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Hammarskjold Leaves for Middle East; Says His Trip is Not Political

United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold said today that his trip to the Middle East is “not a political mission but a Christmas trip.” He made the statement at the International Airport prior to his departure for Stockholm whence he will proceed to the Middle East on December 23.

At the session of the UN Security Council this week where Israel’s complaint against Syrian shelling of Israeli villages was dealt with it was decided–at Mr. Hammarskjold’s suggestion–to authorize the Secretary General during his visit to the Middle East to look into the matter of Syrian attack against Israel as well as into the “underlying problems” affecting Israel and the United Arab Republic.

Today, Mr. Hammarskjold said that the primary reason for his going to the Middle East was to attend the opening of the newly-established Economic Commission for Africa which will convene for the first time at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on December 29. “I will employ this opportunity to visit the United Nations troops on Gaza and on the international frontier,” he stated. “As a matter of course, I shall take this opportunity to visit some of the countries in the region. I shall visit Cairo, of course, Jerusalem and Amman.”

“I hope that what I will be able to achieve in these talks–although this is not a political mission but a Christmas trip–will prove to be of some importance in the general effort in which we are engaged, all of us, to move toward a peaceful world,” he added.

In answer to a question whether he expects to see United Arab Republic President Nasser, the UN Secretary General,; said “yes.” Delegates representing Jordan, Lebanon and Sweden were at the airport to say farewell to the Secretary General as I was Joseph Tekoah, Israel’s deputy permanent representative at the United Nations.

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