President Eisenhower today told a press conference that he warned Abba Eban, former Israel Ambassador, in advance, in October 1956, of what the American response would be if Israel took military action.
Commenting on the Sinai-Suez war in connection with recently published reminiscences of the British ex-Premier Anthony Eden, President Eisenhower injected Israeli and Jewish aspects. He said that early in October, just before the Sinai-Suez eruption Mr. Eban called on him. He informed Eban that he hoped Eban’s judgment would not be swayed by misinterpretation of what the United States response to Israeli action would be or by ideas of “possible Jewish sympathy” in America to Israeli mobilization and the then-approaching U.S. national election.
Mr. Eisenhower said he made clear to Mr. Eban what the U.S. Government would do if Israel resorted to force. He said he informed Ambassador Eban that if he, Eban, thought of influence of the elections on a White House decision, he had better disabuse his mind of it.
The President said also that he telephoned Eden, then British Prime Minister, and Winston Churchill on the Suez matter before the explosion. He indicated that both be and John Foster Dulles, the late Secretary of State, made known to Israel. Britain and France that if force were used, the United States would stand by its interpretation of the United Nations policy and charter.
He termed his comments “footnotes” to the history of the Suez incident. He disclosed that Secretary Dulles kept careful records of conversations involving the President’s stand on Israel and the Suez crisis. He said these documents would be placed in the memorial library at Abilene, Kansas.
President Eisenhower dismissed to some extent a question about implementation of the Morse-Javits amendment to the Mutual Security Act empowering the President to withhold aid from nations that discriminate against Americans on a basis of religion or race.
He told his press conference that he had no specific case of this kind brought before him for a long time. He emphasized that exceptions are written in the law so as to get specific cases before the President and make him decide whether or not certain action is to the best interest of the United States. Replying specifically to a question concerning Saudi Arabian discrimination against American Jews, Mr. Eisenhower indicated he would fellow the recommendation of the State Department.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.