THE NATION: Footprints In the Sands

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

Far away across the Atlantic the President of the U.S. was deep in the specifics of Gaza and Aqaba, a sum total of territory no bigger than a Rhode Island county. Both publicly and privately he argued that Israel must withdraw from all its conquests before the U.S. and the U.N. could move on to the next step of the quest for Middle Eastern stability—a settlement for the Suez Canal. And as the words rang and the world's debate rumbled about Gaza and Aqaba, some important footprints were showing in the political sands. Among them: The U.S. is moving as far as it can—it cannot yet challenge veto-bearing Russia on Hungary—to bring more prestige to the U.N. and stimulate through the U.N. a new trend toward a world order in which, as Eisenhower put it last October, "There can be no peace without law." Yet. oddly enough, though the crisis convinced many former doubters that the U.N. has a practical place in the future, it has disillusioned many longstanding, idealistic defenders of the U.N. CJ The U.S. is moving to achieve order in the Middle East by simple progression of objectives, each one harder to get than the last, e.g., British-French withdrawal from Port Said, settlement of Gaza and Aqaba, clearance of the Suez Canal, a pledge (probably self-executing) from Nasser of free passage through the canal for all nations. It will be much more to the advantage of Israel and general Middle East stability if the-U.S. and U.N. can move on to the equally serious dealings with Nasser's Egypt armed with the moral authority gained by clearly juridical, clearly impartial treatment of Israel. Cf The U.S. is not moving toward its objectives as smoothly as it should because the cooperation between the Administration and Congress is lagging, and for that situation, the Administration is currently to be blamed. Last week the President delivered to congressional leaders a rundown on his reasons for pressing Israel on Gaza and Aqaba (see below), but he could have delivered it two weeks before; instead, the word of U.S. intentions on the volatile Israel affair came first to Capitol Hill by way of headlines growing out of an anonymous background briefing given Washington correspondents by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, caught short by the headlines, were piqued, took up anti-Administration positions from which it was difficult to retreat—even in the face of Ike's strong and reasonable arguments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page