329. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations1

876. Re Leary Report,2urtel 9133 with which we in general agreement.

Syrian complaint raises two issues:

First is essence complaint namely, allegation that Acting Chief of Staff’s conclusion concerning bridge is in error and should be reversed by Council. We cannot accept validity this approach which ignores (1) Chief of Staff’s responsibility over DZ as Chairman MAC as defined Article V of Armistice Agreement4 and (2) procedure provided by Article VII of Armistice Agreement. As far as US is concerned Chief of Staff decision is final in absence MAC interpretation to contrary. (We recognize this alternative is an academic one as long as problem of further MAC meetings is unresolved.)

Secondly, Syrian complaint confronts Council with whole gamut of unresolved problems concerning DZ, some of which referred to in Leary’s report. We do not believe Council can escape reference to other DZ problems, but we anxious avoid at this moment encouraging general debate on series of contentious issues in Zone. Since it would be difficult not to include reference to such issues in my resolution, we would hope that Council action might be limited to statements of members to be summarized by President as consensus of Council that: (a) authority of Chief of Staff in DZ has not been respected and consequently he has not always been able discharge his responsibilities; [Page 621] his authority must be respected and parties should extend to him all appropriate cooperation; (b) note has been taken of Acting Chief Staff TSO’s decision regarding bridge and that this decision final; (c) note has been taken of references in Leary report to other problems in DZ and that we assume Acting Chief Staff TSO will wish submit additional report at appropriate time concerning other problems mentioned in his report, including freedom of access in DZ. We do not envisage calling Leary to appear before Council next week.

In event Soviets or other SC member submit draft resolution we would wish consider in light actual text whether best tactic would be to reject it or submit alternative text embracing points noted above.

Suggest USUN consult with SYG and UK, Fr in first instance and then with other selected delegates along above lines.

In developing foregoing approach account has been taken of views expressed in USUN 9175 and Israeli views as well.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 683.84A/5–1357. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Gamon and Sisco; cleared by Bergus and L/UNA; and approved by Wilcox. Walmsley signed the telegram for Dulles.
  2. On April 20, Colonel Byron V. Leary, Acting Chief of Staff of UNTSO, reported the results of an investigation made in response to a Syrian complaint that Israeli military forces had been building military fortifications and constructing a bridge of military value at the outlet of Lake Huleh. Leary’s inspection team found that the bridge was not fortified, except for some mines placed along the western approaches to it. Leary concluded that the bridge had been erected in connection with the Huleh reclamation project and not for military purposes, and that he would not be justified in asking the Israeli Government to remove it. (U.N. doc. S/3815) Several weeks later on May 13, Syrian Representative Rafik Asha requested a meeting of the Security Council to consider the question. In a letter accompanying the request, Asha stated that his government questioned the conclusions of the report. (U.N. doc. S/3827)
  3. Telegram 913 from USUN, May 13, reported recent developments concerning the Syrian request and endorsed a strategy for the Security Council, formulated earlier within the Department of State, whereby the U.S. Representative would express concern over the situation in the Syrian-Israeli demilitarized zone, dissatisfaction over Israeli resistance to Leary’s inspection efforts, and full support for UNTSO and a future full-scale inspection of the area. (Department of State, Central Files, 883.84A/5–1357)
  4. For text of the Syrian-Israeli Armistice Agreement, signed July 20, 1949, see Security Council, 4th Year, Special Supplement No. 2.
  5. Dated May 14, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 683.84A/5–1457)
  6. The Security Council subsequently debated the question introduced by Syria on May 23 (U.N. doc. S/PV.780) and May 28 (U.N. docs. S/PV.781 and S/PV.782). Before the debate’s conclusion on May 28, Lodge, as President of the Security Council, summed it up by noting that all Council members appeared to agree that the authority of the Chief of Staff of UNTSO should be respected and that the parties should cooperate with him. A majority of the members, according to Lodge, supported the decision contained in the Chief of Staff’s report. For text of Lodge’s statements before the Council on May 28, see Department of State Bulletin, June 24, 1957, pp. 1029–1031.