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U.S. and Israel Discuss Middle East Defense Organization

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Israel’s participation in a Middle East defense organization is being discussed with the Israel Government, Secretary of State Dean Acheson indicated at his press conference today.

Asked what steps would follow Egypt’s rejection of Middle East command proposals, Mr. Acheson said that discussions are being held with other Middle Eastern governments and he specified that these governments included Israel.

The Secretary was asked if he was optimistic over chances of the Arabs making peace with Israel so that Arabs and Jews might co-operate in the defense of the region. An Arab-Israel peace agreement would be a great bulwark to peace and security, he replied. He gave the impression that he wished such a peace arrangement would be made.

Mr. Acheson said he regretted Egypt’s rejection of Middle East command proposals extended four days ago by the U.S., France, Turkey and the United Kingdom. “It is the hope of the United States Government,” Mr. Acheson said, “that Egypt will carefully reconsider the course of action on which it has embarked and will recognize that its own interest will be served by joining the other nations of the free world in assuring the defense of the Middle East against the common danger.” He added that “for its part the United States Government considers the action of the Egyptian Government (on the Suez Canal and Sudan) to be without validity.”

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