JERUSALEM (Dec. 20)
Israel’s new Cabinet discussed at its first meeting here today the latest Suez Canal development in which the United Arab Republic halted a Greek freighter, the S.S, Astypales, carrying a cargo of Israeli cement from Haifa to Djibuti, French Somaliland.
Under a reported agreement between UAR President Gamal Abdel Nasser and United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, reached last summer, Egypt had proposed to permit the passage of Israeli cargoes through the Suez Canal if those cargoes had been purchased and paid for by foreign buyers before the cargo left Haifa. It was pointed out that the Astypalea carried cement that had been shipped F.O.B. Haifa and that the cargo was, therefore, not the property of Israel or any Israeli firm.
(At the United Nations, it was understood that Mr. Hammarskjold was in touch with UAR officials in Cairo by telephone and cable. Mr. Hammarskjold, who left for Sweden over the week-end, preparatory to a five-week tour of African capitals, including Cairo, postponed his departure for an hour to deal with this latest phase of the Suez Canal problem. He delegated Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Undersecretary for Political Affairs, to deal with whatever phases of the problem needed handling during his absence from United Nations headquarters.)