LONDON (Aug. 23)
the 22-nation conference on the Suez Canal concluded today with 18 of the participating nations backing the proposal of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to establish international authority over the canal. (See page 2 for more news on the Suez Canal issue.)
Following the conclusion of the conference, the Egyptian-Embassy in London issued a statement declaring that Egypt was determined to maintain the Suez Canal “free and open to all ships and vessels without distinction of flag.”
Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency whether this is to be applied also to Israeli shipping, a press officer of the Egyptian Embassy-declined to give any answer, and said he is referring the question-to the Counsellor of the Embassy. However, the Counsellor was “not available” when attempts were made to get in touch with him. The statement of the Egyptian Embassy said that “it was never the intent of the Egyptian Government to discriminate against ships of any nationality passing through the Suez Canal.”
A spokesman of the British Foreign Office was asked whether the stated intention of the 18 nations to reach an agreement with Egypt ensuring the freedom of shipping for all nations included also Israel. He brushed the question aside by stating he “cannot go any further” than what was said in the official statement issued following the conclusion of the conference.