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Dulles Optimistic on Mid-east As He Leaves for Bermuda

March 21, 1957
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Dulles said today the general trend of efforts to solve the Middle East crisis “is satisfactory and in the interests of peace.” He made this observation at the airport here before departure for the Anglo-American talks in Bermuda. Mr. Dulles thought the Middle East would be discussed at Bermuda but would not necessarily be “overriding.”

Expressing a measure of satisfaction with the way things are working out in the Middle East. Mr. Dulles said “we have made a good deal of progress toward a peaceful solution if you look at it over the last several months.” He conceded there have been some “fluctuations” in efforts to solve problems, but stressed that the general trend was “satisfactory and in the interests of peace.”


In Jerusalem, Israel officials said today that Secretary General Hammarskjold’s reaction to insistence by Foreign Minister Golda Meir on the question of Egypt’s claim of belligerence was “not encouraging.” While declining to elaborate, they indicated that Mr. Hammarskjold does not accord priority to this fundamental question, but precedes it with technical matters.

In New York, briefed on the American Government’s stand on how it intends to honor its commitments to Israel, Mrs. Meir prepared late today to return to Jerusalem and report details to her government.

(The Washington correspondent on the Manchester Guardian said in a dispatch that newspaper published today that it may be “stated with authority” that President Eisenhower’s letter of March 2 to Premier David Ben Gurion “was drafted by Mr. Dulles in the presence of Mr. Eban.” That, he added, is why Mrs. Meir now speaks of coming to the United States to collect “a debt of honor.”

One of the final conversations Mrs. Meir had was with Henry Cabot Lodge, chairman of the United States delegation to the United Nations. She met with Mr. Lodge at his request, at her hotel. By that time, Mrs. Meir already has a report from Ambassador. Eban on his conversations at the State Department Tuesday night with Under Secretary Christian Herter.

Later today, Mrs. Meir and Mr. Eban met with other leaders of the israel delegation to evaluate the series of discussions this week including the talks with Secretary Dulles and Mr. Hammarskjold. Mrs. Meir also conferred earlier with the delegates of Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. The Brazilian and Colombian diplomats are members of the seven-nation advisory committee on the UN Emergency Force which has been conferring continuously with Mr. Hammarskjold on UNEF functions.


Ambassador Eban said after his 80-minute meeting with Under Secretary Herter that the major topic was the importance of reversing recent events in the Gaza Strip. He said he had given Mr. Herter a full account of questions raised when Mrs. Meir met with Mr. Hammarskjold Monday.

Following the meeting, the State Department announced that “Israel Ambassador Eban reported to Under Secretary of State Herter on Mrs. Meir’s discussion with Secretary General Hammarskjold and conveyed to us apprehension about what they regard to be a deteriorating situation in Gaza.”

Asked if the Gaza situation could be reversed, Mr. Eban replied that it must first be agreed that it should be reversed. Asked if the United States had agreed that it should be reversed, the Ambassador said that the United States had “no misunderstanding” of what the Israeli position is. He said that “we believe that control (of the Gaza Strip) should be in United Nations hands.”

Asked whether the United States had given any new assurances. Mr. Eban said his government had not sought any but only implementation of existing assurances. Asked how long he would continue to negotiate, the Ambassador said his government would continue diplomatic efforts and simultaneously watch developments on the scene. He added that Israel’s action would be controlled not only by what is discussed but also by what happens.

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