U.s., Britain, France Introduce Joint Resolution at U.N. Against Egypt’s Blockade
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U.s., Britain, France Introduce Joint Resolution at U.N. Against Egypt’s Blockade

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The United States, Britain and France today submitted a Joint draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling upon Egypt to end restrictions on international shipping through the Suez Canal. The resolution grew out of Israel’s complaint to the United Nations against Egypt’s restrictions on the passage of Israeli-bound goods through the Suez Canal.

The resolution recalls the decision of the Security Council of August, 1949, relating to the conclusion of armistice agreements between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries, and draws attention to the pledges in these agreements against acts of hostility by any of the parties. It notes that the chief of staff of the U.N. Palestine Truce Commission considered Egypt’s Suez Canal blockade against Israel to be a hostile and aggressive act, and contrary to the spirit of the armistice agreement.

The resolution emphasizes that the Suez Canal blockade cannot in the prevailing circumstances be justified on the grounds that it is necessary for Egypt’s self-defense. It points out that “the restrictions on the passage of goods through the Suez Canal to Israeli ports are denying to nations at no time connected with the conflict in Palestine valuable supplies required for their economic reconstruction.” It also stresses the fact that Egypt’s restrictions represent “unjustified interference with the rights of nations to navigate the seas and to trade freely with one another, including the Arab states and Israel.”

The resolution calls upon Egypt “to terminate the restrictions on the passage of international commercial shipping and goods through the Suez Canal wherever bound, and to cease all interference with such shipping beyond that essential to the safety of shipping in the Canal itself and to the observance of the international conventions in force.”


In a statement supporting the resolution, Ambassador Warren R. Austin, head of the American delegation, told the Security Council that the United States felt that in dropping the restrictions Egypt could bring the attainment of peace between Israel and the Arab countries. The American Government, he said, had hoped that through “friendly” representations made by the United States and other governments, Egypt might become convinced of the wisdom of lifting the restrictions voluntarily. However, he pointed out, these representations had been to no avail, and the Security Council now has no choice but to adopt the proposed resolution.

Sir Gladwyn Jebb, head of the British delegation, told the Security Council that Egypt’s restrictions were “inconsistent” with the objectives of a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Arab states. He emphasized that it was “high time” that unhindered passage of ships of all nations through the Suez Canal be restored. Egypt, he added, has been given ample time and opportunity to lift the restrictions but has given no indication that she is prepared to advance any proposals which could be regarded as satisfactory. He therefore urged the Security Council to “exercise its undoubted authority.”

French representative Francis Lacoste spoke in a similar vein. He said that all the factors have been studied by Security Council members and that Egypt was given ample time, but ignored the repeated representations of other nations. International conventions,” he declared, “must be observed, along with the Egyptian Israeli general armistice agreement. Egypt’s restrictions, he added, also harmed other nations, many of which had not been concerned with the Palestine conflict at all.

The representative of Brazil, Joao Carlos Muniz, said his delegation would vote in favor of the draft resolution–implying no reflection on the Egyptian Government, but rather interpreting the resolution “as an admonition to Egypt not to entertain an inadvised action which, if continued, might lead to the resumption of hostilities between Israel and the Arab states, creating a situation pregnant with the gravest dangers to international peace.”

Representatives of the Netherlands, Turkey and Ecuador also announced that they will vote for the three-power resolution. The necessary seven votes for the passage of the resolution ordering Egypt to lift the blockade against Israel are assured. Dr. Daniel J. Van Balluseck of the Netherlands, “announcing his government’s support for the resolution, said that the Egyptian restrictions on the passage of goods through the Suez Canal were interfering with the economic reconstruction of a considerable part of the world, including his country.

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