684A.85/9–1150: Telegram

The Consul General at Jerusalem (Gibson) to the Secretary of State


77. Reference Deptel 45 September 10.1 General Riley informed me that on August 28, Colonel De Ridder, chairman of Jordan Israeli MAC was requested to proceed immediately Amman for conference with General Lash.2 The Colonel made trip in airplane furnished by Jordan Government, but since General Lash was not available Major Hudson, General Lash’s intelligence officer, requested Colonel to accompany him to the Maharayim settlement, to investigate report that 300 to 400 Israel soldiers had invaded Jordan territory at mouth of Yarmuk river. Colonel De Ridder found that Maharayim settlement was occupied by AL soldiers, and the cadet commanding post pointed out on the ground where the supposed 300 to 400 soldiers were alleged to be digging in. This young officer had no idea where demarcation line was and after careful observation, Colonel De Ridder observed three military police sitting on a small mound at MR 2037–2271 located on Israeli side of demarcation line, according to Rhodes official map.

Following conversation with cadet officer commanding post, it was determined that one or two truck loads of soldiers might have accompanied some settlement workers, who were transporting ploughs and other farm implements. Colonel De Ridder observed that there were new cultivations in the fields around mound. On Colonel’s return to Amman, same day, he informed Major Hudson that ground alleged to have been invaded by Israelis was, without doubt, inside Israel controlled territory as far as armistice demarcation line was concerned.

Colonel De Ridder informed General Riley at noon today, September 11, that no increase of Israeli police had been reported to MAC over the number stationed on August 28.

General Riley further stated that prior to signing of an armistice agreement, there was a small area just north of confluence of Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers, inside Transjordan boundary that was no-man’s land. Israeli troops were to the west of Jordan, and Iraqi troops to the east of Yarmuk. Official map which is marked map No. 1,3 and contained in the annexes to Israeli-Jordan general armistice agreement, volume 2, issued at Rhodes, shows demarcation line as following the Yarmuk, eliminated the no-man’s land in existence during truce. This map has signatures of Colonels A. Sudki [Sidki] El-Jundi and Moshe Dayan.

[Page 998]

Paragraph 1, of article 5 of Jordan-Israel general armistice agreement states: “Armistice demarcation lines for all sectors other than sector now held by Iraqi forces, shall be as delineated on maps in annex 1 to this agreement, and shall be defined as follows …4

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 6 read as follows: “1. It is agreed that the forces of the HJK shall replace the forces of Iraq in the sector now held by the latter forces, the intention of the Government of Iraq in this regard having been communicated to the acting mediator in the message of 20 March from the FonMin of Iraq authorizing the delegation of the HJK to negotiate for the Iraqi forces and stating that those forces would be withdrawn.

“2. The armistice demarcation line for the sector now held by Iraqi forces shall be as delineated on map 1 in annex 1 to this agreement and marked (a).”

Therefore a small portion of Transjordan territory remained to west of armistice demarcation line as drawn. Whether or not Colonel Jundi was aware of this fact at time he signed the map was not known by the General. Statement that Israelis have produced a forged map is incorrect, inasmuch as official map, signed by both parties, has not been out of the possession of General Riley since he received it at Rhodes.

There may be according to General Riley a legal question involved as to old Transjordan boundary separating Transjordan from Palestine, but there has been no violation by Israel of general armistice agreement that was signed at Rhodes.

General stated that inasmuch as Colonel De Ridder has been informed unofficially that Jordan Government does not intend to submit a complaint on this matter to MAC, but that it was planned to submit case to International Court of Justice, under backing of Great Britain because Jordan Government maintains that sovereign territory has been invaded. To date chairman of MAC has not received an official complaint from Jordan Government, and until this is done general has no authority to send out another investigating team.5

Sent Department 77 repeated information Amman 2 Tel Aviv 4 Department pass Amman.

  1. This was a repeat of telegram 42 to Amman, supra.
  2. Brigadier Lash, Commander of Arab Legion Forces in Palestine.
  3. See footnote 3, p. 994.
  4. Ellipsis in the source text.
  5. Because of the absence in Jerusalem of responsible Foreign Office officials, it was not until September 10 that Chargé Ford was able to learn the Israeli point of view that the “action of Israel in occupying territory in Yarmuk-Jordan Kiver confluence area was no contravention pertinent armistice agreement which ‘clearly showed Israel frontier line as making bulge this point’ to include area in question which was property Israel firm Palestine Electric Corporation.” (Telegram 145, September 11, from Tel Aviv, 784A.00/9–1150)