Israel Sees Henderson Mission As Continuation of U.S. Policy

Israel neither welcomes nor regrets the fact that Loy Henderson, State Department Middle East expert dispatched to confer with Turkey and the Arab states on Syria’s movement leftward, has not announced his intention of visiting Israel, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman stated here yesterday. It is understood here that Israel has informally been told that Mr. Henderson will make his own decisions on his itinerary.

Davar, the Labor daily which frequently reflects government opinion, pointed out editorially that Mr. Henderson’s dispatch to the Middle East does not support the idea that the United States has yet begun to reappraise its Middle East policy. It added that the name of Mr. Henderson, long touted as a friend of the Arabs, has been “synonymous with the disastrous policy of appeasement.”

Israeli political circles are not surprised that Mr. Henderson has failed to announce any intention of visiting Israel, particularly in view of an “announcement” on an Arab-language broadcast over Radio Moscow that the American diplomat would “consult” with Premier David Ben Gurion. This move was quite evidently intended to discredit Mr. Henderson.

HENDERSON MISSION SEEN TO HOLD ARAB STATES IN CHECK

According to information received from diplomatic channels, Mr. Henderson is in Ankara not to coordinate regional action against Soviet intervention in Syria but, on the contrary, to keep the neighboring Arab states from ganging up on Syria. He is pictured as attempting, on the one hand, to reassure Turkey and, on the other, to cool of Iraq and Jordan which may, in a panic, decide on overt action against their one-time ally. It is not clear from these reports whether Washington is more concerned about the possibility of Turkish action or a move by Iraq.

Diplomatic observers compare Mr. Henderson’s “soothing” mission with that by Secretary of State Dulles who attempted to smooth-talk Britain and France out of anti-Egyptian action after Col. Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

The United States is pictured as inclined toward a long-term view on Syrian developments–as believing that the latest moves are merely part of a continuing East-West struggle over the Middle East. The Soviet Union is viewed as having scored in Egypt, the West with its stabilization of King Hussein’s regime in Jordan, and now the USSR as again tallying in Syria. The U.S. is seen, in this view, as preparing future moves.

These same circles believe that Israel faces difficult times. Syria, like Egypt with Nasser at the helm, may attempt a new, violent anti-Israel campaign as a means of regaining Arab sympathies and to break out of her isolation. The pro-Western Arab states, for their part, may try to pressure anti-Israel concessions out of the United States as the price of holding firm against Syria.

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