UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 19)
U.S. Ambassador John Scali said yesterday that he is optimistic that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s step-by-step approach will lead to peace in the Middle East. Speaking at a press conference marking the end of the 29th session of the General Assembly, Scali described the Mideast as a “major unsolved problem confronting mankind.”
Referring to the appearance of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat at the Assembly and the granting of an observer status to the PLO, Scali contended that this did not add “to the atmosphere of compromise and negotiations in the Middle East.” He also cited the appearance of Arafat and the PLO at the United Nations as factors in the eroding support for the UN in the United States. He added that the anti-Israeli resolutions taken by UNESCO did not help the image of the world organization.
Turning to his speech on Dec. 6 in which he attacked the tyranny of the majority at the UN, Scali said that he spoke as a friend of the UN “trying to avert the anti-UN fever” by the American public. He said, however, that he does not believe that the U.S. should walk away from the UN. He said that the U.S. will contribute to all UN programs as in the past.
Scali pointed out that he personally received some 500 letters of support from Americans after his speech. He said that the mail ran 55-1 in favor. He cited the decision by the Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East as a contributing factor to peace in the area.
Although the Assembly concluded its three month session it nevertheless decided to keep open the option of reconvening if Mideast developments should warrant. A similar procedure was followed last year and in 1967.