Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Eban Assails Nasser Speech As Showing ‘uncompromising Opposition to Peace’

July 25, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban charged today that President Nasser of Egypt had provided a “brutally clear and conclusive picture” of Egyptian policy which was one of “totally unreserved and uncompromising opposition to peace.” Mr. Eban’s appraisal of the speech made in Cairo Tuesday by the Egyptian President to the congress of his Arab Socialist Union Party was made in a statement made public here by the Foreign Ministry. In his 90-minute speech, Mr. Nasser ruled out possibilities of a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute and promised recapture of the territories occupied by Israel last year “even if we have to sacrifice a martyr for each inch.” He cautioned his followers, however, against a premature resumption of hostilities before the Arab forces were fully ready for renewal of hostilities and said that “our troops are working day and night” to prepare themselves.

“The speech by President Nasser is an event of great international significance,” Mr. Eban declared. “It provides a brutally clear and conclusive picture of UAR policy. It is a policy of total unreserved and uncompromising opposition to peace. The policy of the UAR is a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and of the basic principles of international law. Nasser rejects the declared will of the international community for the promotion of agreement on the establishment of a just and lasting peace. This statement as well as other indications that we have received of Egyptian policy, destroys any possible Illusion about Egyptian moderation.”

Nasser’s policy, Mr. Eban charged, “is to have a new war in the Middle East for the purpose of bringing about Israel’s complete liquidation. He is against peace, against agreement, against negotiation, against the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty. Egypt’s previous statements about readiness for a peaceful settlement and acceptance of the Security Council’s resolution for the establishment of peace have now been entirely repudiated. They were intended to mislead world opinion. Nasser no longer attempts even to do this. In a discourse permeated by hatred, belligerency and aggression, he assumes full responsibility for the tension in this region and for the deadlock in the peacemaking effort.”

The Israeli Foreign Minister declared that “this development strengthens Israel’s duty and resolve to maintain the conditions necessary for its security until such time as UAR policy undergoes a complete transformation. World opinion,” he declared, “can contribute to ultimate peace in the Middle East by vigorous and unqualified condemnation of Egypt’s revolt against international peace and regional harmony.”

In his analysis of the Nasser declaration, Mr. Eban noted that “apart from its ominous significance in the Arab-Israel context, the speech is notable for its complete subordination to the policies of a foreign Great Power and for its efforts to stir up new tensions in the relations between the Great Powers. His policy in relation to Israel and to the East-West conflict is identical with that which last summer threatened the Middle East and the world with such grave dangers.”

The Israeli Foreign Minister said that Mr. Nasser “has now confirmed our estimate that the negative decisions of the Khartoum Conference are the only principles to which he is committed. On the 16th anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, Nasser confirms the policies which have brought the Middle East 16 years of anguish and suffering for his people and others. Instead of leading his people forward to a brighter future, he points the way backwards toward war and turmoil,” Mr. Eban concluded.

During the course of his address, Nasser asserted that Soviet arms shipments had made the Egyptian forces stronger than they had been before the 1967 war. He said Egypt was currently spending a record $690 million yearly on arms.

Recommended from JTA