UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 11)
John Scali, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said today that “satisfactory security measures” have been taken to protect members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who will attend the General Assembly’s Palestine debate opening Wednesday. But the American envoy, addressing a press conference, refused to give any hint as to when, how or where the PLO delegates will arrive, where they will be housed or how many of them are coming to New York.
However, Scali expressed hope that “those with a special point of view” toward the PLO, meaning its opponents, “will advocate their views in the most peaceful manner.” In that connection he expressed high praise for Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which sponsored last Monday’s mass demonstration outside the UN protesting the invitation to the PLO. Scali called that demonstration a “remarkably peaceful and constructive one.”
Scali repeatedly said, “I cannot answer” when pressed by reporters for information on the PLO arrangements. He said, however, that he believed the Arabs are satisfied with the security measures. He said the PLO members would be protected by New York City police and federal agents outside the UN and by UN security personnel inside the world organization headquarters.
Security at the UN was already tightened today. Regular correspondents were required to show their credentials three or four times before being admitted to the building whereas ordinarily they show their credentials only once or not at all. Radio and television correspondents who have booths overlooking the General Assembly chamber are required to pass through electronic detection devices and submit to body searches.
RUMOR SPARKS POLICE ACTION
Meanwhile, about 500 policemen and scores of police cars surrounded the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in midtown Manhattan today, apparently in response to rumors that the PLO delegates will be staying there. An eye-witness told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the hotel was cordoned off to all but guests. Visitors were also barred from the UN today, except for groups that had made advance arrangements to visit there.
It was announced today that the Palestine debate will open Wednesday morning with a statement by the PLO, presumably to be delivered by Arafat. He will be followed on the speakers list by Syria, Dahomey and Israel. The U.S. and Britain have indicated they will participate in the Palestine debate but did not say when.
Scali reiterated that U.S. policy toward the PLO has not changed. He said that policy was expressed in the negative vote he cast last month when the General Assembly voted 105-4 to invite the PLO to participate in its deliberations on the Palestine issue. He said he could not answer, when asked, if he would meet with Arafat in New York. The Lebanese Ambassador, Edouard Ghorra, met with Secretary General Kurt Waldheim today to make arrangements for the arrival of President Suleiman Franjieh of Lebanon who will address the General Assembly Thursday.