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Ben-gurion Discusses Middle East Problems with British Premier

March 18, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion arrived in London today and conferred for two hours with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, The talks were informal with no fixed agenda.

Upon landing at the airport, Mr. Ben-Gurion said that he had come to Britain “to meet the British Premier and to discuss matters of mutual interest to Israel and Britain about measures to be taken to strengthen Middle East peace. I am in favor of complete disarmament in the Middle East with mutual inspection before world disarmament begins, he said.

He summed up his seven-day visit to the United States as “very enjoyable and satisfactory.” He said he had found in the United States friendship and understanding for Israel’s cause.

Mr. Ben-Gurion said that it was with “a sense of deep satisfaction” that he set foot on British soil. “I am very happy that recent years have seen a growing mutual understanding and cordiality in relations between our two countries, ” he declared. Britain had a special place in the historic memories of Israel’s people and we will always recall with profound gratitude Britain’s contributions in the first stages of our national regeneration in our homeland.

“I remember with the greatest admiration my visit to this country in 1940 when I was able to witness for myself the valiant and indomitable spirit of the people of this island who withstood with such outstanding courage the rain of fear and destruction poured down on them by Hitler’s airforce. The Israeli people appreciate Britain’s contributions historically and in our time towards civilization, ” he added. “The Israeli people share with the British people a devotion to democratic values and to freedom and peace. “

Arab states with missions in London protested strongly against Mr. Ben-Gurion’s visit. Ibrahim el Ahdab, the Lebanese Ambassador to Britain and senior Arab envoy in London, called on John Profumo, British State Minister. However, the British official refused to accept the protest and said Mr. Ben-Gurion’s visit was a private one.

Some 60 Arab students demonstrated at the airport entrance carrying placards with the legends “Another Suez Collusion” and “No More British Arms to Israel. ” Police dispersed them.

Mr. Macmillan tendered a luncheon to Mr. Ben-Gurion before the two Prime Ministers began their talks. The guests included Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd, Lord Morrison, Sir Simon Marks, Mr. Barnett Janner, Hugh Gaitskell and Sir Francis Rundall, former British envoy to Israel.

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