WASHINGTON (Dec. 17)
The State Department today related the “vicious attack” by Palestinian terrorists at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome and their slaughter of 42 people to the Arab-Israeli peace conference expected to open in Geneva on Friday. The U.S. government deplores incidents such as this at any time.” it declared, “and particularly at a time when a peaceful settlement of the Middle East question, a factor apparently in the minds of the terrorists, is being sought by many peace loving governments and individuals.” (See P.3 for story on terrorist carnage.)
“This new outrage underlines the urgent necessity to strengthen the civil aviation security measures throughout the world,” it said in a statement read to the press by Department spokesman Paul Hare. Department officials who had long sought measures in the United Nations and other international forums to combat such terror expressed shock at the wanton killings and carnage sown by the Arab terrorists in Rome earlier today.
The UN General Assembly last month postponed action to next year on its special committee’s report for measures regarding terrorism.
“Members who were against it said they did not have time to consider it,” a U.S. official closely connected to the study told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. He pointed out that the U.S. -initiated resolution for an international convention to combat terrorism was offered in 1972. A special committee set up by the General Assembly met last summer and made a report but it lacked any specific measures against terrorism.
“The committee was not enthusiastic to do nothing,” the official said. “It was divided with Arab or pro-Arab elements arguing that action against terrorists would deter national liberation movements.” The Assembly’s Legal Committee did, however, draft a convention for the protection of diplomats from terrorists. That measure is now open to signatures of member nations.