WASHINGTON (Jul. 20)
President Johnson today announced the appointment of Arthur J. Goldberg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to be the new United States Ambassador to the United Nations, replacing the late Adlai Stevenson. This is the first time in American history that a personage of Jewish faith was accorded a diplomatic post of that importance.
Mr. Goldberg made known that he will accept the nomination and resign from his position on the Supreme Court. His status will be that of Cabinet rank.
President Johnson said Mr. Goldberg will always have direct access to the White House and the “full respect and confidence of the President and the Secretary of State.” Senate approval of the nomination was indicated when Chairman J. W. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee commented that the selection of Mr. Goldberg was “an excellent appointment”.
Mr. Goldberg has been a leading force in recent efforts to alleviate Soviet anti-Jewish pressures. He visited Israel in May to address the international convention of B’nai B’rith, an organization in which he holds membership. He stressed the need for close American support of the independence and security of the State of Israel.
Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court by President Kennedy, Mr. Goldberg served as Secretary of Labor and before that as Special Counsel of the AFL-CIO. In that capacity he negotiated with the State Department on the Arab Boycott and blockade discrimination against American ships affecting American seamen.
Egyptian embassy sources immediately indicated displeasure at the appointment, asserting that it would undermine American relations at the United Nations with the Arab League because Mr. Goldberg is considered by the Arabs to be “a fanatical partisan of Israel” rather than an objective statesman. However, no formal protest has been received by the State Department, although it was learned that Egyptian diplomats have cabled President Nasser for instructions.
PRESIDENT JOHNSON EXPLAINS WHY HE CHOSE GOLDBERG FOR THE U.N. POST
President Johnson revealed that he urged Mr. Goldberg to resign from the Court to take the U.N. position. He called Mr. Goldberg “a man of courage, conviction, and humanitarianism”. Since America is seeking a world based on law, designation of a judge to the U.N. was termed logical.
President Johnson stressed there was no more important task than achievement of a “world where all men may live in peace with hope of justice under rule of law”. He said that “where Gov. Stevenson was descended from some of America’s oldest settlers, Justice Goldberg was born of some of our newest”–a reference to Goldberg’s Jewish immigrant parents. Mr. Goldberg will be the voice not only for an administration but for an entire nation, President Johnson said.
Justice Goldberg, aged 56, said he felt his new post was an assignment “to the greatest adventure in man’s history–governing relations between sovereign nations by law.” “It is with great humility,” he said, “that I undertake the role of our nation’s advocate of peace in the Council of Nations.” He promised to pursue the Stevenson message to the world of “man’s ancient supplication”. He asked, “grant us peace, Thy most precious gift”.
Informed quarters in Washington said Mr. Johnson was especially eager to replace Mr. Stevenson with a known liberal such as Mr. Goldberg to help sell unpopular American policies in Viet Nam and the Dominican Republic–issues which caused rebellion by many liberals against current American policies. The general feeling in Washington was that Mr. Goldberg’s qualities as a mediator and negotiator, evident in many complex labor disputes, might help him gain great success and acclaim at the United Nations.