Kennedy’s Aide Outlines U.S. Policy on Mid-east at Hadassah Convention
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Kennedy’s Aide Outlines U.S. Policy on Mid-east at Hadassah Convention

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Chester Bowles, President Kennedy’s special representative, told 2,000 delegates to Hadassah’s 48th national convention tonight that, despite the fact that United States capacity to control specific events in the Middle East “is no more than marginal,” there is “much we can do to promote and underwrite a new sense of hope throughout the Middle East that alone can eventually bring a relative measure of stability and progress.”

Mr. Bowles and Avraham Harman, Israel Ambassador to the United States, spoke at the opening plenary session of the Hadassah convention at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel. Characterizing the Middle East as an area whose future course of political development is “volatile and uncertain,” Mr. Bowles outlined these six “basic ingredients for a truly realistic American policy” toward the region:

“I. It seems to me that here, as elsewhere, our paramount aim must be to help all the nations of the area maintain their independence from Soviet aggressive design. This requires an adequate and readily available United States deterrent to military aggression from outside the region.

“2. We must support the use of all the instruments and ingenuity of the United Nations for the reduction of political tensions within the region, and strive to prevent the Arab-Israeli dispute from developing into an open conflict that could readily spread. In this respect, the peace-keeping record of the UN since 1956 should be heartening to us all, and deserves our earnest cooperation and support.

“3. We can encourage all Middle Eastern nations to devote less time to angry propaganda debates and to subversive intrigues against their neighbors, and more to the solution of their own immense problems of internal development.

“4. We should be prepared to give special priority assistance to those countries which are genuinely concerned with improving the of all their citizens, not only the wealthy few. Our primary objective is the development of prosperous and stable societies throughout the Middle East, whose material benefits are spread throughout every level of the economy, and whose national interests are served by an atmosphere of live and let live. The emergence of such societies is the only long-term key to Middle Eastern peace.

“5. We should continue our patient, persistent efforts to find some basis of economic cooperation among neighboring Middle Eastern nations, however tentative or restrictive the areas of cooperation may be.

“6. We should relentlessly continue to support efforts to reach an agreement on arms limitation–unofficial if not official; regional if not universal. The present regional arms race, escalating as it is now into the missile stage, is profoundly dangerous and costly for all concerned.”

Mr. Bowles said that the points he has outlined “have one common theme: an attempt to identify and help meet the hopes of the people of the Middle East–hopes that transcend the legacy of communal strife and bitterness.”


President Kennedy, in a message to the convention, hailed Hadassah’s 50-year record of service. He said: “Not only Israel, but the entire free world benefits from such projects as the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. Its influence, its training of students from many countries, its research efforts, all make immensely valuable contributions to peace, understanding, and human welfare. Your programs of child rescue work, vocational training, land reclamation are equally valuable. They fill urgent needs that can, in most instances, best be met by voluntary efforts such as yours. Democracies such as Israel and the United States must depend upon private assistance.”

Ambassador Harman, in his address, declared that “free men throughout the world will recognize the terms in which Israel formulates international policy in the dynamic decade.” That policy can be summarized in three major propositions, he said. “First, to promote the welfare of our citizens and the strength of our nation by continuous educational, technological and economic progress, with all the swiftness within our capacity.

“Second, to keep the hearts and minds of our people open to peace, to be ever ready for peace with our neighbors; to eschew hate; and to keep steadily before us the grand vision of regional peace and cooperation, the achievement of which, we believe, although it will not come tomorrow, is historically as inevitable as it is desirable.

“Third, while we continue to be threatened with hostility and see building up around us an ever-growing accumulation of aggressive armament, to sustain the morale of our people at a high level and equip ourselves with an abiding capacity to defend ourselves against attack. The defense policy of Israel is not directed toward the winning of wars. As we see it, the test of the success of our defense policy is that our defense capacity should never be used.”

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