U Thant and Dr. Bunche Studying Quaker Report but Unlikely to Offer Public Comment

A United Nations spokesman said today it is unlikely that either Secretary General U Thant or Under Secretary Dr. Ralph J. Bunche would comment on a Quaker report released yesterday which outlines a series of steps to be taken by the UN, Israel and the Arab states to achieve peace in the Middle East. The spokesman said neither official normally comments on studies by non-governmental organizations but indicated that both had copies of the report and were studying it. The 20,000-word study, issued by the American Friends Service Committee following two years of travel in Israel and Arab countries, includes a recommendation for an emergency UN peacekeeping force in a demilitarized buffer zone “removable only by a Security Council vote,” and calls for a UN conference of all Mideast arms suppliers.

A UN source said Dr. Bunche appeared to have some immediate reservation about the report’s proposal for reactivating a peace-keeping force. He added Dr. Bunche had made no formal comments. Such a force was active until May 1967 when Mr. Thant ordered it removed at the request of Egyptian President Nasser. The Six-Day War followed within weeks of the removal. The Quaker report, which will be published as a book next month, also calls on Israel to take the initiative in withdrawing its troops from occupied territories and that the Arabs must then recognize Israel’s “territorial integrity within agreed-upon boundaries.” In addition, the report criticizes American Zionist leaders for their uncritical acceptance of Israel’s government views and ignoring dissident elements in and out of the government that are searching “for more creative ways to solve the Middle East problems.”

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