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Sisco Sees Hope for Peace in Mideast but Not This Year

Retiring Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Joseph J. Sisco. said today that there is hope for peace in the Middle East because both the Arabs and the Israelis are “sick and tired of war.” But he added that he does not believe anything could be achieved in the Mideast this year.

At a farewell luncheon given by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Sisco said that he shares “the deep concern” over the Mideast situation. But, he stated, “I continue to believe that peace would come to the Mideast” although “it will not be easy.” Sisco is leaving his present post July 1 to assume the presidency of American University in Washington. D.C. He joined the State Department in 1951 and has dealt in Mideast affairs since the mid-1960s.

At today’s reception, which was held at the presidents Conference’s headquarters at 515 Park Avenue and attended by more than a hundred Jewish leaders, Sisco was praised for his “friendship and understanding” of Israel and American Jewry Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, said that with Sisco “we knew we had a friend in the State Department. I think.” Dinitz said, “that nobody in the American government knows Israel, understands Israel better than Sisco.”

FORD PRAISES CONTRIBUTION

President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger sent letters for the occasion to the chairman of the Presidents Conference, Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, praising Sisco for his long and devoted service and his contribution to U.S. efforts at reaching a Mideast solution. Ford said:

“For over a decade, he (Sisco) has worked tirelessly to help achieve progress toward a final peace in the Middle East. Since October 1973, he has played a particularly significant role in the successful diplomatic efforts of our government in that area. Peace in the Middle East and the maintenance of Israel’s security and survival have continued to be the priority foreign policy objectives of my Administration. They have been well served and effectively carried forward by Joe Sisco–for which I am personally grateful to him.”

Presenting Sisco and his wife Jean with an illustrated Hebrew-English book of Psalms. Schindler declared that American Jews remained pledged to Israel’s survival “with our very lives.” Also paying tribute to Sisco were Rabbi Israel Miller, former chairman of the Presidents Conference and Max Fisher, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. (See separate story on Page 3.)

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