501.BB Palestine/6–1148: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to All Diplomatic Offices


[The circular telegram begins with a reference to the resolution of May 29 by the Security Council and a quoting of paragraphs 1 and 4 and a summary of paragraph 6 of that resolution.]

State of Israel and Arab States have accepted cease fire order1 and time for commencement of truce is June 11, 1948, 6 a. m., GMT.

US has had in effect since November 14, 1947, an embargo on arms shipments to Arab States and Palestine.2 US also revoked outstanding export licenses for arms destined to these areas as of that date.

This Govt considers these clauses May 29 Resolution of SC to be binding upon all members of UN and to require that all members take necessary steps to prevent shipments war material to Palestine and Arab States as of effective date of truce. Accordingly US will continue its embargo on arms to all areas referred to in Resolution utilizing existing governmental control machinery over arms, ammunition, and implements of war as defined in President’s Proclamation. (See Federal Register, March 27, 1948, Vol. 13, No. 61, Page 1623.)

Dept desires to be informed of any preparations made by the Government to which you are accredited for imposition of embargo on war material to affected areas. You should ascertain through informal friendly inquiries or in any manner you consider feasible the measures which Government to which you are accredited takes to prevent shipment war material to areas concerned. In this connection you may tecali to attention of foreign government procedures adopted by US Govt to implement resolution in this respect and, if in your opinion it would be helpful, furnish list of items contained President’s Proclamation.

Dept should be informed of any information concerning foregoing as soon as it becomes available. In addition, Dept should be advised of any shipment war material which appears to be inconsistent with terms of SC Resolution.

With respect to States not members of UN attention is invited to Article 2 (6) of Charter of UN. While no specific steps have been taken by UN to insure that non-members adhere to resolution, Dept is desirous of being advised of extent of adherence of such governments or [Page 1111] acts by such governments or persons under their jurisdiction which appear inconsistent with the terms of the SC resolution.

Repeat this telegram or paraphrase thereof to consular offices within your jurisdiction.3

  1. Arab and Israeli unconditional acceptances were made on June 9. Egyptian Prime Minister Nokrashy’s communication to Count Bernadotte did so on behalf of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Lebanon. Israel, Yemen, Iraq, and Trans-Jordan sent their acceptances in individual communications to the Mediator. The texts of the five messages are printed in SC, 3rd yr., Supplement for June 1948, pp. 85, 88, and 89.
  2. See telegram Telmar 42, December 6, 1947, to London, Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, p. 1300.
  3. Lancelot Pyman, Assistant Head of the Eastern Department in the British Foreign Office, informed an Embassy officer that the circular telegram of June 11 was a “welcome action”. He noted that his Government had begun a partial arms embargo in December 1947, although this action was not made public until February 4. He noted further that the British military had initiated a total arms embargo on May 31 and that the Ministry of Supply and the Board of Trade had done the same the following day through their controls over the sales of surplus property and exports. He advised also that the British Government had been subjected to considerable criticism in the Middle East for these actions and that Iraq and Egypt had objected strongly (telegram 2656, June 16, 7 p. m., from London, 501.BB Palestine/6–1648).