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Lyndon Johnson Administration: U.S. Report on Terror Against Israel and Cooperation with Jordan

(October 31, 1966)

This memorandum summarizes various issues between the State Deparment and the U.S. Embassy in Israel. The Ambassador discusses with the Assistant Secretary of State Israel's concerns about continued terror attacks and the lack of international condemnation. The memo reports that Jordan has been cooperative in trying to crack down on Fatah and engaging in anti-terror action.

Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, October 31, 1966, 7:27 p.m.

76248. Ref: Tel Aviv 1480, Amman 982./2/

1. Ambassador Harman called on Assistant Secretary Hare under instructions to discuss Israeli concern about continued terrorist incidents and failure of Security Council so far to act. Harman noted matter before Council for 17 days with no sign effective action./3/ Meanwhile there have been nine incidents, five of which from Jordan. This has stimulated atmosphere in area that terrorist raids can be made with impunity. Situation has deteriorated with different groups of raiders now almost operating in competition with each other. In addition to Fatah group, there now resurgence of Palestine Liberation Force group in Jordan (which left pamphlets at site of train derailment Oct. 27) and Organization of Returning Heroes in Lebanon. Finally, Jordanian delegate Farra has been following tactics in UN designed to obstruct and postpone action. Farra played central role last Friday/4/ in obstructing Council action. Jordanian MAC delegate Daoud continued be uncooperative. UNTSO's approach to investigating incidents led to failure fix responsibility for incidents even when circumstantial evidence clear. Summing up, Harman noted Foreign Minister Eban had discussed situation with Barbour yesterday with view to having USG ask GOJ to consider what is happening re terrorism and also to restrain Farra. Commenting that latest developments in Council today showed search for consensus had been fruitless, Harman urged we now go ahead with our resolution.

2. Ambassador Hare recalled our continuing dialogue with both Israel and Jordan. We had talked to both sides with sincerity and frankness which we believe has been reciprocated. Our Ambassador in Amman had discussed general situation only yesterday with Prime Minister Tell./5/ We evaluate Jordanian efforts control Fatah as being active and sincere. Ambassador Hare emphasized GOJ had recently moved troops to Syrian frontier area and had made arrests of Fatah personnel and uncovered arms caches. (Dept officer subsequently provided Minister Evron orally with GAS headquarters-coordinated, sterilized summary intelligence reports mentioned in Amman 982.) We had urged GOJ cooperation in MAC and had received positive assurances. Jordanians in good spirit had emphasized need for more active Israeli border patrolling as well to help control terrorist infiltrations. So far as Farra's performance concerned, he under great pressure as "Arab" representative on SC and had maintained considerable restraint until Friday. After USUN had reported what actually transpired we would mention factual details to GOJ. Meanwhile, we would continue our dialogue with Jordan in effort to be helpful.

3. In further discussion of present situation in New York, Harman emphasized Israel expects Council to speak with clear voice on its complaint. Ambassador Hare rejoined that one important thing has been done, nevertheless. That is whole situation has been brought out more clearly. What has been learned has been to Israel's advantage. Going to Council has not been wasted effort./6/

For Amman: After receiving factual report from USUN concerning Farra's performance last Friday and subsequently, Embassy should seek occasion apprise Jordanian government at appropriate level and inquire if he acting under instructions.


/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 ISR-JORDAN. Secret. Drafted by Symmes, cleared by Campbell and Atherton, and approved by Hare. Repeated to USUN, Amman, Jerusalem, Paris, London, and CINCSTRIKE.

/2/Telegram 1480 from Tel Aviv, October 30, reported that in a conversation with Barbour that day, Eban stressed the seriousness of the latest terrorist incident but stated that Eshkol was exercising restraint. He stated that the attitude of Jordan's Security Council representative was particularly galling to Israelis, since the most recent incidents occurred near the Jordanian border, and suggested that the United States try to get this point across to the King. Telegram 982 from Amman, October 31, advised against making the approach suggested by Eban and urged telling the Israelis that the Embassy in Amman was convinced the Jordanians were doing everything possible to control Fatah. (Both ibid.)

/3/A U.S.-British draft resolution, submitted on October 27, deplored the recent incidents, reminded the Syrian Government to take measures to prevent the use of its territory as a base for acts in violation of the Israeli-Syrian General Armistice Agreement (of July 20, 1949; UN document S/1353), called for strict adherence to the agreement, called on the Syrian and Israeli Governments to cooperate fully with UN machinery and to facilitate the work of UNTSO personnel, and requested the Secretary-General to follow closely the implementation of the resolution. (UN document S/7568) No vote was taken on the draft resolution.

/4/October 28. On that day, the Security Council agreed to a suggestion made by Mali, on behalf of Nigeria and Uganda, to adjourn the debate in order to hold broader consultations, with a view to avoiding the adoption of any resolution and seeking a consensus.

/5/The conversation was reported in telegram 973 from Amman, October 29. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 ISR-JORDAN)

/6/A draft resolution submitted on November 3 by Argentina, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Uganda deplored the incidents, invited the Syrian Government to strengthen its measures for preventing incidents in violation of the General Armistice Agreement, invited the Israeli Government to cooperate fully with the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission, called upon both governments to facilitate the work of UNTSO personnel, urged them to refrain from any action that might increase tension in the area, and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council as appropriate. (UN document S/7575 and Rev. 1) On November 4, the Council voted on the draft resolution, which failed because of a Soviet veto. The vote was 10 to 4, with 1 abstention. The United States voted in favor.


Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 18, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1964-1967. DC: GPO, 2000.