439. Telegram From the Consulate General at Jerusalem to the Department of State1

180. General Burns saw Ben-Gurion December 5. He is going Cairo December 7.2

According Burns Ben-Gurion stressed point that prerequisite any agreements about El Auja area or elsewhere must be cessation by Egypt of shooting and raiding across border. If that condition met Ben-Gurion would agree to UNTSO marking old international frontier El Auja D/Z, but not all D/Z boundaries as Nasser has proposed. He also expressed willingness remove troops from D/Z provided Egyptians move their position from zone opposite (Article 8, paragraph 3GAA).3

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Burns raised question of Kibbutz in D/Z, pointing out military characteristics this settlement.Ben-Gurion countered by arguing that all settlers near borders had to be organized for self-defense, et cetera.Burns observed that situation D/Z not exactly comparable that elsewhere. However,Ben-Gurion gave no indication that Israelis might be prepared under any circumstances consider removal Kibbutz or police force.

Burns said he is preparing report of above interview for UNSYG. He offered send me copy. Will telegraph summary when available. In discussing above with me Burns commented that matter of Kibbutz D/Z is “a farce”, since it is clearly a military-type establishment. He said Ben-Gurion does not appear to be in good health and expressed doubt that latter would remain in office long under difficult circumstances.Burns is not optimistic regarding outcome his current efforts improve matters.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/12–655. Confidential; Priority. Received at 11:17 a.m. Repeated priority to Cairo, London, and Paris, and to Amman, Beirut, Damascus, and Tel Aviv.
  2. See Document 445.
  3. Article 8(3) of the Egypt–Israel General Armistice Agreement (U.N. doc.S/1264/–Corr. 1 and Add. 1) reads as follows:

    “On the Egyptian side of the frontier, facing the El Auja area, no Egyptian defensive positions shall be closer to El Auja than El Qouseima and Abou Aoueigila.”