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State Department Assailed for Thwarting Peace in Mideast

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The New England Leadership Conference on the Middle East heaped blame on the US State Department last night for creating obstacles to peace in the Middle East and urged President Nixon to “halt current State Department maneuvers” in that region. The Conference was attended by 500 delegates representing 44 New England organizations. It charged that the current State Department line is destined to hand a gratuitous victory to the Soviet Union, is inimical to US national interests and constitutes a breach of the commitments of several US Presidents.”

The Conference was addressed by Jewish and non-Jewish lay leaders and clergymen who cited what they regard as “evidence for the gradual erosion of America’s Middle East policy.” They claimed that this erosion “helped to scuttle the Jarring mission and was now undermining the prospect of a Suez Canal agreement.” According to the speakers, the State Department was “attempting to pressure Israel into accepting some of President (Anwar) Sadat’s extravagant demands such as a crossing of the canal by Egyptian troops” and “was also supporting Egypt’s demand for the imposition of a time limit on the cease-fire, thus making it almost certain that fighting would be resumed again.” The Conference charged the US with pressuring Israel by embargoing the delivery of Phantom jets.

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