WASHINGTON (Oct. 29)
President Eisenhower termed the Middle East situation today “critical” and pledged the moral power of the United States to maintain peace. In a last minute interpolation in a prepared address he delivered in Miami, the President expressed grave concern over Middle East developments and said that “in such a critical situation, we cannot expect to erase suddenly the bitter heritage of–the ages.”
Early in the day, the President delayed briefly his departure on a campaign swing through the Southern states while he met with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to discuss Israel-Arab developments.
News of the Arab-Israel fighting has been relayed by radio-telephone to President Eisenhower. It was not immediately indicated whether he would return to Washington from his campaign trip ahead of schedule.
Secretary Dulles today summoned a delegation of Senators representing the Foreign Relations Committee to the State Department to inform them of current developments involving the area. The delegation includes committee chairman Walter George of Georgia; William Langer of North Dakota and J. W. Fulbright of Arkansas.
Mr. Dulles was scheduled to meet later today with the Canadian Ambassador. It is believed the Israel-Arab crisis will be discussed.
DULLES MEETS WITH FRENCH AND BRITISH DIPLOMATS IN WASHINGTON
The State Department made known that Mr. Dulles has seen the French Ambassador and the British Ambassador in connection with the safeguarding of Near Eastern peace under the concept of the Tripartite Declaration of 1950.
White House and State Department sources continued to view the situation grimly. One State Department source openly predicted–but without allowing use of his name–that the next 24 hours might see an eruption of open warfare unless President Eisenhower’s advice is heeded. This source claimed that Israel is mobilizing between 150,000 and 200,000 troops and that the situation is far more serious than at any time since 1948.
It was revealed here that between 7,000 and 8,000 American tourists, businessmen, officials in non-essential capacities, and dependents of U.S. personnel were being urgently advised by U.S. Embassies in Israel, Jordan, Syria and Egypt to pack and leave those countries at once.
Last night, after the White House released President Eisenhower’s warning to the Middle East States, the State Department declared that “as a matter of prudence” measures were being taken “to reduce the number of Americans, particularly dependents, in several of the Middle Eastern countries. While it is not contemplated that a full-scale evacuation will take place, persons who are not performing essential functions will be asked to depart until conditions improve. The Department of State urges American citizens planning to visit countries in the Middle East to defer such plans until the situation is clearer,” the statement said.
U.S. AMBASSADOR IN ISRAEL CALLS ON BEN GURION
The State Department made known that Israel Foreign Minister Golda Meir, and Premier David Ben Gurion were called on in separate sessions by the U.S. Ambassador in Israel. In Cairo U.S. Ambassador Raymond Hare arranged meetings with Premier Nasser and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Fawzi.
In a meeting here last night, Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban told Secretary Dulles that the reason for Israel’s partial mobilization was that Israel has reason to fear an attack by neighboring Arab states. Mr. Dulles summoned Abba Eban to the State Department.
After talking with Mr. Dulles, the Israeli envoy said that fear of attack has become intensified in Israel in view of certain developments in Arab policy in the last few days. He referred to an arrangement for joint action by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, a recurrence of fedayeen commando activities, recent reports of troop concentration on the Iraqi-Jordan frontier and new anti-Israel statements by the heads of Arab governments.
Meanwhile, the State Department admitted today that $15,000,000 worth of aid to Egypt is being shipped despite the fact that relations with the Nasser regime are such that no other shipments under the development assistance program are planned for the future.
It was revealed in the last few days that the International Cooperation Administration, without fanfare, had resumed shipments to Egypt on such items as locomotives, barges, other transportation equipment, and machinery. A State Department spokesman indicated that this equipment had been previously contracted for and was shipped to avoid penalty clauses.