WASHINGTON (Jan. 24)
President Carter last night reaffirmed “firm commitment to Israel’s survival and security” and vowed to use America’s influence to establish an Egyptian-Israeli peace. In a brief passage on the Middle East in his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Carter spoke of building a “new foundation” for America and the world “so that all of us may live our lives in peace.” However, he gave no new clues on policy to ward Israel.
“In the Middle East — under most difficult circumstances — we have sought to help ancient enemies lay aside deep-seated differences that have produced four bitter wars in this century,” the President said. “Our firm commitment to Israel’s survival and security is rooted in-our deep convictions and in our knowledge of the strategic importance to our nation of a stable Middle East to promote-peace and reconciliation in the region we must retain the trust and confidence both of Israel and of the Arab nations that are sincerely searching for peace.”
SEEKS LASTING PEACE
Continuing, Carter stated: “I am determined to use the full beneficial influence of our nation so that the precious opportunity for lasting peace between Israel and Egypt will not be lost.”
The President followed this passage by saying that “the new foundation of international cooperation we seek excludes no nation. Cooperation with the Soviet Union serves the cause of peace, for in the nuclear age world peace must include peace between the superpowers — and it must mean the control of nuclear arms.”
Before Carter went to the Capitol to deliver his address, a senior White House official who briefed reporters about it did not elaborate on the Middle East section. He said in response to a question on the possibility of a Camp David-style summit that such a summit was not excluded but that it was not an immediate option. He said that once U.S. special envoy Alfred Atherton completes his current mission to Israel and Egypt Secretary of State Cyrus Vance may meet with Egyptian Premier Mustapha Khalil and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. But the official would not go beyond, that.
Carter in his address emphasized that “as long as I am President, at home and around the world, America’s example and America’s influence will be marshalled to advance the cause of human rights. “He made no specific references to situations or nations, while calling on the present generation of Americans. “to renew our nation’s faith.”