JERUSALEM (Mar. 18)
The first veto by the United States in the history of the United Nations was seen in some quarters here today as having possible significance for Israel in the future. The U.S. exercised its veto right in the Security Council for the first time yesterday to defeat an African-sponsored resolution that would have committed members to use force against Rhodesia and condemned Britain for not using force to overthrow the white minority regime in that former British colony. Observers here noted that up to now, Israeli actions were predicted on the understanding that the U.S. would not resort to the veto unless the issue directly affected it or one of its treaty allies. But in the case of Rhodesia, an American veto was imposed on an unpopular issue . against the wishes of America’s African friends, and for a cause the U.S. itself does not support.
The reasoning here is that similar considerations might apply if a case arose in which the American delegate might be forced to use his veto power in behalf of Israel. Some circles in Jerusalem see the American veto as the outcome of a re-appraisal of the role of uncommitted nations in the Security Council where nine votes constitute a majority. Given the present composition of the Security Council, any Soviet proposal is automatically assured of seven votes and needs only two from un committed nations to pass. In these circumstances, the U.S. can be expected to exercise its statutory right although it has refrained from doing so for nearly 25 years since the UN was established, it was said here.