461. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

37. Embtel 39.2 Message of Cabinet decision authorizing Ben Gurion [Page 840] take reprisal action against Jordan in event future serious incident apparently intended place US on notice. UK has received message with same import from Eytan.

In effort forestall possible Israel action and to leave no doubt re US position, Ambassador instructed call on Myerson and emphasize US concern at attitude taken by Israel Cabinet.3 SC and US have repeatedly made clear incidents should not be construed as justifying resort to retaliation. As GOI knows, Jordan Government making strong and apparently sincere efforts curb infiltration. Reprisal by Israel would be particularly unfortunate on eve Hammarskjold’s visit. Also would prejudice sympathetic consideration US and other countries Israel’s desire acquire arms for defense.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.85/7–1356. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Burdett and Geren, cleared with Bond, and approved by Allen who signed for Dulles. Repeated priority to Amman, London, and Jerusalem.
  2. Telegram 39, July 13, transmitted an Israeli source’s report on a special session of the Israeli Cabinet on July 11 during which the following actions were taken:

    “1. It was decided that there would be no reprisal for previous incidents.

    “2. In case future serious incident or incidents originating from Jordan, Ben Gurion was authorized to take necessary action without further Cabinet consideration.

    “Source said that hope was expressed in Cabinet that retaliation could be avoided pending Hammarskjold’s arrival in area but that this was dependent on developments re 2 above.” (Ibid., 684A.85/7–1356)

  3. See Document 470.