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Sharett Resigns; Tells Knesset of “difficult Tests” in Cabinet

Moshe Sharett, who held the post of Israel’s Foreign Minister since the establishment of the Jewish State, today submitted his resignation at a special meeting of the Cabinet. He took leave of his colleagues and left before the Cabinet meeting was over. He walked home on foot, refusing to use the official car which was assigned to him during his service as Foreign Minister.

Later in the day, Premier Ben Gurion announced Mr. Sharett’s resignation at a session of Parliament and said that Mrs. Golda Myerson would take over the post of Foreign Minister. He assured. Parliament that the government’s basic policy will remain the same as hitherto, particularly in the field of security and foreign affairs.

Mr. Ben Gurion referred to his address before Parliament on November 2nd of last year, which he delivered following the fighting in the Nitzana demilitarized zone. At that time, he emphasized that the Israel Government would stand up vigorously for its rights and would not shrink from using force if force were used to infringe upon these rights or to violate Israel territory.

Mr. Sharett, who followed Premier Ben Gurion to the rostrum, thanked Parliament for the trust it had shown in him and revealed that when Mr. Ben Gurion formed his Cabinet last August, Mr. Sharett had asked the Premier not to include him in the Cabinet because he had reason to believe that their cooperation would not be successful. “I felt that it would be best to free the new government of superfluous complications.” Mr. Sharett told Parliament.

The former Foreign Minister disclosed that his request at that time was rejected by Premier Ben Gurion. During the period of his office in the present government, he continued, relations between the Premier and himself had been subjected several times to “difficult tests.” “We overcame these tests by efforts to preserve the cooperation which had existed between us for two decades and in view of the emergency through which the country was passing,” Mr. Sharett reported to the Parliament.

BEN GURION LAUDS SHARETT’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS BEFORE TENSE HOUSE

A tense House heard the Premier pay tribute to Mr. Sharett and stress that not only the members of the Cabinet and Knesset and Mr. Sharett’s colleagues but a large number of Jews and non-Jews throughout the world had received the news of his resignation “with regret.” He insisted that no other member of the Cabinet was as well fitted for his task as Mr. Sharett by virtue of his “work for the state, wide culture, extensive knowledge, thorough understanding of international affairs, natural talents, tact, temperament and agreeable manner, loyalty to duty and tremendous diligence.”

He further lauded Mr. Sharett’s accomplishments as Premier and enumerated a long list of accomplishments, including the forging of strong bonds between Israel and other countries. The Premier underlined that he had worked with Mr. Sharett for 40 years, “generally in agreement, always in confidence and mutual respect.” He then announced Mrs. Myerson’s appointment to succeed Mr. Sharett and Mordecai Namir’s appointment to the Ministry of Labor post left vacant by Mrs. Myerson’s change.

(Israel Ambassador Abba Eban, who in connection with Mr. Sharett’s resignation is mentioned for a post of special adviser to Israel’s newly named Foreign Minister Golda Myerson left the United States today by plane for Israel.)

Prior to the Knesset session, some members of the government held the view that the Cabinet as a body must submit its resignation to Parliament, and then be reorganized after agreeing on matters of foreign policy and the naming of a new Foreign Minister. However, the Mapai members of the Cabinet, headed by Premier Ben Gurion, opposed this view. They maintained that the Foreign Minister’s portfolio is a prerogative of the Mapai party under an existing coalition agreement. A formal announcement in Parliament of Mr. Sharett’s resignation and of Mapai’s naming Mrs. Golda Myerson as his successor is sufficient, they claimed.

Mr. Sharett will remain a member of Parliament. Last night he was elected to the Mapai’s collective secretariat.

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