WASHINGTON (Oct. 30)
Developments on the Israel-Egyptian front continued to be followed closely here today and were the subject of high-level conferences throughout the day. There were indications, however, that the Administration’s appraisal of the situation had been modified.
President Eisenhower alerted Congressional leaders today for possible emergency meetings at the White House. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn said today that he could see no reason for a special session of Congress. Presidential Secretary James Hagerty said last night that the question of whether and when the President would call a special session “will be decided in the light of the unfolding situation.”
The President had a long meeting this morning at the White House with Secretary of State Dulles during which they reviewed the Middle East situation and discussed the position the American delegation was to take at today’s special session of the United Nations Security Council.
State Department sources indicated strong displeasure with Israel today and a growing measure of antagonism against France and Britain for their failure to cooperate with and follow the lead of Secretary Dulles in the Middle East crisis. It was understood that U. S. diplomats have had a heated exchange with the British and French. From statements by Mr. Dulles and the State Department spokesman this morning, it appeared that the Department had not been given prior notice by Britain and France of their intention to announce that their troops would occupy the Suez Canal Zone if the Israel-Egyptian fighting was not halted within 12 hours.
The State Department was said to be angered by what it considered to be a lack of response on the part of Israel to President Eisenhower’s messages and to American guidance generally. State Department officials, speaking unofficially to newspapermen today, asserted that the United States might sever all economic aid to Israel and cancel Israel’s right to buy those categories of military equipment here which it has been permitted to buy until now. These officials declared that the United States has “virtually” supported Israel and given the State $260 million in assistance. The aid program for the current fiscal year is $26.8 million in economic assistance.
While the general response within the Administration has been one of anger at Israel, this attitude is definitely not shared by many high-ranking military officers and others desiring firmer action to halt Communist penetration of the Middle East and a stronger hand in dealing with Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian dictator. In this group, admiration is being expressed for Mr. Ben Gurion.
Meanwhile, it was announced here that the United States Sixth Fleet had been ordered to stand by in readiness to evacuate American civilians from the Middle East or to support any United Nations action. Major fleet units left. Turkish and Greek ports Sunday night and are cruising 250 to 300 miles from the Mediterranean end of the Suez Canal. A U. S. naval flotilla including an aircraft carrier, six destroyers, two submarines and other vessels cut short its stay at Rotterdam today and hurriedly headed out to sea, reportedly to reinforce American forces in the Mediterranean.