LONDON (Jun. 15)
A British Foreign Office spokesman announced today that a conference of British diplomatic representatives in the Arab states and Israel will be held here the first week in July. The parley is expected to take up problems concerning the carrying out of Britain’s foreign policy in the Middle East rather than making any changes in that policy, he said.
The conference, the official revealed, has three chief aims: l. To review developments since the last similar conference was held in 1945; 2. To review the progress made in aiding the Middle East in economic and social matters, particularly though the instrument of the British Middle East Office; 3. To discuss current matters, such as the problem of Arab refugees who fled Palestine last year. Direct American participation in the parley is not contemplated, but Britain and the U.S. are keeping each other informed of current Middle East developments, it was indicated today. The London Times, commenting on the conference, said that in addition to diplomatic representatives from Israel and the Arab states, participants in the meeting will include the governor of Aden, Britain’s political representative in the Persian Gulf area, Sir Rupert Hay, and the head of the Middle East Office in Cairo, Sir John Troutbeck.
Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin has always been particularly interested in the Middle East and at present is personally supervising several gigantic irrigation schemes there which have not yet been made public, the London Star reported today. The paper predicted that the government will soon appeal to British engineers and agricultural experts to go to Middle East countries on short-term contracts in advisory capacities to the government.
The Manchester Guardian today editorially expressed the hope that Israel would accept Britain’s assurances that arms being sent to the Arab states by Britain would not affect Arab military strength. The editorial followed the Israeli protest to the U.N. Security Council against the British decision to send small arms to Arab states for international security” requirements.
Relations between Britain and Israel, the newspaper stated, are a good deal better today than they have been in the recent past but all suspicion has not yet been removed.