Truman Peace Center Dedicated in Israel; Bourguiba Sends Message
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Truman Peace Center Dedicated in Israel; Bourguiba Sends Message

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Former President Harry S. Truman called today for a halt in the world nuclear arms race and for better relations between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries.

The former President expressed his sentiments in a message read for him at the dedication of the Harry S. Truman Center for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University. The President, who had planned to come here for the dedication, changed his mind on advice of his doctors, and sent U.S. Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall to represent him.

The Truman message was brought to Israel by Mr. Truman’s personal representative, David Noyes, who read it during the cornerstone laying ceremony. Attending the ceremony were Premier Levi Eshkol, Acting President Kaddish Luz, Mr. Marshall and many other dignitaries. Premier Eshkol praised the former President as “one of Israel’s best friends.”

A unique development at the ceremony was a cable to Mr. Truman from President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia which was considered here as the most “heartening” of all the messages sent to the ceremony. The Tunisian leader, who rocked the Arab world last year with several public calls for the Arabs to negotiate peace with Israel, said in his message that “ulterior engagements” prevented him from assisting in the Jerusalem ceremony.

After the ceremony in the Wise Building at the University, the participants walked to the site where the Truman Center will be built. A scroll stating the nature of the purpose of the Center — “Peace, understanding and harmony between nations” — was buried on that spot. The American visitors were luncheon guests of the Premier and attended a reception tonight given by Acting President Luz at the Presidential residence. It was reported that $4, 000, 000 had been raised so far for the multi-million dollar Center.

Some 50 American Jewish leaders, including several “central founders” attended the ceremony. Central founders are the 41 American Jewish leaders who contributed $100, 000 each to the center. Speakers included Mr. Marshall and Samuel Rothberg of Peoria.


Premier Eshkol recalled Mr. Truman’s part in announcing the United States recognition of Israel “which kindled a flame in Israel’s spirit which is still burning. ” Immediately after the ceremony, the Premier sent a cable to Mr. Truman in Independence, Mo., on behalf of the Government and people of Israel. The cable offered “every good wish for your health and for many happy years, ” and added, “Through your friendship, you have become part of our people’s inner consciousness and your vision of peace through Jerusalem is shared by the people. “

In his message, the former President also said he would visit Israel next autumn. University sources indicated a belief he would make the visit next spring if his health permitted. Mr. Truman’s physicians barred the visit today because they feared the trip might be too taxing for a man of Mr. Truman’s age. He is 82.

Mr. Truman’s message stressed two themes: the urgent need in a nuclear-armed world of measures to control the arms race and an equal need for peace between Israel and the Arab countries. In urging more peaceful relations between the Arab states and Israel, the former President cited the history of relations between the United States and Mexico “in which we had many bitter quarrels in the past.”

He warned that a third World War “could be unprecedented calamity, threatening the very existence of the human race on the surface of the earth. ” He said that the existence throughout the world of an ever-growing arsenal of missiles with nuclear warheads capable of mass destruction made it evident that there was no other means to ensure the world’s survival than by halting the nuclear arms race. In view of this “terrific situation, ” he declared, there was no logical reason why any government should refuse to reach understanding with its neighbors.

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