NEW YORK (Aug. 30)
President Nasser of Egypt does not intend to relax Egypt’s blockade of Israel shipping at the Suez Canal regardless of the outcome of his negotiations with the five-power commission over future control of the waterway.
In an interview with the New York Herald Tribune, published today, Col. Nasser took the position that the eight-year-old Egyptian blockade against Israel shipping through the Suez Canal is not a violation of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the waterway.
Nasser told the Herald Tribune correspondent, the paper reported, that although Article 4 of the Constantinople Convention specifies that even the vessels of belligerents are to be allowed to pass through the canal, Article 10 says that the fourth article should not stand in the way of measures which the Egyptian ruler finds necessary for “the defense of Egypt.”
Since the Suez Canal runs through three Egyptian cities, Nasser pointed out to the correspondent, the vessels of Israel, with which Egypt is technically at war, are excluded.
The Egyptian dictator held to this position on the eve of his scheduled meeting with the five-power commission representing the 22-nation London conference despite the fact that the United Nations Security Council has twice held that the Egyptian stand was in violation of the Convention, of international law and of the Egyptian-Israel armistice.
Earlier this week, Secretary of State Dulles condemned the Egyptian blockade. He said Israel ships were entitled to use the Suez Canal and Egypt was wrong in refusing them passage.