Hammarskjold to Study “underlying Problems” Affecting Israel and Nasser
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Hammarskjold to Study “underlying Problems” Affecting Israel and Nasser

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Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold told the United Nations Security Council today that he expects on his forthcoming visit to the Middle East not only to look into the latest incident of the Syrian attack against Israel but also into the “underlying problems” affecting Israel and the United Arab Republic.

Mr. Hammarskjold virtually told the Council that he would prefer that it took no other action on the Israeli complaint against the Syrian shelling except to leave the dispute in his hands. His proposal was immediately endorsed by Henry Cabot Lodge, chairman of the American delegation, who took the floor right behind Mr. Hammarskjold. Both expressed deepest concern over the December 3 incident in which, according to the Israeli complaint, Syrian artillery fired several hundred shells into a number of Israel villages in the Huleh border region.

Observers here noted that one of Israel’s prime purposes in filing the current complaint–which was to obtain expressions of concern from the UN and the major powers–seems already to have been achieved. Mr. Hammarskjold will spend three days in Israel during his forthcoming visit to the Middle East. He will fly to Jerusalem from Somaliland on the morning of December 31 and will leave Jerusalem for Amman January 3. He will return to New York January 8.


After a majority of the Security Council, as well as Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, today upheld Israel’s insistence that the Syrian attacks on Israeli villages in the Huleh area on December 3 was a “grave” and “serious” incident the Council agreed to Mr. Hammarskjold’s suggestion that he make a new effort to “attack the underlying problems which are at the source of the tension” between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Near the end of today’s session, Ambassador Abba Eban, chairman of the Israel delegation, once more told the eleven member body that the entire responsibility for the tensions along the Syrian border is the fact that “the United Arab Republic maintains a state of war.” He told the Council that Syria has been maintaining a policy of belligerence against Israel and of obstructing Israel’s plans for completing water projects in the Huleh area since 1951.

Once again as he did a week ago, Mr. Eban told the Council that all that Israel wants is peace and implied that if it does not get peace it will have to resort to the kind of defense it undertook against Syrian fire December 3. In answer to Mr. Eban, Dr. Omar Loutfi, head of the UAR delegation, said that his country will “not be frightened by attacks or concentration of troops” and that “if attacked, will repel the attack.”


Mr. Hammarskjold told the Security Council it has always been his “firm view” that “no military action in contravention of the cease-fire clauses of the general armistice agreement can be justified.” He added: “Personally, I note the incident before the Security Council with the deepest concern.” He went on to say that another matter of concern were the underlying problems which had led to the present state of tension and the use of force. These problems called for serious efforts toward a peaceful solution eliminating the cause of tension.

Continuing, the Secretary General said he is concerned about the “deterioration” of conditions around the Huleh region and the Northern demilitarized zone in the last year, and even more concerned about “symptoms indicating that the deterioration is continuing.” In this connection, he spoke of the dangers of a military build-up in “an area which has proved to be explosive.” What had happened should be the turning point toward “more favorable” developments, he said.

U.S. delegate Henry Cabot Lodge told the Council: “The events of December 3 deserve our serious concern because they involve in fact armed action on a large scale.” The American representative said that the Council “cannot condone action or the use of force in justification of earlier actions. We cannot agree,” he said, “with those who say that the past justifies the present.”

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