LONDON (Sep. 17)
Britain will raise the issue of free passage for all shipping through the Suez Canal when Egypt’s request for a loan to widen the Canal comes up before the World Bank in Washington, according to semi-official British sources here.
If the Bank takes a favorable view of the United Arab Republic’s request, the British Government will back it but will, at the same time, raise the question of freedom of transit through the Suez Canal from which Israel shipping is still banned. Egypt alleges that technically it is still at war with Israel but Her Majesty’s Government does not accept the validity of this argument.
It is feared, however, that after raising the matter during World Bank deliberations and playing lip service to the principle of freedom of navigation, Britain will drop the issue in the face of Egyptian intransigence. Egypt is reported leaving indicated that she would do without the loan, if it were made conditional on permission for Israel shipping to navigate through the canal.