Israel Proposes Establishment of Regional Disarmament Commissions

Israel proposed here today that United Nations regional disarmament commissions be established and called for a world-wide educational program that would underscore the danger of the arms race and the effort of the international community to achieve disarmament.

In a letter to Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog, said “Disarmament and arms control measures are not only of concern to major powers on a global level but are also of vital interest to small countries in the regional context. Constant endeavors should, therefore, be made to promote local and regional agreements between governments so as to lighten the burden of armaments and to lessen the danger of local conflicts.”

The 31st General Assembly last fall decided to hold a special session of the General Assembly on disarmament in May-June 1978. Member states were invited to submit their views on this issue in advance and Herzog’s letter was sent to Waldheim in that connection. In it, Herzog expressed support for the special session. He reiterated Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon’s statement at the last General Assembly that Israel was prepared, even in advance of peace agreements, to negotiate with its neighbors on a balanced limitation of the flow of arms to the Middle East.

Herzog also proposed in his letter that General Assembly resolutions on disarmament be adopted by consensus because “resolutions adopted by a majority are of little practical value and only undermine public confidence in the ability of the UN to further the cause of disarmament.” Another proposal by Herzog was to make membership in all UN disarmament bodies open to all states on a rotating basis.

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