NEW YORK (Oct. 16)
President Kennedy “is continuing diplomatic negotiations” aimed at bringing the Arab states together for peace negotiations with Israel, Rep. Emanuel Celler, New York Democrat, asserted here tonight.
Speaking at a meeting of the Brooklyn Jewish Community Council, the New York Congressman recalled that, shortly after taking office, Mr. Kennedy sent letters to the heads of each of the Arab states in “a major initiative. ” Rep. Celler said that, until now, “unfortunately, this has not succeeded. President Kennedy is undismayed and is continuing diplomatic negotiations along these lines,” he stated.
(At Denver, last night, ex-President Harry S. Truman told an Israel Bonds dinner that the United States Government has a duty to bring about a settlement of tensions between Israel and the Arab states. He said he hoped that “our policy will be firm on this point, ” and advocated a regional development for the Middle East which, he held, could ease frictions there. The dinner was in honor of Dr. Adolph Kiesler, 82-year-old Denver Jewish leader, who was also greeted by a cable from Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and a personal tribute from Colorado’s Governor Stephen L. R. McNichols.)
Rep. Celler told the Brooklyn meeting that, “while our grants to Israel have come to an end” because Israel “no longer needs grants, ” United States loans to Israel have grown larger. He said that in the fiscal year ending June 1961, “our total aid to Israel was $77, 000, 000. In the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 1962, our economic aid to Israel totaled $84, 000, 000” while in past years, aid to Israel “has averaged about $52, 000, 000 a year.”
Discussing conditions which led to the United States decision to sell Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Israel, Rep. Celler said that, during the past summer, the United States warned Egypt that, if it persisted in its arms building, the United States would have to grant Israel’s request to preserve the balance and, when “Nasser turned us down,” the Hawk decision followed. He added that Egypt was not the only Arab country to receive weapons from Moscow. He said five other Arab Governments “have received arms from the Soviet bloc.”
Mr. Celler said the Hawk decision would have “a sobering effect on the Arab Governments. They will realize that they cannot arm themselves to the teeth to destroy Israel without repercussions from the United States and from other free world powers.”
In addition to supplying Israel with radar, ammunition, aerial cameras, armed half-tracks and other military equipment, he declared, the United States has “provided training films and publications and military blue-prints and specifications to enable Israel to manufacture military equipment for its own forces.”
Rep. Celler said the Kennedy Administration has made progress in the struggle against discrimination directed by Arab states against American Jews, succeeding in abating many of the Arab travel restrictions previously facing Jews of this country.