WASHINGTON (Dec. 19)
The impact of the stunning accord between the United States and the People’s Republic of China on countries in the Middle East friendly to the U.S., particularly Israel, is under intense discussion here in view of the changed relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, an American ally for three decades.
The U.S. gave Taiwan a Senate-confirmed treaty, supplied it with weapons, furnished diplomatic support in international forums and is America’s eighth largest trading partner with numerous U.S. corporations operating on the island. Under the terms of the Sino-American accord, the U.S. will withdraw its recognition of Taiwan by the end of the year having agreed with Peking that Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China are one country.
President Carter, in making his historic announcement last Friday night on normalizing relations with China, stated, however, that within the “context” of the U.S. recognizing “the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China,” the “people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.”
U.S. GOALS CALLED INTO QUESTION
Sen. Richard Stone (D.Fla.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East, believes that the “immediate impact” in terms of the Middle East will be on U.S. relationships with Iran rather than on Israel. He noted that the Carter Administration apparently seeks to have the Shah bring into leadership in Iran elements of both “the extreme Moslem leadership” and some of the Palestinian and Iraqi-supported leftwing groups.
“The impact on the Middle East is cumulative and our will power and our firmness in support of our own stated alliance and goals is called into question,” Stone said. “That’s the difficulty” in the Washington-Peking move, he observed on the CBS-TV program “Face the Nation” Sunday. Asked whether the accord complicates the American search for peace between Israel and the Arab states, Stone replied:
“I think it really does. We have to say to Israel, rely on us as a supplier, and as logistic ally. We will supply you with the most advanced defense and, if necessary, offensive weapons to protect your situation, and for that you should give up your buffer territory and sign off. That is the dimension that always produced the movement, and the concessions, by Israel. I am sure that is what produced the great breakthrough that President Carter achieved at Camp David. To the extent that reliability and trustworthiness is lessened, that makes the further concessions that much harder to….”
DRAWS PARALLEL WITH ISRAEL
According to the CBS transcript, Stone was interrupted at that point by a reporter on the panel who asked whether Taiwan and Israel were not “totally different things” in view of “the American political situation and the influence of Israel and Jewish Americans in our foreign policy?” Stone replied:
“The parallel is in our military reliability. In Taiwan we had a reliable air and naval base with willing allies, even willing to fight on our side with their own people if asked in the recent Asian conflict. In Israel, we have similarly a reliable air and naval base. We are outnumbered in our Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean; we have to be very careful to protect not only our own but Japan’s and Europe’s oil interest in the Middle East. With a shaky Iran we have to rely on that reliable basing and military strength in Israel and so we need to keep that military alliance. Even if it isn’t reduced to a treaty, it is even stronger than a treaty in force and effect.”
Energy Secretary James Schlesinger said that “there is a deep concern” by the Peking government “regarding the vulnerability of the Middle East” to “the threat of possible Soviet aggression” in that area. In this question, Iran alone was mentioned. “The events of the last year are not reassuring to them nor are they reassuring to us,” Schlesinger said without specifying the “events.”
CHINESE VIEW OF MIDEAST
A source close to the Congressional delegation that is preparing a report for Congress on its visit to the People’s Republic of China Nov. 12-24, led by Sen. Edmund Muskie (D.Me.), said that the Chinese officials were anxious to persuade the Americans to block Soviet penetration of the Middle East by causing Israel to agree to Arab terms for a settlement.
This source, who accompanied the delegation on its trip, noted that Vice Premier Li Hsien-Nien told the four Senators and five Representatives that the U.S. ought to place additional curbs on Israel and give more support to Egypt, while causing Israel to be “more forthcoming,” that is, give up occupied territories, extend “rights” to the Palestinian Arabs, including the Palestine Liberation Organization. An Arab-Israeli “peace, Li contended, would block Soviet influence in the Mideast.
At the Institute for Foreign Affairs in Peking, the preoccupation of Chinese officials with the Soviet maneuvers again was manifested. There the delegation was informed by the former Chinese Ambassador to Iran who is now the Institute’s president, that the Israeli-Arab conflict was an ingredient in the Soviet encirclement of Europe.
Although they favored support of the PLO and for pressures on Israel, the Chinese leaders considered “there was nothing anti-Israel” about their views, the source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview. Rep. James Scheuer (D.NY) and Stone, who were in the delegation, made “vigorous efforts to make sure the Chinese understood the history” of the Arab-Israeli situation, the source said.
Stone noted that while China was extremely concerned about the Soviet Union, that concern did not seem to extend to the Soviet support of the PLO which China also supported. Li’s response to Stone was that the Soviets would flaunt support for “national liberation movements” in the Mideast even if there were no Israel. Li indicated his interest in the Mideast by devoting some 20 minutes of his 90-minute meeting with the Congressional delegation to that topic.