683.84A/1–2152: Telegram

No. 387
The Minister in Syria (Cannon) to the Department of State1


433. Re Tel Aviv Embtel 75, Jan 16.2 It is somewhat ironic that privately mil leaders here generally more realistic and understanding of difficulties involved in Arab relations with Israel than are civil leaders who are much more inclined to stick with “public opinion” on Israel question. Israel leaders may not know this, and might be helpful to advise them that if Israel shld wish work out something with Syrians on demil zone or other specific problems, now may be time to do so. However Eban attitude rather than Yadin attitude is one to be used with Selo regime. Situations more serious than in Huleh last spring might develop if Syrians were similarly provoked by Israel now.

Apart from our hope that Eban’s attitude will prevail so that Israel and Arabs can move toward peace in area, we are also thinking of fact that new disturbances on Israel frontier will complicate domestic policy of Selo regime. New govt is moving toward achievement real stability and socio-econ reforms. Israel leaders must understand that socio-econ progress Syria important for long run development whole area. Even if Israel leaders are not prepared negotiate with Arabs on Arab terms, they shld not tolerate actions (such as border incident, unnecessarily harsh treatment of Arab civilians, and bombing outrages) which further embitter Arabs. Some public disavowal such by Israel Govt and well-publicized investigation and punishment by it of offenders wld be bound have salutary effect on Arabs and wld help us in persuading Arabs Israel not so bad as they insist.

  1. Repeated to Tel Aviv, Amman, Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem, Jidda, London, and Paris.
  2. Printed as telegram 712 from Tel Aviv, Document 384.