JANUARY 29, 1957
NEW YORK—The opening of Yemen to foreign newsmen provided a fascinating story. I hope that many newsmen take the uncomfortable, hazardous 125-mile jeep ride through the desert to see this kingdom which has been so long cut off from the outside world.
It will be good for Yemen to be better understood, and it should be good for the world as a whole to get some understanding of the curious situation that exists in that area where Great Britain protects Aden and its tribes against Yemen, which apparently claims Aden as part of its country.
It was interesting to note that there seems to be no real unity among the Arab nations. News dispatches reported that pictures of President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt as a successful military leader are to be seen all through Yemen. But I wonder how easy it is to hold together groups of people who apparently are so suspicious of each other.
And while, of course, the Cairo radio does not report the fact that Nasser is really not a successful military chief but suffered a severe defeat not long ago, news of this kind, although hushed up for some time, eventually does come to light. So, it seems to me, it will be as difficult for Nasser to control on a military reputation alone as it has been for any other dictator.
The time has certainly come for a realistic appraisal of the real needs of all the Arab states and for a plan developed within the United Nations, but at least suggested by some of the responsible Asiatic countries, for a constructive Mideastern policy.
Another story of great interest in Monday's papers was the way in which Egyptian prisoners of war, before they were returned to Egypt, were given a day's leave and escorted around to see the country of Israel. It may well be that in this way they will carry back into Egypt some valuable knowledge which may help keep peace in the Near East. It is a new way of treating prisoners, but it may be a good one.
An interesting item reported that the rate of exchange of prisoners is 5,850 Egyptians to four Israelis. The Israelis did not suggest that they had been given anything similar to the treatment of the Egyptian prisoners in Israel. In fact, instead of their being told that there was no bad feeling toward the Egyptian people—only a feeling of dislike for their ruler, President Nasser—they were evidently disliked for themselves.
There are certainly coming to the United States at present a number of important personalities to explain the Arab point of view.
King Saud will bear a message from President Nasser himself. The Crown Prince of Iraq is flying over from London but was delayed by an accident to a Stratocruiser just after landing and will not arrive for several days.
All these visits are excellent and I hope they lead to better understanding of the fact that the world wants a peaceful settlement but that Israel is a state that must remain a state.