NEW YORK (Oct. 30)
Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey told a group of high level Jewish leaders here today that he has at this time “reason to believe that there will be no undue delay” in the delivery of Phantom jets to Israel. Mr. Humphrey told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that the current lack of quick State Department action on the Phantom matter is a result of normal, drawn-out diplomatic usage. He told the Conference at a private meeting here that if elected President he will give instructions that there must be no delay in the delivery of the Phantoms after Jan. 20, 1969–inauguration day.
He was asked if he would make it clear that the United States would not tolerate direct Soviet Intervention against Israel and replied that such intervention would be a “major international catastrophe” that would affect America’s vital interest in the Middle East. He said that if the Soviet Union moved against Israel, he would use the White House “hot line” to Moscow and tell the Kremlin that such intervention is “Intolerable and must be resisted” by the U.S. In an apparent reference to Washington-Moscow communications during the Six-Day War, Mr. Humphrey said, “I have an idea that the ‘hot line’ has already been used” in this respect. The Vice-President said that the Soviet Union is much too “cunning” for direct action and would try to destroy Israel through its neighbors, citing Soviet armament of the Arabs. He said that Israel survival must be protected, that its defense depends upon quick retaliatory capability and that as President he would make sure that it receives the weapons necessary for this end.
Mr. Humphrey told the leaders, representing 22 major Jewish organizations, that he opposed and imposed settlement by the Great Powers and that peace must come to the Middle East through negotiations between the contending parties. He said that he would not permit the Soviet Union to dictate Middle East terms as a “quid pro quo” for the U.S.-USSR relationship elsewhere in the world.
The Vice-President said that as President he and his Secretary of State would make it clear to the Soviet Union that anti-Semitism there and in its “client states” must be “strongly rebuked” by Washington, Such instructions, he said, would be given as “guidelines” for a new Secretary of State. He said that the Soviet Union “pounds away relentlessly year after year” at the U.S. on various matters and that Washington would counter with the same treatment on the “rights of religious groups.” He would not be “committed to use violent measures on the anti-Semitism issue” but instead would have recourse to the power of rhetoric, he said.
Mr. Humphrey said he would do his best–conceding that it would be difficult–to compel the State Department to do his policy bidding on matters affecting Israel, acknowledging that there is a strong pro-Arab lobby there.