Top French Government Leaders Pledge Support for Israel’s Security
Menu JTA Search

Top French Government Leaders Pledge Support for Israel’s Security

Download PDF for this date

A meeting here attended by more than 100 top French Government leaders to mark Israel’s 15th anniversary, became a forum at which specific pledges were made by the officials to support Israel’s security in the Middle East and its hopes for continued trade ties with the six European Common Market countries.

The pledges followed an address by Walter Eytan, the Israeli Ambassador to France, who warned that Israel faced perils from both its Arab enemies and its European friends. The meeting, sponsored by the France-Israel Alliance, was attended by such leaders as Maurice Schumann, president of the French National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Commission; Gaullist party leader Raymond Schmittlin, Defense Minister Pierre Mesmer, Interior Minister Roger Frey, Finance Minister Valery Giscard De Staing, Gaston Palewsky, Minister for Nuclear and Scientific Research, and others. Paris Police Chief Maurice Papon and senior Government officials also attended.

Mr. Eytan, who had just returned from conferences in Israel with Prime Minister Ben-Gurion and Foreign Minister Golda Meir, said that “for the first time, three states–all members of the United Nations–have formed a federation whose constitution openly proclaims it is aimed at the destruction of another state, Israel, which is also a member of the United Nations.” He added: “and the United Nations is doing nothing about it.”


Mr. Eytan told the glittering assemblage that “even without the United Arab Republic Federation, peace is in danger because Egypt itself is the main aggressor and Egypt is well provided with arms and weapons of destruction by the Soviet Union, while another country gives financial assistance.” The “other country” was understood to be the United States.

He then warned that there was “another danger, that of Israel being caught between the Arab boycott and a de facto customs boycott by its European friends. The success of Israel’s negotiations with the Common Market, which are due to begin May 27, depends exclusively on the political directives which will be given by the Governments of the six member states. If such directives will not be forthcoming, the talks will bog down, French influence can be a decisive factor in the negotiations. We count on it.”

Reassurances were promptly provided. Mr. Schumann said that the 1950 Tripartite Declaration of the United States, Britain and France, guaranteeing the existing Israel-Arab borders, was now “more binding, more urgent and more imperative than ever before.”

Mr. Schmittlin pledged that the “weapons which Israel received yesterday” from France “and uses today, will not be lacking tomorrow.” Mr. Mesmer declared that he greeted the Israel defense forces “which have given ample proof of their courage and service to the state,” Gen. Pierre Koenig, chairman of the Alliance, recalled President Charles de Gaulle’s toast to Israel in the summer of 1960, when he called Israel “our friend and ally.” Gen. Koening added that “the presence here of so many and such important French personalities shows that this toast still is alive and valid.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund