UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Dec. 21)
Adlai E. Stevenson, head of the United States delegation to the United Nations, declared here today that the United States Government favors peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states “at the appropriate time.”
At the same time he explained why the U.S. delegation helped to defeat a 16-member resolution calling for direct peace talks between Israel and the Arab states which was voted down this week in the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee. That resolution garnered only 34 votes in the 104-member committee with the United States and Britain voting in opposition to the draft.
Reviewing at a press conference the events that transpired at this year’s UN Assembly which ended early this morning, Mr. Stevenson said that on the problem of the Palestine refugees, “we believe the restraint shown by the Assembly was wise and will help to keep the road clear toward eventual solution.”
Later he was asked how he would explain the American opposition to the 16-member “direct talks” draft in view of the U.S. Government’s well-known attitude favoring negotiations in all disputes. Mr. Stevenson replied: “Our opposition to that resolution was based on the fact that this was an old dispute where there was no particularly new element introduced. One side said it would not negotiate at this time and we saw no value in merely passing a resolution.
“Our main objective, furthermore, was to eliminate all elements which might cut across the mediation between the parties and the efforts to mediate by Dr. Johnson. We are for negotiations at the appropriate time and made that clear during our presentation of the case.”
The “mediation” to which Mr. Stevenson referred pointed to the work of the Palestine Conciliation Commission which, last August, appointed Dr. Joseph E. Johnson, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as its special envoy to the Middle East to attempt progress toward a solution of the Arab refugee problem. The PCC will continue such an effort for at least another year.
U.S. SATISFIED WITH DEFEAT OF PRO-ARAB AMENDMENTS AT U.N. ASSEMBLY
The defeat last night in the UN Assembly of the two pro-Arab amendments to the U.S. resolution on the Arab refugee issue was received with satisfaction not only by Israel but also by the United States. One amendment called for reconstitution of the Palestine Conciliation Commission and its enlargement of the present three members to five. The second amendment requested the reconstituted Conciliation Commission “to take measures for the protection of the rights, property, and interests of the Palestine Arab refugees, located in Israel.”
One of the topmost members of the American delegation told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that, if the pro-Arab amendments were accepted by the plenary session, the United States was prepared to vote against its own resolution in order to kill the amendments with the rest of the Washington-sponsored draft.
Israel circles were gratified today with the overall net results of this year’s very arduous and lengthy Arab refugee debate which lasted 19 sessions. The Arab delegations, it was noted, had entered this year’s Assembly with great expectations of picking up heavy support from many of the new UN members. Instead, new African states and a number of older UN members spearheaded a new peace offensive which obtained votes from Africans, Latin Americans, Benelux countries, other West Europeans and three of the most important members of the British Commonwealth–Canada, Australia and New Zealand.