WASHINGTON (Sep. 29)
The American Embassy at Tel Aviv has notified the Israel Foreign Ministry that the United States wants Israel to accede to a United Nations request to stop work temporarily on a Jordan River canal project near the Israel-Syrian frontier, in the Huleh region.
Israel Ambassador Abba Eban has been similarly informed by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that the United States strongly supports the United Nations recommendation that Israel cease work on the project for the time being until the situation is “clarified.”
(From London it was reported today that Britain had joined the United States in asking Israel to accede to the United Nations truce commission request to halt its drainage work in the Huleh. A Foreign Office spokesman announced that the British Government has notified the Israel Foreign Ministry that Britain stands behind the request of Maj. Gen. Vagn Bennike, UN truce chief, for a termination by Israel of work on its Huleh project.)
The State Department intends to “vigorously support” the United Nations Mixed Armistice Commission in its efforts to get Israel to temporarily terminate work on the Jordan River canal project because this case represents “a good example of United Nations efforts to objectively settle differences between countries, ” a highly-placed State Department source said today.
Sec. Dulles, said the source, stands firmly behind Maj. Gen. Bennike, and has told Israel Ambassador Abba Eban that Israel must obey Gen. Bennike’s request. This occurred at a meeting of Mr. Eban with Mr. Dulles last week.
Mr. Eban gave the Israel position and pointed out that appropriate parties had been notified before the project was begun and that the undertaking was in no way detrimantal to neighboring Arab territory. Mr. Dulles replied that he thought Gen. Bennike had carefully examined the facts before asking Israel to halt work and that the State Department would positively support the United Nations on this issue.