UNITED NATIONS (Jul. 17)
A 35nationad hoc committee on international terrorism which was.to have begun formal discussion today of what collective action could be taken by the world community to deal with the problem of terrorism, adjourned this afternoon after 15 minutes Aquilino E. Boyd, of Panama, was elected chairman.
Boyd described terrorism as “a grave problem that afflicts mankind” and said the duty of the committee was to make recommendations to the General Assembly. The committee was established by the Assembly last Dec. to consider observations and “concrete, proposals from member states. According to the UN, observations from 38 states have been received so far.
Observers here said it was highly questionable whether the body, which will be meeting through Aug.10, will be able to agree on a formula for concrete action to submit to the General Assembly when it convenes in Sept. largely because of the sharply divergent views among member states as to what constitutes terrorism.
The committee is a direct outgrowth of the Sept. 5, 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes by Arab terrorists in Munich.Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said, however, that he had no specific situation in mind when he asked the General Assembly, last Sept. 8, to put the issue of terrorism on its agenda.
TEKOAH ASSAILED RESOLUTION
The Assembly did so in face of vigorous opposition from the Arab states. Israel itself was bitterly disappointed that the Assembly took no action beyond passing a resolution creating the multi national ad hoc committee to give further study to the problem.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, declared at the time that the resolution setting up the committee “makes sheer mockery of the Secretary General’s request that the General Assembly take effective measures to prevent international terrorism.” He said the resolution, supported by the Afro Asian and Arab Soviet blocs indicated the UN’s “virtual incapacity” to deal effectively with such major problems confronting the international community.
The U.S. delegate, Ambassador W.Tapley Bennett Jr. saw the resolution as an equivocal move that recalled the “disintegration of the League of Nations.” Other diplomatic sources at the UN remarked that the ad hoc committee’s study “could take ages, The Arab states failed to keep the subject to terrorism off the agenda but managed with support of the Soviet bloc to kill proposals for an international convention on the prevention and punishment of terrorism.
Israel, on its part, proposed a five point plan which included a call on all states to refrain from giving assistance shelter or protection to the perpetrators of.terrorist acts and to extradite such criminals or bring them to trial.
COMMITTEE HAS WIDE LEEWAY
Tho approved resolution, which forms the mandate of the ad hoc committee now meeting, recognized “the importance of international cooperation in devising measures effectively to prevent”incidents of international terrorism and of “studying their underlying causes.” The resolution condemned at the same time “the continuation of repressive and terrorist acts by colonial, racist and alien regimes in denying people their legitimate right to self determination and independence.
The committee, therefore, has wide leeway to study both means to deal with terrorism and its causes. The Arab states, which seek to picture terrorist acts as part of a Palestinian struggle for national liberation, are expected to try to steer the committee to concentrate on causes. Israel and the Western powers are interested primarily in prevention and punishment. Afro Asian and nonaligned states fear strong preventive and punitive measures could be directed at their continuing struggle against colonialism.
The ad hoc committee includes five Arab states Algeria, Democratic Yemen, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.Both the U.S. and the USSR are members. Israel is not.