11. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, February 27, 19581

SUBJECT

  • Israel Tenth Anniversary Celebrations; Yarmouk Project (Part 3 of 3)

PARTICIPANTS

  • Mr. Abba Eban, Ambassador of Israel
  • Mr. Yaacov Herzog, Minister, Embassy of Israel
  • The Secretary
  • NEAWilliam M. Rountree
  • NEDonald C. Bergus

The Secretary stated that he had asked the Under Secretary to relieve him of some of the concrete problems arising in U.S.–Israel relations. His conversation with Mr. Eban up to this point had been a general discussion. The Secretary hoped to have more of this general type of discussion with Mr. Eban in the future. Discussions on concrete problems, however, would, he hoped, be held with Mr. Herter.

Since Mr. Herter was absent from town, the Secretary wished to remark on two specific matters.

1)
The Secretary hoped that the celebrations to be held in Israel in connection with the forthcoming tenth anniversary would not highlight the difference in our views as to the status of Jerusalem. We did not wish to be trapped by ceremonial problems into positions which could create difficulties. This aspect was an element in our thinking as regards U.S. participation in these celebrations.
2)
The Secretary wanted Mr. Eban to know that we had a relatively small plan to assist Jordan with regard to a Yarmouk project which involved the construction of a diversion structure in Jordan territory about five kilometers from El ’Adasiyah and an East Ghor Canal. This project would not affect the amount of Yarmouk water which was agreed would be set aside for Israel use in the course of Ambassador Johnston’s negotiations. The Israel Embassy might wish to consult the working level of the Department for more details concerning this project. This project did not affect our hopes that some day it might be possible to carry out larger projects for the use of the water resources in the Jordan Valley. Mr. Eban inquired whether this project would be located in the Israel–Syria demilitarized zone. Mr. Rountree replied that it would not. Mr. Eban said that Israel’s general attitude was not to oppose the efforts of neighboring states to develop [Page 29]their water resources. This attitude was based on the so far unfulfilled hope that these states would likewise not oppose Israel’s similarly developing its water resources.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 884A.424/2–2758. Secret. Drafted by Bergus. See also Document 9 and supra.