381. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State1

397. Re Palestine—mytels 393,2 3943 and 395.4 Hammarskjold called meeting of US,UK and French this morning on latest developments in Palestine situation. Hammarskjold said that it was regrettable that Burns and he had not been able to pursue their program of action in El Auja before last night’s attack,5 but that he felt now that yesterday’s events made it even more desirable to proceed. He hoped therefore that he could go ahead with his letter to Israel and Egypt but, at same time, he could not act as though nothing had happened last night. He was extremely concerned with Israel’s “grave interference” last night with UN observers,6 and circulated a draft of a new letter which he proposed sending immediately to Israeli representative. He also believed that with appropriate amendments [Page 701] to bring it up to date,Burns’ program of action re El Auja should be sent by him forthwith to the parties.

Commenting on Hammarskjold’s proposals,Dixon (UK) said he was not sure it was now desirable to carry through with original letter to parties relating to El Auja situation. That letter had been designed to stop what had in fact happened yesterday, and he felt it was rather unreal now to send the letter in these circumstances. He felt that we could not overlook the fact that Israel had taken the situation into their own hands and believed that some condemnation should be passed upon them.

Crosthwaite added that removal of the Egyptian check-posts which Burns had intended proposing had now been accomplished by force and he, too, thought the Burns proposals were now obsolete.Dixon concluded that SC would have to act in situation, particularly since Israeli action was not strictly a retaliation and hence all the more reprehensible.

Hammarskjold replied to Dixon that he remained very doubtful as to the desirability of SC action but he felt strongly that a protest from the UN to the Israelis was a “must” for today. He continued to feel also that the only practical course of action lay in Burns’ three points as contained in his proposed letter.

After considerable discussion, British and French agreed that Hammarskjold should address a letter of protest to Israel on his own responsibility and that the Burns proposals, with appropriate amendments, should also be forwarded to Israel and Egypt. They agreed, likewise, with Hammarskjold’s proposal to issue a press release referring to his actions.

Alphand (France) said that French FonOff did not feel that three powers should make démarches to Israel and Egypt in support of Burns’ proposals for dealing with El Auja situation, in view of fact three FonMins would be considering whole Middle East question. He did not object to Hammarskjold sending the proposals to the parties, however, nor did he object to having it known three powers had concurred in desirability these proposals “prior” to last night’s attack.Dixon agreed that if proposals were sent forward, three governments’ démarches would be deferred for time being, pending decision as to any additional action that might be taken.

I said I would have to submit to Department the final texts of Hammarskjold’s letter to Israel and his letter to both parties containing the Burns proposals. Hammarskjold argued that his final texts would be little different in substance from what we now had before us, but did finally agree to hold up issuance of texts until after we had been able see final version and receive and communicate Washington’s comments. Final versions as now received from Hammarskjold [Page 702] have been telephoned Department and are contained in next following telegram.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/11–355. Confidential; Priority. Received at 5:43 p.m.
  2. Document 374.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/10–3155)
  4. Document 376.
  5. See footnote 2, supra.
  6. Cole in Jerusalem reported that Israeli officials at midnight, November 2/3, ordered U.N. observers in the Demilitarized Zone to get indoors and remain there. (Telegram 139 from Jerusalem, November 3; Department of State, Central Files, 764.84A/11–355)
  7. Infra.