Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Lebanon–Syria–Iraq Affairs (Clark)


Subject: Exchange of views on UN Questions.

Participants: [Mr. Faiz el-Khouri, the Syrian Minister]
NEA—Mr. McGhee
NEA—Dr. H. Howard
UNP—Mr. D. Popper
NE—Mr. H. B. Clark

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. Jerusalem

Mr. McGhee outlined our position on Jerusalem and remarked that Jordan had refused to cooperate in achieving a sound and workable internationalization of Jerusalem. Faiz Bey declared that in his personal opinion internationalization was wholly impracticable. Mr. [Page 982] McGhee said it would be helpful if the other Arab states could persuade Jordan to adopt a more cooperative attitude on this question. He said we continued to favor some form of internationalization which would be workable and find acceptance by Israel and Jordan as well as the world community. He mentioned the Israeli proposal for functional internationalization of the Holy Places as indicating the development of an attitude of compromise. Faiz Bey ridiculed this statement, saying that while he personally was against internationalization he regarded the Israeli attitude as hypocritical. He said Israel’s proposal to put the Holy Places under UN control was “like that of a thief who has robbed you of all your furniture and compromises by offering to give you back a chair.” Mr. McGhee said that Israel had come forward with a proposal and it would be helpful if Jordan could be persuaded to demonstrate a constructive attitude.1

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  1. Presumably on August 30, Wells Stabler, the Officer in Charge of Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan Affairs, conversed on the Jerusalem question with Mohamed El Kouny and Abdel Shafi El Labbane, Counselor and First Secretary of the Egyptian Embassy, respectively, much along the lines of Mr. McGhee’s observations to Faiz Bey. At one point “Mr. El Kouny asked whether the US had given any thought to the possibility of postponing the Jerusalem case until: the 1951 session. Mr. Stabler said that as far as he knew no such possibility had been envisaged. We felt that it would be desirable to attempt to dispose of the Jerusalem question at this session as it has already come up twice before and it would be unfortunate to have it on the General Assembly for a fourth time. Mr. Labbane asked whether it was true that the Palestine Conciliation Commission might be requested to draw up another plan for Jerusalem. Mr. Stabler replied that he believed that the Palestine Conciliation Commission no longer had responsibility for Jerusalem under the 1948 Resolution. The problem was squarely in the hands of the General Assembly. Mr. Labbane asked whether the Department had received any indications [as] to the present attitude of the Catholic Church on the Jerusalem question. Mr. Stabler replied that we had received no recent information and we assumed that the Vatican’s position remains the same.” (Memorandum of conversation by Mr. Stabler, August 29 and 30, 320/8–3050)