210. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State1
608. Re Palestine. Hammarskjold requested meeting this am to inform us of results his talks with Fawzi prior Fawzi’s departure for Cairo this afternoon and latest developments. He began by showing us ticker report from Jerusalem concerning Israeli allegations of resumption Fedayeen raids and report from Burns concerning Egyptian announcement on appointment Governor of Gaza. He said these two developments taken together produced disturbing situation and might well mean reconvening of GA within the week. While Israeli announcement might be to large extent propaganda, the fact they had issued it was ominous.[Page 397]
During discussion Hammarskjold dealt with various points as follows:
Gaza. Hammarskjold gave us text of Egyptian communiqué which he had received from Burns during earlier meeting with Fawzi (Egypt) and which announced appointment of Hassan Abdul as “administrative governor” of Gaza Strip. Communiqué further stated that Abdul should take over immediately as UNEF had overstepped its functions by shooting over heads Arab refugees.
Later in conversation, Hammarskjold pointed out this communiqué did not oppose presence UNEF but referred to its limited functions. Hammarskjold pointed out we had all said in past we could probably not avoid some administrative functions in Gaza strip and communiqué was so worded not to suggest UNEF should leave. Once shooting occurred in Gaza strip UNEF was bound to become political issue.
SYG said he planned to put this move to Advisory Committee2 this afternoon and recommend Advisory Committee follow problem and assume responsibility as to whether this requires further action, i.e., should GA be convened.
Hammarskjold said he had talked over this announcement with Fawzi this morning and he said Fawzi “got solid farewell greetings”. Fawzi’s only answer was to differentiate between an announcement and a policy and to differentiate between UNEF’s duty to patrol armistice line and administrative questions.
Suez. SYG said he had long unfruitful talk with Fawzi on this question. Fawzi “had not been able to get anywhere from here”. Fawzi still thought it was a good idea for SYG to come to Cairo.
SYG said he told Fawzi he thought Egypt should advise us first before taking any action. Hammarskjold said “in blunt simple terms it hasn’t been tied up either for or against four-power proposals”, but said it was his impression that Egypt was “moving in pattern of four-power proposals”.
- Straits. Hammarskjold said he had “pre-warning” Egyptians may be moving toward use ICJ on question of transit of Straits, not necessarily because they think ICJ will decide in their favor but as a face-saving device. Also he said this was ticklish legal question as straits are both international and yet territorial waters. ICJ could well rule that commercial ships could pass but warships could not.
Towards the end of discussion Hammarskjold received first part of message from Bunche, saying that he believed Gaza situation required reappraisal. He based this on his observations there during last 24 hours. Rest of message had not yet come in and Hammarskjold agreed inform us of its contents when received.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/3–1157. Confidential; Niact. Received at 2:32 p.m.↩
- General Assembly Resolution 1001 (ES–I), November 7, 1956, established an Advisory Committee, chaired by the Secretary-General and composed of representatives from Brazil, Canada, Ceylon, Colombia, India, Norway, and Pakistan, “to undertake the development of those aspects of the planning for the [U.N.] Force and its operation not already dealt with by the General Assembly and which do not fall within the area of the direct responsibility of the Chief of the Command”. For a summary of the resolution, see the editorial note, vol. XVI, p. 1053.↩