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U.N. Secretary-general Sets Plan for Peace on Israel-arab Borders

Secretary-General U Thant has proposed to the Security Council methods for strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization toward “safeguarding the peace” between Israel and the four Arab states with which it had signed armistice agreements in 1949. The Arab governments that were cosignatories to those armistice pacts are Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

In a special memorandum to the Security Council, given the Council yesterday, Mr. Thant noted that, in the recent Council debates on the Israeli, Syrian and Jordanian conflicts, members of the Council had referred “to the questions of how the UNTSO might be made a more effective instrument for avoiding armed conflict in the area.”

He reiterated the UNTSO’s present methods, noted that UNTSO’s force includes only 133 observers, that UNTSO has only a few border observation posts and cannot “play the buffer undertaken by peace forces.” He then called on all the states involved to give their fullest cooperation to UNTSO and proposed these steps:

1) The chairmen of the Mixed Armistice Commissions should be enabled “to get in touch with responsible authorities on either side at any time of the day or night.”

2) “The parties should agree to the deployment by UNTSO of mobile observation posts in sensitive sectors or wherever it may be apparent that a UNTSO presence might avert a military confrontation.”

3) “The parties should give to UNTSO every facility for getting its observers to the scene of an incident as speedily as possible.”

4) “The parties should also agree to a wider employment by UNTSO experts in its conduct of investigations, including trackers with UNTSO dogs and handlers, surveyors, demolition and explosive specialists and interpreters for both Arabic and Hebrew languages.”

5) “Having a helicopter available and a speedboat stationed on Lake Tiberias would, no doubt, greatly facilitate the conduct of UNTSO investigations, although they would, of course, substantially increase the cost of operation.”

Mr. Thant informed the Council that, prior to drafting these suggestions, he consulted Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of UNTSO.

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