784A.00/8–2950: Telegram

The Chargé in Israel (Ford) to the Secretary of State


114. ReEmbtel 113 August 28. Shiloah at my home evening August 28 discussed following:

Special committee Article 8. He quoted from what described as “exceedingly friendly” secret personal letter just received from King Abdullah in which King, referring formation special committee under Article 8 TJ–Israel armistice agreement, (1) informed Shiloah that Jordanian Prime Minister had been instructed proceed with appointment [Page 985] representatives on special committee as well as fixing of date for meeting, (2) expressed belief this was “good opening which might lead eventual peace settlement between two countries,” (3) recommended that Israel send representatives of “sufficient status to assure constructive beginning of negotiations,” and (4) concluded substantially as follows “I hope that move of UN will give my government sufficient courage to face public opinion both in Jordan and elsewhere”.

Shiloah’s comment on letter was that King “wanted to add his personal weight in reassuring Israel of authenticity of Jordan’s wish to get on with negotiations,” and he said Israel was replying in same friendly spirit “not by letter but by oral message” since previous experience has shown tendency written messages to King to fall in wrong hands to embarrassment of His Majesty. Shiloah said two Israel representatives special committee would be Abraham Biran Foreign Ministry representative Jerusalem, and Uriel Heyd, former counselor Israel Embassy Washington and more recently Istanbul. Shiloah said Israel representatives being kept on civilian rather than military level at General Riley’s suggestion.

High level military meeting. Shiloah in reply my question confirmed this meeting was to be held “any day now” despite strong tendency in Israel military circles to call everything off following explosion of road mine night August 27 near Beit Jibrin killing four Israel NCOs and injuring four others including two officers. Shiloah said this “outrage was viewed with alarm” by his government but that Prime Minister and Foreign Minister had insisted that incident not be permitted interfere with projected meeting.1

Comment: Shiloah wished to impress me with sincerity his government re overtures of Jordan although his own inherent skepticism which is still very evident made his efforts difficult. I feel he continues convinced that only crack down tactics by Britain and US on Arab leaders will produce any constructive results toward peace in foreseeable future. End comment.

Shiloah who returned to Tel Aviv day earlier than planned leaving August 30 on month’s inspection trip Israel diplomatic missions Rome, Paris, London.

Sent Department 114 repeated information London 10 Jerusalem 6 Department pass information Amman 9.

  1. Consulate General Jerusalem, on September 3, reported information that on “evening of September 1 Abdul Gany Khermy, understood to be Chef de Cabinet for King Abdullah, came from Beit Jala, crossed lines at Mandelbaum Gate, and proceeded King David Hotel visit Moshe Sassoon, son of Eliahu Sassoon, Israel Minister to Turkey. Visit arranged at request Sassoon who had ‘urgent top secret’ message impart Abdul Khermy. Source stated such visits had taken place fairly regularly in past.” Consul General Gibson commented that the visit may have been made in connection with the “oral message” to King Abdullah as set forth in telegram 114 (telegram 68, 784A.00/9–350).