WASHINGTON (Jul. 21)
The State Department today initiated efforts to gain Arab understanding of President Johnson’s appointment of a Jew, Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, to be new head of the American delegation to the United Nations.
G. Mennen Williams, Assistant Secretary of State of African Affairs, summoned the Ambassadors of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and the Sudan — five Moslem states considered to be less extreme on Israel and Jewish factors than the Arab states bordering immediately on Israel. Mr. Williams assured the five Moslem envoys that Mr. Goldberg would deal objectively with every nation and not allow previous Zionist sympathies to deter him from fair and friendly relations with Arab members of the United Nations.
A personal friend of Mr. Goldberg, Mr. Williams told the envoys of his own high esteem for Mr. Goldberg and stressed the Goldberg record as a trade unionist and supporter of peoples emerging from colonialism. He depicted Mr. Goldberg as a humanitarian who would prove himself above considerations of religion.
Officials reported after the meetings that the reaction was, on the whole, satisfactory. But officials said the problem of explaining the appointment of Mr. Goldberg would be more difficult in the cases of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. This matter is under current study and consultations are under way with envoys abroad, it was learned.
(Reports received here from Cairo today said that the Nasser regime has not yet decided on a line of response to the Goldberg appointment. The three principal government-controlled newspapers gave less than an inch of space to a brief report of the news. The newspaper “Al Ahram”, which frequently speaks for President Nasser, said in its terse report that Mr. Goldberg was the first Jew ever named by the United States to the top U.N. American delegation post.)
Senate leaders of both parties today showed enthusiastic acceptance of the Goldberg appointment, thus assuring rapid approval of the nomination by the Senate. Chairman J. W. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has already voiced agreement.