501.BB Palestine/6–1249: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Delegation at Lausanne

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Unpal 146. In recent conversation with Sec, Bevin expressed concern re situation arising from Israeli claims to territory both sides upper Jordan which would give them complete control all water resources. He stated UK hopes for four-party agreement re water development to permit settlement 100,000 refugees TJ and leave adequate water for Israel. Michael Wright supplemented remarks emphasizing that first basic point UK position re Syrian-Israeli frontier is desirability prior or separate agreement in principle before frontier fixed that waters of Jordan Valley will be used benefit Israel, TJ, Syria, Lebanon under joint auspices. UK believes that if agreement reached re equitable use water, frontier line will settle itself. UK does not suggest US–UK express any opinion re location frontier.

UK pointed out that conflicting plans exist for use of waters, since TJ is studying plan for construction Jordan–Yarmuk canal to provide land for refugee settlement, and Israel has now received final plans [Page 1124] from Hays and associates providing for diversion most or all Jordan water for Israel before it reaches TJ.

Dept informed Sec of its concurrence re desirability agreement in principle before frontier delineation that water resources will be used benefit all states concerned.

What is USDel’s opinion re possibility obtaining such agreement near future? If obtainable, such agreement might expedite territorial settlement. If Economic Survey Group cld be activated an important function cld be conduct resurvey water resources in question with view their equitable use by all states concerned for development and refugee settlement purposes.