501.BB Palestine/6–1249: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at Paris

top secret

Telac 78. Fol re Pal (Actel 63 June 121).

(1) General Pal Situation. As you know from Ethridge, Lausanne talks appear completely stalemated and PCC about to recess. Israeli Govt has made non-aggressive but completely negative reply to note which Pres directed be delivered Tel Aviv. Pres convinced firm line must be maintained and Dept now considering measures which might be taken to emphasize necessity modification Israel viewpoint to open way to settlement. Reply to Israeli note will be drafted in consultation Ethridge. In view PCC stalemate, now appears necessary US play more direct role re Pal settlement. US role would continue to seek basis of settlement among parties and not on basis preconceived notions of our own. After reply to Israeli note and certain steps to underline seriousness our purpose, we have in mind making strong specific suggestions both sides, particularly re: boundaries and refugees. Since precise proposals only in formative stage and depend upon further consultations Ethridge, Bunche, Israeli and Arab reps, suggest you limit yourself to informing Bevin negative character Israeli reply, that US Govt determined to maintain firm position and keep pressure on all parties, and that we are now considering what further steps should now be taken.

(2) Jordan situation. Dept giving further study extension Anglo-Jordan treaty to Pal territories now occupied by Jordan, in light of PCC stalemate and recent Israeli move Jerusalem. Essential point is UK attitude should Israelis seize upon extension treaty as excuse for grabbing more of Arab Pal. Israeli military could probably reach Jordan river in few days, probably before UK could get into action militarily. UK problem would then be to counterattack with forces not now in that area or to fail honor extension of treaty. View limited UK mil strength Jordan and divided UK public opinion re Pal, together with sharpest possible reaction large segments US public opinion, such decision by UK has most serious and far-reaching implications. You might by questioning draw out Bevin’s own view of implications and UK line of action in event Israel–Jordan hostilities. [Page 1127] Bevin should not rely upon US approval or support for all consequences treaty extension nor should he overestimate US influence with Israel. Past record suggests Israel has had more influence with US than has US with Israel; this particularly true on military matters since Israeli armament has come from eastern Europe and illicit traffic over which we have had no control. Believe US as member PCC should concentrate on negotiated settlement and not become involved with explosive issue extension Anglo–Jordan treaty unless situation reaches more of crisis stage than present. These are tentative views, subject to further study and consultation here.

(3) Israeli move Jerusalem. Judging from available reports Israeli move into Govt House neutral zone was violation spirit not letter Israeli–Jordan armistice agreement. Presence Arab civilians and military in or near area gave Israelis good pretext. Situation confused and Gen. Riley attempting bring parties to agreement on withdrawal forces both sides and partition area. Meeting reps both sides under chairmanship Riley likely in day or so. We understand Israelis may agree withdrawal troops from newly-occupied area and replacement by civilian police. View fluid situation Dept has taken no action and plans not to do so unless requested to by Bunche, who kept fully informed by Riley. Suggest Bevin be informed sense above.

  1. Not printed; in this telegram from Paris, Secretary Acheson stated in part: “Bevin’s secretary also stated Bevin wished talk with me again Monday or Tuesday regarding general Palestine situation, Transjordan situation, and recent Jewish aggressive moves in Jerusalem. Any guidance from Department would be appreciated.” (740.00119 Council/6–1249).