UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Oct. 25)
Latin American and Arab delegations are engaged in a stiff, behind-the-scenes fight on Israel’s right to membership in the latest United Nations bloc, an informal assemblage of 77 member states made up of the Latin American and Afro-Asian blocs, it was revealed here today.
The so-called “Group of 77,” made up of underdeveloped countries, will hold its first meeting at the UN’s New York Headquarters, this week. The group was formed originally at Geneva, last summer, during the session of the International Trade conference at the UN’s European headquarters. At that time, Israel was admitted to membership in the Afro-Asian bloc, against violent protests by the Arab members. As a member of the Afro-Asian bloc, Israel was then eligible for membership in the “Group of 77.”
Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative here, attended one of the organizing sessions of the “Group of 77, ” last week, when plans were being made for this week’s more formal session. Without naming Israel or Mr. Comay, Arab representatives protested against the presence of a “certain” delegation, insisting that admission into the group must be voted unanimously by those delegations that are already in it. Israel has, since, appealed to other delegations against the move to make a “closed club” out of the new group.
As this week’s meeting approached, Arab delegations have threatened the organizers of the “Group of 77” session that they will not participate in this week’s scheduled meeting if Israel is recognized as a member. The Latin American delegations, on the other hand, have voted to recommend to the “Group of 77” that Israel must be recognized. Non-Arab African and Asian delegations were being approached today by both the Latin American and Arab diplomats for backing on the disputed issue.
The meeting to be held here by the “Group of 77” is scheduled to discuss common approaches to matters affecting underdeveloped countries, to come up at the next session of the General Assembly. But it was predicted today that Israel’s membership in the “Group of 77” will be the first item on the group’s agenda. The “Group of 77, ” comprised of about 60 percent of the total membership in the United Nations, could become a powerful factor in United Nations affairs.