Belgian Foreign Minister Probes Shipment of Arms to Egypt

Foreign Minister Henri Spaak, disturbed over the use of Belgian ports as funnels through which large quantities of “surplus” British armaments are being poured into Egypt, has launched a series of steps designed to stem the flow of war goods to Egypt via this country. Mr. Spaak has called into conference the envoys of Britain, France, Egypt and Israel, and has also called for urgent reports on this entire situation from the Belgian diplomatic representatives in London, Paris, Cairo and Jerusalem–as well as from the Belgian police.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry blamed Britain for the “muddle.” “There are still abundant British war materials here in Belgium,” he said, “for which export licenses cannot be refused. The only way to stop this is for Britain to ban the export of war materials to Belgium. That is the only way to keep this material from reaching any country in the future.”

The Foreign Ministry also revealed that talks on this subject have been held “for some time” between the Belgian and British governments. Belgium, he declared, while not a member of the Tripartite Declaration powers–France, Britain and the United States–which guaranteed Middle East arms balance as between Israel and the Arab states in 1950, has, nevertheless, on its own initiative, observed the Declaration’s principles as far as possible.

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