Rogers Urges General Assembly to Undertake Global War Against Terrorism
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Rogers Urges General Assembly to Undertake Global War Against Terrorism

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US Secretary of State William P. Rogers urged the General Assembly today to act without delay against terrorism on a global scale by undertaking strong collective action–embodied in special treaties–that would “deter and punish international crimes of violence” through extradition. He also called for the prosecution of the perpetrators and sanctions against countries that aid them. Rogers offered three specific proposals which he said were included in a draft treaty and a draft resolution which the US submitted to the Sixth (Legal) Committee, (See separate story.)

The three measures called for: a “treaty to prosecute or extradite those who attack or kidnap diplomats or officials of foreign governments”; “a treaty providing for suspension of all air services to countries which fail to punish or extradite hijackers or saboteurs of civil aircraft”; and “a new treaty on the export of international terrorism” which “should include universal condemnation of, and require the prosecution or extradition of persons who kill, seriously injure or kidnap innocent civilians in a foreign state for the purpose of harming or forcing concessions from a state or from an international organization.”

Rogers urged all governments to give these measures their “earnest attention.” These actions, Rogers said, “would mark a major advance in the struggle against international terrorism. Surely, it is in the collective interest of every nation represented in this hall to arrest the growing assault on international order with which we are all faced.” he said.


Rogers said that the issue of terrorism was not that of war between states, self-determination or independence, but simply a question of whether air travellers can travel in safety, whether people can open their mail without fear of being blown up, whether diplomats can safely discharge their duties and whether international meetings such as the Olympics can proceed without the ever-present threat of violence.

The Secretary of State declared: “We are all aware that, aside from the psychotic and the purely felonious, many criminal acts of terrorism derive from political origins. We all recognize that issues such as self-determination must continue to be addressed seriously by the international community. But political passion, however deeply held, cannot be a justification for criminal violence against innocent persons.”

Among the acts of terror committed in recent months, Rogers cited the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich; the murder of Ami Shechori, the Agricultural Attache in the London Israel Embassy, who was killed by a letter bomb; the narrow escape by three top Israeli diplomats in New York when postal authorities intercepted three letters with bombs in them; the massacre of 26 tourists at Lod Airport last May; the firing of shots last spring into the apartment of a member of the Soviet Mission in New York; and threats against Arab and other missions in this country.


Rogers also dwelt at length on the Middle East situation where, he said, “despite” the “deplorable patterns of action and counteraction” set off by the Munich killings, “we believe that forces favoring a peaceful settlement still have the upper hand.” He urged a negotiating process–not necessarily direct–to move away from the “no-peace-no-war situation which prevails now in the Middle East and observed that “Ambassador (Gunnar V.) Jarring remains available to help the parties negotiate.” He stated that in the American view “the most promising first step” would be proximity talks leading to an interim Suez Canal agreement.”

In urging action to regain “the momentum toward a peace settlement” in the Middle East, Rogers stressed the importance the US attached to an interim Suez agreement which, he said, “would separate the combatants, restore to Egypt operation of and authority over the Suez Canal, involve some Israeli withdrawal, preserve the cease-fire and provide momentum for further efforts towards an overall settlement.”

Rogers said it was “encouraging that both sides agree that such an interim agreement would not be an end in itself but rather the first step towards an overall peace settlement.” He said the US remains prepared to assist in achieving such an agreement. Moreover, he added, “an overall settlement in accordance with Resolution 242 must be the legitimate aspirations and concerns of governments on both sides as well as of the Palestinian people.”

Rogers also addressed himself to the weakness of the UN when in an apparent allusion to its propensity for one-sided action he remarked that “We believe that the increase in bloc voting, often without independent regard for the merits of the issue, is leading to unrealistic results.”

Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to comment on Rogers’ speech, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said he thought it was “strong” on terrorism but offered “nothing new” on the Middle East. A spokesman for the Israeli UN Mission told the JTA that Rogers’ suggestions for combatting terrorism were “very much acceptable to the State of Israel.” He said further comment would have to come from Jerusalem.

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