NEW YORK (Oct. 28)
Seventy prominent Americans, leaders in government, education, industry and communications, today proposed a broad United States policy for the Middle East. The program called for American apposition to border changes along the Israeli-Arab frontiers; opposed a military treaty between the U.S.A. and Israel; and outlined a plan for solving the Arab refugee problem through a plebiscite that would give the refugees the opportunity of choosing resettlement outside the Middle East.
The policy was detailed in the final report of the American Assembly, held at Harriman, N.Y., this weekend, under auspices of Columbia University. The report, made public by the university today, noted that, while there was “general agreement” on the contents, “it should not be assumed that every participant necessarily subscribes to every recommendation.”
The names of the participants were not made public. However, among the speakers who addressed the Assembly were Under Secretary of State W. Averell Harriman and Dr. Joseph E. Johnson, until recently the special emissary of the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission to deal with the Arab refugee problem. Listing its recommendations, the final report stated:
“I. Stress should be put on reduction of the danger of armed conflict resulting from any arms race within the Middle East. The United States should seek international cooperation in limiting arms shipments to the area. The United States Government should use its utmost influence to prevent the introduction of nuclear weapons into the Middle East.
“2. The United States should reiterate its determination that there shall be no armed aggression within the Middle East. It should reaffirm its opposition to change of existing frontiers by force and seek multilateral support for that position.
“3. It is essential that renewed conflict between Israel and its neighbors be prevented. United States policy should continue to be directed towards reducing tensions between Israel and its neighbors. Since it seems not now feasible to reach an over-all settlement, the problem must be approached in piecemeal fashion.
“4. With regard to Arab refugees, the United States should continue to work with the United Nations and otherwise to help carry out, as far as practicable, in terms of current realities, the UN General Assembly Resolution of December 1948, calling for repatriation or resettlement with compensation of refugees. To this end, the United States should work for:
“a) Free and private expressions to UN officers, or other impartial international observers, of preference by refugees concerning their future homes;
“b) Acquiescence by the states involved, even without formal agreement in the repatriation to Israel or resettlement of refugees inside the Middle East, or outside the area as feasible;
“c) Recognition of the sovereign right of Israel and the Arab states to deny on security grounds the settlement of specific refugees, and the right of any participating state to withdraw from these arrangements when it judges its security to be threatened;
“d) Economic and other means to rehabilitate the refugees and to facilitate their integration into society;
“e) The United States should work to bring about a greater public awareness, especially in this country, of realities of the present relationship between the Arabs and Israel with particular reference to the refugee problem;
“A special military arrangement between the United States and Israel would not be in the interest of either country.”