UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (May. 10)
The fear that new fighting between Israel and Syria may "erupt again as it did last night" when Israel shot down six Syrian warplanes was expressed by United Nations Secretary-General U Thant in a communication sent by him today to the U.N. Security Council.
The communication contained the text of a message sent by Mr. Thant two days ago to General Odd Bull, Chief of Staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization, instructing him to initiate "as soon as possible" separate discussion with Syria and Israel in an effort "to achieve an understanding on practical arrangements for cultivation problems along the armistice demarcation line" between the two countries.
The U.N. Secretary-General noted that this must be done, because "it is not possible for the time being to expect any fruitful convening of a meeting of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission."
Lauding Gen. Bull for his "untiring efforts" to bring about a resumption of the extraordinary meeting of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission the U.N. Secretary-General wrote to the truce chief that he had given "particular attention" to his conclusion that "following the serious incidents of April 7, and as a result of the fighting that took place then, the gap between the positions of the parties on the resumption of the ISMAC meeting has widened and consequently it is not possible for the time being to expect any fruitful convening of such a meeting."
Terming this development as "most disturbing," Mr. Thant wrote to Gen. Bull: "Although, unfortunately, the MAC meeting cannot be resumed, the interests of peace in the area dictate nevertheless that the effort to achieve an ad hoc understanding on cultivation in the areas of difficulty be not abandoned. It seems to me, therefore, that now you should initiate, as soon as possible, separate discussions with each of the parties with a view to achieving an understanding on practical arrangements for cultivation problems along the Armistice Demarcation Line. I know that this will impose an additional burden upon you, but in the prevailing circumstances there seems to be no helpful alternative."