WASHINGTON (Dec. 21)
The World Bank board of governors today agreed to grant the controversial loan to the United Arab Republic to expand the Suez Canal despite anti-Israel canal restrictions, well-informed sources revealed here.
It was reported that the bank approved the loan in a meeting this afternoon but would make no official announcement until the instrument is actually signed, possibly later this week. A spokesman for the bank would say only that the board “considered to matter.”
Sixty-six members of the House joined in a last-minute appeal in what appeared to be a fruitless attempt to delay action by the bank. The Congressmen petitioned bank president Eugene Black and C. Douglas Dillon, Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. They asked that the bank refrain from action on the loan pending a commitment from Nasser to grant free transit. The newest issue involving enforcement of the Suez blockade was cited.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee issued a statement by its chairman Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein declaring: “The free world threw away another opportunity to end the illegal blockade of the Suez Canal today when the World Bank approved a large loan to the United Arab Republic to improve the canal without securing a commitment from the UAR to keep the waterway open to the shipping of all nations. Our own government is the largest stockholder in the bank and its acquiescence in the loan cannot be squared with the promise made by President Eisenhower in 1957 and with the UN Security Council resolution of September 1, 1951 which branded the blockade as a violation of the UN armistice agreement.
“At the time President Eisenhower made that 1957 statement, many critics of our foreign policy were charging that the Administration was guilty of a double moral standard, and that it was bringing pressures on Israel to withdraw her forces while ignoring the Arab aggressions against Israel. The Administration has insisted that it still favors the free and unrestricted use of the Suez Canal by the shipping of all nations but the granting of the loan today is renewed evidence of a one-sided policy which closes its eyes to the Arab boycott, blockade and aggression against Israel and therefore defeats progress toward peace,” Rabbi Bernstein stressed.