel giving up territory in the Negev. I also said that, in spite of all our reservations regarding the optimistic assumptions about the Arabs' preparedness for a peace settlement, we are prepared, as our PM and FM have stated on many occasions, to enter immediately into negotiations with Nasser and other Arab leaders with no preconditions. On this occasion I reminded Russell about the Secretary's promise to respond to our requests for arms with the purpose of reaching equilibrium between us and the Arabs. I inquired whether he knew when we were going to receive an answer and what it would be. Russell said that he was not dealing with the military aspect of the issue, but he was aware that the Secretary has been dealing with it and he assumes that we will receive the answer at the promised date. He doesn't know what the answer will be. I again warned him that a negative response would much enhance the dangers in our area, and warned him against a tendency to avoid acceptance of our demands us because of reliance on the chances of a settlement.

Source: Shiloah to Ben-Gurion and Eytan, December 11, 1955, DFPI 10, doc.508.