Washington (Jul. 21)
Two former State Department officials today told the House Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Development that the reopening of the Suez Canal would not be harmful to American interests. William Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State for the Far East from 1964-69, and now a visiting professor at the Center for international Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, testified that the reopening of the Suez Canal, in itself, “would not be adverse to the U.S. national interest.” Noting that the trade routes of the Indian Ocean connect East Asia and Europe as well as Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, Bundy said “any interference with them would have significant disruptive effects for several countries.” Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East during 1961-65 and currently president of the Asia Society in New York, agreed that U.S. interests would not be harmed by the reopening of the Canal. Talbot noted that the U.S. for years has tried to avoid being completely identified with any one element in the Middle East and therefore losing contact with other elements. He pointed out that this policy has been difficult at times.
Amplifying his remarks to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after his testimony, Talbot said that “sometimes the U.S. was with Israel and sometimes the Soviets are with the Arabs. Sometimes the U.S. is with the Arab Kings and the Russians with the Arab radicals.”