State Dept. Declines to Comment on Seizure of Israeli Seaman

State Department spokesman Lincoln White declined today to comment on the seizure of an Israeli sailor by Egyptian Suez authorities from the Danish freighter Brigitte Toft. He said there had been certain allegations by Egypt against the seaman, Raphael Eylon, and that it was not appropriate for him to comment in the absence of facts.

Asked if the arrest of Mr. Eylon was a violation of the United Nations’ principles for canal operation, Mr. White said information was so far insufficient for the United States to comment and that it was a matter of more direct concern to Israel and Egypt.

Israeli Minister Reuven Shiloah said today that Egypt’s arrest of an Israeli crew member of a Danish ship in transit through the Suez Canal raised doubts as to whether a sailor of any nationality could fed safe if his ship went through the canal.

Mr. Shiloah pointed out that Egyptian President Nasser has shown that he could pull a sailor off any ship and jail him if he does not like the sailor’s nationality. The Israeli diplomat said that this makes all of Egypt’s statements about abiding by Security Council resolutions a “complete farce.” Even according to Egypt’s own criteria, Mr. Shiloah said, Egypt had no reason to interfere with the Danish freighter.

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