357.AC/1–2850: Telegram

The United States Representative on the Palestine Conciliation Commission (Palmer) to the Secretary of State


149. Palun 329. Pending arrival all Arab delegates, PCC this week and [held?] separate informal meetings with Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian representatives. Statements each representative showed marked unity viewpoint and little or no change from positions taken previous meetings. Usual remarks made concerning primary importance refugee repatriation and opposition to direct talks with Israel. Abdel Moneim declared there could be no question direct conversations since for Egypt, Israel did not exist. Mikaoui emphasized Lebanon’s primary concern was repatriation refugees who wished return. Shoukairi, Syrian representative, in most cogent statement of Arab case reiterated points made by other representatives and stated Arabs would not abandon their moral position in favor empty agreement representing no concessions by Israel to equity and justice. He believed Israel had no intention meet any Arab demands in any degree, therefore, Arab participation PCC would be for purpose perfecting their record. He emphasized, as had others, that PCC’s failure obtain any results was not fault PCC. He hoped miracle would happen and progress towards just settlement could be made but this would depend upon persuasive power great nations, particularly US.

Today Rafael, Israel representative, arrived from Tel Aviv and called on USDel privately to discuss procedure to be followed PCC. I told him we strongly favored direct negotiations between Israel and Arab states and would assist wherever possible to achieve that result.

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For this reason we believed that commission should proceed cautiously in its work. Rafael expressed great satisfaction this view and said Israel believes best chance for peaceful settlement outstanding differences was through direct negotiations. On Tuesday obstacles to resumption direct talks between Israel and Jordan had been removed and negotiations had now been resumed. It was slow business however and his government anticipated would be 2 or 3 months before accord could be reached. Meanwhile were indications other countries were receptive idea direct talks more difficult. He felt if PCC were to make proposals on fundamental issues in meetings here, this would stiffen Arab reaction to proposals made by Israel in direct talks. Commission assistance in promoting direct talks would be welcomed, but Rafael pointed out PCC might have difficulty with French member who he said would follow French anti-Jordan policy aid obstruct wherever possible direct talks. Israel delegate would cooperate with Commission in working out procedures and would be glad see Commission prepare studies questions at issue, such as compensation, which would be of assistance at later stage. He would suggest in his formal meeting with PCC thirtieth that Commission attempt secure agreement to direct negotiation, in presence of Commission, with representative of Commission presiding over talks or not as other party desired. If direct talks could thus be initiated, Israel was prepared increase its delegation with representation by Foreign Minister circumstances warranted. He did not believe would be any use meet all Arab delegation jointly. In event formal peace agreement could not be achieved, Rafael said only alternative was build peace in progressive stages which might take four or five years. Protocols and limited agreements on specific subjects would have be arrived at one by one over period time.

Rafael then said most important to Israel conclude agreement with Jordan and Egypt. Egypt had now indicated to Israel Government readiness direct talks and his Government had been informed Abdel Moneim would be designated undertake these talks. Abdel Moneim had not yet received final instructions and this had delayed making contact. Rafael stated these remarks with certain obvious omissions would constitute his government’s reply PCC proposal re mediation when he meets with PCC.

Following conversation with me, Rafael had apparently satisfactory talk with Azcarate,1 who had informed me that he was surprised to learn that Rafael then gave press conference saying Israel was interested only in direct talks and mediation by PCC would be fruitless. Exact nature Rafael’s remarks will be reported when received.

  1. Pablo de Azcarate, Principal Secretary of the Palestine Conciliation Commission.