WASHINGTON (Dec. 15)
The State Department today struck back at critics of Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ statement of American Middle East policy here last week. The specific targets were Russia and former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1968.
Mr. Humphrey, who criticized the speech, had said that the Nixon Administration appeared to require Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territory without real peace. State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey, asked to comment on the Humphrey charge, said that “from some of the comments we have noted, it would appear that the speech had not been completely read.” Most major American Jewish organizations and the Government of Israel have been sharply critical of the policy enunciated by Mr. Rogers.
Mr. McCloskey was especially critical of the negative Soviet reaction published in Pravda. He said, “The Soviets have not responded to the concrete and constructive (American) formulation. They seem to have decided that, for the present at least, they would rather engage in propaganda attacks than deal seriously with the problems of the Middle East.” Mr. McCloskey said that what is needed was a “positive response” to the U.S. proposals submitted privately to the Soviet Government on Oct. 28.The content of those proposals were disclosed by the Secretary of State in his Dec. 9 speech.