JERUSALEM (Jun. 17)
Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett today told a nine-man committee of the Mapai, Israel’s Labor Party, that he will resign from the government tomorrow because he is unable to do his work. The nine-man committee was set up by the Mapai to decide in Premier David Ben Gurion’s request that Mr. Sharett quit his post in the Cabinet and become secretary general of the Mapai party in order to strengthen the structure of the party.
An extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet will be held tomorrow at which Mr. Sharett will formally submit his resignation. Today, the Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting at which Mr. Sharett reported on foreign affairs and on the emigration situation in North Africa. However, opposition to his resignation was expressed at the meeting by Ministers who represent the Mapam, Progressive and the Hapoel Hamizrachi parties.
Members of the Cabinet representing the above three parties raised the question today, although they admitted that the assignment of the portfolio of Foreign Minister was a prerogative of the Mapai under their coalition agreement. They insisted that any change in the Cabinet must first be approved in the Cabinet rather than in party councils. Premier Ben Gurion, replying, agreed with their argument and summoned a special Cabinet meeting for tomorrow to deal with the matter. The Ministers reserved the right to appeal to Mr. Sharett to withdraw his resignation.
The news of Mr. Sharett’s resignation spread like wildfire throughout Israel today Some observers forecast a firmer attitude toward the Arabs as a result, while others saw in Mr. Sharetts resignation a dramatic, but not unexpected, turn of events in a personality clash. The latter feel that Mr. Sharett’s place as successor to Premier Ben Gurion is secure as long as Mapai dominates the political scene.
Meanwhile, Dr. Walter Eytan, director of the Foreign Ministry, was hurriedly recalled from his current tour of the Eastern European countries. Dr. Eytan, who is expected here tomorrow, is believed slated for the post of Ambassador to London, with Ambassador Eliahu Elath being recalled from London and reassigned to Washington. Ambassador Abba Eban is expected to be called to Jerusalem to assume the post of special advisor at the Foreign Ministry. He would also be replaced at the United Nations.
Prior to his announcement, Mr. Sharett received British Ambassador Sir John Nicholls at the British envoy’s request. They discussed the latest developments in the Middle East. Their talk lasted 45 minutes. Earlier, Mr. Sharett received a delegation of North African settlers in Israel, who urged him to make maximum efforts on behalf of Moroccan Jews who wish to emigrate to Israel. The delegation stressed the “rescue” aspects of North African immigration in the face of growing nationalism and restrictions in Morocco and Tunis.