WASHINGTON (Jul. 21)
The White House denied today that the Rev. Edward L. R. Elson, who is President Eisenhower’s pastor, is on a government mission reeking Arab-Israel peace, Dr. Elson, chairman of the national council of the “American Friends of the Middle East,” recently met with President Nasser in Cairo.
Presidential spokesman James Hagerty said today Dr. Elson is travelling with a personal letter of introduction from President Eisenhower but that “in no sense is he any government emissary.” Dr. Elson’s name was mentioned after Israeli Premier Ben Gurion said in Jerusalem Thursday that the “head of a certain great power” had asked a noted American associated with a Christian religious organization to initiate contacts with Nasser that might lead to peace talks. Mr. Ben Gurion said the envoy returned “with empty hands.”
Dr. Elson met with Nasser on June 29 in Cairo. He is en route to Saudi Arabia. where he is scheduled to have an audience with King Saud. It was indicated that after his return to Washington he will undoubtedly brief the President on his impressions as has been the case on previous extensive trips he has made to the area, but he will be reporting purely as a private citizen.
(A cable from Paris to the New York Daily News said today that Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York who bolted the Democratic Party to support Eisenhower in 1956, “disclosed” that he is the “religious leader” representing the “head of a certain great power” who attempted to mediate the Arab-Israel dispute. He said that he made this attempt before Israel entered the Sinai area last fall and hinted that he will try again in September. No one at the State Department in Washington today would comment on Rep. Powell’s statement in Paris.)