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THE PRENCH-ISRAELI RELATIONSHIP
warm and clos* Prcnob-Israell relationship date* from tb*, when Franc-to become the major sup-jpilar of araa to Israel. as strengtoe-ed by tbe Sues "cawpalgn and has since been MlnUlDtd by tbe military tab! ishasats of tbe twodeaplte none atteapte by Dm Oaulle89 toapprochement vith the Arab states. Delivery of modern aircraft and other inn continuednd It say bs that tbe nuclearrab*ba, oa wbleb France baa been giving Is Intendedpons-grade plutonium production.
for the first five yearssrael's creation, Fr*acb-Israsll relations were not particularly close, although friendship was fostered byanti-German sentiment and by sympathy In bob* French intellectual circles for Israel's struggle to establish Itself firmlyation. There were also polltleal ties betwssn tb* French Socialist party ands*llegacy of pro-Zlonlst Fr*noh PremierBlum. Following tb* Egyptian revolution2 and Haslr's coaplst* tabs-overow* Frencbaer. began to view Iarsslounter to Egyptian influenceewrost which to recoup th* Influence Franc* bad lost In the Middle Bast when Syria andaa* completely lndtpsnd*nt after World war II.
In3 Plsrrs Gilbertn Tel AwivFrench ambassador,bout to
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sake Frano* Isra*l's majorof arwaa. To tbis end, he sent th*al of tb* Israell Defens* Ministry, Shimon Peres, to talk withpersons lneres found th* Fr*nobdivided between tb* views of traditional Mlddl* East, wbo favored continuing friendly relations wltb the Arabs, and thoseo Israel as an allyostile Naair.
Thisof opinionn favor of Israel, partlyvault of Ollbert's efforts andsus* of tbe disclosure ln5 that Cairo had bought ams froa thebloe. In tb* alx months preceding th*ampaign Franc*0 tons of allltary equipment into lsra*l. Tbis action and the subsequent close allltaryIn tb*aapalgn solldlflidfriendship, andfollowed7treaw of Pranch wlsltora to Israel,cabinet Ministers,deputies, civic leaders, financiers, and
Another factor in tbis friendship was thetrong Israel held out to
advocatesgerlaeans of curbing Arab abilities to help the Algerian rebels. Jacques Soustelle,rench parliamentary delegation to Israelaid Prance and Israel bod parallel Interests lntbe problems created by Horth Africa and Middle East disturbances." Heast president of the French-Israeli friendship society in France and maintains ties with the Israeli right! st^psrty*Herat i"
Sfiatiops Under De Gaulle
When De Gaulle came to poser inof France's policy toward Israel seemed ln prospect. Foreign Minister Couve de Uur-vllle told British officials that France henceforth would be much less ostentatious in its friendship with Israel. De Gaulle, preoccupied withwas reliably reported in8 to feci that time was running against tbe Vest lnArab nationalism and that the West must eventually come to terms with tbe Arabs.
In9 French and UAE representatives secretlyotiated lninancial' and commercial agreement aimed at restoring the pre-Suezbetween their countries. Paris also took soundingsesumption of diplomaticproposing, accordingairo source, to reduce cooperation witb Israeleduction of 2gyptian support of tbe Algerian rebels.
A French Foreign Ministry representative ln CairoS official ln9 that while France would fulfill its existing contracts witb Israel, Paris bad not been responsive to recent Israeli requests for additional arms. Re said that if France did accede to further auch requests, it was prepared to treat tbe UAH on tbe sane basis and the UAR had been so advised.
Theave worked bard to counter any desire of De Gaulle's government toess friendly policy. Foreign Minister Golds Heir argued to De Gaulle ln8 that the West should work with its only two allies ln the Middle East, Turkey and Israel. Mrs. Meir later reported to Prims Minister Ben-Gurion that De Gaulle was cordial andbut noncommittal.
In the springntimates of De Gaulle reported-ly told Dr. Kahlua Goldmann, head of the World Zionistion, to warn Israel that France could not alwaysajor source of arms. They said De Gaulle bad been confronted with serious differences ln tbe Frencb Government on tbe questionontinued supply of arms to Israel. De Gaulle decided to make do changeear. Thereafter if the West were to decide to secure Israel's future, the Wosthole should share the onus of Arab hostility for arming Israel.
When Ben-Gurlon personally tried to impress De Gaulle in0 witb the rapidity with wblcb tbe OAR was upsetting tbe arms balance between Israel and the Arab states, De Gaulle would make no specific commitments. He said, however, that France would continueource of anas.
Military Ties Beaaln Close
The high-level "cooling off" in French-Israelidoes not seen to havethe close Military ties cemented by cooperation in the Suez incident. rench Foreign Ministry official conceded ln8 that relations in the military field remained extremely close, and that even tbe working level at tbe Foreign Ministry did not know exactly what form of agreement existed between the services of the two countries.
Ad Uracil Foralg Ministry official adalttsd tbat Militaryith Franc* continued to be such an Important aspect of Israel'* thinking that Israeli defense personnel considered oil Israeli-French relations basically within tbslr province,ircumstance of sonsand embarrassment to the foreign sinister." Hrs. Heir wss even oa the point of Id September9 oyer Is foreign affairs by tbe Ministry of Defense.
In practical tens tbe relationship Is apparent on various military levels. In0 France and Israel agreed that allltary service requirements of either country could ba satisfiedour of duty with thw army of tha othar. Israeli pllota continuedId Franca, and Francbmilitary tsams andremained in Israel.90 there were frequent and extended visits of key Israeli allltary officers to Francs, Israeli submarine craws wars reported training In Franca, and Israeli naval units engaged ln0 in Joint antisubmarine warfare sxerclses wltb tbs Frsnoh.
Tba Israelis maintain their secret arms-purchasing mission ln Paris completelyof tba diplomatic mission. In0 Jaan Bourdelllette. Gilbert'sas ambassador to Tel Aviv, confirmed that tbt Francb military attache lo Israel was auch mora Intimately connected wltb th* Israeli Army than la usual for an attach*.
Particularly significant ia tha continuance Of French allltary shipments to Israel. In the springoul Ofuper Mystere. Inl-plac*dBouree said that six monthsIsrael bad placed an order with tb* French forltramodern Mirage-Ill Jet
fighters, altb >liv*ry toln0 and con-tlou*
Th* Atomic Energy Agreement
A inch-Israeli agreement for cooperation ln nuclear energy baa been known to axlat3 but basn published. During tb*, th*r* war* rumors that Francb assistance to Israel ln tha nuclear energy fieldaid Id tba development of nuclear weapon*. Onowever, Dr. Ernst Barg-mann, chairman of tbs Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, stated categorically tbat tha agreement WSS limited tO tba exchange of information on uranium chemistry and tbs productlOD of heavy water. B* claimed that press reports of French-Israel1on to build an atomic bonb were fabrications designed to Influence tb* US not to aid th* Pr*noh nuclear weapons program.
tb* US Joint Atomic Energy Committee Issueduolvar reactor complex under construction ia theear Beersbeba could baoumber of possible functions, including research, plutonium production, and/or nucleartrlc power generation. Tb* secrecyth* proj*ct suggests tbat tb* coaplax la Intended for tha production of weapons-grade plutonium, r not generation oftrlc power la involved. There is extensive evidence tbat Trance ls supplying plans, materials, equipment, and technical and la alao training Israeli personnel.
On an offloial of th* French Atomic Energyoth French offloial and Industrial collaboration with Israwl inroject andthe French-Urssllt as relating to uranium and heavy-water
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press reports Id Bid-December that Israel was well on the way to building Its firstnuclear bomb, Paristatemont onece ber denying any assistance In
Tne French announcement added that tbe assistanceby France to the Israeli programeavy-water, natural-uranium reactor, and that all necessary provision sad bees made to assureof the installation for exclusively peaceful purposes. Odecember, ln replyuestion ln tbe IsraeliPrims Minister Ben-Gurlon. stated that Israel wasmegawatt research reactor', in the Kegev, but bs made no mention of French assistance. Sinceesearch reactor of that capacity aan produce some weapons-grade plutonium, tbe disposition of thefuel elevents la of major Importance. ln view of Israel's limited uranium metalit is believed that Trance Is also assisting ln tbe supply of the necessary reactor fuel.
The evldencv whichirect French aid Includes the following items:
had been given 'Taeii patentseavy-watsrprocoss as part
French premier, BourgeB-Kaunoury, and the French army cblef of staff bad decided that France would furnishInformation concerning atomic energy" to aid Israel
ing an atomic bomb, claimed that tbe was not discussed ln the cabinet but was worked out by the premier's and defense minister's staffs.
France would be willing to supply Israel witb uranium.
rance alsoostile attitude toward requiring safeguards ln bilateral atomic energy _
(in December sTncerraoce bad been excluded from the "nucleart was unreasonable to expeot lt to accept tbe obligationslub member.
Too strong current of pro-Israeli and anti-Arab sentiment ln France, particularly at tbe time of tbe Suez campaign, would haveove backed by the military to aid Israel in an extensive nuclear energy program. The French military have long contended that ln
fighting tb* Algerian war,
Franc* was blocking tbe spread of Communism and defending NATO's flank in the Hear East and North Africa againstostile to th* feat. Despite tb* close French-Israeli tl*a, however, It is unlikely eh noopors-tios would be possible without -top political support. An agree-MBt could have bean consummatedew top French and Israeli officials, such tb* same as was tbs FrcDCb-Ieraelll.
Tbs Israelis oa thalr sld* haw* long feared tbat, with the aid of the Soviet bloc, th* Arab statss night win the Middle Fast arms race. Tbs Israeli allltary,
therefore, haws alwayslgb priority on tbe acquisition of ths most modern weapons. Aa Israeli official stated id early January that Iarael could not b*o wait until Egypt, produced an atomic weapon.
It ia likaly, moreover, tbat tha Israslla, whoseand technicalar* highly advancsd, haveFrench aid andto th* fullest. Th* limitations ar* the high costr weapons program and tbs lack of an extensive Industrial bas*.
s Is most likaly. French-Israeli aooperatlonuclear program was lo effect when De Gaulle returned to power, tb* decision on his part not to terminate this policy wasbaaed od something aor* parsuaslv* than tbe willingness be expressed to Hrs. aalr la
8 to honoragreements, ds haa stated that no nation csd afford to give another something for notblog. Although balistened to tha Qual d'Orsays advice sodime soughtrapprochement with Kaslr for the purpose of olution of ths Algerianit is unlikely ba expected auch to result from these
D* Gaull*'* willingness to forward Israel'e nuclearmay hav* also beeo affected by bis desires to obtain full acceptance for Franc* lo US aad UK councilsay ln Western us* of nuolsar weapons. By advancing Israsl's nuclear status he may hav* fait that ba was building up concrete evidence tbat France couldlyreat-power role.
Confident tbat h* could solve the Algerian problem, De Gaulle baa tended to look ahead to advancing Fraoc*'aajor tenet ln hiais his baiiafuelsar fore* is paramount If Franc* ls to b*onsiderationorld power. Ho gav* top priority to production of an atomic wsspon, aod it ls csrtala that in his determination to naks Franc* an atomic power h* considered all possible source* of assistance. Tb* possibility csnoot betbat Israeli scientists lo tbe post-Sues period nay bav* offered Francb researchers now bslp in the current French (SECRET |
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