LAKE SUCCESS (Jun. 11)
Ralph Bunche, chief of the U.N. Secretariat attached to Count Folke Bernadotte’s mediation staff in Cairo, today flatly denied all reports that a request for British ships and planes to police the four-week truce in Palestine had been made by the mediator, A U.N. spokesman did, however, imply that British planes may be used, in the next few hours, to fly military observers into Palestine.
In a telephone conversation with Andrew Cordier, executive assistant to Secretary-General Trygve Lie at Lake Success, Dr. Bunche reported that the truce “is going very well” and that Count Bernadotte’s staff will move to the island of Rhodes tomorrow. It is on Rhodes, formerly an Italian colony and now a Greek possession, that the mediation staff will begin its work next of trying to secure a final settlement between Israel and the Arab League countries.
A U.N. spokesman said that, according to Dr. Bunche, the “apparent misunderstanding” about British participation in the truce observance stemmed from an informal offer by British officials in Cairo to place a group of automobiles and light airplanes at the mediator’s disposal. Bunche was quoted as saying that the use of British ships for patrolling Palestine coastal waters “has not been discussed at all. ” He declared that Count Bernadotte had not accepted the British offer.
A spokesman for the Israeli Government today issued a statement at Lake Success opposing the participation of British ships and planes in the supervision of the truce. “Nothing would be more fatal to the prospect of the truce than British participation, however small, ” the statement said. “A government which is in close military alliance with the Arab states and refuses to recognize the national existence of Israel is obviously not neutral. “