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Congressmen Seek U.S. Action on Abandonment of Suez Blockade

In the wake of an announcement in Commons today by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden that an Anglo-Egyptian agreement on the Suez Canal issue may be signed tonight, nine members of Congress have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles asking protection of maritime rights for nations using the Suez Canal.

The letter asked the State Department to intercede in the Anglo-Egyptian negotiations on the Canal in order to secure an undertaking that Egypt will comply with the United Nations Security Council decision calling on her to abandon her blockade of ships carrying cargo to and from Israel. Recalling the UN Security Council decision of Sept. 1, 1951, the signatories urged U.S. intervention on the following grounds:

1. American ships and American citizens are the victims of discriminatory practices which abridge rights to the freedom of the seas for which the United States has always fought.

2. The U.S. has already taken an active role in the negotiations and is therefore responsible to some degree both for the character of the agreement and for its consequences.

3. The U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council and therefore obligated to help enforce its decisions.

4. The U. S. is concerned as a friend of both Egypt and Israel to promote a settlement of their differences.

The letter warned that failure to act at this time “may actually cause a deterioration in the situation because it could be interpreted by Egypt as an indication that we do not regard the blockade as a matter of sufficient concern.” The signers of the letter included Senators Leverett Saltonstall, Mass., Irving M. Ives, NY, Herbert H. Lehman, NY, and Representatives Emanuel Celler, NY, Jacob K. Javits, NY, Thomas J. Dodd, Conn., James G. Fulton, Pa., Edna F. Kelly, NY, and Thomas M. Pelly, State of Washington.

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