DECEMBER 14, 1956
LOS ANGELES—On reading that a British officer had been kidnaped in Port Said by the Egyptians, my reaction was that the Egyptians showed cowardice in attacking a man alone.
They certainly have not been proved recently to be good fighters, but on raids and something like this kidnaping performance, they evidently do much better, since they have no real opposition.
If the British are to withdraw and be replaced by the United Nations police, incidents of this kind had better be brought to an end by the top command, for under these conditions it is possible to change world feeling from patience to impatience.
The atrocities in Hungary have served to draw attention away from the Suez Canal situation and to concentrate the eyes of the world on the horrors faced by the poor Hungarian people in their effort to gain a measure of freedom from Soviet control.
However, the stories coming out of Egypt of the treatment of the Jewish population, and now this incident—which one newspaper says was not only a kidnaping but murder of the young British officer—will change the feeling of people very rapidly.
I think we have reached a time when we should determine how best to use economic measures to restore some kind of peace to the Near East.
We have seen that the loss of oil coming through the canal is a serious economic factor in the life of Great Britain and of the rest of Europe. It will not affect the United States as much, but whatever affects the European scene eventually will affect the U.S.
It is wise, however, to take into account the fact that when the flow of oil stops, the economy of the Arab states also is impaired, for there is no other market for their oil to which they can turn. Russia is not interested in it, since she has enough of her own.
There are many other things, as well, that are adversely affecting the economic situation in the Arab states. Chief among these is the Arabs' lack of trained personnel to bring about a real change in carrying out plans for raising the standard of living.
These plans must include reforestation, large-scale waterworks for irrigation and power, new methods of farming, and industrial development. The Arabs cannot do these things without technical assistance.
It is understandable that they prefer to do them with the aid of the U.N., but there will have to be cooperation and imagination among the nations that make up the U.N. or these things will never be accomplished.
The well-being of the Near Eastern Arab countries should depend on their willingness to make a peace with Israel and to stop any such incidents as the one of the kidnaping, and possibly the death, of the young British officer.