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Operation Alpha

(January 1 - August 26, 1955)

“Alpha” was the Department of State’s code word for materials pertaining to a secret U.S.-British effort to develop proposals for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement. On December 20, 1954, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles assigned Francis Russell,  Deputy Chief of Mission and Counselor of the Embassy in Israel, responsibility for reviewing Arab-Israeli issues, formulating proposals to facilitate the conclusion of a peace settlement in Palestine, and developing a concerted diplomatic strategy with his British Foreign Office counterpart, Charles Arthur Evelyn Shuckburgh.

In 1955, both countries agreed that Israel should cede parts of the Negev to Egypt and Jordan, creating a territorial link between them, resettle 75,000 Palestinian refugees in Israel, and establish a state of non-belligerence between Israel and Arab countries in lieu of peace.

Facing opposition from both Egypt and Israel, President Dwight Eisenhower authorized the secret mission of a special envoy, Robert Anderson, a Texas lawyer and personal friend. From January to March 1956, Anderson engaged in CIA-supported negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, and Egyptian President Gamal Nasser.

Nevertheless, the plan was categorically rejected by both Egypt and Israel.

Sources: “Operation Alpha (1955),” The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An Interactive Database.
“Alpha Operation,”
“U.S. Efforts to Obtain a Settlement Between Egypt and Israel; the Beginnings of Operation Alpha, January 1–August 26, 1955,” Foreign Relations of The United States, 1955–1957, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1955, Volume XIV, U.S. Department of State.