Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Conservatives in Britain Consider World Bank Loan to Nasser ‘untimely’

December 24, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The London Daily Telegraph, leading British Conservative daily, condemned the World Bank loan to the United Arab Republic today as “untimely” and as undermining the status of United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.

The paper noted editorially that the loan came as the Egyptians had detained another ship seeking passage through the Suez Canal with cargo originating in Israel. It said the detention of the Greek freighter Astypalea was “not just a jab at Israel; it was a slap in the face for Mr. Hammarskjold. While President Nasser administered it with one hand, his other held the Suez begging bowl outstretched; and into it, with staggering untimeliness, the World Bank yesterday dropped its 20,000,000 pounds sterling Christmas present.”

“The bank,” the editorial added, “may act on economic criteria only. But if the United Nations is impotent to enforce its decisions about the freedom of the canal, it might begin by establishing the principle that a nation at war with a fellow-member, as Egypt asserts, is no fit recipient for international aid.”

The Times of London editorially deplored the Arab blockade of Israeli shipping at the Suez Canal but insisted that the World Bank would have been the wrong weapon to employ against it.

The editorial noted that “many people will be annoyed that President Nasser has got his World Bank loan for development of the Suez Canal, either because they mistrust his policies in general or because they feel this particular grant is untimely while the canal is still closed to traffic to and from Israel. The simple answer is that the bank’s criteria are economic and not political.”

Recommended from JTA