Saturday, August 13, 2016

112 - Report of Meeting between PM Ben-Gurion, FM Sharett and UN SG Dag Hammarskjöld, April 18, 1956

In meeting yesterday [April 18] Secretary-General forwarded detailed proposals for intensification and efficient observers work by establishing UN observation posts and patrols along the Gaza Strip [border] line, right of free visiting inside demilitarized zones and limitations on defense forces as defined in Articles VII and VIII. The PM promised to consider proposals and would continue discussing them in today’s meeting [April 19]. PM demanded that prior to discussion of other Armistice items we discuss implementation of Article I which commits them [the Egyptians] to avoid resort to force for solving Palestine problem and execution of any other aggressive action generally, and allowing sides right to see to their security and freedom from anxiety regarding attack. PM noted that Egypt’s policy is in contradiction with these commitments in view of blockade and preparation of war, both by concentration of forces in Sinai and by intensive arming as well as by wild war propaganda. This policy undermines the foundations of the Armistice Agreement. The PM demanded that Egyptians again ratify commitment to these obligations and cease carrying out actions contradicting them, first and foremost the Suez and Eilat blockades. Israel is prepared to fulfill all clauses of the Armistice on the basis of reciprocity, but it cannot agree that one side fulfills only those commitments which are to his liking.
          The SG claimed the PM’s demand overstepped the limited purpose with which the SC had entrusted him. The blockade was a breach of the armistice regime but not a breach of the articles in the agreement. He was prepared to discuss the principles included in Article I after discussing the enumerated problems such as observers, Articles VII and VIII, local settlements etc. He stressed the importance that members of the SC see in the parties’ responding to his proposals. He hinted at the influence of our position regarding the important negotiations now being held in several capitals regarding our matters )i.e., arms(. He explained that not even one Arab government would dare publicly deny the existence of a state of war and expressed the hope that if we did not insist on our demand it would be possible to succeed in getting Nasser to avoid implementing the blockade without him publicly changing their declared position. The PM and FM refuted the SG's claims that the blockade did not constitute a violation of the clauses and spirit of the Armistice Agreement, and they quoted Bunche’s explicit words at the 433rd meeting of the Security Council on 4.8.1949.
          Today the government discussed our position regarding the continuation of  the negotiations.

SOURCE: Rafael to Israel Missions UN (NY), London, Washington, etc., April 19, 1956, ISA FM 130.02/2448/3.