UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jul. 1)
The charge that Israel restricts United Nations personnel in the demilitarized zone along the Israel-Syrian frontier, and has refused to dismantle fortifications made in that area, was made in a report submitted today by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold to members of the Security Council, The report was prepared by Col. Byron L. Leary, Acting Chief of Staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization.
Following the release of the report, Mordecai Kidron, deputy chief of the Israel delegation at the United Nations, saw Andrew Cordier, Mr, Hammarskjold’s executive assistant, and asked him to inform Mr. Hammarskjold that the Government of Israel is ready to discuss with Col. Leary “the practical issues raised in his report with a view to resolving them satisfactorily.”
Col. Leary’s report was made in connection with the charges Syria had brought that a bridge built by Israel over a neck of Lake Huleh violated the armistice provisions regarding the demilitarized zone. No action was taken at the Security Council meeting on Syria’s complaint, but the then Council president, Henry Cabot Lodge of the United States on request of the Arabs seconded by the Soviet Union, asked Col. Leary to submit a report.
Col. Leary found that the mines placed around the Huleh bridge had been dismantled, as announced to the Council by Mr. Kidron. However, Col. Leary stressed time and again in the report that he and his observers had been prevented from entering “certain areas and localities” in the zone in order to investigate complaints from both the Israel and Syrian sides. He said that in most instances, he had had the full cooperation of the Syrians on their side.
He recommended that in order to “carry out their duties, the chairman and the UN observers must at all times and without prior authorization have freedom of access to and freedom of movement in the demilitarized zone, whether they are on a routine visit or carrying out an investigation.” He also suggested that observers remain in certain areas of the zone on a 24-hour basis for investigative purposes. He was probably referring to the Misham Hayarden incident near the Bnot Yaakov hydroelectric project where an Israeli engineer was killed and a farmer wounded on June 16. Col. Leary said he had requested lodging at Mishmar Hayarden for two observers to permit more efficient investigation of the incidents. Israel’s stand on the UN complaints, Leary reported, was based on the Israeli contention that “Syria does not comply with the fundamental provisions of the General Armistice agreement.”