LONDON (Nov. 7)
Arthur Henderson, Laborite Member of Parliament, told the House of Commons today, in a report on his recent visit to the Middle East, that he considered the situation there to be “highly dangerous” but that he did not believe conflict “to be imminent.”
He said that he found ample evidence that the United Arab Republic was intensifying rearmament and receiving “large numbers of modern jet fighters, including the newest MIG Jets, destroyers and submarines from the Communist bloc. In addition there are large numbers of Communist instructors training UAR personnel.”
Asserting that the United Nations had “a major responsibility” in the Middle East, Henderson said that the UN must “take active steps to secure a settlement” of the Middle East problem. He emphasized that Israel had consistently reiterated readiness to participate in a peace conference and play its part as far as possible in securing a final settlement.
The Laborite leader suggested that the United Nations consider naming a “fact-finding commission” to investigate and report on the problem of the Arab refugees and boundary revisions, with consideration of the UN resolutions and the economic problems in connection with the resettlement of the Arab refugees.
He said he regretted the fact that he saw no “initiative” coming from, the Middle East countries, and added that “it may be very optimistic in the present international situation to expect cooperation between Russia and the West in this area, but I believe an attempt will have to be made sooner or later on the basis of such cooperation.”
Declaring it would be a tragedy if the Middle East area was to continue to be a “shuttlecock” of world politics, he urged the British Foreign Secretary, the Earl of Home, to consider the need for Britain to act on the issue at the United Nations. He said he hoped that the British Government would act to help bring about a Middle East settlement “because there is no doubt these unfortunate people are living on the edge of a political volcano.”