501.BB Palestine/7–2948: Telegram

The Acting United States Representative at the United Nations (Jessup) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

969. Following is text of two letters and enclosures received from Eban concerning demilitarization of Jerusalem: Text of letter dated July 26:

“Your delegation will be aware that negotiations are now proceeding on the question of the demilitarization of Jerusalem, in accordance with the Security Council resolution adopted on 16 [15] July, paragraph 7 [6], I enclose for your information the text of the first draft proposals presented by the Mediator to the parties, and also the text of a telegraphic agency message which correctly reflects the government of Israel’s reaction to them.

In accepting the principle of a demilitarized Jerusalem, the Government of Israel never imagined that a ring of steel would be put around the city, barring access or residence to all but the aged and the infirm. These negotiations are now faced with considerable difficulty owing to the conditions of access, enumerated in Articles 13, 14 and 16.1 In a conversation with representatives of the Provisional Government of Israel on July 26, the Mediator showed some understanding of these objections and the negotiations are presumably proceeding further.”

First enclosure to letter of July 26:

[Here follow the Mediator’s draft suggestions for the demilitarization of Jerusalem.]

Second enclosure to letter of July 26:

“Tel Aviv, July 25, (JTA) (daily news bulletin of July 26).—Count Bernadotte’s plan for the demilitarization of Jerusalem which he formally submitted to the Arab League Political Committee in Beirut yesterday, was received with incredulous astonishment in Israeli [Page 1258]Government circles here. His latest proposal stipulates that every male who was a member of Haganah should be compelled to leave Jerusalem, according to reports here. This means, in effect, that 20,000 Jews would be compelled to quit Jerusalem, leaving their families and virtually destroying the economic life of the city. It appears that Israel will not even consent to discuss this plan, which government circles suggest is so fantastic as to cast doubts on Bernadotte’s capacity to mediate.”

Text of letter dated July 29:

“With reference to my letter to you yesterday about the demilitarization of Jerusalem, I have now received a further cablegram from Mr. Shertok.

As I anticipated, the plan submitted by the Mediator proved to be unacceptable, chiefly because of the tight control of access which would have made it difficult for any but the aged or infirm to secure entry or residence in Jerusalem.

You will notice that in the third paragraph of the enclosed cable, the Provisional Government of Israel reaffirms its readiness to approve the principle of demilitarization, so that if a scheme with more liberal provisions of access were devised, it is quite likely to be favorably received.”

Enclosure to letter of July 29:

“To Eban, Memisrael,* New York. Communicated Mediator today following decision: 1. Memisrael reaffirms rejection Mediator’s plan demilitarization Jerusalem communicated us July 22. Memisrael assumes this particular scheme no longer stands.

2. Attitude Memisrael to any plan demilitarization emanating from Mediator cannot but be influenced by fact Mediator proposed place Jerusalem ultimately under Arab rule and not withdrawn that proposal.

3. Memisrael ready as before examine any scheme which without prejudicing ultimate settlement problem Jerusalem or prejudicing vital interests Jewish people in Holy City would protect it from further destruction in event hostilities, being resumed other parts Palestine. Signed Shertok.”

  1. The three articles as set forth below were as follows: “Men of military age not normally residing in the demilitarized area would be admittable only upon special permission of the Truce Commission.” (Article 13); “Men of military age normally residing in the demilitarized area, who had at any time been enrolled in military or defense forces of either party, would be admittable only upon special permission of the Truce Commission.” (Article 14); “Men of nonmilitary age and women and children not normally residing in the demilitarized area would be admittable only upon special permission.” (Article 16).
  2. Memisrael is code name for Government of Israel. [Footnote in the source text.]