KIAMESHA LAKE, N.Y. (Nov. 14)
Describing Soviet-America cooperation as essential to progress toward peace in the Middle East. Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth Rush last night strongly recommended that no action be taken to disturb the current United States-USSR detente. “The spirit of detente has been tried by the October (Yom Kippur) war, but it is still alive.” Rush told delegates to the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of America meeting at the Concord Hotel. He urged that cooperation between the two superpowers not be burdened “with a heated debate over trade and emigration.”
He said that to deny most favored nation status to the Soviet Union would undercut the conditions that have allowed more than 50,000 Jews to leave the USSR since 1968. “We must ask what signal we wish to send the Soviet Union.” Rush said. “Would Congressional action blocking normal commercial relations have a positive or negative impact on this crucial point in our relations? I suggest we recognize our differences on this issue but agree to take no action during this sensitive period.”
Rush also told the leaders of Conservative Judaism that the U.S. support of Israel “is not simply a political act, it is an act of helping someone in need.” He said that the Middle East has been the one area that has resisted efforts by the Nixon Administration’s foreign policy to bring about an easing of world tensions. “It is bitterly ironic,” Rush remarked, “that an area which gave our world so many of its basic values should once again remind us how fragile our progress is toward achieving these values.”
He said that from the outset of the war, the Administration has worked to prevent two possible outcomes. One was “a fight to exhaustion which could produce enormous human suffering” and would almost certainly lay the groundwork “for a renewal of the fighting at a later date.” The other was a possibility that the war could catalyze a direct confrontation between the two superpowers.
Rush referred in his address to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s statement in Peking that the U.S. supports Israel because of its democratic traditions and “our opposition to the domination of one nation by force to others.” Rush said the war has proved “that an equilibrium of armed camps is not enough.” He said the U.S. is “committed to the safety and survival of Israel,” and added that the Administration is operating on the belief that the goals of Arabs and Israelis can be made compatible through negotiations.