Nixon: U.S. Stressing Peace Initiative Because U.s., USSR Want to Avoid Confrontation

President Nixon took a more moderate position on the Middle East crisis yesterday than he did in his televised “conversation” July 1, when he stressed that the Arabs “want to drive Israel into the sea.” The President told a news conference that the United States is “putting such emphasis on our peace initiative” because both the U.S. and the Soviet Union “want to avoid a confrontation every place in the world.” The reference to “expelling” Russian personnel from the Mideast made at a background news conference by an administration official since identified as Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, the White House adviser on national security, was “not with the idea of using armed force for that purpose but to negotiate any peaceful settlement.” Mr. Nixon said. In that context, the President said, “I support exactly what was said because what we meant to say there was simply this: that in any peace settlement, once a peace settlement is made then there will be no need for the forces of other nations to be in these countries.”

As to the administration’s general Mideast policy, the Chief Executive contended that “I think my position is quite clear,” adding: “I have always said, as I said on July 1, that our interest is peace in the area and the recognition of the sovereignty and independence of every state in the area.” Mr. Nixon, asserting that the balance of power in the Mideast “has not yet been upset,” explained that “we have not announced any sale of planes or delivery of planes to Israel at this time because we want to give that peace initiative every chance to succeed.” Regarding the power balance, Mr. Nixon said. “We are watching it closely” because “the Soviet movement not just of weapons but of men to (Egypt) to man the weapons causes us concern, because if that continues that could upset the balance of power.”

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