WASHINGTON (Jul. 10)
Maureen Reagan, head of the United States delegation to the world conference ending the United Nations Decade for Women, pledged yesterday that her delegation will do everything possible to prevent adoption of anti-Zionist resolutions at the conference which opens in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday.
If such resolutions are adopted, Reagan said it will be up to her father, President Reagan, to decide what action the U.S. delegation takes. But she indicated that the delegation would be reluctant to walk out as some Jewish groups and members of Congress have been urging.
She explained that at preparatory meetings for the conference, “radical delegations” sought to find what the “bottom line” is for the U.S. that would force it to leave so that these delegations could try to have such resolutions adopted. “We are not going to leave,” she said. “We have important business to carry out.”
Reagan said that unlike the earlier women’s conferences in Mexico City in 1975 which contained the “Zionism is racism” resolution, and in Copenhagen in 1980 which accepted a “radical” resolution on the Palestinians, the proposed Nairobi document contains a catch-all proposed by the Soviet bloc which includes anti-Zionism among other “obstacles” to the development of women.
CATCH-ALL RESOLUTION CONTAINS ANTI-ZIONISM
The paragraph, which calls the arms race the main obstacle, adds: “Other major obstacles to the implementation of goals and objectives set by the United Nations in the field of the advancement of women include imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, expansionism, apartheid, racism, Zionism, exploitation, policies of force and all forms of occupation, domination and hegemony, and the growing gap between the levels of economic development of developed and developing countries.”
“We will work to get it out, we will argue against it, we will vote against it,” Reagan said. “We will do whatever it is we can do. I cannot guarantee you it will never come up. I cannot guarantee you it will not pass. I can tell you that we will do our best effort to see that it does not.”
Reagan said that when the U.S. and other countries were unable to vote for the Mexico City and Copenhagen declarations it meant that “a tremendous number of women in the world” were not part of those documents even though “we had sweat blood” to see that issues important to women were in them.
U.S. PROPOSAL AT THE CONFERENCE
She said to prevent this from happening in Nairobi the U.S. is proposing that the resolution dealing with the “forward looking strategy for women” be adopted on a consensus vote and that political issues be dealt with in some separate manner.
“There has to be a place for radical views to be heard,” Reagan said. “There has to be a place for political debates to take place. But there also has to be a forward looking strategy for the next 15 years which deals with the very best agreement of women from all over the world with the things we have in common and we are working for and that doesn’t eliminate any group of nations or any single nation simply because one group has more votes.”
At the same time, Reagan said that unlike Mexico City and Copenhagen, she sought in the political debate to “exorcise those extreme views and come up with something positive in the middle.”
She refused to take any position on a long section in the proposed document dealing with Palestinian women which criticizes Israeli policy. She said it was something to be discussed at Nairobi.
Asked about proposals to cut off U.S. funds if the conference becomes politicized, Reagan said this is impossible since the money the U.S. appropriated for the conference has already been spent.
NGO, UN MEETINGS TO OVERLAP
The delegation headed by Reagan is the official U.S. delegation to the conference which will be run like all UN meetings with each country having one vote. She said that because it is an official delegation, all policy decisions are made by the Reagan Administration similar to U.S. participation in other UN bodies.
At the same time, starting today, members of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which include many Jewish organizations, are also meeting in. Nairobi discussing at some 1,000 open informal workshops on issues affecting women.
The 10-day NGO meeting will overlap the official 12-day UN conference which begins July 15 (not July 26 as reported inadvertently in yesterday’s Bulletin) and ends July 26 at the Kenyatta International Conference Center. Although NGO conference delegates cannot vote at the UN conference, they obviously hope to influence some of the issues. Reagan said her delegation will probably have daily meetings with the American NGO delegates.