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British Labor Leader Says He is Trying to Get Arab-israeli Talks Going Through Trade Union Channels

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Jack Jones, head of Britain’s largest union, the 1.3 million-member Transport and General Workers’ Union, said he is working persistently to get some Israel-Arab talks going through trade union channels. In a far-ranging interview this weekend on nationally syndicated columnist Victor Riesel’s WEVD Radio “Talk of New York” program, Jones said that he has the confidence of the Histadrut in making the approach to Arab labor leaders.

Jones, whose position gives him a dominant role in the British Trade Union Congress, told Riesel that “the slow progress has been due to the fact that the Arabs have to look over their shoulders every time. The Egyptians must look over their shoulders at the Syrians and the Jordanians over theirs at everyone else. I have told the Egyptian labor leaders that it would be to their advantage to commence such talks.”

Citing the British Trades Union Congress relationship with Histadrut as “excellent,” Jones emphasized that he was being persistent in getting “these talks going because, in my estimation, they are so essential to the peace in the Middle East. This is the conduit through which to begin.”

Jones had been the guest of honor last Wednesday evening at a private dinner party attended by American labor leaders who are ardent champions of Israel. Among those were Thomas Gleason, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association; Sol C. Chaiken, president of the ILGWU; Harry Van Arsdale, president of the NYC Central Labor Council; and labor mediator Theodore W. Kheel. Jones reiterated, in private talks with these leaders, his efforts to get the Israeli-Arab labor talks going.

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