WASHINGTON (Aug. 31)
State Department sources today welcomed a speech by Chairman J. W. Fulbright, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lauding the United Arab Republic for its operation of the Suez Canal.
The Fulbright speech was seen as a counterweight to pro-Israel efforts to block a pending World Bank loan to the UAR to improve the Canal. Supporters of Israel’s maritime rights maintained that such a loan was not indicated at a time when the UAR exploits the Canal as a blockade against Israel.
World Bank sources previously revealed the Bank had been given no official indication of the U.S. Government view of the UAR’s anti-Israel tactics in the Suez Canal. The Bank is moving ahead with the proposed loan, with a final decision anticipated within four weeks. The UAR Finance Minister is expected in Washington then, to participate in a meeting of the Bank’s board of governors.
The Bank today acknowledged, with no comment, a letter from 13 Congressmen who opposed the loan. The Congressmen held that the loan might “appear to condone” the UAR’s anti-Israel blockade.
state Department sources said today that Bank authorities are aware that the expression of the 13 Congressmen does not necessarily reflect the Department’s own view. The Department has also made this clear in Cairo, where the UAR had voiced a protest against the Congressional expression.