158. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Syria 1

674. Dept has heard news reports, confirmed by Israeli Embassy, which indicate four Israeli police have been wounded and captured by Syrians in new Tiberias incident2 and that Israelis had threatened to take necessary action unless men were returned.

Dept has discussed incident with Syrian Ambassador and Israeli Minister this evening and has urged both Syria and Israel to cooperate with General Burns in resolving difficulty and in returning Israeli police who appear to have been fired upon and detained through some misunderstanding. It was emphasized to both Syrian and Israeli representative that in interest of peace U.S. hoped no precipitate moves would be taken. Both were urged to avoid action which would heighten tension and might lead to hostilities.

You are authorized in your discretion and in most effective manner make strong representations to Syrian and Israeli PriMins or other officials regarding foregoing. Syrian Ambassador stated he would telegraph Damascus.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 683.84A/3–556. Confidential; Niact. Drafted and approved by Wilkins who signed for Hoover. Also transmitted niact to Tel Aviv and repeated priority to Cairo, Baghdad, Amman, Beirut, Jidda, London, and Jerusalem.
  2. The Department received a report at 6:45 p.m., March 4, from the Embassy in Tel Aviv which substantiated this information. (Telegram 881, March 4; Ibid., 683.84A/3–456)