WASHINGTON (Apr. 22)
Former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey sharply criticized the Nixon Administration yesterday in the areas of military expenditures, cutbacks of anti-poverty funds and the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. But he told an audience of B’nai B’rith members that he went along with the President’s decision to join in Four Power talks on the Middle East even though he had doubts about what the conference might achieve.
Mr. Humphrey, who opposed Mr. Nixon in last November’s presidential elections, said at the 56th annual meeting of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League that he thought the Middle East was a “cauldron” and that the need for peace there was of great importance to both the United States and the Soviet Union. He said that if the Big Powers insisted on an end to belligerency, they might promote a “climate of restraint” and that possibilities might develop for bilateral negotiations and settlement in other areas.
Mr. Humphrey, who was Vice President during the Administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, declared that “there has never been a friendly or even-handed (American) policy in the Middle East unless a President of the United States made it so.” He said that without Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson “there would have been no even-handed policy” fair to Israel. Referring to President Nixon, he said “you had better make sure” that such a policy continues under the new Administration, though he indicated that he thought it would. Mr. Humphrey predicted a battle in public arena “for mens’ minds” on the Arab-Israeli issue.