Not Preventive War but Arab Attack is Danger, Sharett Says in Geneva
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Not Preventive War but Arab Attack is Danger, Sharett Says in Geneva

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Premier Moshe Sharett of Israel arrived here today to seek action by the Great Powers to prevent war in the Middle East. He told newsmen that the danger was not that Israel would launch a preventive war on Egypt but that the Jewish State would be attacked. He said it was his duty to warn of the “serious danger which faces Israel” following the delivery of modern arms to Egypt by the Soviet Union.

“It is to be hoped that Israel won’t be forced to wage war again,” Mr. Sharett declared. “If she must, she will do it. But we hope she will be spared this.” Asked about the possibility of a preventive war, Mr. Sharett said “I hope to God Israel won’t be forced into this situation of a preventive war as a short-cut to security. The danger is not that we will make a preventive war but the danger is that Israel will be attacked. But why,” he asked, “is it necessary for Israel to be attacked#”

(In Washington, the State Department said it had “no comment” on Mr. Sharett’s declaration that Israel will not shrink from war if she has no alternative.)

Mr. Sharett said he expected to meet Soviet Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov here as well as the French Foreign Minister, Antoine Pinay, and hoped to see Secretary of State John Foster Dulles again. He had long meetings in Paris yesterday with Mr. Dulles and Harold Macmillan, the British Foreign Secretary. The Israel Premier indicated that he planned to remain in Geneva until Monday but he declined to reveal his timetable of meetings with the representatives of the Big Four.

The Israel Premier was the center of attraction for newsmen and photographers when he descended from the plane that carried him from Paris this morning. He was personally greeted by Andre Dominici, representing the Swiss Federal Council, who brought him good wishes from President Petitpierre.


Diplomatic sources generally agreed that neither Mr. Dulles nor Mr. Macmillan gave Mr. Sharett any assurances in their meetings in Paris yesterday that they were prepared to provide Israel with arms to offset Egypt’s accretions from the Soviet bloc or to extend any guarantees to Israel beyond the terms of the Tripartite Pact. The position taken by the two diplomats appeared to be that the Communist arms shipments to Egypt had not upset the balance of power.

There was some speculation today whether Mr. Sharett’s reception by M. Pinay would have another outcome. While it had generally been expected that France would be more sympathetic to Israel’s cause, M. Pinay was said to be under considerable pressure from French rightwing circles not to enter into any commitments with Israel.

Likewise, there was some question about the proposed Sharett-Molotov meeting. Mr. Sharett did not confirm today that a definite appointment had been fixed. The Soviet spokesman, Leonid Ilyichev, refused when he met the press yesterday, to confirm that the meeting would be held. His only comment on the Middle East situation – which does not appear on the agenda of the conference of foreign ministers – is that the ministers themselves would decide on “additional points.”

The conference was formally opened this afternoon under the chairmanship of M. Pinay with Germany and European unity as the items on the agenda. Hanging over the conference and chief interest here was the Middle East question which the four statesmen are expected to deal with only “informally” outside the conference room.

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