UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Mar. 21)
Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold agreed to Israel Foreign Minister Golda Meir’s demand to put to President Nasser of Egypt the question of his claimed “right of belligerency, ” it was learned today, but insisted that he must feel free to phrase the query in his own way.
In view of the Secretary General’s reluctance to raise the question directly, it was considered here unlikely that Israel would have a straight “yes” or “no” answer as to whether Eg. pt will still insist that a state of war exists. It is on the contention that a state of war continues that Egypt bases its “belligerent rights” to bar Israel shipping from the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Akaba.
Israel, it was reported here, had requested that President Nasser be informed that if he does not give up belligerent status, the United Nations Emergency Forces would be withdrawn from Egyptian territory. Under the present circumstances, Israel sees UNEF on the border acting only as a shield to protect Egypt.
U.N. CHIEF, U.S. OFFICIALS DEMAND ISRAEL CONCESSIONS
Mr, Hammarskjold and American officials have taken the position, however, that President Nasser has already made concessions by admitting the UNEF to Egyptian territory and that it is now up to Israel to make a similar concession.
According to Cairo reports tonight, Mr. Hammarskjold is taking the position that Israel must evacuate the Nizana, (El Auja) zone, demilitarized under the 1949 armistice, as a prior condition to his asking Nasser to renounce belligerency claims. Egyptian sources have reported that the UN emergency force would shift its headquarters from the Gaza Strip to Nizana.
The Israel Foreign Minister took the position here that termination of Egypt’s state of belligerency “is the vital and basic problem of the Middle East. ” She expressed the belief that this was “the desire and wish of the United Nations. “
Mrs. Meir indicated differences of opinion with Mr. Hammarskjold over the situation in the Gaza Strip and the nature of the administration there. She voiced hope that the Secretary General would get” the full details” and report on them to the United Nations