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UNITED
NATIONS
S

        Security Council
Distr.
GENERAL
S/3180
19 February 1954

DOCUMENT S/3180
Exchange of correspondence between the Secretary-General
and the Governments of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan
and Israel regarding the convocation of a conference
under article XII of the General Armistice Agreement

[Original Text: English]
[19 February 1954]

NOTE BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

The Secretary-General has the honour to refer to the letter from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations dated 23 November 1953 (SI 3140]. In paragraph 5 of this letter the representative of Israel formally invoked article XII of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement and in point (a) of this paragraph submitted a request to the Secretary-General on behalf of the Government of Israel, in accordance with article XII of the Agreement, urgently to convoke a conference of the representatives of the two parties for the purpose of reviewing the Agreement as envisaged in paragraph 3 of the aforesaid article.

The Secretary-General now has the honour to communicate for the information of members of the Security Council the texts of the following communications on this matter.

1. Telegram dated 23 November 1953 from the Secretary-General to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan.

2. Telegram dated 28 November 1953 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan to the Secretary-General.

3. Communication dated 22 December 1953 from the Secretary-General to the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan.

4. Telegram dated 4 January 1954 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan to the Secretary-General.

5. Telegram dated 5 January 1954 from the Secretary-General to the Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan.

6. Telegram dated 6 February 1954 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan to the Secretary-General.

7. Letter dated 7 February 1954 from the Secretary-General to the representative of Israel to the United Nations.

8. Letter dated 18 February 19514 from the representative of Israel to the Secretary-General.

9. Telegram dated 18 February 1954 from the Secretary-General to the Foreign Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan.

10. Letter dated 18 February 1954 from the Secretary-General to the representative of Israel to the United Nations.

Telegram dated 23 November 1953 from the Secretary-General to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan

Have honour communicate following text of letter dated 23 November 1953 received from permanent representative of Israel to United Nations:

With reference to paragraph 5 and article XII Armistice Agreement I invite representative of Your Government to discuss with me implementation of matter referred to in point (a) of that paragraph.

(Signed) Dag HAMMARSKJOLD
Secretary-General


Telegram dated 28 November 1953 from the Minister for
Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan
to the Secretary-General


I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your cable dated 24th instant regarding article XII of the General Armistice Agreement and in reply beg to inform you that the matter is receiving the attention of the Jordan Government and you will be informed of the result in due course.

Dr. Hussein F. KHALIDI
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Communication dated 22 December 1953 from the
Secretary-General to the Government of the
Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan


1. The Secretary-General wishes to thank Minister for Foreign Affairs for interim reply 28 November stating that Jordan Government is giving attention to communication of Secretary-General of 23 November calling conference under article XII of the Armistice Agreement. He has taken note in the message that he will be informed of the result of Jordan's consideration of this matter in due course.

In light seriousness situation the Secretary-General wishes inform Jordanian Prime Minister that he remains actively concerned acceptance of invitation contained in communication 23 November, as he considers that in present situation it is of interest to all parties concerned that conference in appropriate form takes place.

2. Secretary-General's view is that conference agenda should be limited to concrete issues of limited scope arising out of implementation of Armistice Agreement. Contacts with Israel representatives have led him to conviction this view corresponds to intentions of the other party to the conference.

3. Secretary-General wishes to assure Jordan that he would consider favorably proposal that United Nations should assist in conduct of conference which under Armistice Agreement seems possible either through Secretary-General personally or his personal representative.

4. Due to the urgency of the matter the Secretary-General would greatly appreciate a reply not later than early January.


Telegram dated 4 January 1954 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to refer to my telegram dated 28 November 1953 and to your Excellency's telegram dated 24 November 1953 regarding the request submitted by the permanent representative of Israel to the UN on the subject of convening a conference pursuant to para. 3 of article XII of the Jordan-Israel GAA and to submit hereunder the reply of my Government to this invitation. In his letter dated 23 November 1953 addressed to your Excellency the permanent representative of Israel at the UN referred to a suggestion proposed by him, on behalf of his Government in the 637th meeting of the Security Council held on 12 November 1953 to convene a meeting between Jordan and Israel to discuss armistice problems. The Israeli suggestion referred to above states: "The Government of Israel proposes that senior political and military representatives of Israel and Jordan should meet at United Nations Headquarters without delay to discuss armistice problems, and especially the preventing of border incidents and the co-operation of the respective authorities in maintaining border security.

The representative of Israel, however, alleged in letter to your Excellency that the Jordan representative expressed, at the 638th meeting of the Security Council held on 16 November 1953, his disagreement to the said Israeli suggestion. This is untrue for the Jordan representative did not refuse the invitation to the requested meeting, as will be shown in the following text of his answer: "My delegation is here to express the views of the Government of Jordan on the Qibya massacre and we have no credentials to enter into any other discussion. It seems if the Government of Israel has some proposal to submit, its proper channel would be the Chief of Staff of UN Truce Supervision Organization. If there is agreement, the most suitable place for such discussions would likely be Jerusalem because of its and facility of communications with both Governments". At any rate, should Israel have any claims or complaints as to the manner in which the provisions of the said Armistice Agreement are being implemented or be of the opinion that certain parts of the said provisions are ambiguous and require clarification, or feel the necessity for introducing amendments in its provisions particularly to curb incidents on the armistice demarcation lines and to bring about the co-operation of the authorities of the two parties concerned for the maintenance of security on the armistice demarcation lines, then Israel may come forward with the requests detailed above to the MAC in accordance with the provisions of article XI of the General Armistice Agreement. It should also be understood that the Jordan civil and military representatives at the MAC, which hold its meetings under the chairmanship of the Chief of Staff UNTSO, are prepared, at any time, to meet the representatives of Israel at the MAC's offices and discuss the above-mentioned problems which fall within the scope of the General Armistice Agreement. They will likewise discuss the 'Violations by Israel of the provisions of the GAA and its repeated acts of aggression which have continued despite the decision of the Security Council dated 24 November 53 condemning Israel on the Qibya incident land calling upon it to take the strictest measures for the prevention of the recurrence of such acts in the future.

Telegram dated 5 January 1954 from the Secretary-General to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your telegram dated 4 January 1954 replying to my telegram dated 23 November 1953 on the subject of convening a conference under para. 3 of article XII of the Jordan-Israel General Armistice Agreement. I have taken note of the comments in your Excellency's telegram. However, the wording of paragraph 3 article XII is mandatory. The viewpoints set out in your reply, to my invitation do not detract from the obligation incumbent upon me under the terms of this article to respond to the request of either party to convene the conference.

In this connection I should like to refer to my private message of 22 December 1953 to your excellency regarding the scope and procedure of the proposed conference. Unfortunately, this message was not delivered to you until after the Jordan government had considered the comments which you communicated to me in your telegram of 4 January.

I should like, therefore, to place before your Excellency the view contained in my private message that the conference agenda should be limited to concrete issues of limited scope arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement. I have reason to believe that this view corresponds to the intentions of the government of Israel. Furthermore, I should like to assure the Government of Jordan that I should consider favorably the proposal that the United Nations should assist in the conduct of the conference, which under the Armistice Agreement appears possible either through me personally or through my personal representative.

I should be grateful for the further comments of the Jordan Government in the light of the views expressed in the above paragraph, of which to my great regret the Jordan Government was not aware when it formulated the reply contained in your telegram of 4 January, as well as in the initial paragraph of this message.

(Signed) Dag HAMMARSKJOLD
Secretary-General

Telegram dated 6 February 1954 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency's message dated 6 January 1954 in which you informed me of the receipt of my telegram dated 4 January 1954 in reply to Your Excellency's telegram dated 23 November 1953 on the subject of the request by Israel to convoke a conference for discussion the subject raised in letter dated 23 November 1953 addressed to Your Excellency by the permanent delegate of Israel to the United Nations. I appreciate the spirit which prompted your message and the assurance contained in it that the agenda of the conference shall be limited to concrete issue of limited scope arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement and that you have reason to believe that this view corresponds to the intention of the Government of Israel. While taking note of the aforesaid statement, I find, since the intention for convoking the conference does not go beyond the concrete issue of the limited scope arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement, as you have kindly pointed out in your message, that the only legal means which conforms to the provisions of the Armistice Agreement and which no doubt meets Your Excellency's desire is to discuss these matters and remedy them speedily by to the Mixed Armistice Commission which reference body is concerned with these matters in accordance with provisions of article XI of the Armistice Agreement. It is therefore worthwhile to repeat what I stated previously in my telegram referred to above, namely that representatives, both civil and military, of the Jordan Government in the Mixed Armistice commission which meets under the auspices of the Chief of staff of the Truce Supervision Organization are ready to meet with the representatives of the Israeli side at any time in the commission headquarters to discuss the matters referred to in your message as well as the violation by Israel of the provisions of the General Armistice Agreement and its repeated acts of aggression thus challenging the Security Council resolution adopted on 24 November 1953 where Israel was censured for the Qibya incident and was called upon to take the strongest measures to prevent the recurrence of these acts in the future. In my turn I request Your Excellency to appreciate the sincere desire constantly shown by the Jordan Government to observe the provisions of the Armistice Agreement and to execute them in letter and spirit, despite the repeated acts of Aggression committed by Israel, its provocative deeds, and its naked disregard for the decisions of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Security Council.


Letter dated 7 February 1954 from the Secretary-General to the representative of Israel to the United Nations

I have the honour to draw your attention to the developments arising out of your communication to me of 23 November 1953 in which you, on behalf of your Government, invoked article XII of the Israeli-Jordan General Armistice Agreement and, in accordance with 'that article, called upon me to convoke a conference of representatives of the two parties.

On 24 November I transmitted your letter to the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan and invited that Government to discuss with me, through, its representatives, the time and place of the conference.

On 28 November the Government of Jordan acknowledged receipt of the message and stated that I would be informed of the result of their consideration Of the matter in due course.

On 22 December I sent the Government of Jordan a. further communication, a copy of which I attach, outlining in more detail the sense of urgency which I attached to this matter and stating that the conference agenda should be limited to concrete issues of limited scope arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement, a matter which I had discussed with you and other members of the Israeli delegation in, advance, I also assured the Government of Jordan that I would consider favourably a proposal that the United Nations should assist in the conduct of the conference which, under the Armistice Agreement, seems possible either through me personally or through my personal representative.

This message, owing to transmission difficulties, was delivered in time to be taken into account in the communication I received from the Government of Jordan of 4 January 1954, a copy of which I attach.

On the following day I acknowledged (copy attached) the communication, reiterated the substance of my message of 22 December and asked for further comments in the light of these considerations.

On 6 February I received a further message from the Government of Jordan, a copy of which I attach.

In transmitting these communications to you I should like to have your views as to whether an agenda of significant topics affecting the relations of the two parties under the Armistice Agreement could not be devised without reference to article XII of the Agreement. It should be in the interest of the parties, as well as of the United Nations, to explore to the full the most practical means of dealing with basic questions of tension and of improving the operation and the status of the Mixed Armistice Commission in its later tasks before resorting to the arrangement envisaged in article XII.

(Signed) Dag HAMMARSKJOLD
Secretary-General

Letter dated 18 February from the representative of Israel to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 7 February 1954 replying to my letter of 23 November 1953, and enclosing the communications which have passed between Your Excellency and the Government of Jordan.

My Government has studied all these documents and now authorizes me to make the following observations.

1. Under article XII of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement it is obligatory upon each part), to attend a conference convoked by the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the request of the other party.

Notwithstanding your invitation to the Government of Jordan on 24 November 1953 to discuss with you the time and place for such a conference, the Government of Jordan has for twelve weeks declined to meet its obligations tinder article XII of the General Armistice Agreement. Instead, it has made irrelevant reference to a completely different article which has been fully operative for five years and which is not envisaged in the Agreement as being in any sense alternative to article XII. Indeed, it has long been plain that the meetings of the Mixed Armistice Commission, although valuable and necessary in themselves, have not been sufficient to bring about that degree of mutual agreement which is necessary to secure satisfactory operation of the General Armistice Agreement.

In the light of the clear language of article XII, it is evident that Jordan's evasive and recalcitrant conduct in this matter during the past twelve weeks constitute a grave violation of the Armistice Agreement.

2. My Government sees no reason to modify the terms of my letter to Your Excellency of 23 November 1953. My Government continues to believe that it titled to seek a review, at a conference of the two parties, of an Agreement which has been in operation for five years, and in the implementation of which many difficulties have appeared. It will be recalled that the Security Council in its resolution of 24 November 1953 expressed a clear assumption that a conference would take place under article XII of the General Armistice Agreement, which had been invoked by Israel.

3. Article XII of the Agreement does not require the parties to embark upon an agenda discussion by correspondence before the conference is convened. However, the views on the agenda expressed by you in paragraph 3 of your letter to the Jordan Government of 5 January 1954 correspond to our intention with respect to this particular conference, although we reserve our general position on the broad scope and purpose of article XII.

The Government of Israel has deeply appreciated Your Excellency's patience and objectivity in endeavoring to apply the terms of article XII of the General Armistice Agreement.

(Signed) Abba EBAN
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of Israel to the United Nations


Telegram dated 18 February 1954 from the Secretary-General to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan

I have the honour to recall that the Government of Israel by letter of 23 November 1953 requested me to convoke a conference under the terms of article XII of the General Armistice Agreement between Jordan and Israel. On the basis of that letter I have an exchange of views with the two Governments and their representatives.

Your Excellency's communication of 6 February setting out the views of the Jordan Government on the Israel request and my comments on that request were transmitted by me to the representative of the Israel Government. In reply the representative of the Government of Israel informed me on behalf of his Government by letter dated 18 February that they did not see any reason to modify the terms of the letter of 23 November 1953.

On the basis of the exchange of views in which the Government of Israel has reiterated that it does not see a possibility of agreement to any other form of discussion than the one provided for in article XII of Armistice Agreement, and as that Government has requested me to convoke a conference with representatives of the Government of Jordan under the terms of that article, I find I am in duty bound to summon the conference requested.

I have stated in my communications to your Government that in my opinion the scope of the conference should be restricted to "concrete issues of limited scope rising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement.” This view has been accepted by the Government of Israel in their communication of 18 February. In my view the definition of the scope of the conference along the aforesaid lines must take place in course of the discussion of the agenda of the conference which should be the first item for the conference to consider. If it proves impossible to reach agreement concerning the agenda on the basis of my own statement on the matter as accepted by the Israeli Government, the conference obviously cannot proceed with its task. Reiterating my declaration to the Governments of Israel and Jordan that if so desired the conference may meet under my chairmanship, I trust it will be possible to settle the question of the agenda during my presence. In my absence General Bennike would act as my personal representative. If it meets with the convenience of the two Governments concerned, facilities can be made available for the conference to be held in Jerusalem.

I would appreciate being informed of the views of your Government concerning the date for the opening of the conference, before taking a final decision on that matter.

I consequently invite your Government to meet in Jerusalem with representatives of the other Government concerned under my chairmanship for a discussion of various concrete and limited issues arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement at a date to be determined by me in the light of the wishes of the two Governments.

(Signed) Dag HAMMARSKJOLD
Secretary-General


Letter dated 18 February 1954 from the Secretary-General to the representative of Israel to the United Nations

I have the honour to refer to your letter of 23 November 1953, by which, on behalf of the Government of Israel, you requested me to convoke a conference under the terms of article XII of the General Armistice Agreement between Jordan and Israel. On the basis of that letter I have had an exchange of views with the two Governments and their representatives.

A communication from the Jordan Government dated 6 February 1954, setting out the Government's views on the Israel request and my comments on that request were transmitted by me to the Israel Government through you. In reply you informed me by your letter of 18 February on behalf of your Government, that they see no reason to modify the terms of your letter of 23 November 1953. On the basis of this exchange of views, in which the Government of Israel has reiterated that it does not see a possibility of agreement to any other form of discussion than the one provided for in article XII of the Armistice Agreement, and as your Government has requested me to convoke a conference with the representatives of the Government of Jordan tinder the terms of that article, I find that I am in duty bound to summon the conference requested.

I have stated in my communications to the Government of Jordan that in my opinion the scope of the conference should be restricted to "concrete issues of limited scope arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement". This view has been accepted by the Government of Israel in your communication of 18 February. In my view the definition of the scope of the conference along the aforesaid lines must take place in the course of the discussion of the agenda of the conference which should be the first item for the conference to consider. If it proves impossible to reach agreement concerning the agenda on the basis of my own statement on the matter as accepted by the Israeli Government, the conference obviously cannot proceed with its task. Reiterating my declaration Of the Governments of Israel and Jordan that if so desired the conference may meet under my chairmanship, I trust it will be possible to settle the question the agenda during my presence. In my absence General Bennike would act as my personal representative.

If it meets with the convenience of the two Governments concerned, facilities can be made available for the conference to be held in Jerusalem.

I would appreciate being informed of the views of your Government concerning the date for the opening of the conference, before taking a final decision on that matter.

I consequently invite your Government to meet in Jerusalem with representatives of the other Government concerned under my chairmanship for a discussion of various concrete and limited issues arising out of the implementation of the Armistice Agreement at a date to be determined by me in the light of the wishes of the two Governments.

(Signed) Dag HAMMARSKJOLD
Secretary-General

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