WASHINGTON (Apr. 24)
The escalation in the Middle East arms race imposes an obligation on the United States to make new efforts to bring the Arab states and Israel to the peace table, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee urged today in a policy statement adopted at its seventh annual policy conference here. The committee cited Soviet arms shipments to Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Yeman as the major causes of the arms competition, and urged continued U.S. military assistance to Israel, to enable her to preserve her deterrent strength.
The policy statement said Israel “must remain on constant alert to defend herself from neighbors who refuse to make peace and who accumulate planes, tanks, ships, missiles and other lethal weapons in preparation for another attack.” The statement commended the role of the United States, stating that “we record our satisfaction at the continuing friendship between the United States and Israel.”
Congress was lauded for adopting legislation aimed at the Arab boycott. The statement said, however, that “we urge the Administration to strengthen the regulations which implement that legislation.”
Commenting on Egyptian President Nasser’s pressure on other Arab states, the statement said: “We are opposed to an arms race in the Near East or any other place, but we are also opposed to an arms imbalance which favors the nation bent on destroying its neighbor.” The statement stressed that “our Government has emphasized the destabilizing effect of massive Soviet sales of arms to the area, and has assisted other nations whose regimes are threatened by President Nasser’s Soviet-equipped forces.”
The conference urged the Administration “to provide generous economic aid to Israel and to facilitate her water desalting program” and also “to continue aid to Arab countries which will be used to raise living standards, and to withhold aid used to finance aggression.” A plea was made for “resettlement of Arab refugees in Arab lands.”
A discussion session was based upon Israel’s role in helping to cope with problems confronting the international community in such areas as hunger, poverty, integration, and cooperation. Speakers included Mordechai Lador, counsellor of the Israel Embassy; Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, special assistant to the director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity; Harris Wofford, associate director of the Peace Corps; and Maurice Atkin, agricultural economist, who presided.