Ben Gurion Sees Eban in New Policy Talks on Syrian Crisis
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Ben Gurion Sees Eban in New Policy Talks on Syrian Crisis

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Top-level consultations on the Middle East situation, particularly in the light of the latest Syrian developments, got under way here today when Premier David Ben Gurion conferred with Abba S. Eban, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and chief of the Israel delegation to the United Nations. Foreign Minister Golda Meir and Gen. Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces, were expected to join the talks later.

The primary objective of the current consultations is an evaluation of the present situation, an appraisal of probable future developments and an attempt to determine the course of action Israel should follow in the Middle East area and on in the international scene in relation to Washington and the United Nations.


Israel circles expressed the belief that the latest developments in Syria, with that country coming under Communist domination, had proven that Israel’s evaluation of the Syrian situation had been much more accurate than certain evaluations by the United States. Washington, it was believed, was aware of this fact. Consequently, it was thought, Washington might be more inclined in the future to listen to Jerusalem.

The discussions which got under way here today could result in the piecing together of a sharp and clear picture of the prevailing situation and also in a definition of the trend to be expected in Syria and other countries of the Middle East. But in trying to hammer out a line of action for Israel, Premier Ben Gurion and his advisors were likely to be handicapped by a lack of knowledge of the nature of Washington’s policy and the limits to which the United States would go in an attempt to reverse the Syrian developments.

President Eisenhower’s statement Wednesday that the Eisenhower Doctrine did not seem to be applicable to the Syrian situation was seen here as emphasizing the lack of coordination among the several countries interested in a reversal of the Syrian situation.


While it would appear that Washington felt the Syrian disease should be treated in Syria, responsible Israel circles felt the disease should be attacked at the source of the virus–Cairo. For, in their view, it was President Nasser of Egypt who prepared the ground for the Communist coup in Syria and it was on Nasser that continuation of Communist domination of Syria depended.

Israel circles were worried, however, that Washington, in recognition of this situation, might again commit the mistake of believing that Nasser could be won over to the West by concessions. They felt that in the situation where the whole structure of Western defense in the Middle East had been undermined, the United States would have to take the lead in attempts to alter the situation.

This was how Israel observers saw the effects of the Syrian coup on Syria’s neighbor’s today:

Turkey: Soviet airbases in Syria could neutralize Turkish bases and leave that country in the position of Czechoslovakia after the Austrian Anschluss in 1938.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia: At Syria’s mercy economically because of their dependence on the oil pipelines running through Syria to the Mediterranean coast.

Jordan: Increased danger to the country’s independence and to King Hussein’s throne and possibility of its replacement by a pro-Soviet, pro-Egyptian regime.

Israel: Intensification of the perennial Arab threat through admixture with Soviet anti-Israel hostility.

In this situation, it appeared to Israel observers today that there was a lack of readiness in the West, particularly in Washington, to assume the leadership and knit together all these elements which lav under Communist threat from Syria into an effective resistance force. The result, Israelis said, was that the capacity for joint counteraction against the Communist Syrian threat was not being mobilized.

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