Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Anglo-american Policy in Middle East Criticized in U.S. Senate

February 3, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Strong criticism of Anglo American policy in the Middle East was voiced today by Senators Estes Kefauver, Herbert Lehman and Paul Douglas. Speaking on the Senate floor, the three Democratic Senators charged that the present policy of allaying Arab resentment encouraged the Arab states to perpetuate anti-Israel and anti-Western feelings.

Sen. Kefauver criticized the policy of the State Department as one of “open pursuit of the Arab world at Israel’s expense.” He said that although Secretary of State Dulles professes to be impartial to all Middle East countries, the policy of “friendly impartiality came to an end in 1952.” Referring to Arab threats to destroy Israel, the Tennessee Democrat criticized the State Department for failing to meet the challenge in the Middle East “because it does not want to face unpleasant facts.” He cited Premier Nasser’s new constitution in which all Arabs dedicate themselves to a unified Arab nation from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf.

“Perhaps the Israelis are more realistic than our own State Department in their assessment of the danger,” Sen. Kefauver continued. “It is they who face the danger and it will not disappear merely because our State Department would like to wish it away,” The Eden proposal to use the 1947 UN partition plan as a basis for Arab-Israel settlement would amount to an Israel “territorial hara-kiri,” he stated.

Sen. Douglas said that Eden’s November “peace” proposal would encourage the Arabs “to take all of Israel or greater amounts of Israel with the next bite.” He compared the possible concessions under the Eden plan with Czechoslovakia’s experience in 1938 and 1939.

Referring to the current discussions on the Middle East, Sen. Douglas called it “unfortunate” that Secretary of State Dulles has only called back one of his advisers on the Middle East question. Ambassador to Egypt Byroade. “It is commonly believed that his (Byroade) sympathies lie almost exclusively with the Arabs and do not extend to any appreciable degree to Israel,” Sen. Douglas pointed out. He criticized the Secretary of State for failing to call upon the U. S. Ambassador to Israel for consultation.

Senator Lehman concurred with Senators Kefauver and Douglas in a request that Israel’s request for American arms should not be compromised to satisfy the Arab states, Britain, or U. S. oil interests in the Middle East. “The subject of arms to Israel to maintain the balance which existed in that area is a very vital and important one to us,” he said. “We should not make the mistake of appeasing the Arabs either to please Britain, or the Arab nations, because of our interest in the oil which we are getting and hope to get from that area.” Similar addresses were made by Reps. Lester Holtzman and Samuel N. Friedel.

Recommended from JTA