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

210212. 1. We consider it of utmost importance, both politically and psychologically, that urgent and unambiguous effort be made reassure West Bank inhabitants they have nothing to fear by remaining where they are or, for those who have already fled, returning to their homes. Continued mass exodus to East Bank will not only pose added threat to existence Hussein regime but contains seeds of new refugee problem which will greatly complicate settlement of situation created by last week’s hostilities. During SC debate June 10, Ambassador Goldberg said following:

“We are concerned for example at the moment about the safety and welfare of the people in Jordan and we express the conviction and the hope and the trust that they will be treated in all humanitarian ways—that they will stay in their houses, have adequate measures for safety and welfare—and we will use our influence and we are using our influence in that direction.”

2. Dept considering issuance statement to focus attention on position outlined by Goldberg in SC. What is most needed, however, is public assertion along these lines by GOI, making unequivocally clear that GOI wants West Bank residents to remain and welcomes return of evacuees who have left. To be effective, such statement should outline specific measures being taken to safeguard property, continue civil administration, preserve law and order, maintain public services and restore normal conditions of life as rapidly as possible. Invitation to voluntary international welfare agencies to participate in these efforts would, in our view, be essential factor in generating confidence in Israeli intentions.

[Page 438]

3. You should raise foregoing urgently with GOI at highest level, emphasizing need for quick action and maximum publicity to get message across.2

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Atherton, cleared in draft by Davies and Houghton and in substance by Elizabeth Brown, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated Priority to Amman, Beirut, USUN, and Jerusalem.
  2. Barbour reported in telegram 4078 from Tel Aviv, June 12, that he had made strong representations on this. He reported that the Israeli estimate was that not more than 30,000 had actually left the West Bank and that Israeli policy was not to have West Bank inhabitants depart. (Ibid.)