Security Council Meets on Arab-israel Tension; Adjourns Discussions Indefinitely

After a full day of discussions about the tense Middle East situation, the United Nations Security Council adjourned late today for further consultations among the members subject to a call for a further meeting by the President of the Council.

The adjournment came after Canada and Denmark who had initiated the call for today’s session, introduced a resolution declaring that: “The Security Council, having been seized of the current situation in the Middle East: 1. Expresses full support for the efforts of the Secretary-General to pacify the situation; 2. requests all member states to refrain from any steps which might worsen the situation and 3. invites the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council upon his return to enable the Council to continue its consideration of the matter.”

The day’s debate was marked by strong support of the Canada-Denmark resolution by the United States and Britain; opposition to the convening of the meeting itself by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Mali and some of the other members of the Council; and an attitude of coolness toward the entire procedure of today by France, which expressed the opinion that the best way not to aggravate the Middle East situation would be to adjourn for a period of from 24 to 48 hours.

Outstanding also in today’s proceedings were a violent attack against Israel by Dr. Nikolai T, Fedorenko, the Soviet representative here; a reply by Ambassador Gideon Rafael, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations; and a statement by Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed El-Kony. Both Israel and Egypt were given seats at the Council table without a vote after the morning session had adopted an agenda based on the Canadian-Danish call for today’s meeting.

Mr. Rafael quoted to the Council the statement made yesterday by Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol who called Nasser’s latest action regarding the Straits of Tiran an “act of aggression.” He noted that Mr. Eshkol had stated that Egypt’s action “constitutes an act of utmost gravity not only to Israel but to the entire world,” but that Mr. Eshkol had reiterated “Israel’s quest for peace as well as his determination to protect itself.” Preceding Mr. Rafael, Egypt’s Ambassador El-Kony told the Council that Egypt was only exercising its “legitimate rights and national obligation to rise up against aggression.”

Dr. Fedorenko recalled what he called Israel’s “armed attack” against Syria on April 7 and charged that “Israel’s ruling circles have continued aggravating the atmosphere of military psychosis.” He said that Israel’s leading statesmen, including Foreign Minister Abba Eban had “openly called for large-scale Israeli punitive operations against Syria and the striking of a decisive blow upon her.” He concluded by declaring that “the Soviet Government keeps a close watch on the developments in the Near East.” (In Cairo, Mr. Thant met today with Egyptian President Nasser but no details of the talk were revealed.)

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