WASHINGTON (Feb. 29)
The Saudi Arabian Embassy here denied last night that the freighter James Monroe, carrying 18 United States Army tanks to Saudi Arabia, had been ordered to put into an Egyptian port for transshipment of the tanks because the vessel was “Jewish owned.” The Embassy statement added that the tanks were scheduled to be unloaded at Dammam, a Saudi Arabian port on the Persian Gulf, not at Jidda, as originally reported.
The Embassy statement was issued after Jacob Michael, an American Jew who is principal stockholder in Sea carrier S.A., owners of the vessel, had declared that he had been informed that the Saudi Arabians would not permit the vessel to proceed to Jidda because of his proprietary interest in the firm, and that he had ordered the James Monroe’s caption to either bring the tanks back to the U.S. or “dump them in the sea.”
Mr. Michael pointed out that he had chartered the vessel in December to Hellenic Lines Ltd, which is shipping the tanks and that therefore he had no control over the cargo. However, he said, if the vessel’s port of destination is changed he may, under Admiralty law, resume control. It was on this basis that the ordered the captain to return or jettison the cargo.