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Nixon’s Speech Does Not Indicate Change in U.S. Policy

While there were no official reactions here tonight to President Nixon’s press conference remarks yesterday on the Middle East, observers stressed the view that Nixon in no way altered the long-standing U.S. policy toward Israel and gave no indication that the U.S. was about to put pressure on Israel.

According to the observers, what Nixon wants is to end the Middle East stalemate and for that reason has instructed Secretary of State-designate Dr. Henry Kissinger to examine all aspects of the problem. They said this might indicate either new American initiatives in the area or a resumption of talks to break the deadlock.

The observers insisted that Nixon made a distinction between “oil policy” and the Arab-Israeli dispute, a view at variance with that of many observers abroad. The Israeli view may derive from the fact that Nixon said that as far as the Arab countries are concerned, the oil situation is tied to the Arab-Israeli dispute but left open the question as to whether the U.S. sees it the same way. (See P. 3 for news analysis.)