320.2 AA/2–2752: Telegram

No. 403
The Minister in Syria (Cannon) to the Department of State1


486. We agree with Deptel 315, Feb 82 re advisability approach problem of Jordan water rights and development projects on technical level at earliest opportunity.

As we have previously emphasized, Syrians see control of Jordan headwaters as bargaining weapon in their campaign obtain “natural boundaries” (Legdes 317 Dec 5,3 Legtel 319 Dec 3).4 Since they think they have excellent case they shld welcome visit by experts, but probably with caveat. Syria willing reach agreement with Israel over water rights only on basis settlement of demil zone dispute by dividing zone along water line. They may also raise question of timing, since Selo Govt is now faced with problem of reversing previous govt’s negative attitude toward MSP, MEC, and refugee resettlement, and may therefore feel saturation point reached for time being.

In spite of polit difficulties UNRWA approach to Syrian Govt stressing international non-polit character of undertaking might be well recd if material gains for Syria cld be cited. Jordan’s acceptance of proposals wld facilitate negots with Syria.

  1. Repeated to Beirut, Amman, Tel Aviv, London, Ankara, Baghdad, Cairo, Jerusalem, Jidda, Moscow, Paris, and Tripoli.
  2. Printed as telegram 715 to Beirut, Document 400.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. V, p. 950.