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U.S. Indignant at Bulgaria’s Shooting Down of Israel Plane

July 29, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department today expressed both its “deep regret” over the “great loss of life” in the Israel airliner which “crashed in flames on Bulgarian soil” yesterday and its “indignation” at the shooting of the civil airliner “even if it may have been a few miles off its course.”

The Department said that this incident is “repetitious” of the “kind which we had earnestly hoped would not reoccur.” The Department indicated that an “appropriate communication to Bulgarian authorities” with regard to American lives which were lost will be issued when complete reports have been received.

A State Department spokesman said that communications are “difficult” and “slow” in this case since the crash occured in a country with which the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations. Therefore the U.S. Government will request the Swiss Government representatives to deliver the “protest” for the U.S. at Sofia. The State Department spokesman refused to reveal the nature of the “appropriate communication,” but did say, “certainly we’re not going to send them our compliments.”

The State Department spokesman said that the Department has had no “firm” information on how many Americans were killed in the crash, but that it hopes to get a complete list from EI AI. The spokesman also indicated that continual reports are coming in from U.S. representatives in Tel Aviv and Greece.

Israel Ambassador Abba Eban, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs today told George V. Allen of his country’s “deep sense of shock” over “the loss of so much human life” suffered in the Israel plane crash in Bulgaria. He also expressed appreciation in behalf of his country for the “many expressions of regret” over the plane incident he has received from the Administration and from other friendly countries.

(The shooting down of the Israel passenger plane by Bulgarian anti-aircraft gunners was discussed in the British Parliament in London today when members asked for information concerning the tragedy. R. H. Turton, Foreign Undersecretary, expressed Parliament’s sympathy to the relatives of the 57 men, women and children who lost their lives in the flaming wreck. He said that five British subjects had boarded the plane at London.)

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