Sisco Calls for Strong U.S. Leadership in the Middle East

In a major address to 1500 delegates attending the 25th biennial national convention of Women’s American ORT. Joseph Sisco, president of American University and former U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs, called for “strong American leadership” in the Middle East and the world.

He said that Israel’s security was linked to the United States despite the strains between the two nations, and the U.S. was in need of a strong presidency, without which a strong foreign policy could not be made. He said that America should “protect its vital interests” around the world and reduce its “outside dependence” on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Sisco called the Israel-Egypt peace negotiations the “most important step forward” in the Middle East in 30 years and said that the Camp David agreements have greatly reduced the possibility of war in the area. He stated that the U.S. must let the parties involved in Middle East peace process “work things out for themselves.”

He proposed that once autonomy was instituted on the West Bank and in Gaza, the parties concerned would be able to test the efficacy of the arrangements over a period of some five years. Calling himself the “first non-pro-Arabist in the State Department,” Sisco declared that he was “as committed to Israel as anyone in the audience.”

Beverly Minkoff, of Rockville Centre, N.Y., was elected national president of Women’s American ORT. She previously held the post of chairman of the national executive committee to which she had been elected in 1975 and reelected in 1977.

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