Britain Seeks Lifting of Anti-israel Blockade of Suez, Minister Says

David Ormsby-Gore, Britain’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and new chairman of London’s delegation to the current General Assembly, today told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his government is in diplomatic negotiations aimed at lifting the United Arab Republic anti-Israel blockade of the Suez Canal.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore was questioned on the Suez issue at his first meeting with the press here since his arrival to head the British delegation. Considered Britain’s topmost expert on disarmament, he is also the ranking representative of the Foreign Office in London who, most frequently, replies to questions in the House of Commons on issues dealing with Middle East tensions, including the Arab-Israel dispute.

The JTA asked him what his government was doing about Israel’s Suez grievance currently since Selwyn Lloyd, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, and 25 other delegation chairmen, including more than 15 Foreign Ministers, have reindorsed the principle of freedom of navigation as it applies to the Suez Canal.

“Our policy, ” he replied, “was stated in the Assembly by Mr. Lloyd. Now we are pursuing the subject and will continue to pursue the subject. However, we are relying on diplomatic negotiations, rather than on public debate. We feel that this is the best contribution we can make on this issue at this time.”

Those “diplomatic negotiations” it was believed, were being conducted by Britain here, as well as through contacts with the UAR Embassy in London and with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo. Mahmoud Fawzi, the UAR Foreign Minister, who cams to the UN three weeks ago, is still here and it was believed that he was being contacted on the Suez issue both by Mr. Ormsby-Gore and by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.

On the topic that interests him most immediately–the issue of comprehensive world disarmament, which is being debated today–Mr. Ormsby-Gore took a stand at his press conference rejecting proposals that the Big Powers agree to use the Middle East region as a “disarmament pilot plant.” Such a proposal was made here in the past by Abba Eban, former head of the Israel delegation at the UN while “area disarmament” was proposed here at the current Assembly by Ireland.

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