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Dulles Reiterates U.S. Stand on Keeping Akaba Waters Open to Israel

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles today told a press conference that the United States remains of the opinion that the three-mile limit now in force in the Gulf of Akaba should be maintained. He made his position clear in connection with the recent declaration by Saudi Arabia extending its territorial waters in the Gulf of Akaba to a new 12-mile limit, in order to prevent the passage of ships to and from the Israeli port of Elath.

Asked whether the transfer of certain major functions of the King of Saudi Arabia to Prince Faisal indicated an imminent change in relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, Secretary Dulles replied:

“No. We do not consider that this involves any change in relations. It is not easy to evaluate what has happened and there are a number of interpretations that are put upon it, all of them of a speculative character. I think it is to be borne in mind that Prince Faisal has in the past been Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He gave up those functions because of illness. He came to the United States, as you will recall, to have medical attention. While here, he met with the President and with me. We have no reason whatever to believe that he is animated by anti-American sentiments.”

Mr. Dulles added that the whole situation in the Arab world “is in a state of evolution” and it is not easy to evaluate any event that occurs there because the situation is considerably in flux. “The creation of the United Arab Republic and the Federation and matters of that sort all inject new elements, new forces, into the situation, “he declared. “And it requires close observation and attention. But we have no reason at the moment to put any unusual evaluation upon what has happened in Saudi Arabia.”

IS SATISFIED WITH SITUATION ON ISRAEL-EGYPTIAN FRONTIER

Asked whether, on the anniversary of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Sinai and Gaza areas, he now feels that the expectations that led to this withdrawal have been fulfilled, and whether he is satisfied with what has happened since then, Secretary Dulles said:

“As far as the issues that were involved at the time of the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the deployment of United Nations Emergency Forces there, the results have fully fulfilled our maximum expectations. There has been peace and order in the area and the United Nations forces there have played a very useful, indeed, indispensable, role.

“I think it is now recognized that while both sides, both Israel and Egypt, had great concern about that solution in the beginning, and about the principles which we advocated very strongly, there is now a realization on both sides that our position at that time was sound and that events have justified the position that we then took,” he stressed.

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