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Democratic Policy Council Calls for Direct Talks Between Israel and Arab States

The Democratic Policy Council, chief policy-making body of the Democratic Party, called Tuesday for American efforts “to bring about face-to-face negotiations” between Israel and the Arab states. In a policy declaration made public by former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the Council also urged measures to limit the flow of arms to the Middle East. It insisted, however, that “pending such an arrangement, the United States must remain prepared to correct or prevent an arms imbalance which might either threaten Israel’s existence or contribute to resumption of major hostilities.”

“The objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East is lasting peace between the Arab nations and Israel – a peace that will assure the independence and security of Israel and all other nations in the area,” the Council declared. “Today,” it asserted, “we are further away from that goal than we were fourteen months ago. “As a matter of primary importance, the United States should undertake efforts to bring about face-to-face negotiations between the parties in the Arab-Israel conflict, including efforts under the auspices of the United Nations. We should also press for restoration of complete compliance with the cease fire.”

The Democratic statement criticized administration tactics, asserting that “it is regrettable that the silent statesmanship of the past has given way at times to public declarations by administration spokesmen.” It warned that “in the meantime, the Middle East arms race continues at an accelerated rate. It noted the “increased shipment of arms to the Arabs from the Soviet Union and the recent French sale of advanced aircraft to Libya.” The Council urged that the United States “should make every effort to reduce the flow of arms to the area and press for Mideast arms limitation arrangements.” But pending the achievement of such arrangements, the Council affirmed, “the United States must remain prepared to correct or prevent an arms imbalance which might either threaten Israel’s existence or contribute to a resumption of major hostilities.”

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