WASHINGTON (Jul. 11)
The United States Government has not changed its policy toward Israel and has no intentions to weaken its support of Israel, Assistant Secretary of State James P. Grant assured today.
The assurance was given in a letter addressed to Louis Segal, general secretary of the Farband-Labor Zionist Order. Mr. Grant was replying to communications sent by Mr. Segal to President Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, in which he raised a number of questions, including a question as to why the U.S. delegation to the United Nations supported the Security Council’s censure of Israel, when Israel retaliated last March against Syrian aggressions in the Lake Tiberias area.
Explaining “background factors,” Mr. Grant assured that “one of our most important friends is, of course, Israel.” In regard to Israel, he stated, “there has been no change of policy. Our good will and support are demonstrated by the fact that the level of United States economic assistance to Israel is substantially higher now than for several years past. All of us can take great satisfaction in the skill and industry with which Israel has used these and other resources in its miraculous development.”
Replying to Mr. Segal’s inquiry as to the U.S. participation in the Security Council’s censure vote against Israel, Mr. Grant stated: “We feel that Israel failed to make adequate use of United Nations facilities in dealing with the shooting incidents with Syria.” He argued that “Israel might have taken the whole issue to the Security Council before launching its retaliatory raid. Israel has seldom chosen to try out the Council procedures to rectify a complaint because they have felt the Soviets would use the veto. However, the very fact of Security Council consideration can often cause a pacifying effect on a troubled area, ” the State Department official pointed out.
In regard to recent, increased American aid to Egypt, Mr. Grant said that such aid has been extended to the Cairo Government to help the United Arab Republic to devote its attention to pressing domestic problems. “We recognize of course,” he stated, “that there are going to continue to be policy differences between the U.S. and the U.A.R., but think we can be in a better position to moderate these by responding to requests for help in badly needed, planned economic development.”
On the general issue of possible Arab-Israel peace negotiations, Mr. Grant explained that every U.S. policy statement “emphasized our encouragement and willingness to lend full support to any reasonable effort to bring about a permanent Arab-Israeli settlement.” However, the State Department official declared, the U.S. delegation at the United Nations did not support a 16-power resolution introduced in the General Assembly last fall, calling for such direct Arab-Israeli talks, because the U.S.A. was advancing a resolution of its own, dealing with the Arab refugee problem.
The State Department official said the U.S. Government was aware of the fact that the Arabs “will continue to be unwilling to sit down at the peace table until progress in some of the major, specific problems, which divide the two sides, demonstrates that solutions which protect the national interests of both the Arabs and Israel are possible.”