Egypt in New Attempt to Block U.N. Debate on Israel Complaint
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Egypt in New Attempt to Block U.N. Debate on Israel Complaint

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Egypt made a new attempt today to block Security Council discussion of Israel’s complaint against the Suez Canal blockade in the Bat Galim incident. Mahmoud Azmi, head of the Egyptian delegation, in a letter to Henri Hoppenot, president of the Security Council, demanded that the Council’s consideration of the Israel complaint be deferred until the Israel-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission should rule on the Bat Galim issue.

The Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider Israel’s urgent complaint. In requesting the meeting, Israel had charged that Egypt had filibustered the effort of the armistice commission to study the incident. The Council, at its last session, postponed further discussion pending receipt of a report from Maj. Gen. E, L. M. Burns, U.N. truce chief in Palestine.

Gen. Burns reported last week he had not been able to get anywhere on the Bat Galim matter because the Egyptian delegates in the armistice commission had blocked discussion of the substance of the case.


The Egyptians denied today that they had used “obstructive tactics” to prevent discussion and insisted, on the contrary, that Egypt thinks it essential that there be an immediate meeting of the armistice commission and meetings at short intervals, even daily, in order to rule on pending questions, including the Bat Galim case.

The Egyptian move today was widely interpreted as a further delaying tactic and effort to prevent public consideration of the situation.

(In Paris, Israel Ambassador Yaakov Tsur drew the attention of the French Foreign Ministro this week-end to the tactics employed by Egypt to prevent the Israel-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission from concluding its inquiry into the Bat Galim seizure.)


(In London, there were indications that the Bat Galim case would figure in the Commons debate tomorrow on the Suez Canal agreement. A powerful attack is expected in the debate, from the Government back benches as well as from the Labor Opposition, on the failure of the British negotiators to ensure freedom of navigation of the Suez Canal, and on the policy of arming the Arab States without provision for Israel’s security.)

An Israel delegation spokesman denounced the new Egyptian move tonight. He charged that the “Egyptian delegate’s letter evades two central facts. First, the report of the United Nations observers to which the Chief of Staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization refers, shows that there is no evidence whatsoever to support Egypt’s slander against the crew of the S. S. Bat Galim. It is clear that there were no shots, no casualties and no victims and that the whole story was fabricated.

“Second, the Egyptian Government has delayed and filibustered for weeks in an effort to prevent any UN action on its scandalous complaint. The Egyptian representative now suggests a new procedure for indefinite delay. Having brought a frivolous complaint, Egypt’s total effort has been devoted to the avoidance of judgment.”

Meanwhile, M. Hoppenot circulated to members of the Security Council the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. It contains only one substantive item. “The Palestine Question on the Complaint by Israel.”

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