MARCH 12, 1957
NEW YORK—Egypt does not seem to be aware of the fact that her ability to use the Suez Canal is probably more important to her and her economy than to most other nations.
Of course, it is evident that there must be long negotiations as to the management of the canal, how much revenue should go to its maintenance, and how the tolls should be divided.
Nevertheless, until it is in operation, Egypt's source of revenue from the canal—and she needs all of her sources of income right now—is completely cut off. Egypt's cotton crop is mortgaged, indirectly perhaps, to the Soviets for Czechoslovakian arms, yet the regular functions of government must continue regardless of whether revenues are cut or not.
If President Gamal Abdel Nasser is to succeed in raising the standard of living for his people, he will have to think of new ways for continuing some of the projects he has started. It is hoped that there will be no resumption of talk about new projects until the financing of the old ones and some indication of their value can give the Egyptians added confidence in themselves, in their ability to meet their own problems, and to change their conditions under their present government.
I hope that the destruction of military emplacements at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba by the withdrawing Israeli forces means the end of any military action in that area. There should be free movement of ships on peaceful missions in those waters, for at the present time this is important to world trade.
I was interested to read in Joe Alsop's column his feeling that there is no fundamental change in the Soviet Union's policy concerning the international situation.
He does, however, feel that Russia's treatment of the Hungarian uprising was harmful to her prestige among the satellites and that even though the use of ruthless military forces reestablished Soviet control in Hungary, this control may be more difficult to hold than it has been in the past.
Mr. Alsop adds that the West certainly has not recovered its former strength which was shattered by the weakening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization through differences between us and Great Britain and France.
His picture of the Soviets' incitement to hatred of the West among the Arab nations and the USSR's pressure on these nations to nationalize their oil resources to the detrement of Western economies shows what we must always expect from the Soviet Union.
We must learn in this country that the building up of our allies' strength is as important in our battle against the Soviets as any of the other considerations which we temporarily have ranked as first in importance.
I was in Chicago for a few days for a regional conference of the American Association for the United Nations. I returned to New York City Saturday noon and am preparing to leave for a speech at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.