WASHINGTON (May. 15)
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo was today placed on standby alert, according to reports received here, as Egyptian President Nasser announced that Egypt is placing all armed forces on an emergency basis to support Syria against an alleged Israeli threat.
Reports described long columns of Egyptian combat units and artillery rumbling through the streets of Cairo in the general direction of Israel. The newspaper “Al Ahram,” reflecting official Egyptian views, charged that Israeli troops were massing near the Syrian border and that Egypt was preparing to strike Israel from the South to help Syria repel attack.
Reports from Damascus today told of a heightened crisis atmosphere, as the Egyptian army chief of staff Gen. Mohammed Fawzi, conferred in Damascus with Syrian defense minister Maj. Gen. Hafez al Assad and army chief of staff Maj. Gen. Ahmed Sweidani. They reportedly discussed cooperative military blows at Israel, and contingencies that would occasion various forms of cooperation.
U.S. CAUTIONS ISRAEL AND SYRIA; URGES THEM TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT
Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman today told a press conference that a situation has developed on the Israel-Syrian border that Israel views with seriousness. He termed the recent escalation of Syrian guerilla terrorism as “serious.” Israeli circles have been in touch with U.S. officials to stress the serious nature of the Syrian provocations. They emphasized that no government would agree to resign itself “to a border open to saboteurs from a neighboring country, and Israel will not tolerate these operations.”
The United States today counseled Israel and Syria to exercise restraint in the present crisis, a State Department spokesman made known. The United States indicated concern about what appeared here to be escalating tensions between Israel and Syria. Both sides have been counseled to keep cool.
State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey voiced American concern at a press conference. “We are in contact through diplomatic channels and are counseling restraint on both nations,” he said. He was aware of reports that an emergency appeared in effect in Egypt as a result of Israeli-Syrian border tensions. But as yet he had no details.