102. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between Eric Johnston and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen), Washington, February 20, 19561

Eric Johnston telephoned today, an hour before taking off for the Far East, to say that he had seen Ambassador Eban Saturday2 and had obtained Eban’s assurances that he, Eban, would do everything he could to persuade his Government not to take any action in diverting the Jordan River prior to Ambassador Johnston’s return to Washington around April 1.

Ambassador Johnston expressed his confidence to Eban that between now and April 1, the US Government would continue its strong efforts to bring about an agreement on the Jordan River development.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 980.7301/2–2056. Drafted by Allen.
  2. February 18.
  3. Wilkins, in the course of a discussion on February 20, raised the question of the proposed tripartite approach regarding Banat Yacov with Bailey of the British Embassy. According to his memorandum of conversation, Wilkins informed Bailey “that Ambassador Johnston was returning from the Far East about April 1. Ambassador Johnston had had a conversation with Ambassador Eban who had thought no digging would commence provided there were some possibility of Arab agreement at a later date. Meanwhile, the United States and others would press the Arabs and Israelis toward agreement. Ambassador Johnston planned to dictate a persuasive letter to Nasser, the text of which we expected on February 21 or February 22. It was our thought that the Tripartite approach to the Arab States and Israel might hinge upon this document. Mr. Wilkins said that he would be in touch with Mr. Bailey and with the French regarding it. Mr. Bailey thought this procedure would be best under the circumstances and indicated he would inform London accordingly. (Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/2–2056)