Kissinger Warns That Failure to Reach Solution in Mideast Could Result in Third World War
Menu JTA Search

Kissinger Warns That Failure to Reach Solution in Mideast Could Result in Third World War

Download PDF for this date

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger said tonight that President Ford is “determined to help bring about a negotiated solution in the Middle East” because not to reach one could result in a third world war and “with modern weapons there would not be a fourth.”

In remarks prepared for delivery before the Institute of World Affairs of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Kissinger described the Middle East conflict as “one of the central issues of our time” but that while there have been some “real achievements” to resolve it, the world has dealt with the Middle East and other-local conflicts “as if it were possible to contain conflict perpetually.” He warned that “such tolerance tempts conflagration.”

Kissinger left Washington this afternoon for a two-day speaking tour in the Middle West without meeting with Ford, as had been expected, to report on his talks with Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin in Bonn Saturday and with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrel Gromyko in Geneva last Friday, Kissinger is expected to meet with Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz Wednesday when both will be back in Washington.


In his Milwaukee speech in which he devoted two paragraphs to the Middle East, the Secretary was sharply critical of the United Nations General Assembly where “numerical majorities have insisted on their will and objectives even when in population and financial contributions they were a small proportion of the membership.”

He said that “in the process, a forum for accommodations has been transformed into a setting for confrontation.” He also criticized “the focus on political issues” that has “deflected the significant work” of such UN agencies as UNESCO and the International Labor Organization (ILO) which have become “heavily politicized.”


Referring to the Middle East, Kissinger noted that “the UN Security Council continues to play a vital role in the quest for a solution. Resolution 338 of 1973 launched a negotiating process which has borne fruit and proved durable. Secretary General Waldheim convened and addressed the first session of the Geneva conference. Resolution 242 of 1967 stated the general principles for a comprehensive peace. The stationing of United Nations forces was an indispensable element of the recent disengagement agreements between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Syria in 1974.”

Kissinger added, however, that “despite these and other real achievements, the global perils of local conflict continue to loom large. The world has dealt with them as if it were possible to contain conflict perpetually, But such tolerance tempts conflagration. That is how the first two world wars began, We must not have a third; with modern weapons there would not be a fourth;”

The Secretary declared that “It is not enough to contain the crises that occur; we must eradicate their causes, President Ford is therefore determined to help bring about a negotiated solution in the Middle East, in Cyprus and in other areas of dispute. And peacekeeping and peacemaking must be a top priority on the United Nations agenda.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund