Carter Reaffirms Stand on PLO

President Carter has reaffirmed the United States policy of not dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization until it accepts United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and recognizes Israel’s right to exist.

At a White House interview with 30 newspaper editors and broadcast news directors last Friday, Hal Rosen, representing the Chicago Sentinel and Jewish United Fund News, asked Carter: “Earlier this week on Monday (May 14) (former Undersecretary of State) Joseph Sisco, speaking before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, said that while it is official U.S. policy that we don’t recognize or make contact rather with the PLO unless they recognize 242, that he sees modification in this in the future. While he is not an official government spokesman obviously, does his view reflect any change in our policy?”

Carter replied: “There has been no change. I don’t contemplate any change. Our nation is pledged again on our word of honor which I have corroborated since I have been in office that we will not deal with the PLO until they accept UN Resolution 242 as a basis for negotiations which all the other Arab entities have done and until they recognize the right of Israel to exist.

“I think that any such meeting on any kind of official basis would be counterproductive. We are not doing it surreptitiously. We are not cheating on our commitment. Obviously, as is well known by Israel, there are members of the PLO, individual members, who are mayors of major cities. For instance, on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Both we and the Israelis deal with them as Palestinians, not, however, in their capacity as members of the PLO. So there has been and will be no change in this policy.”

Rosen was the one representative of the American Jewish press among the print and broadcast journalists from 23 states. These one day on the record briefing sessions with the President and other government officials are held every two weeks.

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