WASHINGTON (Dec. 6)
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles today indicated that neither Israel nor the Arab states have yet agreed to accept the proposals which he made on August 26 as prerequisites for an Arab-Israel peace settlement. He said that there have been “no concrete developments” that would prove that either Israel or the Arab governments are convinced of the gains to be obtained through bringing their conflict to an end. However, he expressed the opinion that possibilities “still exist.”
Secretary Dulles said that the United States will “continue to feel very strongly” that there should be a solution of the Arab-Israel problem. He cited his August 26 statement and said that this statement “emphasizes that we believe the imperative need to prevent, as I then said, the developments of an arms race which would sap the economic strength of these countries.”
Stating the gains from a settlement would be “immense,” Mr. Dulles said: “We continue to hope that both sides will see the possibilities of such gains in the situation. I would not say that there are any concrete developments which could be adduced as proof they had been so convinced as yet. But the possibilities, in our opinion, still exist.”
Later in the day Mr. Dulles referred Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett to this statement when Mr. Sharett asked the Secretary about reports originating from the State Department reflecting unwarranted optimism about an Arab-Israel peace. Mr. Dulles told the Israel Foreign Minister that he was not a party to such reports. Mr. Dulles referred to his expression earlier in the day.
In his August 26 speech, Mr. Dulles called for an Arab-Israel agreement on boundaries, stating that “the difficulty is increased by the fact that even territory which is barren has acquired a sentimental significance.” He also stressed the need for removing the “pall of fear” hanging over both sides and the necessity for solving the Arab refugee problem. He offered a U.S. security guarantee, but made agreement on Israel’s boundaries a prerequisite to such a guarantee.
Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, chairman of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, yesterday conferred with Assistant Secretary of State George V. Allen on the Arab-Israel problem. He expressed to Mr. Allen the hope that the United States would not yield to the blandishment of “peace proposals which would destroy the viability of Israel.” He stressed “a firm position by the United States State Department, guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Israel and any other Near East State which wants to join in the preservation of peace, is much more likely to produce stability and peace than the dubious tactics of seeking to purchase Egypt’s favor at Israel’s expense, “Rabbi Bernstein said.