NEW YORK (Feb. 10)
“There is no gap” between President Kennedy’s publicly expressed attitude toward Israel and his “earnest and dedicated performance, ” as proved by his decision to permit Israel to purchase the Hawk anti-aircraft missile, Philip M. Klutznick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, declared here tonight. “The independence and security of Israel, ” he affirmed, “are an element in the U. S. foreign policy.”
Mr. Klutznick, who retired from his ambassadorship at the conclusion of the last UN General Assembly, was the guest of honor here at the annual Order Day dinner of B’nai Zion, American fraternal Zionist organization. The 1,200 guests at the dinner devoted also toward raising funds for two additional Bnai Zion Foundation projects in Israel and to highlighting the work of the Jewish National Fund, heard many tributes to Mr. Klutznick in messages from President Kennedy, Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir, and many other American and Israeli notables.
In his message, President Kennedy noted that Mr. Klutznick has occupied various high government posts during 10 years under the Administrations of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisonhower and the present Washington Administration. “In all of these positions of responsibility, ” said Mr. Kennedy, “his talent and ability won him the respect of his colleagues and the appreciation and thanks of his country. I am happy to Join in the tributes to Phil Klutznick on this occasion.”
Taking note of the function’s interest in the Jewish National Fund, President Kennedy added: “I should like to wish you success in your efforts, through the Jewish National Fund, to transform arid wastes into habitable, fertile and productive soil. President Truman once referred to this as ‘the initiation of the Point Four program for underdeveloped nations. ‘ All such efforts to raise the productivity of underdeveloped lands and increase standards of living deserve encouragement.”
DESCRIBES KENNEDY’S DECISION TO PROVIDE ISRAEL WITH HAWK MISSILES
In his address, responding to the tributes, Mr. Klutznick told the assemblage; “In my two years of intimate concern with events inside the Administration, affecting American-Israel relationships, I found no gap between President Kennedy’s views, as he stated them earlier, and his present and dedicated performance as our nation’s chief executive.” He took occasion to deny as “complete and unfounded nonsense” the rumors that he quit the UN delegation post due to “alleged dissatisfaction with the Administration’s attitude toward Israel.”
Mr. Klutznick surveyed the entire range of American-Israel relationships, emphasizing general U. S. policies in the Middle East and the problems the U. S. A. faces in its dealings with many nations, including not only Israel but also the Arab states and the nations of Africa, Latin America and Asia. He noted that both Israel and the United States have their own, individual interests.
“Israel, ” he said, “is sovereign and as such acts as she should in what she considers her own best interest. It is no less true of our own nation. Israel is not a satellite of the United States or of the West; nor is the United States a satellite of Israel. Both nations are blessed with able, intelligent and energetic leadership. Where energy, intelligence and movement are present, possibilities for occasional differences arise even while the fundamental relationship is sound and friendly.”
Mr. Klutznick described the events immediately preceding Mr. Kennedy’s announcement of his decision to permit Israel to purchase the Hawk missiles in this country. “I was among those privileged to be in Washington, ” he said, “to listen to President Kennedy explain what he proposed, ” to a small group of Jewish leaders. “Briefly, in excellent prose and with perfect logic, he traced the history of the United States policy and commitments in the Middle East. He then announced his determination to provide the Hawk to redress what might appear to be a developing and dangerous lack of military balance.
“Other than President Truman’s prompt recognition of Israel on its birth, this is the highlight in the relationships between the United States and Israel, “Mr. Klutznick stressed. “In something more than words, it expressed the United States vital concern with Israel’s security. This is a severe and meaningful test of genuine friendship. ” Mr. Klutznick also pointed out that the United States has administered a firm and unaltering commitment to help Israel overcome its natural handicaps and attain a self-sustaining economic growth.”
Another major address at the dinner was delivered by Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat, who was guest of honor. Sen. Morse said: “In the future, we are going to be compelled to look much more carefully at the nations receiving American assistance to make certain that, in helping them, we are truly advancing the cause of freedom. I do not think there are many nations that stand higher in this respect than does Israel.”
Norman G. Levine, president of Bnai Zion, as toastmaster, introduced also other guests of honor, among them New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner; Ambassador Katriel Katz, Israel’s Consul-General in New York; and Mendel N. Fisher, secretary of the JNF.