UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jul. 14)
American Jewish organizations joined here today in the general mourning over the sudden death of Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson, chairman of the United States delegation, who died of a heart attack in London today at the age of 65. He was on his way back from a meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in Geneva where Soviet anti-Semitism was among topics brought to the attention of the Council.
Mr. Stevenson had appeared frequently as the major speaker at events conducted by American Jewish organizations. During his two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, in 1952 and 1956, he had very broad backing from leading Jews and from Jewish voters in general around the country. His role in removing “the last vestiges of anti-Semitism in the commissioning of naval officers” when he served as Special Assistant to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox during World War II was recalled today by National Commander Ralph Plofsky of the Jewish War Veterans.
As head of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, Mr. Stevenson distinguished himself as a friend of Israel at a series of Security Council sessions only last December. He had, at times, been criticized by some Jewish leaders as not sufficiently sympathetic to Israel in its disputes with the Arab states. However, all recalled last December’s Security Council meetings when it was Mr. Stevenson who saved Israel from condemnation by the Council as a result of Syrian complaints charging Israel with “overt aggression.”
The Syrian complaint had been based on an exchange of heavy fire with Israel on November 13, 1964. On that date, after Syria had bombed a number of Israeli settlements near its border, Israel retaliated by sending planes into the air, bombing Syrian gun posts in Syria. Israel did not deny that action, and there were expectations that the Council might condemn Israel.
However, after almost a month of debate, inside the Council and behind the scenes, the United States and Britain presented a mild resolution calling on “both sides” to observe their armistice agreement, and making no mention of the bombing by Israel. In the end, the resolution was vetoed because the Soviet Union voted against the measure. But eight members of the Council did vote for the American-British resolution. Mr. Stevenson was given wide credit for having headed off the move for the censure of Israel.
In the absence of Ambassador Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative here, who is in Israel for consultations with his Government, a spokesman for the Israeli Mission said: “We extend our deepest condolences to the United States Government. Mr. Stevenson’s family, the United States Mission and the United Nations upon the untimely and great loss of this outstanding statesman.”