180. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General at Hong Kong 1

3096. Deliver Ambassador Eric Johnston, Peninsula Hotel. From Barnes. Nasser reply through Byroade asserts his continuing desire cooperate but doubts time appropriate. However, without committing himself to initiate matter he hints states concerned might discuss it tentatively scheduled mid-March League meeting probably in Amman. Jordanian Prime Minister Rifai told Mallory he would definitely ask for discussion at League meeting and if results positive states concerned would consider asking you meet with them. Rifai also told British Ambassador Duke he would request side meeting of four JVP states in conjunction League meeting. Ghazzi reply to Moose démarche was that matter required consideration and he would advise Moose of Syrian attitude later. Embassy Baghdad however reports Ghazzi told Iraqi Minister he had told Moose Syria unprepared accept plan. Chamoun replied that only Egypt could influence Syria who represented principal opposition but Fouad Ammoun indicated to Heath Lebanon wanted peaceful solution water question.

Meanwhile Shiloah advises that Israel accepts all four points proposed by us to Eban but in absence any official Departmental expression Israel assurance is given in same informal context as our suggestion was made although Shiloah says Cabinet made the decision.

Department is drafting instructions to embassies concerned to press for JVP consideration at mid-March Arab League meeting.2 I recommend we suggest League should express endorsement of plan as economic project compatible with Arab policy and authorize Jordan Lebanon and Syria to accept with League blessing. In unlikely event League does this, JV states might request you meet with them late March on way home or early April. Meanwhile believe Department should informally advise Hammarskjold its present course of action.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.85322/3–856. Secret. Drafted by Barnes, cleared with Troxel and Russell, and approved by Burdett who signed for Hoover.
  2. See Document 183.
  3. The Consulate General at Hong Kong informed the Department in telegram 1776 on March 12 that Johnston had received this message. (Department of State, Central Files, 684A.85322/3–1256)