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Dulles Criticizes Egypt for Suez Blockade of Israel Shipping

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Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said today that Egypt’s blockade of Israel shipping at the Suez Canal was discussed at the recent 22-nation conference in London and it was pointed out that Egypt was in defiance of the United Nations.

Mr. Dulles told his press conference today that the Egyptian refusal to permit Israel shipping to use the Suez Canal was in disregard of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions of 1951 and 1953 and of the Constantinople Convention of 1888. Mr. Dulles declared that Israel ships were entitled to use the canal and that Egypt was in the wrong in not permitting this.

During the press conference, which was dominated by discussion on the Suez issue, Secretary Dulles deemphasized U.S. interest in the Suez Canal and said that arrangements for future operation of the canal are not a matter of primary interest or concern to the United States. He said the U.S. economy is not dependent upon the canal.

U.S. WOULD ACCEPT ANY SATISFACTORY SOLUTION ON CANAL

Mr. Dulles said that President Nasser’s agreement to negotiate with the five-power committee, announced in London today, was contribution toward solving the problem at hand. He was generally optimistic that a fair solution could be found. He said that he thought negotiations on the canal have moved forward steadily. While the difficulties are by no means overcome, he said, he believes the steps which have been taken indicate a desire to reach a peaceful solution.

In discussing the Suez problem, Mr. Dulles implied that the United States was ready to negotiate on any arrangements for the canal’s future which would be broadly acceptable to other countries. He said the specific arrangements which might be planned for the canal are not primarily a problem for this country. He said other countries whose economies depend on the use of the canal are primarily concerned with saying what arrangements would restore confidence among the canal’s users.

During the conference, a reporter pointed out that the Secretary had not used the phrase “international operation” of the Suez Canal and asked whether this indicated a change in the American approach to the Suez crisis. Mr. Dulles answered that if he avoided the use of the term “international operation” of the canal, it is because he was trying to avoid the use of terms which carry charged psychological connotations. He said basically the canal is an international waterway under the 1888 treaty, but that the use of slogans–like Nationalism vs. Internationalism, Imperialism vs. Colonialism. Europe vs. Asia–create conflicts which are perhaps unnecessary. He urged “getting down to concrete problems” as the way to find a better solution.

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