242. Editorial Note

In telegram 61 from Jerusalem, August 31, Consul General Cole reported that Major General Burns was issuing a press release regarding the cease-fire which would state that the Egyptians had agreed to a cease-fire and said they would issue orders to implement it and that Burns was endeavoring to obtain Israeli agreement to a cease-fire. (Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/8–3155) Telegram 196 from Jerusalem, also dated August 31, transmitted the text of the Israeli reply to Burns’ proposal. It declared that the [Page 425] events of the past week were the sole responsibility of the Egyptian authorities and rejected a cease-fire unless the Egyptian Government accepted responsibility for those acts and was ready to guarantee the immediate cessation of all hostile acts. (Ibid.)

Ambassador Byroade telephoned from Cairo that afternoon and talked to Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs John A. Jernegan. A memorandum of the conversation, drafted by Officer in Charge of Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan Affairs William C. Burdett, Jr., reads as follows:

“Ambassador Byroade telephoned from Cairo to state the following:

“I am convinced that the Egyptian Government is doing everything it can to control the situation in Gaza and to observe the cease fire.Hakim Amer, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Army, is personally in Gaza to see that the Government’s orders are carried out. However, some Egyptian personnel may still be out of communications with headquarters. Because of the messages I have seen I am worried that something may happen. I am not pessimistic over the situation here provided we can keep something big from happening on the other side during the next two days. Egypt may issue a public statement about the cease fire. You may wish to consider asking the Secretary to telephone Sharett and tell him that we are convinced the Egyptians mean what they said to General Burns and will observe the cease fire.

“Mr.Jernegan replied that he would report the conversation to the Secretary.” (Ibid.)

Secretary Dulles telephoned Ambassador Lawson in Tel Aviv at 2:40 that afternoon. Notes of the conversation prepared by Dulles’ secretary,Phyllis D. Bernau, read as follows:

“The Sec. said he wanted him to know that we believe that the Egyptians really intend in good faith to try to get a cease fire there, and the Sec. hopes very much L. can do something with his friends. The Sec. wants Mr. Sharrett to know that he is personally convinced that they are in good faith trying to call it off and hopes for reciprocity.L. will be in touch right away. The Sec. said to tell Sharrett he did phone him personally and requested him personally to carry that information to him.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations)