357.AC/9–2051: Telegram

The Chargé in Syria (Clark) to the Department of State


145. Depintel Sept 12, 1 a. m.1 Agreements reached by Riley with Israelis appear represent significant advance over situation described fourth interim report.2 Syrians will, however, retain sense of injury and resentment toward UK and Western powers over Huleh unless complete compliance by Israelis is secured. In this connection we are puzzled by apparent absence any provisions for returning remainder of Arabs from Shaab or elsewhere in Israel to zone. Although Riley visited Damascus we have not seen him. Beirut can perhaps clarify last point.

Even 100 percent compliance will of course only bring basic problem to critical stage since ways and means expropriating Arab land will then be in order. We would recommend urging Syria and Israel call for revision armistice under Article VIII with object division of zone and suitable guarantees (International Commission) for water rights (Legdesp 32, July 20),1 but only if Israel attitude whole zone problem could be improved. Developments Paris not conducive optimism this respect (Paris 1698 to Dept Sept 18).3 To advise Syria request conference under Article VIII carries applied guarantee we will use our influence with Israel to assure bona fide negots on quid pro quo for Syria’s acquiescence in drainage project. Only quid so far suggested remains division of zone. On other hand, to stand aside and let problem drift back to SC seems likely produce situation very similar recent Suez affair with further impairment US and general Western position in Arab world only certain consequence.

Syrian Govt, press, and public have made little to-do over Riley’s fourth interim report presumably being mindful of disillusionment which followed jubilation over May 18 resolution. However, issue will again come to life when and if Riley reports definitively and expropriation is threatened. Legation would appreciate guidance in above dilemma.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Reference is to General Riley’s fourth interim report, dated August 16 (U.N. Doc. S/2300).
  3. Not printed.
  4. Ante, p. 864.