Hammarskjold Urges U.S. and Britain to Act on Arab-israel Issues
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Hammarskjold Urges U.S. and Britain to Act on Arab-israel Issues

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Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold today virtually challenged the members of the United Nations, particularly Britain and the United States, to take specific actions in the Security Council or the General assembly to halt “deterioration” of the Middle East situation with regard to Arab-Israel disputes.

Mr. Hammarskjold was asked at a press conference here to comment on statements dealing with the Middle East made yesterday by President Eisenhower in Washington and by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd in the House of Commons in London. Mr. Eisenhower had reiterated United States dependence on the United Nations to enforce the principle of freedom of shipping through the Suez Canal. Mr. Lloyd had stated that he saw a “dangerous situation” existing now in the Middle East. Both expressed hope that the United Nations would solve the Middle East problem.

“I think,” Mr. Hammarskjold said, “the reactions are natural as regards the role of the United Nations, and I firmly hope that this expression of views–that is to say, that the United Nations carries a responsibility–will be followed, on the part of those who have made the statements, by appropriate reactions and actions in the United Nations and in support of the United Nations. As regards Mr. Selwyn Lloyd’s evaluation, I have only just seen it and I do not know exactly on what basis he wishes to put his evaluation.

“You know as well as I do the various facts at the moment. It is definitely a situation with symptoms which indicate a deterioration. As to United Nations action, you know that such action can take different forms. It can be action in the Security Council or in the General Assembly or through the Secretary-General. There is an area, so to say, reserved for each of these various types of action.

“I can do some things–which I have tried–that are easier for the Secretary-General to do in the ways available to him than for the other organs. There are things which the other organs can do and the Secretary General cannot do. It is a question for everybody who has responsibility in this case to judge when we pass from a situation which should be handled by the means available to the Secretary General to a situation which requires action by one of the other organs.

“My own feelings is that there is a certain tendency at present in some quarters to forget this difference of responsibilities and to expect from the Secretary General action which rightly belongs to the Security Council. I have done and will continue to do what is possible for me to keep this situation on the rails with the means at my disposal and with the support, or lack of support, which I have to register,” Mr. Hammarskjold emphasized.

(The London Times declared editorially today that the problem of passage of Israel ships and goods through the Suez Canal should be taken out of Mr. Hammarskjold’s hands by the United Nations itself if the Security Council were not to look completely helpless in the natter. The influential London newspaper said the issue could no longer be left to the Secretary General’s private negotiations.)


Mr. Hammarskjold was asked about the statement made in Syria this week by United Arab Republic President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who challenged Iraq to send its armies to support the Syrians in their current dispute with Israel.

“We see in the area,” he replied, “a so-called shuttle between actions and counteractions, between statements and counter-statements. It is a chain reaction. The general distrust has not diminished. Any move, however innocent, brings forth counter-moves. We must break the chain reaction. How? It is difficult to say. We must come to grips with both sides.”

Asked about the “condemnation” of Israel voted this week by the Syrian-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission, at a meeting at which Israel was not represented, Mr. Hammarskjold said that all of the facts regarding the recent Israel-Syrian border clashes have not yet been reported. He pointed out that Col. Raymond Pirlot, chairman of the Syrian-Israel MAC, had made a statement of his own deploring rearmaments by both Syria and Israel in the demilitarized zones along the Israel-Syrian border.

He said he expected a full report on these border clashes from the UN Truce Supervision organization, possibly next week, and would make that report public when received here.

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