Israel Appreciates American Efforts to Ease Border Tension

Ambassador Abba Eban visited the State Department last night and expressed the appreciation of the Israel Government for the efforts now being made by the U.S. Government in Cairo. These efforts, it is understood, are aimed both at ending Egyptian provocations at the Israel frontier and at assuring the success of the Israel-Egyptian meeting now taking place in the Gaza area.

Ambassador Eban also presented the view of the Israel Government to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, George V. Allen, on the Egyptian attack on the British vessel in the Gulf of Akaba.

The Israel Ambassador is reported to have viewed the Egyptian shelling of the British ship as an indication that Egypt would fire on Israel or Israel-bound shipping in the gulf. The Israel view of this contingency is described as exceptionally grave since Israel does not intend to abstain from exercising her maritime rights in deference to a blockade which Israel believes to be unlawful.

(Egypt had the right to enforce its blockade of the Gulf of Akaba under international law “because Egypt is still at war with Israel, “M. Khairat, Acting Foreign Minister of Egypt, declared today in Cairo. M. Khairat made his statement immediately after a British note of protest was received by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry against the shelling of the British freighter S.S. Anshun at the mouth of the Gulf of Akaba last Sunday. There were no casualties but the vessel sustained some damage. Both Israel and Jordan have a port at the upper end of the gulf.)

Prior to Ambassador Eban’s meeting with Mr. Allen, the latter received Jacob Blaustein, honorary president of the American Jewish Committee, who presented the views of his organization on the present situation in the Middle East. At United Nations headquarters, Mordecai Kidron, deputy head of the Israel delegation, visited UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold yesterday and presented to him the view of the Israel Government on the Egyptian shelling of the British ship at the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba.

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