WASHINGTON (Apr. 24)
In his speech to the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, Mr. Sisco made it clear that the U.S. believes that the only possible Mideast settlement was one in which both sides compromised.
“Neither side will gain all it desires and “neither side would be expected to surrender its vital interests,” Mr. Sisco asserted. He stressed that the U.S. did not consider a Four Power agreement a substitute for agreement between the parties concerned but thought that “common or parallel” Four Power views could influence the parties to narrow their differences and hasten progress toward peace.
Mr. Sisco also disclosed that the Nixon Administration favored giving Arab refugees “a choice between repatriation or compensation” as part of a Mideast settlement. He said, “There is a need for a fundamental solution which takes into account the human element and the concerns and requirements of both sides.” He implied however that the U.S. felt that the number of refugees that Israel would be expected to repatriate should be limited. Some American officials have spoken privately of Israel’s taking back 100,000 refugees as a gesture of conciliation; the remaining 1.2 million would be resettled in Arab territory, mainly the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula, now occupied by Israel.
The U.S. has voted in past years for UN resolutions taking a similar stand on the refugee problem, but neither the Johnson nor Nixon Administrations ever before issued clear-cut statements in favor of them. Secretary of State William P. Rogers has hinted that the refugees should be polled on their choice.
Mr. Sisco assured the public affairs group that the Big Power efforts, which have been opposed by Israel, were not intended to impose a settlement. “We are not here to bargain away the security of any state in the area,” he said, adding that “security is relative, not absolute” and that any compromise required the acceptance of “some calculated risk.”
House Republican Leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan declared today that Israel’s fate was linked to U.S. security and that the Nixon Administration must determine “whether Russia is trying to exploit the fear of war” in the Mideast to promote a settlement at the Big Four talks which might deprive Israel of peace and threaten its security.
Sen. Fred D. Harris, of Oklahoma, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told the conference that he was “worried about President Nixon’s apparent attempt to make progress toward agreement with the Soviet Union on a number of matters at the same time, including the Middle East.” He called any such effort at “linkage” of separate issues “very hazardous.”
Rep. Ford’s concern was shared by a growing number of leaders of both political parties and of Senators and Representatives who are signing a strongly-worded declaration opposing pressures on Israel to withdraw from the occupied Arab areas without a real peace. The declaration was announced today by Rep. Emanuel Celler, New York Democrat who is dean of the House. A similar measure is being co-sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Hugh Scott, Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, Connecticut Democrat. The House declaration says that “to ensure direct negotiations and to secure a contractual peace settlement, freely and sincerely signed by the parties themselves, the U.S. should oppose all pressures upon Israel to withdraw prematurely and unconditionally from any of the territories which Israel now administers.”
URGES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO PROBE ACTIVITIES OF ARAB STUDENTS IN U.S.
Speaking at the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Rep. Ford also said he could not conceive “of a situation in which the U.S. Administration will sell Israel down the Nile.” He also called on the Department of Justice to probe the activities of the estimated 10,000 Arab students in the U.S. to ascertain possible visa violations in view of Arab collaboration with radical and disruptive campus grounds.
He asserted that the Soviet Union was applying pressures in the Mideast while the U.S. was preoccupied with the Far East situation. He added that the U.S. was aware that Russia was supplying the Arabs with the same type of jets which shot down an unarmed U.S. reconnaissance plane off North Korea earlier this month. He declared that the Soviets were seeking to force an Israeli withdrawal without a meaningful peace settlement and he cited President Nixon’s pledge that such a withdrawal “can occur only by consent of the parties directly concerned, based upon a contractual agreement establishing a peace involving recognized, defensible and just boundaries.”
He also told the conference that there was evidence that the El Fatah terrorist group was operating in this country through Arab students to build an Arab “liberation front” similar to the pro-Viet Cong supporters here. He said Arab students collaborated with such groups as the Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society and the U.S. Committee to aid the NFL (the Viet Cong) and other extremist groups. Declaring American campuses were already disrupted by domestic radicals, he said “we have no need for agitators from abroad.”
Rep. Carl Albert of Oklahoma, House Democratic Leader, lauded Israel and said that “no issue concerns us more than peace for Israel.” He said no tenet of U.S. policy was more certain to continue than American friendship for Israel. Rep. Celler, told the conference that “every Pharaoh has his Moses” and suggested that President Nasser of Egypt take heed from that precedent.
The House declaration voices regret that the Arabs refuse to make peace. The Congressional signers, whose number is already substantial, opposed “any attempt by outside powers to impose halfway measures not conducive to permanent peace.” The declaration insisted that the UN cease-fire “should be obeyed and respected by all nations. The Arab states have an obligation to curb terrorism and to end their attacks on Israeli civilians and settlements. We deplore one-sided UN resolutions which ignore Arab violations of the cease-fire and which censure Israel’s reply and counter-action. Resolutions which condemn those who want peace and which shield those who wage war are a travesty of the UN Charter and a blow at peace. The U.S. should make it clear to all Governments in the Near East that we do not condone a state of war, that we persist in the search for a negotiated and contractual peace, as a major goal of American policy.”