British Cabinet Expresses Concern About Israeli Withdrawal and Threat of Sanctions
(February 28, 1957)
Following the end of the Suez War, Israel is under pressure to withdraw from territory it captured but has delayed, prompting British concern that a UN resolution may be introduced to sanction Israel.
The Foreign Secretary said that, in view of the situation in the General Assembly of the United Nations, the prospect of an early withdrawal of Israeli forces remained uncertain. The resolution which the Canadian Government had it in mind to propose had not yet been finalized; and there was still some risk that a United States resolution, which would be less satisfactory than the Canadian resolution, would be brought forward. The chief danger, however, remained the possibility of an Afro-Asian resolution invoking sanctions against Israel. If such a resolution was tabled the older members of the Commonwealth would probably vote against it. We ourselves could not easily adopt any different course without offending public opinion in this country. On the other hand, a vote against a resolution of this kind might seriously damage our relations with the Arab States. The decision on this point, if it eventually had to be faced, would therefore be a very difficult one. But the latest reports from Washington offered some hope that an agreement might be reached between the United States and Israel which would extricate us from this dilemma.
Source: British National Archives CAB 128/31/14