Lyndon Johnsons Effect Of American Foriegn Policy Towards Isreal The following is a discussion of American foreign policy towards Israel, and the Middle East. In it I will show that Lyndon Johnson changed the regional position and opinion of the United Stated by adapting a pro Israeli stance, categorized by excusing many unadvised forceful actions taken by Israel. It will be shown how Johnsons response to the outbreak of the 1967 War was the major factor in the change. These changes took the first steps in developing the close friendship between America and Israel. Other factors will be discussed.
The cold war had a major effect on policy decisions. This will be shown through a historical account of his predecessors policies in their dealings with the region. I will show that American some presidents had pro Israeli feelings, but aimed at staying neutral, and keeping the broadness of American influence in the Middle East. In all dealings, American presidents tried to appease both sides, and keep the peace. It was not until Lyndon Johnson came to power that policy took such pro Israeli turn.
His predecessor John F Kennedy set the stage, but its roots lie in the Truman presidency, when Israel was not yet a nation. The analysis next leads to Eisenhower, his stance during the Suez Canal Crisis, gained America a good standing amongst Israelis and Arabs. The foundations for the 1967 war are built on this crisis. Harry Truman looked at the issue through Humanitarian eyes, as did his predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt. The two both truly felt sorry for what had had happened to the Jews and wanted to see some reparations made.
These two men had their cabinets, state department and foreign affairs to consider before making a public stance on their Jewish feelings. Truman had a very bureaucratic, and anti Semitic state department to deal with. He called them the striped pants boys. These boys saw no reason to stress the urgent creation of a Jewish state, and were in no hurry to empty the overflowing displaced persons camps. Trumans opinion was that the state departments only concern was future American Arab relations, and not the fate of the shattered people. (Lenczowski page 26) This was also the world opinion. World War II had just ended. Most of the European powers were bankrupt.
The Arabs were also a consideration; they controlled the oil a resource the western powers relied on. These nations were not eager to see a Jewish state created in their neighborhood. Harry Truman took pro Jewish actions anyway. In a communication to English Prime Minster Winston Churchill on July 24, 1945 he requested that he lift the existing immigration restrictions of Jews to the then state of Palestine. Truman’s policy led to harsh criticism.
It was said that he urged action in Palestine but was not willing to take responsibility for its enforcement. American motives came into question as well. One year later Foreign Secretary Earnest Beavin at a conference addressing the British labor party in Bournmouth on June 12 1946, was quoted as saying American policy makers want to ensure immigration to Palestine Because they did not want too many of them on New York. (Lenczowski page 26) This was not the time to give full American support to the Jews. Instead an Anglo American blue ribbon committee was formed to look into possible solutions to the problem.
Upon Truman’s acceptance members appointed, and began working. The committee in April of 1946 concluded, and made their recommendations, in The Grady Morrision report. It recommended the continuation of the British mandate, the immediate immigration of 100,000 Jews to Palestine, and immediate repudiation of the land transfer restrictions. The next step was the creation of an Anglo-American committee to implement the sanctions put forth by the original committee. (Lenczowski page 23) The result was the Grady Morrison report, it called for the formation of a federalized Arab Jewish state, as well as required Jewish Arab consent on numbers of Jewish refugees aloud to immigrate. This proposal was disappointing to the Zionists, and was not accepted by Truman, and the committee was a failure.
(Lenczowski page 24) On two occasions before and after reading the report of committee Truman called upon England to allow 100,000 Jews to immigrate Palestine. On 10446, Truman made his feelings clear, when he communicated to Clement Atlee, British prime minister. Truman was adherent to aid the Zionists and in fact would not give them his full support, but was eager to find a solution to the problem. The issue became the prime issue of international diplomacy. (Lenczowski page 24) After the failure and non-implementation of their recommendations, Truman began to publicly show how pro Jewish he was. Harry Truman was a believer in the idea of self determination, the right of a nation under the control of another nation to regain its freedom, and decide its own fate, it does not give the mother land the right to decide the future of the conquered people.
(Lenczowski page 25) Truman stated The Balfour declaration, promising the Jews the opportunity to re-establish a homeland in Palestine had always seemed to me to go hand in hand with the noble policies of Woodrow Wilson, especially the principals of self determination. Note when Truman used the term re-establish, he was referring to the Jewish nation located there 2 millennia ago. (Lenczowski page 26) The opinion of the state department and military, were more bureaucratic and not humanitarian. Truman referring to them as striped pants boys stated that they were more concerned with the future Arab American relations and western interests in the Middle East, stating that the formation of the state would jeopardize them. The Arabs were in control of the oil, a resource needed by America and all the other western powers. Truman and Roosevelt in dealing with the issue said they would consult the Arabs before making a public decision.
Members of both their staffs said that their promises to consult the Arabs were in constant with their Zionist sympathies. (Lenczowski 26) Truman heard his advisors opinions, reviewed both state department recommendations, that were against the formation of the state. At this time, his desk was flooded with letters from American Zionists who had recommendations of their own. After considering all the facts, he made his decision to instruct the American delegation to the UN, to vote for Israel. The decision of Harry Truman, to support Israel, set the stage for complicated times for future American presidents. In making his decision he, he only set the stage for American Israeli relation, rather that shape them.
He did not take an official American stance. In fact when the 1948 war broke out, only one nation would sell the newly formed Israel weapons, not America, but Czecelslovakia. When Eisenhower came into power, relations with Israel, and the entire Middle East, became geared towards keeping the Soviet Union out. His policies did not favor Israel, but were carefully crafted not to put them at a disadvantage. Eisenhower viewed the Middle East as the most important strategic asset on the globe, and was determined to keep Russia out.
His policies took more of an appeasing role. He aimed at keeping everyone happy, and to be fair to all sides. (Snider, page 170) American Israeli relations during the Eisenhower years were not in any way favorable, but not disadvantageous. With interests of Soviet exclusion, and wants to keep the Arabs happy, Eisenhower, as warned by his aids was reluctant to take a stand on the Arab Israeli dispute. He took a very neutral response.
He tried more to keep the peace rather that ignite another world conflict. For example when Israel asked for arms, Eisenhower promised only to provide them if needed, and stated that he would order an American ship loaded with arms to stay in the Mediterranean, and dispatch the arms to any Middle East whose security was threatened. (Lesch page 51) During Eisenhowers presidency there were three issues in the Middle East that put him in a compromising position. The Suez Canal crisis that led to the second Arab Israeli War was at the forefront. There were more issues at hand than just the war and foreign relations.
The Civil war in Lebanon, and a revolution in Iraq. On all of these issues, there was the potential for an American Soviet confrontation. The Issue directly involving Israel, the Suez War shows, how un favorable, and neutral Eisenhowers policy toward Israel was. He had no problem, suspending aid, and laying down harsh sanctions if Israel did not listen to the recommendations. During Eisenhowers term the cold war came to Egypt, first in the form of a competition over the funding of The Aswan Dam, and second over arms sales.
In the early 1950s an Egyptian plan to build a dam capable of powering the Nile Delta and the surrounding desert areas was made. It was at first to be funded by the U.S., Britain, and the World Bank. The plan was coming to fruition until Egyptian president, began to search for other sources of funding. He was beginning to be more drawn politically to the Soviet Union, and was leaning towards accepting a Soviet offer for the dam. The U.S.
was aware of Nassrs motives and in 1956 withdrew the offer. (Lenczwski page 49) The Soviet Union never made an offer for funding the dam, but in 1955 did sign an arms pact with the Egyptians, ending the western monopoly of arms supply to the Middle East. It was also at this time that Nasser nationalized the British/ French owned Suez Canal. The Suez Canal, according to the Constantinople Convention of 1888, stated that the cannel was within Egyptian borders, and under the jurisdiction of there security and defense, but it was supposed to be an international waterway, with free navigation in times of peace and war. The British and French hinted the use of force. Against Eisenhower’s advice, they planed to mobilize and invade. Eisenhower warned against this.
But in October of 1956 the English and French joined by Israeli planed a secret offensive. The result was the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, and Sinai Peninsula with French and British support. (Lenczowski, page 50) Eisenhowers disagreed with the action. He opposed the use of force. He feared that any wrong move would fully open the door to the Soviets. As a response Eisenhower suspended all us military and some economic aid to Israel. He also brought forth in the United Nations Security Council, an immediate cease-fire, and sending in a 6000 man UN peace keeping force.
By December of 1956, all French and British troops left the canal. Israel on the other hand withdrew from the Sinai, but refused to leave the Gaza strip. (Lenczowski page 48) In response Eisenhower made a televised speech where he instructed Israel to leave the areas. Privately he contemplated suspending all private aid to Israel from the United States. As a result on march 1 1957, Israel withdrew all troops from the areas.
These moves were hardly pro Israel. As events lead on, a pro Israeli step was taken. (Lenczowski page 49) Israeli ships were always denied access to the Egyptian controlled Gulf of Aqaba, and Strait of Tiran. These waterways lead to the Red Sea. Israel was always denied access to these passages.
During the conflict, the IDF captured the land around the gulf. After the situation was defused the waterway came under the control of the UN, Israel wanted free use of the passage. In response on March 7th Eisenhower declared the gulf an international waterway, and ordered an American tanker chartered by Israel to proceed through the gulf, to Israeli territory. (Lenczowski, page 50) In the coming years, American foreign policy towards the Middle East, would take a step in a very different direction. The Kennedy presidency started the change in both American/ Israeli and American Arab relations.
Arabs and Israelis viewed John F Kennedy as a friend. (Snider, page 170) Both sides saw his genuine interests in a peaceful solution to the conflict, and saw that he considered the interests of each group. The Kennedy Israeli relations were much more favorable and modern. His policys set the stage for Johnsons very pro Israeli policies. During his term as president he pledged his support to Israel 19 times, if there were to be an Arab attack.
In 1961 Kennedy sent his aid Meyer Feldman on a secret mission to Israel, to pledge the support of Americas sixth fleet, and to agree to give Israel skyhawk missiles. (Lenczowski, page 71) Kennedy like his predecessors was careful not to ignite tensions with the Arabs, and to keep on good relations with them. Johnson had a harder job defining policy with Israel than Kennedy did. During his term of office two major crisis ignited in the Middle East, that as a result weakened the American position of influence in the mid east. The Cyprus crisis and the Arab Israeli were of 1967.
It was during his presidency that modern Israeli foreign relations are shaped. When Johnson came into power, the regional opinion of America was based on dealings with Eisenhower and Kennedy. After the Suez Crisis, the U.S. was seen by both sides as a fair nation to deal with. This fairness was carried through the Kennedy presidency, but quickly changed.
When Johnson came into power. By the time Johnson left office the Arab opinion of America c …