Britain Urges U.N. to Establish New Form of ‘military Presence’ in Middle East
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Britain Urges U.N. to Establish New Form of ‘military Presence’ in Middle East

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Britain proposed to the emergency special session of the General Assembly here today that Secretary-General U Thant name a representative to supervise all U.N. operations in the Middle East arising out of the Arab-Israeli war, and that the U.N. develop “a new form of military presence” to help preserve peace in the area.

The proposal, among others, was made by George Brown, Britain’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He said that the representative to be named by Mr. Thant should be a person whose “standing should be unchallenged” who would go to the area with a proper staff and full facilities. This representative, he declared, “should advise the Secretary-General on the whole conduct of relations arising from the cease-fire and the subsequent keeping of the peace on the frontiers, report to the Secretary-General and play an active part in relations with all the parties in the area itself.”

Advocating also the strengthening of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, Mr. Brown proposed that the first task of the new representative be the recommendation of further work by UNTSO, in consultation with UNTSO’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Odd Bull. He lauded Gen. Bull for the work he has done until now and proposed that Mr. Thant be authorized to recruit and “dispatch at once any extra personnel Gen. Bull may need.” Under the direction of the representative, he said, UNTSO’s operation should be expanded.

However, Mr. Brown declared, the steps he outlined regarding a new representative and the strengthening of UNTSO would tackle only the cease-fire and arrangements immediately following the end of shooting. “There is the much bigger and more lasting problem,” he said. “of future peace-keeping in the area. In my view, it is clear that, for this, a new form of United Nations military presence will be necessary which will give reality to the preservation of peace in an area which may well be troubled for some time to come. One of the most urgent duties of the Secretary-General’s representative should be to advise the United Nations on the form which a future United Nations presence should take.”


The British Foreign Minister laid heavy stress on the need for maintaining the territorial integrity of all states in the Middle East, as prescribed in the United Nations Charter. But, he stated, such recognition of the principle “should not lead to territorial aggrandizement.”

Mr. Brown viewed as “one urgent problem” reports he had received regarding Jerusalem. “I call upon the Government of Israel,” he stated, “not to take any steps in relation to Jerusalem which would conflict with this principle. I say very solemnly to that Government that, if they purport to annex the Old City or legislate for its annexation, they will be taking a step which not only will isolate them from world opinion but will also lose them the support that they have.”

Earlier in his address, Mr. Brown said that the first interest of the current Assembly should concern itself with the interest and welfare of the Arab refugees. Secondly, any settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict should recognize the right of all states in the area to exist “in true dignity and real freedom.” Third, “there must be respect for the right of free and innocent passage through international waterways.” On this point he implied that he meant not only freedom of passage through the Strait of Tiran but also through the Suez Canal.

The fourth point, which he called “really critical,” is that the countries of the Middle East must be “freed from the pressures of the arms race,” He declared it was “imperative” that an agreement on the limitation of arms shipments to the Middle East be concluded as soon as possible.


Mahmoud Fawzi, Egypt’s Deputy Prime Minister, followed Mr. Brown to the rostrum, again accusing Israel of aggression and charging that Israel had committed many “atrocities” against both civilian and military personnel, alleging that the International Red Cross had “confirmed” the commitment of the “atrocities.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban replied before the Assembly to both Mr. Fawzi and to Mr. Brown’s statement regarding Jerusalem. The Egyptian’s accusations, he said, were absolute falsehoods, both as to Israeli “aggression” and regarding so-called atrocities. It was untrue, he said, that the Red Cross had confirmed Mr. Fawzi’s “wild” charges about atrocities. In fact, he said, the Red Cross had expressed “satisfaction” over the manner in which Israel has treated the people in the areas of the Arab-Israeli war.

As to Jerusalem, Mr. Eban pointed out that it was Jordan that had turned the Holy City into a battlefield, “committing the sacrilege of bombarding the city and killing scores of its people,” He noted also that Jordan had denied to Israel free access to holy places in Old Jerusalem. By contrast, Mr. Eban pledged Israel would preserve “the unity of the city,” provide free access to the holy places for all faiths, and “perfectly respect” all religious interests there.

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