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United States Believes U.N. Should Remain in Gaza Strip, Herter Says

Under Secretary of State Christian A. Herter said today it is the “firm belief” of the United States “that the United Nations should continue in Gaza… in accordance with arrangements envisaged in Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s report of February 22 to the General Assembly,” Mr. Herter made known the Department’s belief that “the present situation, particularly with regard to Gaza, gives cause for concern.”

The Under Secretary expressed himself in a letter to Rep, Hugh Scott, Pennsylvania Republican. It was in response to a letter from Rep. Scott.

Mr. Herter said “it is unfortunate that since the withdrawal matters have not gone as smoothly as we had hoped.” He expressed the conviction, however, “that with patience and persistence, this problem will be solved and that we can avoid a return to the status quo ante and perhaps be able to do more.”

He expressed the belief that Israel shipping should enjoy the right of passage through both the Strait of Tiran and the Suez Canal.

Mr. Herter said “the situation in Gaza is complicated. We are faced with the problem of trying to reconcile the rights of Egypt under the General Armistice agreement with what we believe to be the broader interests of the United Nations as a whole in the preservation of peace.

“We are very actively concerned with this question and have been in close touch with Secretary General Hammarskjold, with Israel and Egyptian representatives, and with officials of other friendly governments,” he said. “It is our firm belief, “he added, “that the United Nations should continue in Gaza, in the interests of the peace and security of the area, in accordance with arrangements envisaged in Secretary General Hammarskjold’s report of February 22 to the General Assembly.”

Consultations on resumption of economic aid to Israel have begun on a working level, Mr, Herter said. He said “we expect that the evacuated technicians and administrators may be able to return to the area in the near future. However, it should be borne in mind that they were evacuated for reasons of security and that we cannot in good conscience authorize their return until conditions permit us to be reasonably sure of their personal safety.”

On passport restrictions, he said “as soon as the security situation in the area has improved so that tourist travel there is considered reasonably safe, the restrictions will be lifted.”

House Majority Leader John McCormack, of Massachusetts, asked Secretary of State Dules yesterday to remove immediately the ban on U. S. tourist travel to Israel. He said in a letter to Mr. Dulles that the State Department had imposed restrictions on normal U. S. relations with Israel.