WASHINGTON (Aug. 22)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger told the American Legion Convention in Miami Beach that the United States will continue to help Arabs and Israelis toward a resolution of their conflict and the achievement of a lasting peace in the Middle East.
According to the official text of his remarks made available here, Kissinger said, “For the Arabs there can be no peace without a recovery of territory and the redress of grievances of a displaced people. For Israel, peace requires both security and recognition by its neighbors of its legitimacy as a nation.” He added: “Our Arab and Israeli friends have, with our help over the past six months, taken the first difficult steps down the road toward fulfillment of these aspirations. We have a long distance yet to travel, but with patience and hard work we will complete the journey. The people of the Middle East deserve it and the peace of the world demands it.”
While no new elements were contained in Kissinger’s remarks, some observers here questioned whether his juxtaposition of Arab and Israeli claims indicated that the U.S. believes that Israel must return territory and redress the grievances of the Palestinians if it hopes to obtain security and recognition from the Arabs.
WILL NOT YIELD TO PRESSURE GROUP
“We must create in the Middle East a lasting peace, not just a cease-fire,” the Secretary said. “My trips throughout that tragically torn area have convinced me of one essential fact above all others: The people of the Middle East, be they Arab or Jew, have had enough of bloodshed. They cry out for peace and peace can be theirs if they and we have the will and patience to achieve it.”
In his 3800-word text which referred to turmoil in many parts of the world, such as the current situation in Cyprus, Kissinger said the American attitude would be “that we cannot be the world’s policeman but that we will always use our influence for peace and conciliation. We will not yield to pressure groups but we will always listen to reason. We will act in foreign policy as trustee of the future, conscious that we will be judged on how well we built an enduring peace and not how often we showed to the emotional demands of the moment.”
His latter remark was interpreted here as a reference to the demonstration by more than 20,000 Greek Americans at the White House last Sunday and the assassination Monday of U.S. Ambassador Rodger Davies in Cyprus. It was also seen as a further indication of Kissinger’s opposition to popular demand in Congress that the U.S. insist that the Soviet government changes its emigration policies before granting trade concessions to the Soviet Union.
Kissinger, who addressed the American Legion Tuesday night, was presented with the Legion’s Distinguished Public Service Award.