320.2AA/2–852: Telegram

No. 400
The Secretary of State to the Legation in Lebanon1


715. Ref: Deptels Amman 49 (rpted Beirut as 161) August 16, 1951;2 Deptel Beirut 208, August 30;3 Legtel Beirut 194 August [Page 894] 28;4 Legtel Beirut 212 September 4.5 View urgency proceed UNRWA projects, Dept has given further cons Jordan irrigation proposal contained MacDonald report published March 1951.6 Fact that engineering plans well advanced and presumption that objectives UNRWA program wld be furthered by such proj in HKJ, both lead necessity of thorough examination all or part this proj for UNRWA purposes.

Dept interest learn soonest other proposals which cld conceivably result establishment 18 thousand new self-sustaining farms within reasonable time.

Fol course action suggested: US Member Adcom shld press for early consideration UNRWA of all MacDonald proposals or initial stages thereof; UNRWA shld be urged: (1) study proposals on merits regardless polit boundary problems and water rights; (2) discuss with HKJ Syria and Israel possibilities some such proposals being put into effect.

If sound technical grounds exist to push ahead, Dept will do everything feasible to assist UNRWA resolve polit difficulties. Meanwhile Dept wld appreciate comment Missions Amman, Damascus, Beirut, Tel Aviv re practicability UNRWA undertaking this proj in light political difficulties as you see them.

  1. Identified also as telegram Unrap 231; repeated to Damascus as telegram 315, and to Tel Aviv as 560.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. V, p. 837.
  3. In telegram 208 to Beirut, Aug. 30, 1951 (identified also as telegram Unrap 188), the Department stated (in response to telegram 194 from Beirut, Aug. 28, described in footnote 4 below) its doubt that the Israeli Government was in a position to claim that the Jordanian development of the Yarmuk River was a hostile act, but considered that a political agreement on this question, as well as on other problems relating to the Jordan water system, should be reached by Israel and the interested Arab states prior to developments undertaken by either side. The Department was agreeable to any solution satisfactory to both Israel and the Arab states, but believed the procedure outlined in its telegram 161 to Beirut of Aug. 16 was most likely to achieve results. The Department further stated that it would object to the use of U.S. or U.N. funds for the Yarmuk project until such agreement had been reached. (320.2AA/8–3051)
  4. Telegram 194 from Beirut, Aug. 28, 1951 (identified also as telegram Rapun 208) conveyed Blandford’s request to have the Department’s answer to the following questions with regard to the Yarmuk project: “(1) Is Israel likely claim Jordan development of Yarmuk is hostile act? (2) Does Dept contemplate using US grant aid funds on Yarmuk projects?” (320.2AA/8–2851)
  5. Not printed.
  6. Sir Murdoch MacDonald and Partners, Report on the Proposed Extension of Irrigation in the Jordan Valley (London, 1951).