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Jordan disregards armistice agreement obligations, letter from Ambassador Eban to Secretary-General Hammarskjold

(November 23, 1953)

As early as 1950, Israel complained to the Security Council that Jordan was consistently evading the implementation of Article VIII of the armistice agreement. After more than one futile attempt to change Jordan's attitude, Israel decided to invoke Article VIII and asked the Secretary-General to convoke a conference of representatives of the two parties.

1. The present situation of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement has aroused my Government's deepest concern. Some of the most essential provisions of that Agreement have been persistently denied fulfilment. To avoid further peril to a precarious security situation it is urgently necessary to review the Israel-Jordan Agreement in order to attain the implementation of all its provisions and objectives.

2. At the 637th meeting of the Security Council, on 12 November 1953, I proposed on my Government's behalf that senior political and military representatives of Israel and Jordan should meet immediately at United Nations Headquarters in order to discuss armistice problems. At the 638th meeting of the Security Council, on 16 November 1953, the representative of Jordan indicated his non-acceptance of that proposal.

3. In view of the acute tension on the Israel-Jordan frontier it is necessary to act swiftly to prevent the further impairment of peace and security in the area affected by this Agreement. Nothing short of direct and immediate negotiation can avail to that end. Since our efforts to bring about a voluntary meeting between the parties by mutual consent have not been successful, my Government has now decided to invoke the provisions of the Armistice Agreement to this end.

4. I desire to draw Your Excellency's attention to article XII of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement. Under that article either of the parties, after the Agreement has been in operation for one year, may call upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convoke a conference of representatives of the two parties for purposes stated in that article. Article XII, paragraph 3, goes on to say:

"Participation in such conference shall be obligatory upon the parties."

5. Accordingly, I hereby formally invoke article XII of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement and submit to Your Excellency the following requests:

(a) On behalf of the Government of Israel I have the honour, in accordance with article XII of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement, to call upon Your Excellency urgently to convoke a conference of representatives of the two parties, namely the Governments of Israel and Jordan, for the purpose of reviewing the Agreement as envisaged in paragraph 3 of the aforesaid article. I am empowered to discuss with Your Excellency the time and place for the forthcoming conference of Israel and Jordan representatives.

(b) I have the honour to request that this letter be communicated to the President and members of the Security Council. It will be noted that article XII, paragraph 2, states that the Armistice Agreement was negotiated and concluded in pursuance of the resolution of the Security Council of 16 November 1948 calling for the establishment of an armistice in order to eliminate the threat to the peace and to facilitate the transit on to permanent peace.

My Government is confident that all Governments will refrain from any action which might affect your convocation of the conference and that everything will be done to create an atmosphere conducive to the success of the conference.

(Signed) Abba Eban

Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs