Friday, August 12, 2016

101 - Extracts from Anderson’s Notes of his Meeting with Israeli Officials, March 9, 1956

Anderson’s notes record FM Sharett as stating that “he did not believe in NASR’s good faith.” Sharett further believed, Anderson reported, that Egypt was “capable of either direct aggression or provocation” and he felt that  one of three courses would develop:
            a. A direct offensive by Egypt;
            b. Provocation through raids and continued border incidents which would provoke Israel to attack;
            c. Sending military or suicide squads into Israel so as to create fear in the population, making work and progress impossible. He said quite clearly that the latter action would not be tolerated and if necessary would be ended by force. He emphasized at the end of our talk that any of the above would mean war. [- - -]
            14.  SHARETT stated that he now felt that Israel was entitled to an emphatic yes or no on the question of arms and that his government would press for it. [- - -]
            16.  SHARETT stated that after the beginning of this mission they had cooperated through statements, desisted from work at Banat Yaacov, and refrained from returning Egyptian fire, etc. That Egypt had secured additional arms, consolidated her military planning with Saudi Arabia and Syria, continued to fire on the border and continued to make anti-Israel statements, etc. These factors, he urged, worked to Israel’s disadvantage and imposed additional moral responsibilities.
            17.  SHARETT stated categorically that the Israeli Government could no longer take this mission into its own calculations with regard to their military position vis-a-vis Egypt; that they would have to reassess their whole position in the light of a settlement not likely being achievable in the near future and in the light of either a decision being made concerning arms within a short time or their taking the lack of a decision as a negative answer. They would reconsider their position concerning diversion of the Jordan waters because their internal policies could not be dictated by Egyptian desires or bluff.

SOURCE: Meeting with Israeli Officials, March 9, 1956, USNA NEA Lot File 59D582 Box34.