WASHINGTON (May. 11)
Five Senators and Representatives of both major parties strongly reaffirmed America’s friendship for Israel today and pledged U.S. support to maintain Israel’s security and independence. The five lav-makers spoke at a luncheon given by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee which is holding its annual policy meetings here. House Speaker John McCormack. Massachusetts Democrat told the gathering, “We need friends. We had better see to it that Israel exists In the future and that we retain the friendship of that great country.” Sen. Edmund Muskie, of Maine, the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate in 1968, said “Israel does not need praise for past accomplishments but present assurances that democracies like the United States will firmly support its basic right to exist.” House Majority leader Carl Alpert, of Oklahoma, warned that “The presence of Russian military men in Egypt… may be the greatest threat to world peace…..nice the armies of Hitler.
Sen. Hugh Scott, of Pennsylvania, the Republican Minority leader in the Senate said that “time was of the essence” in selling more jets to Israel because “a strong and dynamic Israel is in the highest interests of the United States.” Sen. Scott disclosed that he urged the immediate sale of more jets to Israel in a letter to Secretary of State William P. Rogers on May. 7. Rep. Gerald Ford, Republican Minority leader in the House, said, “I firmly believe that the fate of Israel Is linked to the security of the United States. The need now exists for the immediate sale of Phantoms and other arms to Israel.” He warned that Moscow’s target now may be the Israel Air Force but tomorrow it could be the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
Later in the day, the Committee was briefed by a group of foreign policy experts who said that in recent months Israel appeared to be drawing closer to the American position that a greater degree of flexibility was required if it is ever to sit down at the peace table with the Arab states. The experts said the U.S. position always has been that Israel must indicate that it intends eventually to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories though it need not specify when and to what point. They said foreign observers of the Mideast scene felt that Israel was approaching the position of accepting the United Nations Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution and at least giving lip service to the principle of “withdrawal,” a word that has been consciously omitted from official Israeli statements.