LONDON (Jun. 22)
Prime Minister Harold Wilson defended today in an angry House of Commons the statement made by Foreign Secretary George Brown at the emergency session of the General Assembly yesterday, warning Israel not to incorporate Old Jerusalem into its capital.
A wave of resentment was reported, first among deputies of the Prime Minister’s Labor Party, and then within opposition ranks about what critics called Mr. Brown’s “pro-Arab sympathies” in the Middle East situation following the Arab-Israel war. The Prime Minister sought to explain and interpret what the Foreign Secretary meant in his UN address.
It was reported that many Government supporters were highly critical and had complained to members of the Cabinet. They charged that the speech was a departure from the British Government’s declared policy of not taking sides in the post-war dispute. A number of Ministers reportedly agreed with the critics that Mr. Brown should be called home to explain. The row was finally transferred to the floor of the House where Conservative leader Edward Heath and Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe also assailed the Foreign Secretary.
Prime Minister Wilson’s explanation was that Mr. Brown’s only intention was to warn Israel against trying to impose a unilateral settlement and that the British Government’s view was that this should be done through international agreements. The Prime Minister promised to put the text of Mr. Brown’s Assembly remarks in the Commons library for study by the Members but it appeared that this would not satisfy the growing stream of criticism and that Mr. Brown would soon be recalled for what was called a double row: Israel and Aden.
Emanuel Shinwell, one of the deans of the Labor Party, charged that Mr. Brown had “indulged in sustained criticism of Israeli Government” and that the speech included threats if the Israel Government did not carry out “a certain policy.” Mr. Shinwell demanded of Prime Minister Wilson whether Mr. Brown had been representing the British Government’s policy in that position. Mr. Wilson replied that Mr. Brown was not seeking to submit detailed proposals for an eventual settlement and that he was representing government policy.