WASHINGTON (Jun. 27)
Sen. Jacob K. Javits’ heralded address on the Senate floor labeling the Carter Administration’s Middle East peace proposals “unrealistic” and tending to increase the danger of war, drew wide support from his Republican colleagues today. Sens. Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts, Robert Packwood of Oregon, Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania and Samuel Hayakawa of California each rose to associate himself with the New York Senator’s remarks calling for direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab states and continued American support for Israel.
Sen. Clifford Case (R. NJ), who was unable to be present, sent a prepared statement to be included in the record. Case was with Javits at their meeting with President Carter, Vice-President Walter Mondale and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski last Friday. Sen. Charles Percy (R.III.) who, in an address last night to the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation league in Chicago urged the U.S. not to weaken its support for Israel, arrived late in the Senate chamber and did not speak.
Democratic support for Javits was sparse, possibly reflecting a general party feeling not to directly and publicly oppose the President in his Middle East diplomacy. Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia listened to the speakers but made no comment. Ten days ago, Byrd applauded Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D. Conn.) for his support of Mondale’s June 17 speech in San Francisco reaffirming the President’s Middle East views.
Sen. John Sparkman (D. Ala.) closed the discussion by praising Javits. Sen. Richard Stone (D. Fla.) backed Javits’ appeal for continued bipartisanship that Javits had pointed out, is the hallmark of U.S. policy in support of Israel. Although they were the only Democratic Senators to speak, the Democratic Party’s weight in support of Javits’ views was indicated by the fact that Sparkman is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Stone is chairman of its subcommittee on the Middle East.
NOT A PARTY ISSUE
The U.S. position on the Middle East issue “has always been strongly bi-partisan,” Javits told the Senate. He said his entire actions today would be “a great disservice” if it were seen as a party matter. He expressed his “deepest and most profound respect” for Carter, Mondale and Brzezinski and said he hoped “they take this” as being “the other side” of the discussion which “may be tested in the public domain.” Stone pointed out that “Unless all views are aired, we could in the process stumble to everybody’s great detriment.” He said Javits’ thoughts were “welcomed by all.”
Earlier, Brooke had asked Javits whether the “crucial point” was that Israel must have “direct negotiations” with the Arabs. Javits replied, “That is correct.” He added that the point includes “face-to-face” negotiations but that “face-to-face is not a pre-condition.” When Brooke observed that the Arabs “oppose” direct negotiations, Javits said, “that’s exactly right.”