Eisenhower Criticizes Egypt’s Blockade of Suez Against Israel

President Eisenhower told a press conference today that he personally feels Egypt’s anti-Israel Suez blockade is most unjust and not in accord with the Suez treaty of 1888. The President expressed hope that Egypt would see it in her own best interest to cooperate with canal users. If such broad agreement is achieved, he thought the anti-Israel practices could ultimately be corrected.

The President’s remarks came in response to a reporter’s question. Mr. Eisenhower was asked about hope for a general Suez settlement in view of Egypt’s longtime rejection of U.S. views on Egyptian Suez restrictions against Israel and ships trading with Israel. He replied that the blockade has existed a long time and that he personally feels it unjust and not in accord with the 1888 treaty.

The President voiced hope that the proposed canal users’ association would show great unanimity on rules and that Egypt would see it in her best interest to reach an agreement with the association. He said countries backing the users’ plan provided 90 percent of Suez traffic.

If a general understanding was reached with Egypt, Mr. Eisenhower indicated it could facilitate the removal of anti-Israel practices. The President said the first users’ conference in London laid down certain principles and proposals. He expressed belief that details of canal operation could be compromised or re-arranged but that this would only be possible if a solution adhered to the broad principle that the users have a stake in the canal. He indicated that his main interest centered in the broad principles.

DULLES’ ASSURANCES ON PASSAGE OF ISRAEL SHIPS WELCOMED

Israel officials here today attached importance to what they described as an assurance by Secretary of State Dulles regarding the possible availability of Suez Canal user’s association facilities to all ships including those of Israel.

Israel circles said that the interest of Israel in the Suez dispute communicated to the State Department in recent weeks was primarily Israel’s concern to insure non-discrimination in the use of the canal.

The statement by Mr. Dulles was made at a press conference yesterday. The Secretary of State said in effect, that while Israel would not be allowed to join the projected canal users’ association the association’s facilities could nevertheless theoretically be made available to Israel shipping. Therefore, Mr. Dulles expressed a view that it was “irrelevant” whether or not Israel was given membership.

Secretary Dulles today held a briefing session on the Suez situation in which late developments between Israel and Jordan were also believed discussed. He briefed Ambassadors of Latin American countries.

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