From Our Own correspondent
The Times, May 24th 1967
President Johnson tonight condemned the Arab blockade of Israel shipping in the Gulf of Aqaba as "illegal and potentially disastrous to the cause of peace".
He called on all concerned in the Middle East crisis to seek peace through restraint. In a strongly worded statement the President said:
"The purported closing of the Gulf of Aqaba has brought a new and grave dimension to the crisis. The United States considers the gulf to be an international waterway."
The American Government, he said, had urged U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to recognize the sensitivity of the Aqaba questions and to give it the highest priority in his discussion with the Government of the United Arab Republic.
Mr Johnson condemned the "hurried withdrawal" of the United Nations emergency force from Gaza and Sinai, and the "recent build-up of military forces in the area".
"The United States is firmly committed to the support of the political independence and territorial integrity of all the nations of the area", he said.
The United States earnestly supports "all efforts in and outside the
United Nations, and through its appropriate organs including the Secretary-General,
to reduce tension and restore stability".