Dulles Reiterates U.S. Support of Israel’s Rights to Use Suez Canal

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was asked today whether, if he could do it over again, he would have supported the Anglo-French-Israeli action against Egypt in October-November 1956, when Israeli forces were deep in the Sinai desert. The question was posed to him at a National Press Club luncheon where the Secretary appeared as a speaker.

Separating the political from the military implications, he said the United States did in fact support Israel’s rights to the use of the Suez Canal. He termed Egypt’s defiance of the Suez Canal agreement and its seizure of the waterway as improper.

He described the decision to take a stand on the military attack on Egypt as the most difficult he was forced to make in his tenure of office. He would not say today, however, if he would again make the same decision. He stated that it was his policy not to defend any position he then took and saw no value in re-opening “old wounds” which he characterized as now healed.

In his annual report to the Congress on United States participation in the United Nations during 1956, President Eisenhower stated today that the UN Emergency Force “remains the guardian of peace in the sensitive Gaza and Sharm el Sheikh areas.” The President added that UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold “deserves particular commendation for his role in the United Nations actions during the Middle East crisis.”

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