Hammarskjold Wants Syrian Issue, Arms Kept out of General Assembly
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Hammarskjold Wants Syrian Issue, Arms Kept out of General Assembly

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Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold is opposed both to a debate on the arms race in the Middle East and to discussion of Syria’s pro-Communist military coup in the forthcoming Twelfth General Assembly, he indicated to a press conference today.

On the question of the arms race, he said that the problem “is primarily for those countries in a position to supply arms” to the area. He said that it was one thing for the responsible powers to agree and another to have a general public debate in which all countries make statements. “Diplomacy of the classical kind,” was indicated in the first instance, and United Nations action only following this, he said.

It was understood from this comment that the Secretary General held the view that action within the United Nations was impossible so long as the Big Powers could not reach agreement among themselves on the Middle East.

With further reference to the Syrian situation, Mr. Hammarskjold called attention to the UN charter provision against interference in the internal affairs of a member state. As for the ideological question involved, he reminded that the UN was “a neutral organization.”


The Secretary General hinted that the Jordanian plan to ask the Security Council to look into Israel’s activities in the so-called “no-man’s” land in the Jerusalem region, near Mount Mukabar, might be dropped.

He said he found it better to attempt to reach a solution to matters quietly and perhaps avoid a public debate. Actually, it is known that he did in fact persuade the new Jordanian representative, Yussef Hakail, when he presented his credentials Wednesday, to withhold any request now in favor of an attempt by Israel and Jordan to settle the matter on the scene.

Asked whether he had a blueprint for peace in the Middle East, he said he had none, but that he saw the matter in terms of stages. The first stage, that of comparative quiet on the borders; is now. The second will come when the quiet is taken for granted as a fact of everyday life. Then “perhaps we could go on.” He added hopefully, “there seems to be a road through the trees.”

Mr. Hammarskjold said that he had not received any communication from Syria regarding a request for Security Council meeting accusing the United States of fomenting the Syrian trouble, as reported from Damascus. He has also received no reply from Syria, he said, regarding the question Israel asked him to put to Damascus, whether Syria adhered to the non-aggression features of Article I of the armistice agreement.

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