WASHINGTON (Mar. 21)
A request by the United States for United Nations action to avoid an Israel-Arab war will postpone a final decision on Israel’s arms application, government sources predicted today as President Eisenhower gave new emphasis to the importance he attaches to United Nations action on the Arab-Israel crisis.
Government sources said President Eisenhower feels that arms sales to Israel at this time might exacerbate the dangerous situation at a juncture when he thinks the United Nations might make some progress in lessening tension. Mr. Eisenhower, however, said nothing on the Israel arms issue at his press conference today.
The President appealed however, for mediation of the Arab-Israel crisis to avoid war. He warned that any major outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East would be a catastrophe for the whole world. He stressed the importance of Arab oil to the West. The major American effort, he said is to find some way to help the Arab states and Israel see that their interests he in mediation. He said the United States must regard every bit of unrest in the Middle East as a most serious thing.
The United States, said President Eisenhower, is committed to using peaceful means to bring about implementation of its policy. In this aim, he pointed out, this country is supporting United Nations efforts and has expressed itself through the Tripartite Declaration of 1950. In mentioning the Arab oil factor, the President pointed out the importance of avoiding war for strategic material reasons apart from other considerations.
Mr. Eisenhower expressed doubt that “prejudices” could be eliminated in the Middle East. He said that the United States nevertheless would never give up trying to use every peaceful influence it could to avert war. Asked if a new United Nations action plan suggested by the United States included the return to the Middle East of United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, the President said the American plan would be published at the proper time.
Comparing the French-North African situation with Arab-Israel difficulties, the President said the United States was trying in each instance to help. He said both sides in each conflict must realize that their true interest could be found in compromise and trade rather than war. The President evaded a question which sought to elicit his thinking on seeking Congressional backing for military intervention in the Middle East similar to the Formosa resolution. He said bi-partisan consultations have been held on the whole question of U.S. policy in the Middle East but did not indicate that such consultation pertained to possible U.S. armed intervention.
EBAN DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS WITH STATE DEPARTMENT.
Israel Ambassador Abba Eban today met with George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in what appeared to be a preparatory step to a meeting between Mr. Eban and Secretary of State Dulles who returns today from abroad. The coming Eban-Dulles talk is expected by some to be the “showdown” session on the Israel arms application.
Today Ambassador Eban said he reviewed developments in the Middle East. Most of the important problems in Israel-American relations were covered, Mr. Eban said, indicating that the arms issue was included among these topics. Mr. Eban said Israel had been notified of a United States plan for UN peace action in the Middle East. He made no comment on the plan.
U.S. willingness to help solve the Arab-Israel crisis by supporting regional projects to harness the energy of the Jordan River or facilitate the resettlement of the Arab refugees was reiterated today by John B. Hollister, director of the International Cooperation Administration before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He outlined the factors which motivated President Eisenhower’s special $100,000,000 fund for the Middle East and Africa.
Mr. Hollister said more flexible action on the economic front is needed because of the increased Soviet activity in the Middle East, sudden economic crisis, and aid programs which deal with two or more countries where “sensitive political issues” are involved. In the latter case, he said, a capacity for flexibility is needed because “the exact timing and character of the eventual solutions to these problems cannot be accurately forecast, nor the precise manner in which our aid can contribute.