Byroade Inferentially Blames Israel for Middle East Tension
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Byroade Inferentially Blames Israel for Middle East Tension

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In what must be considered a major policy declaration by the United States Government on the Palestine question and one which is bound to arouse bitter controversy, Henry Byroade, Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs, told the Dayton World Affairs Council this week-end that Israel inferentially has the major burden of blame for the Arab-Israel tension. Secretary Byroade’s speech was made available in Washington before its delivery here with the comment that it was an important policy document.

Sec. Byroade declared: “To the Israelis I say that you should come to truly look upon yourselves as a Middle Eastern state–and see your own future in that context rather than as a headquarters or nucleus so to speak of world-wide groupings of peoples of particular religious faith who must have special rights within and obligations to the Israeli State.”

He further advised Israel that “you should drop the attitude of the conqueror and the conviction that force and a policy of retaliatory killings is the only policy that your neighbors will understand. You should make your deeds correspond to your frequent utterance of the desire for peace.”

Turning to the Arabs, Sec. Byroade said that they should accept Israel “as an accomplished fact.” He charged the Arabs with “deliberately attempting to maintain a state of affairs delicately suspended between war and peace, while at present desiring neither.” He characterized this as “a most dangerous policy and one which world opinion will increasingly condemn if you continue to resist any move to obtain at least less dangerous modus vivendi with your neighbor.”

Sec. Byroade stressed that America should not be pro-Israel nor pro-Arab, saying if we are to be accused of being pro anything, “let us make it amply clear that prefix can apply to only one thing and that is that our policy is first and foremost pro-American.” He declared it only natural that in the present situation some groups should attempt to exert pressure on the government. He said, “we must weigh these special interests carefully, but we must also shape our policy and so conduct our daily acts as to represent the majority of our people where vital issues affecting our own security are concerned. I am certain no American would quarrel with this concept.”


A large part of the Byroade declaration purported to set forth typical Arab views. He told the Dayton Council that although Israel talks of peace, the Arabs see it as bent only on aggression and that the Kibya and Nahalin incidents were deliberately planned by the Israel Government. He further cited Arab opinion as being that if Israel wants peace it must prove it by abiding by United Nations resolutions on boundaries and the repatriation of refugees. Transfer of the Israel capital to Jerusalem only indicates to the Arabs Israel’s disrespect for authority and for the UN and its intent to seize additional territory, he added.

The Arabs fear, said Sec. Byroade, that further Jewish immigration into Israel will inevitably result in territorial expansion by Israel. The Arab refugees, he said, are viewed as “end products of Israeli terrorism driven from their homes by cold-blooded massacres such as that at Deir Yassin where over 200 people died at the hands of the Irgun.” The Arabs believe the refugees should be allowed to return home if they desire and Israel should pay the vast sums it owes for confiscated property, he continued.

In summarizing for his audience the Israeli point of view, Sec. Byroade avoided any reference to the Scorpion Pass massacre, Israel complaints of continued Arab raids, the anti-Israel blockade at the Suez Canal, the unlawful detention of Israeli air passengers forced down at Bagdad, violent Arab incitements like the recent utterances of King Saud and similar developments frequently cited by those who authoritatively cite the Israel position. He did say the Israelis charge the Arab states with obstructing the Arab refugee settlement in order to use their plight to appeal to world sympathies.

He quoted the Israeli position as being that the Arabs’ obstructionist attitude cannot be permitted to stop irrigation plans, that the surrender of Jerusalem is out of the question and that the world religious community’s legitimate interest is in the Holy Places which are largely concentrated in areas held by Jordan. He noted that Israel had repeatedly urged the Arabs to sit down at the conference table to conclude peace, but the Arabs persistently refused.

Sec. Byroade asserted that dangers arising from Israel-Arab strife seem to “increase rather than diminish,” and characterized the Israel-Arab clash as the “most fundamental of all” disputes in the Near Eastern area and one which seemed “least capable of an early and satisfactory solution.”

He mentioned President Eisenhower’s concern over the strategic importance of the Near East to the United States and declared that a main objective of American policy in the Middle East is “encouragement of regional defense measures against aggression from outside the area.” He stressed the importance of oil and of strengthening the region against Communism. He called for emphasis on American interests.

Sec. Bryoade, in a pointed reference to American Zionists, said Middle East problems must be carefully weighed because of American leadership and “those who feel and speak with emotion on some of these problems must bear this in mind even if they are not in positions of responsibility within the government.”

(The Israeli press this week-end commented extensively on the Byroade speech, welcoming his calling on the Arabs to accept the existence of Israel as an accomplished fact and to end their policy of refusing to make peace with Israel. However, most newspapers criticized his suggestion to Israel to give up the idea that it was the center of world Jewry. The newspapers rejected the idea of giving up ties with the Jews abroad, while the labor newspaper Davar noted that the Soviet Government had prevented the establishment of ties between Israel and Russian Jewry and pointedly queried whether such a policy finds favorable support in the U. S.)

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