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Eisenhower Says U.S. Cannot Force Nasser to Open Suez for Israel

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President Eisenhower told a press conference today that he did not know what America could do to force the United Arab Republic to respect Israeli shipping rights in the Suez Canal unless there was a resort to force–an alternative that he rejected.

Mr. Eisenhower recalled his 1957 pledge to support Israeli Suez rights. He said that UAR President Nasser cited existence of “a state of war” as an excuse for doing nothing to alleviate the canal impasse. Commenting on this, the President said:

“Now, I don’t know what you can do unless you want to resort to force in such affairs, and I am certain that we’re not trying to settle international problems with force. We have done everything we could to make it clearer that we stand by our commitments and we think that other nations should do the same, particularly when it comes to the free use of the Suez Canal. But, I don’t know that there is any idea whatsoever of making a new step in this direction or new argument because I think it’s all been said.”

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