JERUSALEM (May. 15)
The Israel Government welcomed today Secretary of State Dulles’ statement yesterday that the United States does not oppose the dispatch of an Israeli vessel through the Suez Canal to test Egypt’s intentions. A Foreign Ministry spokesman hailed Mr. Dulles’ remarks as “further support of Israel’s right of freedom of navigation.”
The same spokesman, commenting on reports here that the Zim Navigation Company was negotiating with a Norwegian line to charter the 450-ton S. S. Mars for a journey to Japan via the Suez Canal, declared that the Israel Government would not consider this a test in any sense.
The vessel was still taking on a cargo of phosphates at Haifa today, with less than 24 hours left before a decision must be made whether to send her through the canal or around the Cape of Good Hope. Even if she heads for the canal, the Mars cannot provide the definitive test which Israel seeks. Before the Sinai campaign the vessel negotiated the canal several times with cargoes for and from Haifa. While the Egyptians did not molest her, the vessel has been denied any services at all Arab ports, as punishment for engaging in Israeli trade.