U.N. Secretary General Reports “will to Peace” Exists in Middle East

Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold insisted today that there was still existent in the Middle East “a basic will to peace. He said that the Arab-Israel armistice agreements–which Israel views as no longer valid–must be restored to effectiveness, and that the problem of the Arab refugees remains one of the “special responsibilities” of the United Nations.

Mr. Hammarskjold made these observations in the introduction to his annual report to the General Assembly. The report itself, addressed to the forthcoming twelfth session of the Assembly, convening September 17, was issued by the Secretary General several weeks ago. It has been his practice to file the introduction as a separate document each year just prior to the opening of the Assembly.

“In the Palestine question,” he declared, “the United Nations has two special responsibilities.” One of these is in regard to the armistice agreements endorsed by the Security Council. The other is the humanitarian responsibility for the Palestine refugees, who have been under United Nations jurisdiction for nine years now as homeless victims of events outside their control, while the problem of the repatriation or resettlement has remained unsolved by the governments upon whom rest their hopes for a life more consonant with human dignity.

“To work toward a restoration of the armistice agreements, primarily in their spirit but, in consequence, also in their letter,” the Secretary General continued, “and to give constructive help to the refugees, are obligations of the first priority resting upon the Organization and its member governments.”

SAYS DIFFICULTIES IN REACHING ARAB-ISRAEL PEACE MUST BE SURMOUNTED

“There continues to exist, I am convinced, a basic will to peace in the area despite whatever signs there may have been to the contrary,” he declared. “I would be the last to minimize the very great difficulties that lie in the way of steps by governments which are necessary in order to translate this will to peace into concrete progress toward peaceful solutions. These difficulties nevertheless must be surmounted.

“The UN could not and, of course, should not attempt to do this alone,” Mr. Hammarskjold added. “The governments concerned, with whom the power of decision rests, may not be able to do it alone. But the governments, strengthened by the help available from and within the United Nations can, and I hope will, decide to lead their peoples step by step upon this road toward a more secure and promising future for them all.”

Mr. Hammarskjold paid high tribute to the UN Emergency Force. “The comparative quiet” in the area patrolled by UNEF “is a welcome symptom, “he said. However, the secretary General pointed out that “there have been few, if any, signs of further progress” from the stage of comparative quiet to peace in the area.

Elsewhere in the introduction, dealing with the Suez Canal problem, Mr. Hammarskjold made this specific point: “It should also be noted that the six-year-old question of Israeli shipping remains in dispute.”

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