Rogers: U.S. Objective in Mideast is to Maintain Cease-fire, Aid Talks

Secretary of State William P. Rogers said last night that the “major immediate objective” of the United States in the Middle East “will be to strive to maintain the fragile cease-fire while attempting to get negotiations started among the nations concerned.” Addressing some 1000 journalists and guests at the Overseas Press Club’s annual awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria here Rogers said: “The Middle East continues to be a matter of major concern where emotion and hatred at times seem to make meaningful dialogue an impossibility.”

The Secretary of State added, however, that “If there could now be a cease-fire on inflammatory rhetoric, a cease-fire of belligerent statements on ultimate and rigid positions and a cease-fire from violence of all kinds, from whatever source, I am convinced that progress toward a permanent solution could be achieved. He said the U.S. intended to take “at their word” the principal parties who “have said they want to keep the doors of diplomacy open.”

In addition, Rogers said the U.S. could not accept a recent proposal by some members of Congress “to reduce to the maximum extent the United States role in furnishing defense articles and defense services to foreign countries and eliminate all grant military assistance by 1975.”

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