UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Sep. 7)
Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of the United Nations military observers supervising the cease-fire between Israel and the Arab states, informed the U.N. headquarters today that he was trying to get Egypt and Israel to agree to keep their shipping off the Gulf of Suez and Bay of Suez, in an effort to avoid further clashes between the two sides in that area.
Under an existing agreement, both sides had already agreed to refrain from using the canal itself for shipping, except for the movement of Egyptian launches to supply food and other essentials to foreign vessels marooned in the canal since Egypt blocked the waterway at the outbreak of the war, last June 5. In his report today, to Secretary-General U Thant, Gen. Bull stated he was trying to extend that non-sailing pact to the bay and gulf outside the canal but leading into it. He was making this attempt, he stated, because “an incident in those waters may start a chain reaction of firing in the Suez Canal sector.”
In his detailed report, Gen. Bull also reiterated that his staff had found that Egypt had started the firing last Sunday, which had escalated into full-scale battles between the two sides. His observers on the spot, he stated, reported that they had not seen “at any time any Israeli vessels heading toward the channel entrance to the Suez Canal.” Egypt had claimed that its artillery had fired at Israeli vessels headed for that entrance.