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

422. Verbatim text. Re Palestine.SYG Hammarskjold called meeting of France,UK and US this morning at which he proposed [Page 805] report to us on latest developments in Palestine. When meeting opened Hammarskjold passed 6-page memorandum (pouched today)2 relating General Burns’ efforts to arrive at an agreement on his 3-point program for the El Auja Demilitarized Zone3 and the attitudes of Egypt and Israel. The concluding paragraphs of the memorandum state that Egypt “While not rejecting the proposals, have suggested certain additional points for consideration. Egypt feels that the special character of the Kibbutz and of the civil police which they consider military in character, taken together with the presence of Israeli forces in the defensive area east of the DZ, constitute a direct threat to the security of Egyptian forces, and that consequently Egypt needs defensive positions at the western end of the defensive area west of the DZ. As regards the marking of the western boundary of the DZ, Egypt has proposed the marking of all sides of the zone both to distinguish clearly between the zone and the adjacent areas as well as to rebut the contention of Israel that the DZ is its sovereign territory”.

The report goes on to say that “the Government of Israel, while stating that they accept the proposals in principle, have likewise advanced certain conditions with regard to their implementation . . . .4 Furthermore, the Israelis have attempted to introduce into the discussion regarding the three-point program the allegation that Egypt is responsible for organizing raids into Israel territory in areas other than the DZ; they have, thus, tended to make it a condition of Israeli acceptance of the proposals that Egypt should give satisfactory guarantees that such raids would cease. In recent public statements, the Israeli press has attempted to link together the allegation that Egypt has rejected the proposals with accusations that Egypt is responsible for organizing these raids. This development presents a parallel to the press build-up which preceded the Israeli military action of 2 November.”5

. . . . . . .

Cordier stated that Israel is now relating the problem of the DZ to raids from Jordan. He read from a report which had just come in that theJerusalem Post was making much of the fact that there had in recent days been 21 raids from Jordan with no return fire from Israel. Cordier also said that Burns is putting three questions to Israel as follows: [Page 806]

Israeli withdrawal from the DZ and limitation of truly civilian police to 30;
Withdrawal of checkposts from a distance of 1,000 meters from Egyptian posts (this is a change from the old idea of a straight 500 meter withdrawal zone, and is probably more practical since it avoids any impression of making more permanent the temporary frontier);
Freedom of movement of UN observers.

Hammarskjold said that all initiative for the present was in Burns’ hands and that he did not propose to approach the Egyptians or Israelis in New York.

Hammarskjold then said that he proposed to raise the question of Palestine at tomorrow’s monthly luncheon of the SC members and to circulate to the members at the luncheon his above memorandum. He said he felt that the information it contained should be made available to members of the SC and it was preferable for him to do so at a private meeting of all the members rather than to inform them individually.

Wadsworth told Hammarskjold that we had reservations about desirability of raising this question at an informal meeting of the SC members. Hammarskjold argued that since the information he planned to give the Council members was appropriate for him to give them individually or to use in a report to a public meeting of the SC, he could see no basis for any objection.Wadsworth pointed out that some of the language of the report indicated conclusions as to the intent of the parties and questioned the wisdom of circulating such conclusions at such a meeting.

Dixon was not present during this part of the discussion and Ramsbotham, speaking for the UK, suggested that Hammarskjold might make an oral report at the luncheon meeting, basing his remarks on the memorandum and then, if a member should ask for a memorandum, he could supply it. Hammarskjold quickly accepted this suggestion and said that he would act accordingly.Barco again for the US raised the question of the desirability of a discussion of the Palestine question at an informal meeting of SC members (with Soviets present) and reiterated our reservations regarding the utilization of informal luncheons of the SC for such business. Hammarskjold said this would reopen the whole question of the purpose of the luncheons, that he had a clear understanding with the members of the SC that this was indeed the purpose of the monthly luncheons and that on the basis of this understanding he intended to proceed as he had indicated. He also stated that he intended his report to be simply information for the members and that no “discussion” should or would ensue. We doubt that this is a very realistic expectation.

[Page 807]

It should be pointed out that the Secretary General is tending to his original proposal for private, informal SC business meetings which he proposed in July, and to which we took exception. I am under the impression that we do not wish at this time to provide any opportunity for Soviets to contend that they are entering into discussions with us, outside the regular public meetings of the UN, on the Middle East, and on this basis I feel that I should object to Hammarskjold’s raising the Palestine question in this way at a luncheon to be attended by the Soviet representative.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/11–2455. Confidential; Priority. Received at 9:06 p.m.
  2. Barco sent Hammarskjöld’s memorandum to Ludlow. A copy isibid.,UNP Files: Lot 58 D 224, Palestine.
  3. For General Burns’ program, see Documents 376 and 382.
  4. Ellipsis in the source text.
  5. See footnote 6, Document 381.