UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Feb. 16)
The American delegation to the United Nations indicated today its support of a request presented by Israel yesterday to the UN Security Council asking for action toward the release by Egypt of the Israel freighter “Bat Galim” which was seized last September while trying to pass through the Suez Canal.
The request was contained in a letter addressed by Ambassador Abba Eban, head of the Israel delegation, to the president of the Security Council. Mr. Eban asked the president, Dr. Victor A. Belaunde, to inquire of the Egyptian Government “whether it is prepared to agree with Israel on an arrangement for the release of the Bat Galim and its cargo through the Suez Canal in conformity with the Security Council resolution of September 1, 1951.” That resolution establishes the principle of freedom of passage for all shipping through the Suez Canal.
Asked for the American position regarding Mr. Eban’s letter, a spokesman for the United States delegation declared: “The United States, of course, continues to believe that the 1951 resolution should be complied with, and we believe Egypt should release the ‘Bat Galim’ through the Suez Canal. We, therefore, think that Ambassador Eban’s new letter is entirely appropriate under the circumstances.”
In his letter, Mr. Eban declared that Israel “will be ready to discuss with the Egyptian Government the practical steps” for effecting the Bat Galim’s further passage through the Suez Canal to Haifa. However, the emphasis was on passage through the Canal. Mr. Eban requested Dr. Belaunde to circulate his letter to all members of the Council.