3. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1

194945. 1. Under Secretary Rostow called in British and French Ambassadors jointly May 15 for exchange of views on current Syro-Egyptian-Israeli situation, emphasizing in particular following pointsd: [Page 3]

In view state of alarm in Damascus and reports of UAR troop movements, USG had today taken initiative to urge restraint on GOI, SARG 2 and UARG.3
In New York, Ambassador Goldberg had issued statement supporting SYG’s efforts maintain area peace.4 In addition Goldberg, UK and French Ambassadors to UN had agreed make joint approach to SYG to explore whether situation warranted convening Security Council.
Latest reports from Israel (Tel Aviv 3604)5 were reassuring, but it still not clear what UAR up to and fact remained that another terrorist incident could spark outbreak hostilities.
By diplomatic approaches Damascus and Cairo, we hope reassure GOI and relieve pressure on Israelis to take unilateral action in response recent terrorist attacks whose increased sophistication makes them particularly serious.
USG hoped UK and French Governments would also use their influence in Cairo and Damascus. Such diplomatic pressures were useful and consistent with Tripartite Declaration6 which had never been rescinded.

2. French Ambassador Lucet commented that Tripartite Declaration remains basis for French policy. While agreeing on usefulness of diplomatic approach, Lucet expressed reservations re Security Council meeting. UK Ambassador Dean concurred, stating situation did not appear serious enough convene Security Council particularly in view latest information from Tel Aviv.

3. Rostow raised question as to whether it might possibly be useful to approach USSR in view strong Soviet position in Syria, noting indications [Page 4] that Soviets have in past attempted exercise restraining influence on Damascus.

4. British and French Ambassadors said they had no reports of initiatives by their Governments in present situation but would report Rostow’s presentation including his question as to whether it might be useful to approach the Soviets.7

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 32–1 ISR–SYR. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Atherton, cleared in draft by Davies, and approved by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Eugene V. Rostow. Sent Priority to Tel Aviv, Cairo, Amman, Baghdad, Damascus, Jidda, Beirut, Kuwait, Dhahran, London, USUN, Paris, Jerusalem, CINCSTRIKE/CINCMEAFSA, and Moscow.
  2. Assistant Secretary of State Lucius D. Battle met with Syrian Charge Galeb Kayali on May 15. Battle said that guerrilla incursions into Israeli territory were exacerbating Arab-Israeli tensions and urged all parties to exercise restraint. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid.)
  3. Telegram 7496 from Cairo, May 15, reported that Charge David Nes had raised the subject of the Israel-Syrian crisis with UAR Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad that morning. Riad said that his government viewed the events of the last few days “most seriously,” that “all necessary military precautions” were being taken, and that “any move by Israel would be met by immediate UAR response.” (Ibid.)
  4. Telegram 5299 from USUN, May 15, conveyed the text of a press release issued by U.S. Representative to the United Nations Arther Goldberg that day. (Ibid., POL ARAB–ISR)
  5. Document 2.
  6. Reference is to a statement issued on May 25, 1950, by the U.S., British, and French Governments expressing their interest in the maintenance of peace and stability between the Arab states and Israel, their opposition to an arms race in the area, and their opposition to the use of force or threat of force between any of the states in that area. It stated that if the three governments were to find that any of the states in the area was preparing to violate frontiers or armistice lines, they “would, consistently with their obligations as members of the United Nations, immediately take action, both within and outside the United Nations, to prevent such violation.” For text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. V, pp. 167168.
  7. Printed from an unsigned copy.