WASHINGTON (Aug. 31)
Chairman J. W. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today praised the Nasser regime’s operation of the Suez Canal but drew opposition from other Senators who attacked Egyptian discrimination against Israel shipping.
Senator Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat, lauded the Nasser Government for its operation of the Canal. He said it was now being run “efficiently. ” Senator Hugh Scott, Pennsylvania Republican, interjected that the Canal might be operating “efficiently, but so was Hitler’s government.”
Senator Fulbright thought that a loan should be made available through the World Bank to “encourage” President Nasser of the United Arab Republic because of his resumption of relations with Jordan and other steps. He thought such large loans might help reconcile the Arabs to the continued existence of the State of Israel.
While he deplored the interruption of legitimate traffic in the Suez Canal, Sen. Fulbright thought “affirmative steps,” including loans, should be taken to support the UAR in the interest of U.S. foreign policy. He hoped it would facilitate a solution ultimately of Arab-Israel differences.
Senator Scott told the Senate he differed with Senator Fulbright because the Suez Canal was not now being operated “legally. ” He said Nasser acted in the Inge Toft case in violation of an international convention, United Nations principles and the cause of Near Eastern peace. He questioned the wisdom of a World Bank loan to the United Arab Republic.
NASSER’S REFUSAL TO PERMIT PASSAGE OF ISRAELI CARGOES CONDEMNED
Addressing Senator Fulbright, Senator Scott said that, as long as Nasser refuses Israeli commercial transit in the Canal, he would not spend his time praising Nasser for bringing peace to the Near East.
When Sen. Scott mentioned that 25 members of the Senate wrote the State Department on June 24 about the anti-Israel blockade of Suez, Sen. Fulbright raised a question of politics. Sen. Scott, in a heated exchange, said it was not an issue of “politics” or “partisanship” but one of Israel’s fundamental rights.
Senator Kenneth Keating, New York Republican, associated himself with Sen. Scott. He attacked Nasser’s “unconscionable” actions against Israel through the Suez blockade.
Senator Keating told the Senate no loan should be made by the World Bank to Nasser unless he opens the Canal to all nations, no matter how “efficiently” he might operate the Canal otherwise. If any loan is to be granted, said Sen. Keating, the Canal must be a thoroughly international waterway.