UNITED NATIONS, N. Y (Feb. 16)
Egypt’s threat last night to call a meeting of the signatory powers of the international pact governing administration of the Suez Canal, if the United Nations Security Council rules Egypt’s anti-Israel blockade illegal, was regarded in UN circles today as sheer blackmail, and ineffective at that.
The United States was not one of the signatories of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 which governs administration of the waterway. Czarist Russia was a signatory, but whether the Soviet Union would be invited to such a meeting is questionable. Other signatories to the pact were: the Ottoman Empire, Britain, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.
In any event, observers here point out, convocation of such a meeting could only take place if three of the signatories joined in calling for it. It is not believed here that Egypt could get any other country to go along with it in such a move. The Egyptian threat was hinted at by Dr. Mahmoud Azmi, Egypt’s representative to the UN, at a press conference called after yesterday’s meeting of the Security Council where Egypt indicated it would adhere to its blockade of Israeli-bound shipping regardless of Security Council action.