360. Editorial Note

On April 24, 1980, by a vote of 12–0, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 467 (1980), addressing the mounting violence in Lebanon, including Israeli military intervention and attacks upon troops attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [Page 1213] (UNIFIL). The United States, along with the German Democratic Republic and the Soviet Union, abstained. The resolution “reaffirmed” the Security Council’s “determination to implement its previous decisions in the totality of the area of UNIFIL operations, up to the internationally recognized boundaries. It condemned all actions contrary to these decisions and, in particular strongly deplored any violation of Lebanese sovereignty and territorial integrity; Israel’s military intervention in Lebanon; all acts of violence in violation of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Lebanon; provision of military assistance to the so-called de facto forces,” i.e., the Lebanese militia forces of Major Saad Haddad;” “all acts of interference” with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine (UNTSO); “all acts of hostility against UNIFIL and in or through its area of operations; all obstructions of UNIFIL’s ability to confirm the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon, to supervise the cessation of hostilities, to ensure the peaceful character of the area of operation, to control movement and to take measures deemed necessary to ensure the effective restoration of Lebanon’s sovereignty; and acts that had led to loss of life and physical injuries among UNIFIL and UNTSO personnel, their harassment and abuse, the disruption of communication, and the destruction of property and material.” Moreover, the Security Council condemned the shelling of UNIFIL headquarters and “called attention” to the provisions in the UNIFIL mandate giving the force

the right to self-defense. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, page 352) The complete text of the resolution is printed in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, pages 358–359.

The Resolution was passed in the aftermath of more than two months of increased skirmishing along the Israel-Lebanon border and attacks upon UNIFIL personnel. The issue was referred to the Security Council by Lebanon on April 13 in a letter to the Council charging Israel with “continuing acts of aggression against southern Lebanon and with “direct confrontation with UNIFIL.” (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, page 348) The same day, Secretary-General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim issued a statement condemning attacks on UNIFIL forces by Haddad’s forces around the At-Tiri area of Lebanon. A description of the situation around At-Tiri is in telegram 7147 from Tel Aviv, April 17 (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800190–0992) A Lebanese draft resolution was circulated to the Security Council on April 17. Following the killing of two Irish UNIFIL peacekeepers on April 18, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michael Newlin and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Harold H. Saunders presented Secretary of State Cyrus Vance with an action memorandum outlining three options for a U.S. response: 1) “try to improve the present resolution,” deleting the “worst of the condemnatory language [Page 1214] directed at Israel,” followed by abstention; 2) “leave the resolution as it is,” then veto it; and 3) produce a new U.S. resolution “which focuses on the main problems in South Lebanon and directs attention toward possible ways of dealing with them.” Of these, Vance chose the third option. A copy of the new draft U.S. resolution, the Lebanese draft, and the action memorandum are in the Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Special Handling Restrictions Memos, 1979–1983, Lot 96D262, Box 4, ES Sensitive April 1–30 1980.

However, the pace of events in the Security Council and the situation in Lebanon meant the U.S.-drafted resolution had little traction. On April 20, Representative to the United Nations Donald F. McHenry reported that if “an immediate improvement on the ground, plus some long-term improvements in UNIFIL’s situation were possible,” the Lebanese draft “might be avoided, but such developments are unlikely in light of Haddad’s wish to enlarge his area of control, Israel’s support of that objective, probable Lebanese inability to take the necessary steps, and the time required to accomplish any long-term improvements. Despite understanding among Western SC members and troop contributors for Israel’s security concerns, they consider a strong resolution, focused on Israel’s and Haddad’s misdeeds, justifiable in the present situation.” McHenry concluded: “U.S. failure to join in support of such a resolution will concern our Western allies and a U.S. veto, preventing action, will meet with no understanding.” (Telegram 1541 from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, April 20; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 58, Lebanon: 4/80) Proposed revisions to the U.S draft were discussed with the Lebanese on April 22. (Telegram 1588 from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, April 23; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800201–0157) A Tunisian redrafted version of the resolution was presented April 23. (Telegram 1610 from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, April 24; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800202–0801) On the redraft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski related to President Jimmy Carter in a April 23 memorandum that “other members of the Council” would not accept references to the Palestinian attack on the Israeli Mishgav Am kibbutz (see footnote 2, Document 357) and other “actions by the Palestinians,” “insisted” on “strongly deploring” Israeli military intervention. The instructions proposed by the Department of State, Brzezinski pointed out, were for McHenry to abstain unless a clause including a condemnation of attacks on Israel were included. Vice President Walter Mondale had advised dispatching a message from Carter to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on moderating the situation in Lebanon, though Brzezinski saw this as “partially overtaken by events.” Brzezinski advised Carter to meet with Mondale, Vance, and himself on the instructions to be issued to McHenry; Carter [Page 1215] initialed his approval. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 58, Lebanon: 4/80) No record of this meeting has been found. The text of the U.S. statement to the Security Council which accompanied the U.S. abstention is in telegram 1620 from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, April 25. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800204–0330) The proposed message to Begin was sent on April 25 and is printed as Document 362.