WASHINGTON (Aug. 22)
The State Department today made it clear that while the U.S. Government does not insist on the readmission to Israel of 250,000 Arab refugees, this does not mean that further concessions are not expected from Israel on refugees and territory.
The State Department’s view was made public following an account given yesterday by Daniel Frisch, president of the Zionist organization of America, of his talk last Friday with Assistant Secretary of State George C. McGhee. Mr. Frisch told a meeting of the National Administrative Council of the Z.O.A. that Mr. McGhee denied to him that the U.S. Government brought “special pressure” to bear on Israel.
Commenting on Mr. Frisch’s report, the State Department today emphasized that Mr. McGhee also pointed out to Mr. Frisch that while the U.S. Government does not insist on the acceptance of 250,000 Arabs, or on any other specific figure, this does not mean that further concessions might not have to be made.
“It may be stated,” the State Department said, “that the observations attributed to Assistant Secretary McGhee (by Mr. Frisch) regarding non-insistence by this Government on any specific figure in refugee repatriation, or any specific territorial settlement in Palestine, are correct. It should be added, however, that in making these observations, Secretary McGhee also made it clear that this did not mean that further concessions, both with respect to refugees and territory, might not have to be made by both sides, if real peace agreement is to be reached.
“Our function,” the statement continued, “is to seek, through representation on the U.N. Conciliation Commission, to narrow the area of disagreement between the two parties in order to reach an agreed settlement which would contribute to lasting peace and stability in the Near East. In order to achieve this, it is obvious that both sides should be motivated by a spirit of constructive compromise and be prepared to make concessions in order to make a genuine settlement.”
U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL STARTS TWO WEEKS CONSULTATIONS IN WASHINGTON
The State Department also explained that the United States cannot take unilateral action on the number of Arab refugees to be readmitted to Israel, but that this country must act in accord with other members of the U.N. Conciliation Commission. “As a member of the U.N. Conciliation Commission on Palestine, it would be inappropriate for the United States to have any specific settlement plan of its own,” the State Department pointed out.
A spokesman for the State Department was asked if the United States considered the Israeli offer to readmit 100,000 Arabs acceptable. He replied that it was not for this government alone to say. “Our problem is to get the Jews and the Arabs together,” he said, adding that there was need for concessions on both sides.
James G. McDonald, American Ambassador to Israel, arrived in Washington today to begin two weeks of consultations with the State Department, it was officially announced. His first talks will be with Mr. McGhee, the announcement said.