NEW YORK (May. 11)
Dr. Charles Malik, Arab leader who last Friday visited the opening of the Israeli Pavilion at the World Trade Fair here, and drank champagne at the exhibit with the Israeli Consul General, Simcha Pratt, last night issued a statement declaring that “the whole thing had absolutely no political significance whatsoever.” His statement reads:
“I was asked by the Mayor of New York, in my capacity as President of the thirteenth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, to take part with him in the opening of the fair in which many members of the United Nations were exhibiting.
“As we took the escalator after the opening ceremony to tour the pavilion on the second floor, I had no idea where we were landing as we landed immediately in the pavilion of Israel. The whole thing had absolutely no political significance whatsoever.
“I was at the fair as President of the thirteenth session of the General Assembly. I do not represent Lebanon. Nor can this incident have any significance with regard to the unaltered position either of me or of Lebanon or of the Arab world toward Israel.”
Ambassador Nadim Dimechkie of Lebanon also issued a statement, declaring that Dr. Malik “does not represent Lebanon in the United States and acted purely on his own initiative.” He added that Dr. Malik’s visit to the Israeli pavilion at the fair had no bearing on the policy of the Lebanese Government or its attitude toward Israel, “which is exactly as that of the other Arab states.” A similar denial came from George Hakim, permanent representative of Lebanon to the United Nations.