Ben-gurion Saluted in Canada; Welcomed by Canadian Premier at Airport
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Ben-gurion Saluted in Canada; Welcomed by Canadian Premier at Airport

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Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion of Israel arrived here today on a mission he described as strengthening the spiritual and material ties between North America and Israel. He was welcomed by Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker as a “gallant and great leader.”

“You come here as a welcome guest to a country in which the Jewish people–now 200,000 strong–have made a contribution impolitics, science and the arts,” the Canadian Prime Minister stressed.

Mr. Ben-Gurion was given a general salute and reviewed a 100-man Royal Canadian Air Force guard of honor. About 100 members of the Jewish community of Ottawa, attended the arrival and about 50 others carrying welcome placards in support of the visit paraded outside the hangar.

Replying to Premier Diefenbaker’s greeting Mr. Ben-Gurion stressed the friendly relations existing between Canada and Israel, expressed appreciation of the interest taken by Canada in Israel’s development, and emphasized that he hoped that his visit would contribute “to a further strengthening of the friendly ties between our two countries.”

The Israeli Prime Minister was driven with an honor escort to the Canadian National War Memorial in the heart of the Capital where he laid a wreath to commemorate the dead of both world wars. The wreath-laying was followed by a kosher lunch for the Prime Minister at the Government House with Governor General and Mrs. Vanier.

A sprinkling of about 100 Arab sympathizers appeared at the airport carrying signs reading “Ben Go Home” and “Zionists Are Murderers.” They then proceeded to the War Memorial and picketed the scene as the Israeli Prime Minister was engaged in wreath-laying ceremonies. There were no disturbances.


The two Prime Ministers met later in the afternoon and it is believed that their talks covered the situation in the Middle East. Earlier at the airport, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion in thanking Prime Minister Diefenbaker for the latter’s “words of welcome” and for his “kind references” to Israel, said:

“I first visited Canada 44 years ago when I was in transit from the United States of America to the Middle East as a soldier in the British Army. Since then I have always borne with me fond memories and impressions of this land with its vast physical scope blessed with manifold resources and material capacity and in this land peoples of varying origins had united to build a new nation dedicated to freedom and democracy, inspiring it with a deep reverence for the Biblical heritage, with pioneering and dynamic progress and serving as a link between the continent of Europe and the American hemisphere. In those days, renewed nationhood and independence were only a long-cherished aspiration for my people.

“Mr. Prime Minister, in the Canadian House of Commons two weeks ago, you spoke of the close and friendly relations which have existed between Canada and Israel since the founding of Israel. Indeed, even on the long and difficult path to statehood, we always felt friendship from all segments of the Canadian people. My Government and people deeply appreciate the interest and good will manifested by the Canadian Government and her people in Israel’s development.

“On our part we follow with sympathy Canada’s growing stature and activity on the world scene and the dedication to and consistent effort for world peace on the part of the Prime Minister and the people of Canada in the spirit of Canada’s noblest traditions. On a personal note I would say that I welcome this opportunity of renewing my acquaintance with you which began with our meeting in Jerusalem some years ago.

“It is my hope that my visit may contribute to a further strengthening of the friendly ties between our two countries. I wish to convey to you, Mr. Prime Minister, and through you to the Government and people of Canada, Israel’s best wishes for Canada’s welfare and future,” Mr. Ben-Gurion concluded.

Tomorrow Mr. Ben-Gurion will visit the Jewish Community Center here and City Hall, and will hold a press conference. He leaves for Quebec City Friday morning.

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