WASHINGTON (Feb. 19)
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee voted unanimously today to oppose imposition of sanctions on Israel. This was announced on the Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas.
Senator Johnson, one of the leaders who is to meet with President Eisenhower tomorrow on the Israel withdrawal issue, had asked top party leadership for guidance. He was then advised that the Democratic Policy Committee had unanimously gone on record against anti-Israel sanctions. The Committee acted by endorsing a February 11 letter Sen. Johnson sent Secretary of State Dulles asking that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations be instructed to use all its skill in fighting sanctions.
Sen. Johnson said that he would call the President’s attention to the Senate Democratic Policy decision at the White House meeting tomorrow.
Chairman Richard B. Russell (D., Ga.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee told the Senate today that he thinks it would be “poor business to single out the weakest member of the UN for punishment and let larger nations go scot free.” Obviously referring to Israel as the “weakest” UN member, Sen. Russell opposed the idea of sanctions against the Jewish State.
Senator Wayne Morse (D., Ore.) of the Foreign Relations Committee upheld Israel’s refusal to withdraw from the Gaza and Akaba areas “until Israel gets guarantees from the UN of her survival.” Sen. Morse said: “I know of no fact that justifies Israel’s taking any guarantees from the U.S. outside of the UN.” He added that as far as he is concerned there will be “full debate in the Senate on our unfortunate foreign policy.”
Republican Senator Ralph E. Flanders of Vermont expressed sympathy with the position that sanctions leveled against Israel would be prejudicial to U.S. interests and unfair to Israel. In comments on the Senate floor, he also identified himself with statements made by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas against sanctions.
Sen. Mike Mansfield, Montana Democrat, said today the United States should take the lead in seeking the guarding of the Gulf of Akaba and the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Emergency Force. He said that as an alternative to sanctions he feels the United States could win the necessary support to interpose the UNEF between possible belligerents. Sen. Mansfield is an important member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As such, he will participate in tomorrow’s meeting of President Eisenhower with Congressional leaders.