U.N. Assembly Hears Plea for Action to Ease Arab-israel Conflict
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U.N. Assembly Hears Plea for Action to Ease Arab-israel Conflict

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For the first time since the 12th General Assembly opened a week ago, Israel-Arab tensions were today brought specifically into the debate when T. L. MacDonald, New Zealand’s Minister for External Affairs, addressed the Assembly.

Pointing out that the UN Emergency Force and the clearance of the Suez Canal have eased the situation in the Middle East considerably, Mr. MacDonald told the Assembly: “Important as these gains are, they have yet to be consolidated and extended before any lasting achievement can be claimed. This is one of the greatest of the challenges which face the present session of the General Assembly.”

“It is true,” Mr. MacDonald continued, “that quiet prevails on the armistice lines; but the bitterness of Israeli-Arab relations has not been diminished. The United Nations Emergency Force provides a buffer; but the will to achieve a lasting settlement has not yet appeared on either side. Shipping is once more passing through the Suez Canal; but the conditions of passage are by no means satisfactory as long as Israeli shipping is prevented from using the Canal, the provisions of the 1888 Convention will not be fully carried out, and the international character of this waterway will be infringed.”

“As the past year has shown, the weaknesses and dissensions of the Middle East increase the ever-present dangers of Communist domination,” Mr. MacDonald continued. He went on to express the view that restoring conditions in the Middle East to the status quo prevailing before last year’s hostilities involving Egypt is insufficient. “The General Assembly,” he said, “must look beyond the result of tensions to its causes, and must work for their removal. We must indeed make up for the years before last year when the problems existed but failed to attract the Assembly’s attention.”

Mr. MacDonald expressed the opinion that the UN cannot afford to do without UNEF “until we are able to resolve the difficulties and tensions which it keeps in check.” He concluded this section of his address by declaring that New Zealand feels that “the effort to deal with the underlying problems of the Middle East must be intensified.”


Canada, which first proposed to the United Nations last year the formation of the UN Emergency Force as an international police patrol, still strongly supports UNEF, the General Assembly was told today by John G. Diefenbaker, Prime Minister of Canada. “The Canadian Government is deeply gratified that UNEF has had so large a measure of success in its endeavors, and is willing to continue its contributions as long as it is considered necessary by the United Nations,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Canada’s troops make up the largest single troop contingent within UNEF, comprising some 1,200 of the total personnel of 6,000. Voicing pride in the fact that the UNEF commander, Gen. E. L. M. Burns, is a Canadian, Mr. Diefenbaker expressed the hope that Gen. Burns would continue in the post in which he has “earned the approval and praise of the most objective of observers.”

At a press conference later, Mr. Diefenbaker said that he “can think of no possible action that could be taken by the General Assembly at this time in regard to the Middle East that would be beneficial either as to present tensions or in the direction of a long-range solution.” As faras Canada was concerned, it had no concrete proposals to offer regarding the Middle East, he stated. In answer to a question about whether he thought the situation with Syria was a threat to the Middle East, he said that the developments in Syria “are not lacking in dangerous potentialities.”

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