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9 July 1967
UNITED NATIONS Distr.
COUNCIL 9 July 1967
STATEMENTS BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AT THE 1365TH AND
1366TH MEETINGS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
I. Statement at the 1365th meeting on 8 July 1967
“It is a matter of great regret to me that I am not in a position to provide the members of the Council with the needed information about the reports of a new outbreak of fighting today, 8 July, between the armed forces of Israel and of the United Arab Republic in the Suez Canal sector, information which would be based on observations and investigations by United Nations Observers. I was similarly unable to give the Council any information about the previously reported fighting in the Canal sector on 1 July as called to the attention of the Council in the letters asserting violations and breaches of the cease-fire presented by the Permanent Representatives of the United Arab Republic, in document S/8025, and of Israel, in document S/8026. The members of the Council will realize, of course, the reason for my inability to give them such information. As I reported to the Council on 4 July 1967 in document S/7930/Add.19, paragraph 3, no United Nations Military Observers are stationed in the Suez area, and therefore I receive no verified information about hostile activities there.
The Council’s resolution of 12 June 1967, resolution 236 (1967), relating exclusively to the cease-fire between Israel and Syria, in its paragraph 5 explicitly invoked the assistance of the Chief of Staff of UNTSO and the UNTSO Military Observers in the implementation of the cease-fire it had demanded. The Council’s resolution of 9 June 1967, resolution 235(1967), also relating to the cease-fire between Israel and Syria, in its paragraph 3 invoked the assistance of the Secretary-General in achieving compliance of the parties with the cease-fire. Unlike those two resolutions, however, the Security Council’s general cease-fire resolutions of 6 and 7 June 1967, resolutions 233 (1967) and 234 (1967), which are applicable to the cease-fire between Israel and the United Arab Republic, request the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed about the situation, but make no provision for any assistance with regard to implementation of the cease-fire.
Realizing that I could not discharge my reporting responsibility under these latter two resolutions without any means of obtaining reliable information, and, more important, that a cease-fire without any observation or policing assistance in its implementation is inevitably vulnerable, I decided on 4 July to take an initiative towards a possible alleviation of this situation. On that date I undertook two exploratory talks. In an afternoon meeting with Dr. Mahmoud Fawzi, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Republic, I inquired of him what the reaction of his Government would likely be to a suggestion from me that United Nations Military Observers might be stationed in the sector of the Suez Canal where there is now confrontation between the armed forces of the United Arab Republic and those of Israel. Such Observers, of course, would have to be stationed on both sides, as has been done in the sector where the forces of Israel and Syria are in confrontation. This, I explained, would be especially necessary if the Secretary-General is to be enabled to fulfil his reporting responsibilities under the Security Council resolutions of 6 and 7 June 1967. Dr. Fawzi advised me that he would bring this idea to the attention of his Government and obtain their reaction to it. Immediately following the meeting with Dr. Fawzi I had a similar discussion with Foregin Minister Abba Eban of Israel and advanced the same suggestion to him. The Foreign Minister also assured me that he would seek his Government’s reaction to this idea.
As of now, I have had no word about the reaction of either Government to this suggestion, which I consider to be constructive and helpful in the light of the prevailing circumstances and in the reporting context of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
If it should be agreed that United Nations Observers should proceed to Sinai and the Suez sector, this could be quickly done, according to information from the Chief of Staff, General Bull, within his present Observer strength, but it would be necessary to increase the number of Observers available to him at a very early date thereafter.”
II. Statement at the 1366th meeting on 9 July 1967
“Members of the Council will recall that in my statement to the Council at its meeting of yesterday, 8 July, I pointed out that if there should be agreement on the stationing of United Nations Observers to observe the cease-fire in the Suez sector, additional Observers would have to be made available to the Chief of Staff, General Bull.
I have since consulted General Bull and he has informed me that for the Suez sector his estimated need would be for an additional twenty-five Observers who should be made available to him as soon as possible. Pending the arrival of these additional Observers, the Chief of Staff, if called upon to do so, can dispatch a small team of Observers now on his staff to the Suez Canal area. They could institute patrols on both United Arab Republic and Israel sides of the front.
The Observers operating in this area, of course, would have to have logistical support to be provided by Field Service, including radio operators, transport and transport mechanics, supply, security and secretarial personnel. For immediate purposes, this could be provided from UNTSO’s existing establishment.
United Nations Observers have been serving in the Near East since 1948, when there were well over 700 as against the 133 now serving in the area. Wherever United Nations Military Observers have been employed, it has been established practice to have the approval of the Governments directly concerned - in the present case, the Governments of Israel and the United Arab Republic - regarding the countries from which Military Observers for the particular operation may be drawn. That practice continues.
The financial implications of such an increase can be made available to the Council later. It can be said now, however, that they would not be excessive.”