WASHINGTON (Apr. 25)
Rodger Davies, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, today told the closing session of the National Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that “there has been no change in the basic approach of the United States to the Middle East and its problems.”
Mr. Davies, an official of the Near East Division of the Department, said: “Our policy is aimed at protection of such major American interests as free communication through the Middle East, promotion of U.S. commerce with the countries of the area, continued flow of Middle East oil to the free world, and prevention of Communist control of any part of the area.”
Mr. Davies asserted that U.S. policy “remains one of balance and even-handedness, the maintenance of good relations with all the peoples of the Near East, the containment or prevention of conflict and, as part and parcel of this effort, endeavors to prevent intensification of the arms race.” He said the real barrier to peace is psychological and emotional, “Until this can be reduced, there is little that can be done toward an accommodation between the Arab and Jewish peoples of the Near East,” he declared. He thought that reduction of mutual fear and suspicion was a “prerequisite to any real progress on the problem.”
Other speakers today included Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, chairman of AIPAC; William B. Macomber, assistant administrator for the Near East and South Asia of the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Ephraim Evron, Minister of the Israel Embassy. A number of members of the U.S. Senate and House attended the luncheon meeting, addressed by Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman and Rabbi Bernstein. Among them were Rep. Thomas Morgan, Pennsylvania Democrat, who is chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.