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Kennedy Condemns Mid-east Arms Race, Promises Peace ‘initiative’

Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic Presidential candidate, warned today that the arms race in the Middle East was Jeopardizing the opportunity for peace there. He pledged that, if elected, his administration “will waste no time in taking the initiative for peace, and all the authority of the White House will be used toward that end.”

In a letter to former Senator Herbert H. Lehmann, made public here tonight, Senator Kennedy condemned the continued blockade against Israeli shipping through the Suez Canal, and declared that the United States had “a particular, mural obligation” to see that all discriminations were removed at the canal.

The Democratic candidate’s letter coincided with reports that the arms flow from the Soviet bloc to the United Arab Republic was increasing. He said, “I feel that the opportunity for peace is Jeopardized by the arms race in the Middle East. An international effort should be made to prevent this dangerous race. If this cannot be done, then at the very least we should not condone any imbalance between the powers. For imbalance also leads to war.”

He said there had been “too much rhetoric and too little leadership” on the subject of the Suez Canal blockade. He charged that “our policy in Washington, and in the United Nations, has permitted defiance of our 1957 pledge with impunity” by the Nasser regime.

Senator Kennedy continued: “I America’s solemn word is to have meaning, if the resolutions and decisions of the United Nations are to be binding on all parties, if the Mutual Security amendment, which I co-sponsored, is to serve as a guide, if the Democratic platform is to receive more than lip service–the influence of the United States and other maritime powers must be brought to bear on a just solution that removes all discrimination from the Suez Canal.”

Senator Kennedy said that “the State of Israel, when it withdrew its forces from the Sinai Peninsula, received a pledge from both the United States and the United Nations that Israeli shipping rights in the Suez Canal would be supported. This is a United Nations stand in which we have particular moral obligation.” He gave assurance that “the next Democratic Administration will waste no time taking the initiative for peace, and all the authority of the White House will be used toward that end.”

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