The Israeli Ambassador called on the Minister on August 4 to outline to him his Government’s appreciation of the present situation in the Middle East and to urge, as he had already done at the official level, that Canada should express in some way its sympathy and understanding for Iran in its present dispute with the United Arab Republic.1
2. Mr. Herzog began by pointing out that there were three main aspects of the Middle East situation: the East-West aspect, the inter-Arab aspect and that of Arab-Israeli relations. The Ambassador thought that, with the reduction in the influence of the communists in Iraq during the past year,2the Middle East had become much less of a focus for East-West confrontations, although admittedly the situation could deteriorate rapidly. With regard to inter-Arab tensions, Mr. Herzog thought of these essentially in terms of traditional Iraqi-Egyptian rivalry for hegemony in the area and believed Syria was a major source of instability in this respect because President Nasser could neither assimilate it into the United Arab Republic nor, of course, allow the Syrian-Egyptian union to be dissolved. The Ambassador emphasized that Israel recognized that these inter-Arab tensions were contrary to its own interests as they encouraged the Arabs to outbid each other in anti-Israeli attitudes and postponed the day when the Arabs would recognize that they had to accept, as a fact of life, the existence of Israel in the area. Despite the absence of any immediate prospect of an improvement in inter-Arab relations, the Ambassador thought, nonetheless, that there were some indications that an encouraging trend on Arab-Israeli issues could gradually take place providing outside powers pursued the required policies. It was, of course, of the greatest importance that the status quo should be maintained in the Middle East. In this connection the Ambassador claimed that, in being associated with the arrangements for Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai in early 1957, Canada had, along with the United Kingdom and France, assumed a moral obligation to assist in maintaining the status quo. The main danger to the status quo was the build-up of armaments in the United Arab Republic since it was difficult to predict what President Nasser would do once he believed the U.A.R. had achieved military superiority over Israel. A second important consideration was for outside powers to realize that they could at the same time have friendly relations with both Israel and the Arab States. As an example he cited the close Israeli relations with Burma and Ghana and the help Israel had been able to give these countries in building up their economies.
3. The Ambassador thought that gradual improvement in Arab-Israeli relations would come as a result of the acceptance by the non-Arab states of the Middle East and by the countries of Asia and Africa of the existence of Israel as a fact of life of the area, which would mean that the Arabs would eventually have to do likewise. In this connection Mr. Herzog believed the Shah’s recent action in publicly acknowledging that Iran recognized Israel was a very important and courageous step which would contribute to the stability of the area. He urged the Minister to have Canada express sympathy and understanding to the Iranians on this issue at a time when the Shah was under heavy pressure from both the United Arab Republic and the Soviet Union. The Minister gave the Ambassador no encouragement on this question and pointed out that this was a matter which the Canadian Government would have to decide for itself.3
1 Le 18 juillet 1960, un journal de Téhéran annonçait que l’Iran reconnaîtrait Israël. Le Shah a déclaré ultérieurement, lors d’une conférence de presse, que l’Iran avait reconnu Israël comme un État de fait depuis 1950, mais qu’aucune reconnaissance officielle ou échange de ministres n’étaient prévus. Néanmoins, le 26 juillet, le président Nasser a annoncé qu’il rompait les relations diplomatiques avec l’Iran.
On July 18, 1960, a Tehran newspaper reported that Iran would recognize Israel. The Shah subsequently stated at a press conference that Iran had recognized Israel as a “de facto” state since 1950, but no formal recognition or exchange of ministers was planned. Nevertheless, on July 26, President Nasser announced that he was breaking off diplomatic relations with Iran.
2Voir/See Volume 26, Chapter VII, Part 1.
3Il n’y a eu aucune expression de sympathie officielle de la part du Canada.
There was no official expression of Canadian sympathy.