UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Sep. 25)
On the eve of the meeting of the United Nations Security Council tomorrow on Egypt’s seizure of the Suez Canal, UN headquarters today distributed among members of the Council the official text of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 from which it can be seen distinctly that Egypt has no right to close the canal to Israel.
In preparation for the debate at the Security Council, which will most likely last several weeks, the members of the Council today paid special attention to Article I of the Convention which reads:
“The Suez Maritime Canal shall always be free and open, in time of war as in time of peace, to every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag. Consequently, the high contracting parties agree not in any way to interfere with the free use of the canal, in time of war as in time of peace. The canal shall never be subjected to the exercise of the right of blockade.”
It was privately agreed by Security Council members that under that provision of the Convention there could be no two opinions as to the illegality of Egypt’s using the Suez Canal to blockade Israel. It was, therefore, expected that the Egyptian blockade against Israel would be brought up strongly during the Security Council debate.
Israel’s views on Suez Canal usage will definitely be presented in the discussion, it was reliably learned today. Israel will make the point that with the exception of Egypt, it is the nearest country to the canal and that it is the only country discriminated against and denied the protection of the guarantees of the 1888 Constantinople Convention. Israel feels it should have been invited to the recent London conference where the matter was first raised.