JERUSALEM (Oct. 8)
Israel’s Cabinet today met to review its policy toward Egypt’s blockade of the Suez Canal following the return of Mrs. Golda Meir, the Foreign Minister, from the United States where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the subject.
Mrs. Meir reported to the Cabinet on her talks with U.S. Secretary of State Christian H. Herter and the UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. It was understood that Mr. Herter and Mr. Hammarskjold had urged on Mrs. Meir continuation of “quiet diplomacy” as offering the best chance to obtain passage of Israel cargoes through the Suez Canal.
Mrs. Meir, it was reported, was assured that President Nasser of the UAR did feel the impact of the Assembly’s general rejection of his Suez blockade, opposition by the world press and public opinion, diplomatic pressures and the delay in the projected loan to the UAR–all supposedly making it clear to Nasser that banning of Israel cargoes may not be worthwhile. Any easing of the blockade, however, will take time, it was understood Mrs. Meir was told, because Nasser fears loss of face.
Considerable opposition was reported within the Cabinet to the “keep quiet” diplomacy. Cabinet foes of such diplomacy fear that instead of facilitating a retreat from the blockade by Nasser, it would simply embolden him to continue and expand it. There was a belief among some Cabinet members that Nasser may issue formal legislation “legalizing” confiscation of future Israel cargoes.
The Cabinet was not expected to complete discussions on the Suez problem at today’s session and is to continue talks on the problem next Sunday. It was reported that if and when the Cabinet decides to accept suggestions that Israel follow the “quiet diplomacy” approach, it is expected to ask for immediate release by the Egyptian authorities of the Inge Toft, detained at Port Said since May 21.
The Cabinet was also to hear today a report from Finance Minister Levi Eshkol on his conversations in Washington with Eugene Black, president of the World Bank, with regard to a loan which Israel seeks to secure from the bank.