Israeli Incentives to Settle the Palestinian Refugee Problem

(July 14, 1961)


This editorial note was sent by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, as a means of highlighting some of the positive outcomes that could result if the Israeli government were to try and settle the Palestinian refugee problem.


On July 14, 1961, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Armin Meyer transmitted to Myer Feldman a list of "Incentives for Movement on the Palestine Refugee Problem," under cover of a transmittal note that reads: "Pursuant to our telephone conversation of July 14, I hope the attached list of incentives, from the Israeli standpoint, will be helpful to you and to the President in persuading Israel's friends of the importance of making progress on the Arab refugee problem." (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/7-1861)

The list reads as follows:

"1. Dispose of issue re which Israel is most vulnerable to criticism.

"2. Solution of refugee problem is sine qua non for Israel's acceptance in Middle East.

"3. Eliminate annual hassle at UNGA, detrimental to Israel (and U.S.).

"4. Ward off reconstitution of PCC (troika or otherwise unfavorable).

"5. Forestall series of increasingly anti-Israel moves at UNGA (cf. Algeria).

"6. Forestall, specifically, acrimonious debate at forthcoming XVI UNGA.

"7. Dramatize Israel's peace protestations.

"8. Improve Israel's international image especially vis-à-vis Afro-Asian states.

"9. Take edge off atomic reactor, rocket and Jordan water issues.

"10. Reduce Near East tension and hopefully arms burden.

"11. Avoid area turmoil if UNRWA collapses.

"12. Place onus of failure on Arabs.

"13. Show cooperation with new U.S. administration.

"14. Take advantage of U.S. willingness to finance refugee solution."

A copy of the list was also transmitted to McGeorge Bundy under cover of a July 18 memorandum from Battle. (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/7-1861)


Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII.