WASHINGTON (May. 16)
A White House spokesman today said that President Eisenhower considered the “freedom of the seas” amendment in the foreign aid authorization bill a “regrettable” move that might affect American-Egyptian relations.
Mr. Eisenhower’s views became known today when the White House announced that the President had signed the bill immediately before his departure Saturday for the Summit meeting in Paris. The White House revealed that Mr. Eisenhower thought Congress erred in asking him to consider severing aid to Egypt because of that country’s anti-Israel shipping blockade and boycott.
In a statement on the new legislation, issued by the White House. Mr. Eisenhower said: “The act embodies essentially all of the requests I have put forward as necessary for the successful continuation of the Mutual Security program and, with one regrettable exception, the Congress has resisted the addition of amendments which would adversely affect our foreign relations or impair the administration of the program.”
A White House spokesman said the “regrettable” amendment Mr. Eisenhower referred to was the amendment that expressed the sense of Congress in condemnation of Nasser’s anti-Israel shipping restrictions in the Suez Canal and elsewhere. In the amendment. Congress asked the President to sever aid to Egypt if Nasser continued his discriminatory practices.
State Department sources, meanwhile, revealed that the Department acted at the personal direction of Mr. Eisenhower when it fought the Douglas -Keating amendment, as the measure was known. Chairman J. W. Fulbright, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, now in Israel, was advised by cable of the President’s statement, terming the amendment “regrettable.” Senator Fulbright bitterly opposed the amendment.