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Britain Wants U. N. to Discuss Wider Aspects of Arab-israel Tension

March 9, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden addressing the Parliament today, expressed the hope that the United Nations Security Council will handle the Egyptian complaint against Israel with regard to the Gaza incident “on the broadest basis,” by dealing not only with the immediate issue but also with the wider aspects of the Arab-Israel situation.

Mr. Eden who just returned from a visit to the Middle East, reported to the Parliament that he found in the Middle East countries a general acceptance of the need to organize a safe defense to protect the area from aggression from without. “There is also recognition that the security and prosperity of the area cannot fully be realized as long as the present disruptive relations persist between the Arab states and Israel, which have now unhappily been aggravated by further recent incidents,” he said.

The British Foreign Secretary revealed that during his visit to Iraq he discussed with the Iraqi Premier questions which would arise if the British Government were to accede to the Turkish-Iraqi treaty, against which Israel has advanced objections.

“Our aim is to form a new association with Iraq which will bring our relations into line with those already existing with Turkey and our other partners in the NATO,” Mr. Eden told the Parliament. “New weapons and changed political conditions should be reflected in the fresh approach to our joint arrangements for resisting external aggression in this area. Our common needs can now be best provided for in different and more up-to-date ways than those which were embodied in the Anglo-Iraqi treaty more than 20 years ago.”


Herbert Morrison, the deputy leader of the opposition, asked Mr. Eden whether anything had been done or can be done, to end the fundamental difficulty in the Middle East which, he said, is the state of war persisting between the Arabs and Israel “at the behest of the Arab states.”

Mr. Eden replied: “I think the House knows that we have been making efforts to try to improve the situation there, and that there has, in fact, been a certain improvement over the last month which was acknowledged by both sides, when this unhappy Gaza incident occurred. I am afraid that this incident will have aroused passions again and will set back the work we want to do. I can see nothing which can be achieved in that sphere now except that it should be handled by the United Nations Security Council. I would hope that in so doing, the Security Council will handle it on the broadest basis, dealing not only with the immediate issue but also with the wider issue as well.”

Mr. Eden was then asked by John Grimond, a Liberal deputy, if, in his talks with the Arab leaders, he formed the opinion that if there were a period of comparative peace on the frontier, there would be any chance for the settlement of Arab refugees. The Foreign Secretary replied that he could not answer that point “help fully” at the present moment.

Major Legge Bourke, a Conservative, asked Mr. Eden: “Can you say whether in view of the fact that the United Kingdom together with France and the United States guarantee the frontiers of Israel, and in view of the fact that the Mixed Armistice Commission has condemned Israel, you would consult with the guarantors to see whether something may be said by the three guarantors to restrain Israel from a repeat performance#”

Mr. Eden replied that the matter was now before the UN Security Council and that the British guarantees are not unilateral.

Yesterday, Minister of State Anthony Nutting summoned Israel Ambassador Eliahu Elath to the Foreign Office and there sharply rebuked Israel for her part in the Gaza clash last week. The Foreign Office revealed no details of what Mr. Nutting said to Ambassador Elath, but other sources indicated that, on the basis of the Mixed Armistice Commission’s condemnation, Mr. Nutting added Britain’s own condemnation.

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