Security Council to Meet Today on Israel; U.S. and Britain Act Jointly
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Security Council to Meet Today on Israel; U.S. and Britain Act Jointly

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The long-standing Jordanian complaint against Israel’s afforestation project in the Jerusalem area will be taken up by the United Nations Security Council tomorrow. Meanwhile, the British and United States delegations today presented a joint resolution for tomorrow’s meeting, calling for the following steps:

1. The afforestation work should be suspended until the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission had made a survey–limited to two months–of civilian activities in the zone.

2. The chief of the United Nations truce organization should be directed by the Security Council to regulate activities within the zone embracing Israel’s afforestation area.

3. The chief of the UN truce body should also be instructed to direct Israel not to use Arab-owned properties while Arabs are not to be permitted to use Israel-owned properties. He should also be authorized to make a survey of property records in the area to determine ownership.

4. Both Jordan and Israel should be ordered “to remove or destroy all their respective military facilities and installations in the zone.”

Immediately after Britain and France presented their resolution today, Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, at a general press conference previously scheduled, said that the afforestation dispute between Israel and Jordan belongs properly in the Security Council rather than in the sphere of “quiet diplomacy.” Mr. Hammarskjold had been asked whether the tree dispute would not have been handled better in private talks like those in which Dr. Francisco Urrutia of Colombia held between Israel and Jordan regarding the Mt. Scopus issue.

“The cases are not similar,” Mr. Hammarskjold stated, “in the Mt. Scopus case there is a 1948 agreement between the two governments and when I was recently in the Middle East I obtained the consent of both governments to revert to that agreement. In instances such as this there is plenty of scope for quiet diplomacy. The other case is a controversy involving differing legal views on both sides. Therefore this issue between Jordan and Israel is one for arbitration rather than mediation.”


The Jordan complaint regarding Israel’s afforestation project had been bracketed in the Security Council with an Israeli grievance against Jordan’s failure to implement three important articles of the Israel-Jordan armistice agreement of 1949. Now that it seems likely that the Security Council may adopt the U. S.-British resolution, it is up to Israel to press for Council debate on its complaint. That complaint involves demands for basic steps to transform the armistice agreement into peace talks on a face-to-face basis.

Mr. Hammarskjold was asked whether the present quiet along the Israel-Arab borders might not be in fact a prelude to further hostilities. He replied: “There are always Cassandras who fear the rain when the sun is shining. I cannot understand why there should be such fear now. General (Moshe) Dayan has spoken of the quietness along the borders. It is good to hear such an expression and it is always pleasant to receive confirmation of one’s own impressions.”

Mr. Hammarskjold denied, in answer to another question, that there is any basis to rumors that efforts are being made to get Israel and Jordan to agree on rectification of their borders where villages have been cut asunder by the 1949 armistice agreement.

Secretary Hammarskjold also stated at his press conference today that there is no decision as yet to lift the subject of human rights to the status of a special department in the UN Secretariat. He made that statement in reply to a question whether a special department would be set up by one of his newly-appointed under secretaries, Sir Humphrey Trevelyan of Britain. Sir Humphrey assumes his post today and was introduced by Mr. Hammarskjold to the press.

For several months now there has been speculation among non-governmental organizations interested in human rights whether Mr. Hammarskjold plans to shunt human rights aside or, on the other hand, to lift that subject to full departmental responsibility.

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