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U.S. Urged to Prevent Development of Nuclear Weapons in Middle East

Senator Robert F. Kennedy, New York Democrat, said in the Senate today that action by the United States in the Arab-Israel conflict is required if the development of nuclear weapons in the Middle East is to be prevented.

“Israel,” he told the Senate, “feels threatened by her larger neighbors; the continuance of her pledge not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East may depend on the continued firm opposition of the United States to any aggression in that area.” He suggested that other nations might assist American efforts to prevent proliferation. He pointed out that “the nations of the Mahgreb might exercise their considerable influence against nuclear weaponry in the Middle East.”

Sen. Kennedy outlined the need for country-by-country action to prevent nuclear weapons spread. He proposed a system of aid and assurances to India to discourage her nuclear weapons program, and indicated that other nations, like Israel, should be offered “aid and/or assurances different in direction — but equal in scope.” He said that, “in each case, the return we must seek is their continued abstention from nuclear weapons.”

He did not elaborate on his statement that Israeli abstinence from nuclear arms might depend on “the continued firm opposition of the United States to any aggression in that area.” In a previous address on the proliferation problem, the Senator saw Israel and India as the two most imminent threats. Today, the main burden of his remarks emphasized that the greatest urgency and danger came from India.