President Johnson Offers Five-point Program As Basis for Arab-israel Peace
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President Johnson Offers Five-point Program As Basis for Arab-israel Peace

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President Johnson today outlined a five-point program for Middle East peace based on the recognized right of national life, innocent maritime passage, justice for the Arab refugees, limits to the arms race, and “political independence and territorial integrity for all.”

Addressing the Foreign Policy Conference for Educators, President Johnson stressed that the main responsibility for a settlement rested upon the Arab states and Israel. He said that “clearly the parties to the conflict must be the parties to the peace. Sooner or later it is they who must make a settlement in the area. It is hard to see how it is possible for nations to live together in peace if they cannot learn to reason together.”

He said America had supported the peacekeeping role of the United Nations and also recognized the value of mediation. The President stressed that in pursuing peace America was ready to see any method tried and believed that “none should be excluded altogether. Perhaps all of them will be useful and all will be needed.”

President Johnson said that in working for a peaceful settlement he appealed to all “to adopt no rigid view on these matters.” He said that the United States would “do its part for peace in every forum, at every level, at every hour.” But “the main responsibility for the peace of the region depends upon its own peoples and its own leaders of that region,” he declared. “What will be truly decisive in the Middle East will be what is said and what is done by those who live in the Middle East.”

President Johnson said that “certainly troops must be withdrawn, but there must also be recognized rights of national life — progress in solving the refugee problem — freedom of innocent maritime passage — limitation of the arms race — and respect for political independence and territorial integrity.”


The President stated that “if a single act of folly was more responsible for this explosion than any other, I think it was the arbitrary and dangerous announced decision that the Strait of Tiran would be closed.” He pointed out that “our nation has long been committed to free maritime passage through international waterways, and we, along with other nations, were taking necessary steps to implement this principle when hostilities exploded.” President Johnson listed “justice for the refugees” as a “basic requirement for settlement.”

“A new conflict has brought new homelessness,” he stated. “In the past, both sides have resisted the best efforts of outside mediators to restore the victims of conflict to their homes, or to find them other places to live and work. There will be no peace for any party in the Middle East unless this problem is attacked with new energy by all, and, certainly, primarily by those who are immediately concerned.”

Emphasis was made by President Johnson on a conviction that “the first and greatest principle is that every nation in the area has a fundamental right to live, and to have this right respected by its neighbors.” He said that “for the people of the Middle East, the path to hope does not lie in threats to end the life of any nation. Such threats have become a burden to the peace, not only of that region but a burden to the peace of the entire world.”

“In the same way,” he added, “no nation would be true to the United Nations Charter, or to its own true interests, if it should permit military success to blind it to the fact that its neighbors have rights and its neighbors have interests of their own. Each national, therefore, must accept the right of others to live.”

The President said that “in a climate of peace, we here will do our full share to help with a solution for the refugees. We here will do our full share in support of regional cooperation. We here will do our share, and do more, to see that the peaceful promise of nuclear energy is applied to the critical problem of desalting water and helping to make the deserts bloom.”

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