NEW YORK (Jan. 27)
Senator Kenneth B, Keating of New York has called on President Johnson to consider making a state visit to Israel as part of a three-point program be outlined to prevent Nasser’s expansionist plans from “setting the Middle East ablaze.” In accepting an award of the Jewish War Veterans, Senator Keating said, “the United States must act now while the initiative is still in our hands.” He urged that the following steps be taken without delay:
I. A direct and forthright statement should be made by the President that America is determined to maintain Israeli independence–and block any threat to that nation’s independence; 2. The U.S. Government should join with England and France in a tripartite guarantee of Israel; 3. The President–just as the Pope has done–should consider paying Israel a state visit.
“A personal visit by the President would do two things,” he said. “It would be a symbol to the Israelis of our country’s interest and concern. It would be a ‘hands off’ warning to the Moslem nations. It would be a convincing gesture, to say the least of it. So far, we have obviously not been convincing enough to Nasser and his bully boys that we do–in the last resort–mean business.”