WASHINGTON (Feb. 20)
President Carter today spoke of “intensifying” United States efforts to maintain “the security and independence” of the Middle East nations and hinted at increasing America’s military assistance towards that end.
He also called on “all leaders in the Middle East to recognize the vital importance for the region” that the Camp David ministerial talks which begin tomorrow succeed in drafting an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and warned the Soviet Union against extending its influence in Iran. Carter delivered a full-dress foreign policy speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where he had been a student, after addressing the Georgia State Legislature on domestic issues.
Without going into details of his intentions in defense of the nations in the region, the President specifically mentioned his determination to work with Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia on the security of the region. Defense Secretary Harold Brown returned to Washington yesterday after on II-day tour of those four countries and reportedly brought back requests from all of them for increased U.S. arms.
Observing that “it is still a world of danger a world in which democracy and freedom are constantly challenged, ” the Precedent said that America’s “four fundamental security responsibilities” are to provide for America’s strength and safety, stand by its allies and friends, support national independence and integrity and work for peace.
He pointed out that “other nations” must respect Iran’s independence and integrity, as does the U.S. and declared: “We are intensifying our efforts to promote stability throughout the Middle East, so that the security and independence of the nations of that part of the world will be maintained.
Brown, Carter said, carried out “comprehensive consultations in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia concerning the security of the region. We are determined to work with these nations and others to put the peaceful development of the region on a sound and lasting foundation. Recent disturbances in the region have underlined the need to work even more urgently towards peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”
Reiterating that he would call another summit conference between Egypt, Israel and the U.S the President said, “I will do whatever I can to promote the success of the Camp David negotiations, including the calling of another summit conference if that should be necessary and the parties show adequate flexibility. I urge all leaders in the Middle East to recognize the vital importance for the region that these talks succeed.”
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance will begin meeting tomorrow at Camp David with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil.
The State Department indicated that press information for the new Camp David talks. will be handled by “one source” with an American spokesman as was the case in the previous trilateral sessions: Hodding Carter of the State Department is expected to be that spokesman and to deliver his briefings at the State Department rather than at Camp David as was the case at the summit conference last September. The single source method also was followed during the Blair House talks that followed.
From the President’s speech today and informed sources here it would appear that the ministerial talks will dwell on reaching agreements on the differences that separate Jerusalem and Cairo in quick time and then have a summit conference comprising Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin follow soon thereafter to complete the treaty.
ADDITIONAL MILITARY AID CRUCIAL
In his Georgia Tech speech, the President observed that “more nations are troubled — even threatened — by the turmoil in Southeast and Southwest. Asia.” He then added, “To stand by our friends and help meet their security needs in these difficult times I will consult with the Congress to determine what additional military assistance will be required. This added measure of support is crucial for stability throughout the Indian Ocean area. And let me repeat in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the world, we will stand by our friends — and we will honor our commitments — and we will protect the vital interests of the United States.
If we are to meet our responsibilities, we must continue to maintain the military forces we need for our defense and to contribute to the defense of our allies.”