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Rogers Outlines Mideast Policy, Calls for International Guarantees of Navigation

Secretary of State William P. Rogers today outlined the Nixon Administration’s new Mideast policy in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He disclosed that the formula envisaged by Washington for a Four Power settlement included a return to the concept of international guarantees to protect Israel’s rights of navigation in the Straits of Tiran and Suez Canal. He also advocated the establishment of demilitarized zones and pointed out that boundaries “should not reflect the weight of conquest.” Describing the Nov. 22, 1967, United Nations resolution setting forth the principles of a settlement as “the bedrock of our policy.” Mr. Rogers said the United States sought a “just and lasting peace.” He thought such a peace must be “mutually accepted if it is to be just and juridically defined and contractually binding if it is to be lasting.”

Mr. Rogers said the U.N. resolution “affirms the necessity of guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every state in the area through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones. Here again, as in the case of freedom of navigation, the resolution introduces the concept of guaranteeing of certain conditions of peace. Despite the imperfections of the past, we believe that ways can be devised for international participation in guaranteeing the terms of a settlement as they relate to physical arrangements on the ground, with particular reference to the rights of navigation and demilitarization of strategic areas.”

The Secretary of State told the Senators that peace required “withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, the termination of all claims of states of belligerency, and the acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. Clearly, withdrawal should take place to established boundaries which define the areas where Israel and its neighbors may live in peace and sovereign independence. Equally, there can be no secure and recognized boundaries without withdrawal.”

Mr. Rogers declared that “in our view, rectifications from pre-existing lines should be confined to those required from mutual security and should not reflect the weight of conquest.” The Secretary placed great emphasis on the United Nations and the mission of Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring in the pursuit of peace. He said the U.S. was calling for agreement by the parties concerned and was “not interested in imposing a peace.” But he nevertheless stressed that the Government was concerned over the deterioration of the situation and fearful that a new war might draw in nations from outside the region. Mr. Rogers pledged that “in the interests of friendly relations with all the states in the areas,” the U.S. would work toward a peace settlement with the other Great Powers–Russia, France, and Britain in the days ahead.

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