LONDON (Sep. 10)
The Arab summit conference of 13 kings and other Arab heads of state, meeting at Alexandria since Saturday night, and devoted almost exclusively to the mapping of plans for war against Israel, entered its last day today by adopting a three-point Egyptian program for anti-Israeli conflict. But, otherwise, the conference showed more cracks than adhesions in the Arab “united front, ” dispatches from Egypt reported here today.
The three-point program, formulated by Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser, embodies these objectives: 1. “Liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation”; 2. Each Arab state should submit details of its ability to contribute to the unified Arab military forces for war against Israel; 3. The joint command should submit a report on the costs involved in establishing and maintaining the unified forces.
In a meeting lasting only five minutes, held outside the conference itself, five of the participating states pledged to contribute a total of 30, 000, 000 pounds sterling ($80, 000, 000), over a period of five years, toward the costs of the unified Arab command. The states are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco and Yemen. The conference heard the report of these pledges and voted agreement with Naseer’s suggestion that each Arab League state formulate a military plan on the basis of the three-point program.
The anti-Israel war plans were considered by the conference of utmost urgency on the theory that, as soon as the Arab states begin their project for diverting the headwaters and tributaries of the Jordan River, Israel would open an offensive against bordering Arab riparian states–Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
CONFERENCE SEEN SPLIT; SYRIA, JORDAN, LEBANON MISTRUST NASSER
The Times of London, noting the divisions in the Arab camp and the slow pace in the effort to establish a unified Arab command, said today: “If the Arabs set the pace of their technical work on the rivers (tributary to the Jordan River) by the pace of their military expansion, the whole double process will move slowly for sometime yet. Before it is finished, desalination of sea water may have been accelerated or some other developments may have changed the balance of needs and demands by the riparian countries, including Israel. “
Actually, expert observers here noted, the summit conference is split in at least four different ways. Syria has openly accused Egypt of having its controlled press “distort” the reports emanating from the conference chamber, where the sessions are presumably “secret.” Syria objected to a report in Cairo’s daily newspaper, Al Ahram, which said that the conference yesterday applauded an anti-Syrian speech. Al Ahram is known to be very close to Nasser.
Syria, Jordan and Lebanon are still holding back on agreement to let the unified Arab command, controlled by Egypt, station foreign Arab troops on their soil. Yesterday, these states were reported agreeing that such troops may enter their territories in case of war with Israel, but not when there is no such war. Today, they reneged even on such limited steps, insisting that they must approve the entry of foreign Arab troops onto their soil even in case of war.
Cyria, Jordan and Lebanon fear that, as soon as foreign Arab troops are stationed in their countries, Israel might start a shooting war against them. They want the Jordan River tributaries and headwaters diverted, so as to injure Israel’s plans for withdrawing Jordan River waters, through Lake Tiberias, to irrigate the Negev Desert. But they don’t want to be attacked by Israel and be at the mercy of the Egyptian armies for military aid.
Added to these difficulties is the fact that, thus far, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have not yet been able to agree about the war between royalists and so-called republicans in Yemen, Nasser has 40, 000 troops in Yemen–and Saudi Arabia wants those Egyptian forces withdraw before it pledges further cooperation with Nasser.