WASHINGTON (Aug. 3)
A policy statement demanding an Administration stand against Arab extremism and Soviet attempts to penetrate the Middle East was adopted today by the top-level Republican Coordinating Committee and released by the Republican National Committee.
Entitled “The Middle East — Crisis and Opportunity.” the paper emphasized that in recent developments “the Administration never said whether our sympathies were with Israel or the Arabs. By contrast, the declared Soviet position was 100 percent pro-Arab.” The Republicans held that “the United States should make a determined effort to expose and isolate the radical troublemakers in the Middle East. We should aid only those states following non-aggressive, non-Communist policies.”
The committee that approved the sweeping new stand on the Middle East included such leaders as former President Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Thomas E. Dewey, Alf M. Landon, Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen, Chairman Bourke B. Hickenlooper of the Republican Policy Committee. Chairman Margaret Chase Smith of the Republican Conference, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford, Chairman Bob Wilson of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Chairman Ray Bliss of the Republican National Committee, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York, Gov. George W. Romney of Michigan, Gov. John A. Volpe of Massachusetts, Gov. Raymond p. Shafer of Pennsylvania, and many others.
The thrust of the Republican position was that the Israeli victory provided “an excellent opportunity” to deal with Arab extremism and the Communist maneuvers in the region by bold action. The Republicans charged that instead of exploiting the situation, the Administration displayed “confusion” and “still has no policy for the Middle East.”
The policy advocated by the Republicans would “expose and isolate the radical troublemakers in the Middle East” and withhold aid from any Arab nation that follows irresponsible policies. The Democratic administrations were criticized for increasing aid to the Nasser regime. A demand was made for an “alert, firm and resourceful” policy “to prevent extension of Soviet imperialism into the Middle East and North Africa.”
RECOMMENDATIONS MADE ON PEACE SETTLEMENT AND HOLY PLACES IN JERUSALEM
The foremost Republican individual recommendation was that “the United States should exert its influence to secure a Middle East peace settlement which will confirm Israel’s right to live and prosper as an independent nation.” The Republicans said that “stability and peace require the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict to agree upon permanent boundaries for Israel. Such territorial arrangements as are determined must provide security for all and permit the disengagement of opposing military forces. The United States should be prepared to join other powers in guaranteeing borders that are confirmed.”
Israel’s rights to innocent passage in the Suez Canal and the Strait of Tiran were strongly asserted. A formula on the holy places of Jerusalem was advanced in a manner that appeared compatible with the expressed Israeli position. The Republicans called for cooperation by the Arab states and the United States in the rehabilitation and resettlement of the Arab refugees.
The so-called old “Eisenhower Plan” was advanced to establish Arab-Israeli harmony through regional cooperative development of nuclear desalination. This was seen as a possible means of providing an Arab refugee solution.
The Administration was charged with ignoring warnings that President Nasser of Egypt had been plotting aggressive moves against Israel. Even after it was obvious that war was imminent and Nasser’s role was seen, the Republicans said, “the Administration floundered about.” The State Department’s assertion that the United States was “neutral in thought, word and deed” was criticized along with subsequent expressions that fell short of taking a firm position while the Russians lined up with the Arabs.