Tripartite Agreement 1949

What was the Tripartite Agreement on weapons of 1949?

In 1949, the United States was the central force behind the US-British-French Tripartite Agreement that formally placed an embargo on weapons deliveries to the countries involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This Agreement set up a multinational committee based in Washington to carefully monitor and control western arms sales to the Middle East.

In practice, this agreement did not prevent the Arab states from obtaining weapons through their alliance relationships with suppliers, but Israel was excluded. Little foreign aid was provided by the United States, and Israeli military officials who sought to purchase weapons and ammunition in the United States were rebuffed. One official recalled that he could not obtain “even a single bullet.”


In 1955 the first Egyptian-Soviet arms deal took place, disguised as a Egyptian-Czech transaction, an event which had a seriously destabilizing impact on the regional arms race. Egypt was able to purchase some two hundred tanks and other weapons after which the Tripartite Agreement collapsed. France, motivated tohelp Israel by Egypt’s support of Algerian rebels, sold about two hundred tanks to Israel.

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