UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 19)
The General Assembly opened its 27th session today under the tightest security precautions in more than a decade as incidents of violence and warfare in many parts of the world increased fears that terrorist acts might be perpetrated at the headquarters of the world organization. The issue of terrorism itself is expected to be high on the agenda during the 18-week Assembly sessions, placed there at the urgent request of Secretary General Kurt Waldheim in the aftermath of the Munich murders Sept. 5.
As the General Assembly convened, 12 white doves, a universal symbol of peace, were released in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza outside the UN building. The symbolic gesture was arranged by the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry which simultaneously called on the UN delegates to act immediately to end the exorbitant visa fees demanded by Soviet authorities from college-educated Jews seeking to leave the Soviet Union. The Supreme Soviet, meeting in Moscow today, is expected to give its formal approval to the restrictive measure promulgated last Aug. 3.
Spokesmen for the Greater New York Conference said the release of the doves constituted a message of solidarity and encouragement for Soviet Jews. Jewish leaders expressed the hope that the issue of the excessive visa fees will be raised at the current Assembly session by the United States and other world powers.
MUST RESOLVE PALESTINIAN PROBLEM
Even as delegates began to convene today, the Middle East was high on the Assembly’s agenda. Stanislaw Trepczynski, Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland who was elected General Assembly president, stated in his acceptance speech that there were still no signs of a lasting peace in the Middle East. The UN, he stated, “has committed its authority to help settle this long-standing dispute. We have a right to demand that the will and the decisions of our organizations be respected, decisions which, if fully complied with, should bring about the solution so earnestly desired, and not only by the population of that region.”
Adam Malik, Foreign Minister of Indonesia and temporary president of the Assembly before Trepczynski was elected, also noted that the only road to a peaceful solution of the Mideast problem lay in strict compliance with the provisions of the Security Council and Assembly decisions on that question. He observed that the “recent tragic incident at Munich” had pointed up “the desperate urgency for us to resolve the root cause of the Palestinian problem.”
Observers here said that Malik’s and Trepczynski’s statements early in the opening day of the Assembly was an indication that Israel will come under exceedingly heavy fire during subsequent sessions from the Soviet-Chinese-Arab bloc.
The proliferation of violence through acts of terrorism such as the killing of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes at Munich, the booby-trap murder of an Israeli diplomat in London only yesterday, new aerial hijackings, new fighting in the Middle East and Uganda, make it impossible for the General Assembly to avoid the issue posed, observers said today.
The US is expected to push hard for action eliminating asylum for the perpetrators of terrorist acts, including bombings, skyjacking and kidnapping. But many delegations, including virtually all of the Arab states, oppose strong measures on grounds that it is impossible to draw a line between terrorism and patriotic acts. Some sources said today that efforts might be made to refer the matter to the Legal Committee in order to avoid debate and concentrate on drafting a resolution.
A heat wave over Yom Kippur made fasting difficult for Israelis yesterday. Ninety persons fainted at the Western Wall and first aid stations in East Jerusalem and other parts of the country were kept busy treating victims of heat prostration. Ten expectant mothers were rushed to the hospital after passing out from the heat.