TEL AVIV (Nov. 17)
Five U.S. governors declared here that they believed the quest for a lasting peace in the Middle East “must include direct negotiations between the principal parties.” The governors, who wound up a week-long visit to Israel, said in a statement summing up their experiences here that “our conviction that people can live together if they can sit at the same table together stems from our experience as a people made up of divers elements who came to America from all over the world.”
The governors are James A. Rhodes of Ohio; Frank Licht of Rhode Island; Claude R. Kirk Jr., of Florida; Frank L. Farrar, of South Dakota; and Calvin L. Rampton, of Utah. They said they would report on their Israeli visit to the National Governors Conference.
Their statement said in part: “After a week’s visit to Israel we are convinced that the Government and the people of this historic land desire peace above all other things….We have talked with many civilians, both Jewish and Arab. We have seen and talked with officers and men of the highly respected Israeli armed forces. We are particularly and deeply impressed with the spirit of devotion of Israel’s young people. We have seen an economy which is resolutely being geared to peaceful progress despite the fact that it must also support an adequate defense effort…We have come to deeply admire the Israelis and what they have accomplished in their new nation in such a short time.”
The governors agreed that the fundamental issue in American-Israel relations was that Israel was America’s friend. They told newsmen that “America is Israel’s best friend and President Nixon is a good friend of your country.”