UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (May. 21)
United Nations Secretary-General U Thant will leave tomorrow for Cairo to discuss with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser the Arab-Israel situation, following the withdrawal this weekend of the U.N. Emergency Force from the Gaza Strip and from Egyptian territory at Nasser’s request.
Mr. Thant, as well as heads of delegations representing major powers at the United Nations, indicated during the weekend that they consider the newly-created situation “dangerous” and a potential threat not only to the peace in the area but also to world peace in general.
Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, chief of the U.S. delegation, voiced yesterday the “profound” regret of the U.S. Government over Mr. Thant’s decision to accede to Egypt’s sudden and unexpected call for the withdrawal. At the same time he pledged the U.S. Government’s absolute support to Mr. Thant’s current efforts to restore peace and stability to the Middle East area.
Pending Mr. Thant’s return here from Cairo, scheduled for next Friday, it was expected that no call would be issued for a meeting of the Security Council on the explosive Arab-Israel situation. However, Ambassador Goldberg has made it clear that “a meeting of the Security Council on this situation is not excluded.” Mr. Goldberg, Lord Caradon of Britain, Roger Seydoux of France and Dr. Nikolai T. Fedorenko, of the Soviet Union, were busy today conferring with one another and with other leading members of the diplomatic corps at the United Nations. especially with representatives of states that are members of the 15-nation Security Council.
Ambassador Goldberg announced that, because of the developments in the Arab-Israel conflict, he was canceling a trip he had scheduled to Geneva early this week. With regard to Mr. Thant’s trip to Cairo, he said: “In light of the extreme gravity of the current situation in the Middle East and the state of tension prevailing there, the United States greatly welcomes the decision of the Secretary-General to travel to that area in an effort to assure peace. We have already expressed our profound regret about the decision to withdraw UNEF from the area.”
Ambassador Goldberg added: “The United States of course would not wish to initiate any steps which might interfere with the Secretary-General’s efforts to pacify the situation in the Middle East. Nevertheless, conscious of the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security, we shall continue to give the closest attention to developments and will be consulting further with other Council members to review what other constructive steps may be required in the interest of maintaining peace in the area.”