OTTAWA (May. 25)
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion told a press conference here today that Israel would depend on the strength of its own armed forces and “our many friends in the world” to repel any attack by the United Arab Republic. At the same time he revealed that he was not seeking military equipment from Canada.
Mr. Ben-Gurion said UAR President Nasser did threaten Israel and that this was a matter of concern to the government of Israel. Asked if he thought the time would come when the Arab world would accept Israel, he said: “We do not need any acceptance. We exist.” He added, however, that sooner or later the enemies of Israel would recognize the Jewish State was here to stay. He said he thought this condition could be advanced by a general easing of world tensions.
Mr. Ben-Gurion told the press conference that he felt the situation in the Middle East had eased in recent years and he paid tribute to the part played in this by the Canadians serving with the United Nations Emergency Force. On a variety of other topics, the Israeli leader made these observations:
1. He would not say what sentence Adolf Eichmann should get if found guilty at the trial in Jerusalem of the crimes charged against him. He said this was for the judges to decide. As to Eichmann’s capture by Israeli agents, he said that while this had been against the law, he believed they did the right thing.
2. Jews in Russia were not accorded the rights given other Soviet citizens, but he would not describe them as: being persecuted. He said he would make no representations on this to Soviet Premier Khrushchev because “I don’t think it would do any good.”
3. Present relations between West Germany and Israel were “satisfactory,” he said.
4. The Nazi regime was responsible for the terrible persecution of the Jews, he said, but more understanding and good will by countries that were not invaded by the Nazis could have saved many Jews.
5. He could not say what he would discuss in impending talks with President Kennedy and later with President de Gaulle of France until these talks took place.
Mr. Ben-Gurion did not disclose at his press conference today any details of his talks with Canadian Prime Minister Diefenbaker; however, the latter told reporters that the talks ranged over the Middle East situation and technical aid to underdeveloped African countries. Great emphasis was placed “on the need of economic assistance and aid to these countries without strings,” the Canadian Prime Minister said.
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER DESCRIBES BEN-GURION AS ‘QUITE A PHILOSOPHER’
Mr. Diefenbaker stressed that there had been no discussion of troubles between Israel and her Arab neighbors. He said it was emphasized that Israel, a country that has received economic assistance in the past, is now ready to contribute to other countries and is already doing “quite an expanding job on economic assistance.” The Canadian Prime Minister also described his distinguished visitor as “quite a philosopher.”
Mr. Diefenbaker said the trade talks between the two countries were being left to the trade ministers meeting concurrently with the Premiers. In 1960, Canadian imports from Israel, mainly diamonds and citrus fruits, amounted to $2,400,000. Canadian exports to Israel, mainly wheat, asbestos and aluminum, amounted to $6,200,000. This was an increase in Israel’s earlier trade deficit.
Discussions this morning between Trade Minister Hees and Israel Trade Minister Pinhas Sapir, which continued through the day, led to agreement in principle that the two countries should exchange trade missions composed of businessmen and government leaders. Details were left to be worked out by diplomatic representatives and specific commodities were not discussed.
A spokesman for the Israelis said there was no discussion of a Canadian loan or other aid to Israel but that Israel might need some special financial arrangements–such as guaranteed credits–to increase trade.
This afternoon Mr. Ben-Gurion called on Mayor Charlotte Whitton at Ottawa City Hall. He was given a tremendous ovation when he visited the House of Commons gallery this morning. He will visit Quebec City and Montreal before flying to New York to confer with United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold Monday and President Kennedy on Tuesday.
An Israeli reporter asked Mr. Ben-Gurion at his press conference what value he saw in his personal conferences with Mr. Diefenbaker in Ottawa and those scheduled with Mr. Hammarskjold and U.S. President Kennedy next week in New York. “We need a worldwide understanding among all peoples,” Mr. Ben-Gurion replied, “and I think this is the right way to obtain it. While of course I am not optimistic that these meetings will lead immediately to world peace and understanding, I am sure it will be achieved in time.”
The same question was put to Mr. Diefenbaker. He told the Canadian press: “Having regard to conditions in the world today and the freedom and ease of transportation which makes personal visits possible anywhere in the world, there are many advantages that can come from personal diplomacy. No matter how carefully communications–letters and cables–can be worded, there is nothing that can take the place of personal discussions and the give and take that flows from a face-to-face meeting.”