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Golda Meir Informs U. N. of Israel’s Readiness to Withdraw Troops

Israel is “eager and anxious” to make arrangements with the United Nations Emergency Force for withdrawal of its troops from Egyptian territory “without delay,” Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly. She said she could not understand how the vast majority of the representatives at the UN could ignore statements made by Israel’s Ambassador Abba Eban last Saturday, when he assured them that the equivalent of two infantry brigades had already been withdrawn behind the demarcation lines.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that India’s V. K. Krishna Menon had pledged that he would amend the Afro-Asian resolution calling for withdrawal “forthwith” if Israel gave the assurance that the withdrawal that had taken place had actually moved the troops from the Sinai Peninsula behind the 1949 demarcation lines. She noted that Mr. Eban had immediately taken the floor to give exactly that assurance, but Mr. Krishna Menon sat silent and made no attempt to amend a draft resolution which no longer adhered to the facts.

“The General Assembly.” Mrs. Meir stated, “will recall that on November 8 the Government of Israel informed the Secretary General that it would willingly withdraw its forces from Egypt immediately upon conclusion of satisfactory arrangements with the United Nations in connection with the emergency international force. This under-taking was repeated in an aide-memoire submitted to the Secretary General on November 24 and again during the course of the debate Saturday afternoon.

“On both occasions, it was explained that the satisfactory arrangements which Israel seeks are such as will ensure Israel’s security against the recurrence of the threat or danger of attack, and against acts of belligerency by land or sea. It surely cannot be the intention of the General Assembly that these things shall not be assured.

“The delegation of Israel is prepared immediately, and has so again informed the Secretary-General officially, to enter into discussions with him or his designated representatives on the arrangements, which in our view must be made in order to implement the resolutions of the General Assembly in their entirely, “Mrs. Meir announced. She expressed the belief that “satisfactory arrangements” can be made.

Immediately after her address to the Assembly, Mrs. Meir sent Mr. Hammarskjold a letter asking him to discuss with her delegation “satisfactory arrangements” in regard to troop withdrawals and the UNEF. She pointed out in her letter that she had brought up the point in conversations with him last week and concluded: “In view of the time which has elapsed since I first made this suggestion, I should be grateful to hear when you are prepared to meet me and members of my delegation for this discussion.”

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