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Johnston’s Visit to Israel and Arab Countries Suspended

October 20, 1953
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Eric Johnston, who was sent by President Eisenhower as his personal envoy to the Middle East to attempt to ease Arab-Israel tensions, will visit neither Israel nor the Arab states until the outcome of the current meeting of the U. N. Security Council which today started discussion of the Israel-Arab problem, it was learned here. Mr. Johnston is now in Paris and was due to reach the Middle East tomorrow.

(In Paris, Mr. Johnston today said that he was empowered to conduct “extremely delicate and sensitive negotiations” but that they would not involve the current Israel-Jordan border dispute. He added he saw no reason for him to visit the town of Kibya where the Jordan Government claims 66 persons were killed last week by the Israel Army. “I don’t think I should discuss the incident, ” he said, “it certainly has complicated my problem.”)

The Washington correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, leading British newspaper, today cabled to his paper that the State Department was reluctant to get involved in the Arab-Israel dispute before the Security Council but gave way before the insistence of the British Government. The dispatch also reported that some State Department officials are pessimistic about the possibilities of Mr. Johnston’s mission to the Arab states and Israel, as President Eisenhower’s personal envoy, to bring about regional cooperation in economic and refugee rehabilitation plans.

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