United Nations (Aug. 2)
Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold still feels now, as he did last Spring upon his return from his formal peace mission to the Middle East, that “there is a will to peace” on the part of all the governments in the region On the other hand, the “will to peacemaking.” which he sees as the next stage, is still lacking. “Views are still far apart when it comes to peace-making in legal definite form, he declared.
Mr. Hammarskjold made these statements here today at his first press conference since his latest visit to the Middle East, where he had discussed the Israel-Arab conflicts with both Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The Secretary General disagreed, but with extreme politeness, with Israel’s alleged viewpoint that as of now it is “useless” for Israel to take Jordanian complaints to the Mixed Armistice Commission. He said: “I do not share the view that it is useless to go to the Mixed Armistice Commission. Of course any party can stay away, but that would stymie the operation of this machinery. However. I would not give permanency to this declaration. I would say it was probably more a statement of frustration than statement of policy.”
The status of Maj. Gen. E.L.M. Burns, UN truce chief, was clarified by Mr. Hammarskjold. The Secretary General said he had heard nothing but some newspaper reports about allegations that Jordan was planning to ask for the recall of Gen, Burns on grounds that the Chief of Staff was “prejudiced” on behalf of Israel. Right now, be declared, Gen. Burns, “legal status” is that he is remaining until the end of this year.
Refusing to go into detail about his conversations with the Soviet leaders whom he visited in Moscow recently, the Secretary General did say that the Middle East was discussed and that in the talks the Johnston Plan for the development of the Jordan River Valley had come up.
Mr. Hammarskjold said that earlier plans for another trip to the Middle East have not been shunted aside because of his latest hurry-up visit to Jerusalem and Cairo. He said that the subject of another trip in October has been discussed with the governments concerned and “I may go a little later if all of us feel that such a trip would be useful.”
The Secretary General expressed his “deep regret” at the latest flare-up between Israel and Jordan, but was gratified that “developments stopped short” of a situation in which an “accident might develop into an incident.”