Thursday, August 4, 2016

92 - M. Sharett to D. Ben-Gurion, February 15, 1956

To: The Prime Minister
From: The Foreign Minister
            Your conversation with the New York Times representative and the announcement you gave him regarding not resuming work on the Jordan channel were made know to me only afterwards.
            The line taken by the Foreign Ministry, followed by our embassies in Washington and Paris, was intended to keep the interested parties in a state of tension owing to the threat of our readiness to resume work at any moment, beginning March 1st, and to try to gain something both in America and in France in return for our accepting their beseeching and our agreeing to postpone the renewal of work for some time.
            The public announcement regarding our preparedness to hold off must break the tension and annuls our chances of gaining something in return.
            At the very hour you gave the interview to Bigart the French Ambassador was visiting Emile Najar and handed him a memorandum in which the French Government strongly beseeched us to postpone the renewal of work while pointing to its support for us and especially to the sale of the Mystères. Najar said nothing to [Ambassador Pierre] Gilbert regarding our readiness to wait – with the intention of continuing to bargain and trying to utilize the card of the Jordan channel for creating diplomatic pressure in order to get additional Mystères. It is not difficult to imagine Gilbert's astonishment upon learning that the government had, in fact,  already decided earlier to postpone work and that, moreover, this was made known publicly. The situation thus created would made it impossible for him to understand the logic by which the conversation with Najar had been conducted.
            The same goes for Washington. There too a pressure was put on us which, for the time being, we have not succumbed to. There too we had chances of "selling" the postponement in exchange for this or that return. There was no logic, in my opinion, in our giving away this weapon, to say nothing of making this known by a public announcement.
            I leave it to you as the Prime Minister to conclude, in view of this experience, whether or not a greater measure of coordination between us regarding publication of our positions in foreign affairs is necessary.
                                                                                    Moshe Sharett

SOURCE: ISA FM 130.02/2446/11.