Courtesy Reuters

Toward Arab Unity

THE question so often asked, "Can the Arabs unite?", has a theoretical and unreal ring. The true problem is a quite different one: on what terms and in what relation to the outer world will Arab unity be realized? The preparatory conference on Arab unity held at Alexandria in October of last year showed that the range of possible coöperation between the Arab states was greater even than some of the participants themselves had perhaps expected. The Arab leaders wisely lost no time in consolidating the ground there gained. A second series of conferences, held in Cairo in February and March of this year, drafted and signed a covenant outlining the institutions in which the will to unity was to be expressed.

The new covenant has been well termed "a model of Dumbarton Oaks propriety." The seven signatory states -- Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, 'Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen -- bind themselves to coordinate their political action, to take common measures of defense, and to resort to arbitration and conciliation in case of conflicts. The Council which was established is charged, among other matters, with deciding the means of cooperation with future international organizations. Flexibility is safeguarded by making decisions of the Council binding only on those states which accept them, by providing for closer associations between two or more member states, and by allowing for accessions and withdrawals. Intervention in the internal régimes of member states is prohibited. Alongside these political clauses, the signatories envisage close coöperation in economic and financial matters, communications, and cultural, social and health questions; and for each of these categories a joint commission is to be set up. Of the two annexes which register the still unfulfilled aspirations of Arab nationalism, more will be said later.

Since the provision of machinery for common action is an essential step toward the achievement of Arab unity, these conferences marked a significant advance; but they do not in themselves supply a final answer to the

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