LONDON (Aug. 26)
The British Foreign Office is trying to put a damper on rising passions in the Middle East, Minister of State Goronwy Roberts who is standing in for vacationing Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, invited the Israeli Ambassador, Aharon Remez, for a talk today. A similar invitation was extended to the Lebanese Ambassador, Mr. Roberts reportedly urged them to convey Britain’s counsel of moderation to their respective governments. He made a similar plea to the Jordanian Ambassador who paid a leave-taking call to the Foreign Ministry before returning home yesterday.
Ambassador Remez sent a note yesterday to the Foreign Secretary drawing his attention to the “hate campaign against Israel” being conducted by the Arab states. He asked Mr. Stewart it the British government would not use its influence to prevent” the unfortunate fire at the El Aksa mosque in Jerusalem last week from becoming the pretext of an unprecedented campaign of vilification and incitement.” The note was delivered personally by Yehuda Taggar, Counsellor at the Embassy, who also discussed the Iraqi executions with the Foreign Secretary.
West European diplomats are genuinely alarmed over the prospect of a new explosion in the Middle East in the aftermath of last week’s fire that severely damaged the El Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem and the execution of 15 alleged spies for Israel in Baghdad yesterday, the Washington Evening Star reported from Geneva today.
The war scare is spreading in Western Europe where the atmosphere is “ominously reminiscent” of the Middle East crisis of May, 1967, correspondent Andrew Borowiec declared. He said that “diplomats in contact with their Arab colleagues were sending alarming dispatches to their respective capitals. The tone of these messages was that the Arab world seemed more and more united in its frenzy and determined to act regardless of the consequences.”
Mr. Borowiec said the general reaction to the Iraqi hangings was “shock and sweeping condemnation of the Iraqi regime.” But he said, more executions are expected.
ARAB LEADERS REPORTED MOVING TOWARD MOSLEM SUMMIT CONFERENCE ON ISRAEL
The semi-official Cairo newspaper Al Ahram said today that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser supports a proposal by King Faisal, of Saudi Arabia for an all-Islamic summit meeting on the Middle East conflict. Such a meeting, involving non-Arab Moslem states, would be an alternative to a new Arab summit conference.
Times correspondent Paul Martin reported from Beirut today that King Faisal is loath to be a party to another Arab summit in case he should be called upon to shoulder an even greater economic burden than the one his country, along with Libya and Kuwait, inherited from the 1967 Arab summit conference in Khartoum. At that meeting, the oil-rich Arab states agreed to subsidize Egypt and Jordan to make up for losses they suffered in the Six-Day War with Israel.
The oil-producing countries were also reported to be opposed to Arab guerrilla demands for an Arab economic boycott of the United States, Britain and West Germany which they accuse of supporting Israel. Oil exports are the major source of income for the Arabs and a boycott would do them more harm than the countries against which it was aimed, the Times said.
The Times said in an editorial today that the hangings in Iraq yesterday showed that no one is safe in that country whatever their background or religion.