UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Jan. 31)
The United Nations General Assembly was tentatively summoned today for a showdown session tomorrow and Saturday in anticipation of settling the deadlock over Israel’s conditions for the withdrawal of its troops from the Gaza and Akaba areas.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes negotiations were going on today as it became clear that Canada is lining up against a combination of the United States and India in regard to the type of a resolution which would meet at least some of Israel’s demands for “simultaneous and related measures” in connection with the proposed withdrawal of Israeli troops from the two disputed areas.
United States delegate Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., backed by India’s V. K. Krishna Menon, was reportedly holding out against the insistence of Canada’s Minister for External Affairs Lester B. Pearson, who wants a resolution that would give the United Nations Emergency Force administrative duties in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s withdrawal. Mr. Lodge and Mr. Krishna Menon are reportedly insisting that a resolution with such a provision will not muster the necessary two-thirds majority in the Assembly.
While it appeared that there will be two resolutions–the first calling for Israel’s troop withdrawals and the second tackling the situation beyond that phase–a spokesman for the U.S. conceded that as matters stand now there is no certainty that the second resolution would pass the Assembly after the troop withdrawal measure had been reaffirmed.
Israel and its friends among diplomats here fear exactly that kind of a possibility and are therefore pushing for either a single resolution embodying both points or a firm commitment from the Afro-Asian group that it will support resolution number two just as it is willing to support the first measure.
U.S. STAND UNACCEPTABLE TO ISRAEL; EBAN CONFERS WITH U.S. DELEGATE
The American delegation seemed to be content in connection with the second resolution merely to state general principles about giving full effect to the 1949 Israel-Egypt armistice agreement. On the other hand the United States is still insisting on the need for stationing the UN Emergency Force on both sides of the Israel-Egypt frontier in El Aura as well as along the Gaza Strip.
Such a decision it is believed here, would meet with Israel’s firm opposition and would only lead to a continuation of the deadlock since even the Americans agree that stationing of UNE on Israel’s side of the borders would have to have consent from Israel.
Israel’s Ambassador Abba Eben conferred with Mr. Lodge today and presumably heard the latest word on the American plans for resolution number two. While neither the American nor the Israeli diplomat would discuss the subject of their talk, it was understood that Mr. Eban made it clear that mere vague formulations of goodwill will not suffice for Israel at this point.
The least that Israel wants from resolution number two is a definite promise that the United Nations will see to it that Israel has freedom of passage for its shipping through the Akaba waterway and that Egypt will be ordered specifically to end the state of belligerency toward Israel along the frontiers between the two countries.
The possibility that the compliance resolution, which is certain to get an overwhelming vote here, will not insure the same kind of a vote for resolution number two apparently does not elicit particular concern among the Israelis. The procedural plan as it stands now is to introduce both resolutions and to discuss both simultaneously. It seems to be clearly understood among Western and Latin American delegations here that if resolution number two is not carried or if resolution number two is watered down to a repetition of “goodwill” then Israel cannot be expected to comply with resolution number one and the deadlock will continue.
In a conference yesterday with Ambassador Lodge, Jacob Blaustein, American Jewish Committee leader, reviewed the critical situation in the Middle East and Egyptian acts against its Jewish and its British and French residents.