United Nations (Nov. 2)
Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota, the first announced candidate for President in 1972, said this morning that the People’s Republic of China’s membership in the United Nations would make the UN “more effective” but he excluded the Middle East from that judgment. “I’m not sure that it makes a direct contribution on the Middle East,” the Democrat told UN correspondents in response to a question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency representative. He said he saw “no immediate connection” between the seating of the Peking government and a Mideast settlement.
In a prepared statement distributed before the press conference, McGovern said: “I believe removal of the bar to Peking’s entry removes at the same time a major disability of the United Nations to discuss and affect many of the most critical international issues bearing on world peace. The absence of a government representing a quarter of the world’s population has been a constant challenge to the legitimacy of the United Nations and its decisions.”
Asked later by the JTA to elaborate on his spoken comments in view of the certainty of his written remarks, McGovern concluded that “I just don’t know” how Peking’s membership on the Security Council will affect the Mideast, but he contended that it was less “hostile” to Israel than the Soviet Union is.
Also at the press conference, McGovern announced that in view of the Senate’s rejection of the Foreign Aid bill, he was returning to Washington this afternoon to introduce a draft bill for military sales credits for Israel. One newsman–who refused to identify himself after the press conference but was learned to be a Lebanese–asked McGovern how he could square his aid-to-Israel measure with his liberal image. McGovern replied that it is “imperative that the military balance not shift sharply in the Middle East.” He noted that without American assistance over the years “Israel probably would have been annihilated by now.” McGovern added that the “keystone” of a Mideast peace was direct negotiations, without outside pressures, leading to an agreement among the parties and “some representation of the Palestinian Arabs.”