WASHINGTON (May. 20)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today concluded its hearings on the nomination by President Eisenhower of Ogden R, Reid, of New York, as U. S. Ambassador to Israel. The Committee is expected to vote on the confirmation of the 33-year-old nominee within a few days.
Although considerable doubt as to his qualifications had been voiced previously by some members of the Committee, the chances for an affirmative vote seemed good after the third round of questioning today which lasted all day. Mr. Reid answered penetrating questions in a calm and highly intelligent way, displaying considerable knowledge of the situation in the Middle East in general and in Israel in particular. The questions were put to him primarily by Senator William Fulbright, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Mr. Reid’s appropriate replies also proved diplomatic skills and sound judgment, according to observers here. This impression was summed up by Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat, a member of the Committee, who remarked: “You have done an admirable job so far.” Before the noon recess, Mr. Reid was questioned, in addition to Senators Ful bright and Morse, by Sen. Albert Gore, Tennessee Democrat; Sen. Alexander Wiley, Wisconsin Republican; Sen. William L. Langer, North Dakota Republican; and Sen. George D. Aiken, Republican, of Vermont.
During the questioning by Sen. Fulbright, the nominee’s educational and professional background was thoroughly discussed. Mr. Fulbright repeated his view, expressed a week ago, that it was Mr. Reid’s task to convince the Committee that he was qualified to take charge of an Embassy, even though he was “extremely young” and not a career diplomat.
The nominee’s views, as well as his lack of diplomatic experience, were the focal points of the hearing. But other questions came up as well. These included questions as to whether there was any truth to reports that his real ambition was to be Mayor of New York; and that his assignment in Israel would be a springboard to that aim.
Mr. Reid was asked whether he suggested to Ambassador Abba Eban that the latter put in a word for him with Sen. Fulbright. He was asked whether he had any fixed views with respect to controversies prevailing between Israel and the Arab states. Mr. Reid stated that he knows of no “intervention” by Mr. Eban. He agreed with Sen. Morse that any such intervention would not be appropriate.
REID PRAISES ISRAEL’S ACHIEVEMENTS; DISPLAYS KNOWLEDGE OF HEBREW
The appointee had high praise for Israel’s “remarkable achievements” of which he gave detailed accounts and which, in his view, “hold high promise not only for Israel herself but for many other countries as well.”
In reply to a question by Sen. Gore, he declined to give his view on the amount of aid which should be given to Israel by the United States, but “as a private citizen, “he expressed his belief that the United States aid to Israel should be continued. Upon request by Sen. Aiken, he gave the Committee an example of his knowledge of Hebrew by saying, in Hebrew: “We want peace between all nation.”
As the hearing was concluded, Mr. Reid told the Committee that he and Mrs. Reid feel very deeply about the appointment to the Ambassadorship. “We shall serve with all our hearts and minds in this wonderful country,” he said. He assured the Committee that, whatever it decides concerning confirmation of his appointment, he will approach the decision “with great humility.”