683.84A/2–652: Telegram

No. 397
The Minister in Syria (Cannon) to the Department of State1


462. Re Legtel 436, Jan 22.

At request Col Taxis, Major Jaddid agreed some time ago permit closing of dam gates on upper Jordan ostensibly allow repair Daughter of Jacob’s Bridge abutments damaged by flood waters. Jaddid agreed only on understanding this wld not constitute precedent and TSO wld coordinate with owners Bouteiha farm ensure adequate irrigation water. However, little work has been done on bridge and Israelis have worked intensively on drainage project with full knowledge Jaddid. Heavy rains over weekend have caused overflow around dam minimizing benefits of floodgate closure.
Arabs of demilitarized zone at lower end of Lake Huleh seized 3 Israeli fishermen last week and turned them over to Syrians. Subsequently an investigation party including UN observer were fired on by same Arabs when their boat approached eastern shore of Huleh. One Israeli fatally wounded and UN observer escaped injury only by lying in bottom of boat. Jaddid promptly returned 3 captives to Israel and arrested 3 zone Arabs responsible for shooting. He promises stern action and will supply TSO with evidence of punishment meted out.
[Page 892]

Comment: This is second recent incident involving Israeli fishermen approaching close to Arab-held terr and points up need for settlement demilitarized zone problems preferably through early resumption MAC mtgs which we understand TSO endeavoring arrange. This wld have to involve Israeli agreement MAC consider questions over which they have hitherto denied it has jurisdiction.

  1. Repeated to Tel Aviv, London, Paris, the Arab capitals, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Ankara, and Moscow.