CHICAGO (Aug. 12)
On the eve of the opening of the Democratic National Convention it became certain here today that the convention will pledge itself to a policy of providing defensive arms to Israel in the light of the present situation in the Middle East.
Leaders of the Democratic Party returned here from Washington where they had been summoned by President Eisenhower to participate this afternoon in a conference at the White House on the Suez Canal issue. It was taken for granted here that this issue, as such, will not figure in the political platform which the convention will adopt. However, the platform will contain a section dealing with the Middle East situation in general and expressing pro-Israel sentiments.
Averell Harriman, contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination, who was endorsed yesterday by ex-President Truman, blamed Republican Administration support of Egyptian President Nasser and indecisiveness in its Middle East policy for the present Suez crisis. He said Israel was created by the United Nations and should be supported. Gov. Harriman expressed the belief that arms should have been sent to Israel immediately after Egypt’s arms deal with the Soviet bloc. He said the Administration “shilly-shallied” with Middle East policy, and through ineptness and lack of firmness, helped bring about the present Egyptian crisis situation.
The Presidential aspirant said the “dam” was broken by what he termed blunders and mistakes by the Administration. He expressed criticism about what he described as the Administration’s building-up of Nasser. He made it known that he opposed any thought of submission to pressure by furnishing money to build the proposed High Aswan Dam in Egypt.
Strong resentment is felt in convention circles over the “blackmail” attempt by the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Washington who threatened the State Department with “serious consequences” if the Democratic and Republican conventions in their platforms criticize discrimination by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries against American Jews. This move is viewed here as the height of Arab impertinence and as direct interference in internal American political life.