United States Urges ‘strong Condemnation’ of Syria by U.N.
Menu JTA Search

United States Urges ‘strong Condemnation’ of Syria by U.N.

Download PDF for this date

The United States called on the United Nations Security Council today to vote “strongest condemnation” of Syria for the “wanton murder” of two Israeli farm youths in the Almagor kibbutz on the Syrian frontier, on August 19.

The demand was voiced by Adlai E. Stevenson, head of the American delegation, when he appeared before the Council this morning as it resumed consideration of the latest Israeli and Syrian complaints and counter-grievances. Both Britain and Brazil agreed with Mr. Stevenson that the evidence pointed to Syrian guilt in the Almagor incident.

The three Western powers–United States, Britain and Brazil–also requested that both Syria and Israel accept United Nations proposals for easing tensions in the area and for maintaining the peace there. Israel announced promptly its readiness to implement those requests.

The Council adjourned until tomorrow afternoon, after Sivert A, Nielsen, of Norway, this month’s Council president, announced that “several members” would introduce a resolution on the Syrian-Israeli issues by noon tomorrow.


Mr. Stevenson referred constantly in his address to the report by Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, which had been viewed earlier as supporting Israel’s claims and failing totally to corroborate the Syrian counter-charges.

“The first order of business for us today is to consider Israel’s complaint regarding the wanton murder of two of its citizens,” Mr. Stevenson declared. “The picture of two innocent farmers, murdered in cold blood by a raiding party which struck them down at work in their own fields must distress us all.

“We can sympathize with the sense of outrage felt by the people of Israel, especially since this slaughter follows close upon the Syrian abduction of three Israeli subjects, including two young girls, who were boating on Lake Tiberias. The United States deeply deplores these incidents.

“The evidence cited in the report of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization is admittedly circumstantial, but its implications are clear enough. The testimony of the survivor of the attack who saw the uniformed men shooting down his companions; the tracks which the United Nations officials found leading to the scene of the crime and continuing in the direction of Syria, the spent bullets, cartridge cases, and grenade fragments found in the vicinity of the attack; and that the uniformed force afterwards left in the same direction, all add up to a clear picture which permits objective observers to draw the same conclusions about the origin of the attack.”


Then, mentioning briefly the Syrian complaint, he told the 11-nation Council that those charges have “not been corroborated” by the UN investigation. Earlier, Secretary General U Thant had announced that Gen. Bull had informed him that the UN investigation had shown no evidence of military build-up or troop concentrations or forbidden weapons “on either side” of the tense Israeli-Syrian border. Syria’s entire case against Israel had been built on the claim that there were such weapons and troop concentrations.

After reviewing briefly the difficulties along the Syrian-Israeli border, Mr. Stevens on said: “Now that the Council has been summoned to act, it must accept its responsibilities and act with courage and wisdom in the light of the best evidence available to it. For us the course which this body should follow is clear. In all justice and in the interests of law and order in international affairs, we believe this reprehensible act of murder deserves the strongest condemnation. Only then can it be made clear that outrages of this kind cannot pass without the stern disapproval of the international community.”

R. W. Jackling, deputy permanent representative of the United Kingdom, also told the Council that the Bull report had “corroborated” Israel’s accusations against Syria. While conceding that the evidence thus far was “circumstantial,” Mr. Jackling took issue with Syria which, he said, had contended the Almagor incident “had never occurred,” He affirmed that “the evidence establishes beyond the doubt of a reasonable man that this act was carried by a party of armed and trained persons, some 10 in number, who came from the direction of the demilitarized zone and the Jordan”–which could only mean Syrian territory.

Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative, gave Council members a “sketch-map” of the entire area in support of his charge that the Almagor attack had been carried out by a Syrian military unit and was not a civilian action. The evidence, he said, proved that the military unit of 10 uniformed Syrian soldiers had been carefully prepared, “rehearsed” and had the timing of their attack fixed by higher military authority. Mr. Jackling supported Mr. Comay’s analysis. The British diplomat, however, stopped short of requesting condemnation of Syria, merely advising the Council that it must not ignore factual evidence and must take a strong stand. He said there was “a strong presumption” that the attack on Almagor had come from Syria.

Meanwhile, during the long day’s debate, Morocco, which is a member of the Council, and Syria insisted that Israel be condemned. Both stressed the allegation that Israel had failed to make use of the UN peace-keeping machinery on the spot, especially the Syrian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission.

Outside the Council Chamber, Egypt made the same claim, calling for condemnation of Israel. Since Egypt is not not a member of the Council, Mahmoud Riad, Cairo’s permanent representative at the United Nations, voiced his charges against Israel and his demand on the Council at a press conference.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund