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Speculation on Dulles Middle East Plan Dominates International Scene

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The Administration-backed proposals put forward by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in a major policy address before the Council on Foreign Relations here Friday, continued to dominate the international news picture here today. Reactions to the proposal from Middle Eastern capitals and from London, as well as information on the circumstances of the release of the program at this time provided the background for speculation as to the fate of Mr. Dulles’ plan for peace in the Middle East.

The address, the contents of which were kept secret prior to its delivery, proposed that the United States would “join in formal treaty engagements” to guarantee the borders of Israel and the Arab states, given a solution to related problems. Mr. Dulles noted that such a guarantee required that the borders be formally fixed and that the current frontiers were the product of the armistice agreements of 1949, and hence not necessarily designed as permanent borders.

He also took up the question of compensation to the Arab refugees, and noting that Israel was probably not in a position to make such compensation, he suggested that an international loan might be made to the Jewish State. In such a loan, he added, President Eisenhower would recommend “substantial participation by the United States.” While he alluded to the repatriation of the refugees “whenever feasible,” it was also clear that he envisaged resettlement as the most likely solution to that problem. The Secretary of State also alluded to the status of Jerusalem, saying that “it should also be possible to reach agreement on the status of Jerusalem. The United States would give its support to a United Nations review of this problem.” Throughout the address it was made clear that the United States expected to be supported by other interested nations and by the United Nations in the various envisaged solutions to current problems.

In Washington, it was reported that intelligence warnings that a full-scale war threatened to break out in the Middle East had prompted the U.S. offer of a guarantee for Middle East borders. Administration sources said that announcement of the new plan had originally been scheduled for some time next month, but that the latest intelligence reports had caused a top-level decision to make the announcement ahead of time. State Department officials, however, refused to elaborate in any way on the main points of Mr. Dulles’ address.

At the United Nations this week-end the new American foreign policy approach to the Middle East, specifically Mr. Dulles’ reference to the possibility that Israel might be given a loan to help the Israelis compensate Arab refugees, was called by Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold an approach that “may well… mark a beginning of a general stabilization” in the Middle East. The Secretary-General’s statement recalled that Mr. Hammarskjold himself had identified the Arab refugee problem as one of the central issues concerning Israel-Arab relations, and “warmly” welcomed Mr. Dulles’ “generous and constructive spirit.”

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