No Shift in U.S. Attitude Toward Israel Seen in Inaugural Address

President Nixon’s inaugural address yesterday gave no definitive indication of change in his policy toward Israel or the Middle East. After Israeli Premier Golda Meir’s secret two-hour talk with the President in the White House almost 14 months ago, U.S. financial and diplomatic support for Israel reached what a top Israel official here described as “unparalleled” backing for the Jewish State.

Four statements in the President’s inaugural address were seen as bearing on the Middle East. In the order of his presentation. the first was that “we shall support vigorously the principle that no country has the right to impose its will or its rule on another by force.” This preserves the long-standing U.S. principle, opposed by the Soviet Union, that the major powers should not force a settlement on the Middle East. The U.S. held that Israel and the Arab states should negotiate their own agreement, a view reiterated only last week by Secretary of State William P. Rogers. Israel has hailed this particular element of American government policy.

NO CONFLICT BETWEEN U.S. ISRAELI POSITIONS

Nixon also said, “We shall do our share in defending peace and freedom in the world but we shall expect others to do their share.” This seems to fit entirely within the Israeli-American working relationship. Israel has consistently held that it seeks no direct military support from the U.S. and will defend itself with its own people.

The third element in Nixon’s address was: “Just as we respect the right of each nation to determine its own future, we also recognize the responsibility of each nation to secure its own future. Just as America’s role is indispensable in preserving the world’s peace, so is each nation’s role indispensable in preserving its own peace.” In this respect too. according to some observers, there definitely is no conflict between the American and Israeli positions.

In effect, the President’s philosophy as expressed in his inaugural address, seemed in effect a re-statement of the doctrine which he set forth in Guam on July 25, 1969, when he said that America’s allies should take more responsibility for their own survival within the reach of American military power. In this view, Israel had developed this concept long before Nixon enunciated it.

Mrs. Meir’s scheduled visit with Nixon at the White House March 1 presumably will bring about fresh understandings between the leaders of the two countries but, meanwhile, observers felt, there is no fundamental change in the U.S. Israeli relationship. (See P. 3 for additional story.)

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