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Mt, Scopus Issue Can Explode into Conflagration, Hammarskjold Warns

The Mt. Scopus dispute between Jordan and Israel is still an explosive issue which could, at any time, spread into a major conflagration along the entire Arab-Israeli front, UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold told a press conference today.

In his carefully diplomatic phrasing, the UN Chief asserted today that, around the Mt Scopus dispute, “there is a whole complex of questions.” We know, he continued, “that such questions have a habit of spreading, contagiously, from one matter to another, matters unrelated even geographically.” Asked about the question of Jordan’s failure to implement Article VIII of the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement of 1949, dealing with Israel’s access to Mt. Scopus, Mr. Hammarskjold replied: “That matter is part of that complex.”

The UN Secretary General was asked also–in the context of the Mt. Scopus issue and Jordan’s re-opening of the issue with Maj. Gen. Carl C. von Horn, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization–whether his team of personal representatives, appointed to deal specifically with the Mt. Scopus issue, is still operating. That team consists of Dr. Francisco Urrutia, former Chief of Colombia’s delegation to the United Nations; Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Undersecretary of the United Nations in charge of political affairs; and Andrew W. Cordier, executive assistant to the Secretary General.

SAYS NOTHING HAS CHANGED ON THE SUEZ BLOCKADE ISSUE

“There has been a rather long and quiet period around Mr. Scopus,” Mr. Hammarskjold replied. “For several months, things have been running smoothly, and those representatives had little to do. But their mandate remains, and they will go into action again when it is necessary. Mt. Scopus is linked up with neighboring problems, and some of the operations are not working as smoothly as the convoys.” He was referring to the biweekly convoys of supplies which the Israelis, under a UN-supervised agreement with Jordan, send to Mt. Scopus from Jerusalem.

Asked about the Inge Toft issue, centering about Israel’s demand for freedom of shipping through the Suez Canal, Mr. Hammarskjold said: “There is nothing really to say or to add on the Inge Toft story today.” The Inge Toft, a Danish vessel, has been tied to a dock at Port Said since last May, when the ship was halted by Egyptian authorities while carrying Israeli organized cargo from Haifa, destined to the Far East. The captain of the Danish vessel has refused to unload the cargo, which Egypt announced it would confiscate.

Prior to the press conference, Israel’s acting head of the delegation here, Joseph Tekoah, met with Mr. Cordier, presumably for a continuation of their many talks about the Inge Toft issue. However, neither of the conferees had anything to say about the subject of their conversation.

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