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U.N. Assembly on Mid-east Issue Reconvenes Today; Eisenhower to Speak

August 13, 1958
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Although at least two broad plans for settlement of the Middle Eastern situation will come up for discussion when the emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly reconvenes tomorrow, UN circles saw little prospect tonight that any concrete results would emerge. The most optimistic forecast was that the Assembly session would pave the way for a summit meeting on the Middle East.

President Eisenhower, who will address the Assembly tomorrow morning, will outline the American proposals for a long term settlement of the Middle East situation, but the proposals are in such general terms as hardly to constitute a plan. The other set of proposals was advanced to the General Assembly last week by Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, but his aides concede that these proposals hardly constitute a blueprint for action and the Secretary General would be hard put to implement them if the Assembly should unexpectedly authorize him to do so.

It is generally understood that Mr. Hammarskjold’s proposals were advanced to the Assembly principally and mainly to give direction to the debate that will ensue there and to keep the discussion from falling into the old line of the Arab-Israel issue. The Secretary General is said to be anxious–as are the Western Powers and Israel–to keep the Assembly discussion of the Middle East situation from becoming just another debate on the Arab-Israel issue.


For this reason, incidentally, Israel does not Intend to take any prominent part in the debate and Foreign Minister Golda Meir will be noticeably absent from this conclave. Israel’s role will be that of a closely interested observer and when Israel intervenes in the debate it will be to uphold the legal right of sovereign states threatened by aggression to invite assistance from other friendly states.

The Israelis, it is known, consider the assistance given by the United States to Lebanon as significant to their country, in view of the frequently repeated American commitment to support the independence and integrity of Israel as of Lebanon and other Mid-Eastern states. The Assembly debate, in the view of some Israeli observers here, affects Israel in terms of broad principle and regional interests rather than as a debate on specific issues and problems directly involving the Jewish State.

President Eisenhower, according to information relayed to other delegations with whom the Americans have been in contact, will propose a guarantee for all the countries in the Middle East–a guarantee that would be inclusive of Israel but would avoid mentioning Israel by name. The other major proposal he is expected to make is for economic development in which the United States would be prepared to participate financially.


The Hammarskjold proposals which involve extension of the Arab-Israel truce observance machinery to provide additional observers to be stationed within Jordan to deal with developments there and which, essentially would require the Arab States to promise not to attack each other, was not considered satisfactory by the Israelis and today, Israel Ambassador Abba S. Eban called on the Secretary General to seek clarification.

Mr. Eban is understood to have stressed that any UN formulation of the rights and duties of states in the Middle East should be general and not selective in its application. He is believed to have told Mr. Hammarskjold that the duty of states to respect each other’s integrity and independence applied to all UN members in the Middle East and should be stated in terms of Arab and non-Arab states alike.

While the Israelis do not regard their own problems as the central issue of debate and do not wish to make them so, they assert that if the United Nations is to endorse any principles of security as proposed by the Secretary General, they should be comprehensive and not exclusive in their formulation.

A strongly reinforced Israeli delegation here expects to take full advantage of the presence here of the Foreign Ministers of many states for some quiet and extensive discussion and explanation of Israel’s position and its views on the entire Middle East situation. Ambassador Abba S, Eban will head the delegation. He will be assisted by Ambassador Arthur Lourie, Ambassador Meshe Tov and members of the permanent mission to the UN. It was anticipated that one or two members of the Middle East Department of the Israel Foreign Ministry would also join the delegation in the next few days.

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