LONDON (Oct. 30)
Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden announced in Parliament today that British and French troops would move into the Suez Canal area to protect shipping and lives in the waterway.
In a statement leading off a debate in Commons today, Sir Anthony said the British and French Governments, after consultations in London and with the United States in Washington, had sent urgent messages to Israel and Egypt urging the belligerents to halt all hostilities and threatening that British and French troops would intervene in the canal zone to separate the belligerents unless they ceased firing and withdrew at least ten miles from the cut. A 12-hour ultimatum (expiring 4:30 A. M. Israel time) was attached to the message, he said.
However, apparently responding to the rapidly unfolding military and diplomatic situation, the Prime Minister intervened in the debate later in the day to announce that regardless of whether the ultimatum was accepted or not, “token” British and French forces would move in to the canal zone.
Throughout a long address, detailing developments in the past week and particularly in the last 24 hours, Sir Anthony appeared in a more understanding role of Israel’s trials and tribulations than at any time in recent years. He alluded several times to the fact that “everybody knows” that Egypt has far more arms than Israel and that this, coupled with-recent statements and actions of the Egyptian Government, had “further aggravated” the apprehension in Israel. He noted also the significance of the just concluded Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian military pact and the increasing tempo of guerrilla attacks and commando incursions into Israel.
The Prime Minister reported that the government had publicly and privately reacted to the Israel mobilization by stating that Britain would honor its obligations under the Anglo-Jordan Treaty. As late as last night, Israel had again given the British Ambassador assurances that it would not attack Jordan, he said.