WASHINGTON (Feb. 11)
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conferred today with Israel Ambassador Abba Eban on the United Nations request for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza and Akaba areas. The conference lasted over an hour, after which Mr. Dulles immediately contacted President Eisenhower, who is on a hunting trip in Georgia, to report on his talk with the Israeli envoy. Mr. Dulles made a strong appeal for prompt Israel withdrawal.
Ambassador Eban said after the meeting that Israel continues to demand “concrete and tangible guarantees” before withdrawing from the Gaza and Akaba strips. He stressed that a verbal pledge by Egyptian President Nasser would be insufficient. “I think every body who has dealt with the Nasser Government knows from experience what value can be placed on Nasser’s verbal assurances,” he stated. He pointed out that Israel wants concrete and tangible assurances so that previous violence will not recur.
State Department officials said it was very possible that a stern warning will be delivered to Israel on the consequences of its refusal to withdraw unconditionally. They indicated that President Eisenhower holds the view that Israel’s failure to withdraw immediately would increase the danger of new hostilities. President Eisenhower will meet on March 21 at Bermuda with the Prime Ministers of Britain and France to discuss the Middle East situation and other world problems, it was announced today.
Mr. Eban generally declined to discuss details of today’s meeting. He termed it a “very concrete discussion of the issues.” He refused to comment on a reported possible exchange of diplomatic notes between the two countries. Asked about the threat of sanctions, he told the press after seeing Secretary Dulles that he was not aware sanctions had any status although “discriminatory proposals” have been mentioned in the press.