LONDON (Nov. 3)
Israel will seek further clarification of Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden’s statement that the terms of the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 obligate its signatories, including Britain, to come to Israel’s aid in the event it is attacked by the Arab states.
Sir Anthony’s statement, winding up last night’s debate in the House of Commons on Britain’s Middle East policy, went much farther than anything the British Government had ever said regarding support of Israel in the event it is a victim of aggression. It is the strongest interpretation of the declaration yet made by any responsible minister of the governments of any of the signatory powers, the United States and France, as well as Britain.
Addressing himself to Labor critics, Sir Anthony insisted that the Tripartite Declaration had been under-estimated and was in fact “extremely far-reaching” in its guarantees. He asserted that the terms of the recent Anglo-Egyptian agreement on the Suez Canal which guaranteed British military aid to Egypt in the event of aggression from the outside “excluded” any possibility of British aid to Egypt against Israel.
Observers here commented that the expressions of friendship for Israel which were so evident in the statements of the Foreign Secretary and Minister of State Anthony Nutting, who opened the debate for the government, were forthcoming because of the quite evident sympathy for Israel in the ranks of the government supporters, as well as among the Laborites and Liberals. They noted that the government’s identification with the general pro-Israel sentiment in the House was at one and the same time an invitation to Israel to seek elaboration of Sir Anthony’s views and a warning to the Arabs.
The Foreign Secretary was pessimistic of the possibilities of settling the Arab refugee problem until some steps could be taken toward a general political discussion between Israel and the Arabs. Once again he maintained that there was no hope of bringing the Israel-Arab conflict to a peaceful settlement unless the Anglo-Egyptian agreement, on which he staked the hopes of a general Middle East improvement, proved successful.
ISRAEL STRONGER THAN ANY ARAB STATE, EDEN SAYS
Referring to Israel apprehensions over military arms shipments to the Arab states, Sir Anthony said the House should not underestimate “Israel’s very real military strength,” which he assessed as “greater than any other single Arab state.” The last thing the British Government wants is to precipitate an arms race in the Middle East, he continued, conceding that it would be “quite disastrous in the present much inflamed atmosphere.”
He expressed disagreement with the Egyptian argument that in closing the Suez Canal to Israel traffic it was exercising legitimate belligerent rights. He said he had been unable to discover any evidence of the persecution of Jews in Egypt.