159. Message From the Acting Secretary of State to Robert B. Anderson, at Cairo1

No. 7
Dept has just been notified by Shiloah of Israeli Embassy of receipt by latter from his Government of report of following incident which occurred some time early morning Sunday 4 March: Two [Page 291] Israeli gunboats fired upon by Syrians near shore North East corner Sea of Galilee. 4 policemen aboard one gunboat wounded and these policemen together with gunboat captured by Syrians. Israeli Govt has served notice on Syrian Govt demanding immediate release and restoration of both policemen and vessel and stating that in event of failure Syrians to comply forthwith Israelis will take such action as may be necessary to enforce compliance.
At request of Dept Shiloah agreed cable his Govt stating that U.S. Govt would regard any violent action on part Israelis as matter of utmost gravity and that U.S. Govt strongly urges that no such action be taken. Dept has cabled Moose and Lawson to take all possible steps to insure against precipitated or violent actions or countermeasures on part of either Syrians or Israelis.2
You are requested to bring this matter to attention of Nasser at earliest possible moment indicating to him that Dept has received unconfirmed report from Israeli Govt to effect indicated in Para 1 above;3 to convey to Nasser our grave apprehension lest this incident provoke more violent actions; and urging Nasser to use his influence with Syrians to deter any precipitate or violent additional action on their part.
  1. Source: Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518; Alpha—Anderson Talks w/BG & Nasser. Outgoing Telegrams, Jan.–March 1956. Secret.
  2. Supra.
  3. See footnote 2, supra.