Israel Tells U.N. It Wants Regional Disarmament; Ready to Talk to Arabs

Israel today told the United Nations that it wants regional disarmament, “particularly in areas of strong international tensions,” and that it is ready to negotiate such an agreement as soon as it receives “a positive response” to its request.

The request was voiced before the General Assembly’s Political and Security Committee by Gideon Rafael, deputy director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, who represents his government in that III-member body. He made his statement while debating a 46-power resolution calling for general and complete disarmament. On behalf of Israel, he pledged his delegation’s endorsement of that draft.

While the request for regional disarmament is pending, said Mr. Rafael, “we feel duty bound to reiterate our grave concern for the consequences of a spiraling regional arms race. The purpose of lowering the levels of armaments is hardly served by shipping to areas of endemic tension arms which may be obsolete in the country which dispatches them but constitute most valuable and dangerous innovations for the arsenals of the recipient. This kind of disarmament has a double disadvantage. It does not reduce the power level of the country that disposed of these armaments, while it increases the level and menace of armaments in the area into which they are dumped.”

In the spirit of the relaxation of some cold war tensions here, Mr. Rafael did not mention any of the Arab states at whom Israel’s request for regional disarmament was directed. Nor did he mention the Soviet bloc, which is continuing to furnish heavy armaments to Egypt and other Arab states massing weapons for war against Israel. But his meaning was utterly clear to all diplomats at the session. All knew that the reference was to the Arab-Israeli tensions.

WARN THAT LOCAL CONFLICT COULD INVOLVE MAJOR POWERS

“The major conflicts are not the only ones besetting the international scene,” Mr. Rafael said. “In various parts of the world, there are disputes between neighbors, unresolved problems, lack of peaceful relations, fears of aggression and competitive disarmament. None of us can feel certain that local conflicts anywhere will not spread or bring the involvement of the major powers. We have a duty, therefore, to practice what we say to the larger countries. It is up to us to enlarge the areas of peace, tranquility and international amity by dedicating ourselves to the mitigation of local tensions, to the halting of local arms build-up, and to the solution through direct and patient negotiations of any conflict in which the smaller nations may be involved.

“We, therefore, believe, that the first step to strengthen the peace-keeping institutions should be a renewed pledge by all member-states of the United Nations to settle their disputes by peaceful means, and to conduct their policies in conformity with their obligations under the United Nations Charter.” In this connection, he urged also that a special group be set up to examine the existing UN peace-keeping institutions, to see whether this machinery could be revitalized and which parts need to be retained or modernized.

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