JANUARY 19, 1957
NEW YORK—It is quite reasonable, I think, if the United Nations' Emergency Force is moving in immediately along the Egyptian-Israeli armistice line, for Israel to withdraw from the positions it so far has held. But there is one point that I think needs clarification.
Sometime ago I think I read that the U.N. force would remain in the Near East only as long as President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt was agreeable to having troops there. Now, it seems to me that where certain areas are concerned, such as the little islands guarding the Aqaba straits and the Gaza Strip, assurance should be given that the U.N. force will remain until satisfactory settlements have been reached on the free passage of all ships through the Suez Canal and on the security of the state of Israel.
It is unrealistic, I think, to ask a nation that has won a military victory to give up all it has won without any assurance of achieving the results which were the reason for the original military effort.
I am told by people who have been in Egypt that Colonel Nasser is a sensible man with a real desire to accomplish good for his people. It is quite evident that to do this he needs trained personnel, probably unobtainable in the Arab countries at the present time.
He has started a number of projects, but it may well be that without some guidance from trained experts these projects will not achieve the results he desires.
Why not tell him frankly that the U.N. appreciates his efforts and so does the United States, and that through the U.N. the United States will be glad to help him achieve the results that will help his people, but that in order to do this there must be a clear understanding on the two points which are basic to peace for the future in the Near East?
I read the suggestions for dealing with Colonel Nasser made by Anthony Nutting in his interesting articles (in the New York Herald Tribune) and I am not at all sure that I agree with them. Mr. Nutting feels that the U.N. should court the leaders of the other Arab states and try to turn them away from friendship with Colonel Nasser.
I am not sure that the very man that Mr. Nutting describes as "a man of iron nerve, ruthless and ambitious but greatly lacking in political judgment" would not understand far better a straight talk that explained to him what was wanted and what could be done.
If, as Mr. Nutting says, Colonel Nasser felt at one time that his popular position with the masses was not very strong and he must depend on the army, it may well be that offering him a means of carrying out some of his plans for raising the living standards of his people, and thereby enhancing his popularity, may appeal to his common sense.