Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

State Dept. Rejects Protest of U.S. Zionists Against Britain’s Shipping Arms to Arabs

February 21, 1950
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department today dismissed the protest of a delegation of American Zionist leaders with a reiteration of Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s previous statement that it is desirable for the Arab states to receive munitions.

The delegation, headed by Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Council, spoke with Raymond A. Hare, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. They talked with him for 35 minutes, attempting to point out the threat to Near Eastern peace represented by the heavy British arms shipments.

Mr. Hare expressed the belief that the arms won’t be used against Israel and stated that he thought the situation was improving and that there was no occasion for alarm. He pointed out that visas are now issued to Israelis by Egypt and that the exchange of Israel goods through the Suez Canal has been facilitated. He cited other instances of improved relations between Israel and the Arab states.

Lipsky said he feared the Department “was making a very grievous misjudgment.” The Council delegation’s purpose in calling on Mr. Hare was to ask the State Department to intercede with England in an effort to halt the threatening arms race. On behalf of the council, Lipsky issued a statement immediately after the meeting with Mr. Hare in which he declared:

“We repeat that we regret the position taken by the State Department. We are convinced that American public opinion will not share the complacency of Mr. Acheson toward the rearming of the Arab states. The danger we refer to is not far off; it is right around the corner. The state of Israel is now engaged in negotiating for peace agreements to take the place of the armistice arrangements with the Arab states. Sending them large quantities of arms at this time inevitably disturbs all talks of peace with them. It is like handing a revolver to a potential assailant, who has once been disarmed.

“We solemnly declare that the approval of England’s sending of new planes and heavy artillery and submarines to any Arab state at this time is a direct encouragement of Arab aggression. We deplore that the state of Israel will have to use a larger part of its hard-pressed budget not for the restoration and rehabilitation of the tens of thousands of new settlers, but for the mobilization and equipment of its armed forces.”

The delegation submitted a memorandum to the Department, giving details of the shipment of arms to the Arabs by Britain and other European countries. The momorandum stressed “it is surplus American army equipment that is being used in many cases, and it is the United States which is today providing arms for these same countries which divert their stocks to the Near East.” Members of the delegation included Lipsky Mrs. Moses P. Epstein, Dr. Pinchus Churgin, Louis Segal, and Rabbi Jerome Ungor.

Recommended from JTA