UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Oct. 7)
Andrei A. Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister, told a press conference here today that Israel has thus far “avoided answering” his questions as to whether Israel would march an army into Jordan when the British troops are withdrawn from the Arab country. Asked whether he would comment on the speech made in the General Assembly this morning by Israel’s Foreign Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir, the Soviet statesman replied:
“It was a very unclear statement regarding the policy of the Government of Israel. We have asked twice what Israel would do if the British forces were withdrawn from Jordan. We have asked Israel to clarify that situation plainly. Israel has spoken twice on this subject and has successfully avoided answering. They have answered that the determination of Israel’s foreign policy must be its own decision. It is not the answer to the question we have asked.”
Mr. Gromyko, in a prepared statement, expressed strenuous opposition to the informal proposals that had been voiced here for the last two months for the creation of a United Nations stand-by peace force. Ignoring the fact that Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold is one of the proponents of the plan, and insisting on calling such contingents “armed” forces, Mr. Gromyko said that the entire plan is being advanced by the United States which wants the creation of a United Nations “armed” force, even if it has to be done “by hook or by crook.”
However, in answer to a question, the Soviet Foreign Minister said that Moscow would not mind the creation of a UN armed force if it were established under certain provisions of the UN Charter and if the permanent members of the Security Council–which include the USSR–were empowered to contribute contingents.
The Soviet Foreign Minister, for the first time since the creation of the UN Emergency Force, appeared to accept UNEF as a necessary UN instrument. He said that “UNEF was created when bombs fell on Suez after the British, French and Israel aggression against Egypt and Egypt was obliged to accept armed forces at that time.”