Kissinger: U.S. Does Not Consider Itself in Confrontation with Ussr; Warns Soviet Not to Provoke One
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Kissinger: U.S. Does Not Consider Itself in Confrontation with Ussr; Warns Soviet Not to Provoke One

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The United States warned the Soviet Union today in unmistakable terms not to provoke confrontation between them over the Middle East war but also spoke of opportunities for cooperation to bring peace with justice to the area through the United Nations. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger offered both the arrows and the olive branches in a news conference at the State Department that was broadcast live by radio and television throughout the world. He spoke in the name of President Nixon and his Administration.

Kissinger’s comments came in the wake of a note from the Soviet government addressed to Nixon that the Soviet Union would use its own troops in Egypt to enforce the cease-fire unless the U.S. joined in a united police movement. But Nixon, acting with the unanimous opinion of the National Security Council, Kissinger said, rejected the threat of unilateral action, and this morning at 3 a.m. alerted the American armed forces throughout the world for possible movement to oppose the Soviet intrusion into the Arab-Israeli war.

In a preface prior to being questioned by reporters, Kissinger reminded the Soviet government that “there are limits beyond which we cannot go” and that the U.S. “would resist any attempt to exploit the policy of detente.” It is easy “to start confrontations,” he warned, “but in the age we are in we must know what will be in the end.”

In his 45-minute press conference Kissinger said that the U.S. does not consider itself in a confrontation with the USSR over the Middle East and believes the two superpowers can still work together to bring Israel and the Arab states into negotiations for a permanent settlement. He stressed that the “United States does not favor and will not approve sending of a joint Soviet-United States force into the Middle East.” Kissinger added that “the United States is even more opposed to the unilateral” interjection of the military forces of any other power, “particularly a nuclear power,” under any “guise” into the area.

Meanwhile Nixon announced that he would postpone his press conference that was scheduled for tonight due to continuing developments in the Middle East, and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev announced that he too, would postpone his press conference that was also scheduled for this evening.

Earlier in the day Rep. Carl Albert, House Speaker, said that the alert was “only precautionary” and that “the overwhelming emphasis” on the Mideast by the United States “is on diplomacy.” Albert spoke after a meeting of Congressional leaders with Nixon this morning.


Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council resumed this afternoon a meeting which began yesterday. The session adopted by a vote of 14-0 with the People’s Republic of China again not participating, a resolution introduced last night by eight non-aligned Council members. The resolution called for the immediate creation of a “United Nations emergency force” for the Mideast composed of personnel of all UN member states excluding the Big Five.

It also specified that “an immediate and complete cease-fire be observed” and that battle forces be withdrawn to positions held Monday when the first cease-fire resolution was approved. Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah said the resolution is accepted by Israel as a first step toward establishing the policy which Israel had called for, mainly cease-fire, negotiations and peace.

Mohammed el-Zayyat, Egypt’s Foreign Minister, asked for the Council session last night because, he said, Israel was violating the ceasefire and Egypt wanted American and Soviet forces sent to the fighting area to end Israel’s purported violations. Tekoah, addressing the Council, denied the Egyptian charge and said the cease-fire was in effect on both the Syrian and Suez fronts.

(A Rumanian government statement, issued in Bucharest today, proposed creation of a buffer zone between Israeli and Arab forces. United Nations observers or peace-keeping units would be assigned to keep the fighting forces apart, according to the Bucharest broadcast. The statement said a two-mile wide buffer zone would create a good atmosphere for negotiations between Israel and the Arabs.)


Kissinger, in his press conference, stressed that the U.S. stands on the strict observance of the cease-fire as adopted by two Security Council resolutions this week. He said the U.S. will support, give all assistance to and even contribute some personnel to the United Nations truce observer force that will report to the Security Council on cease-fire violations and aid in part in the humanitarian and other concerns. The U.S., he said, is also prepared to agree to an international force to be sent to the Mideast under UN auspices providing it does not contain any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Kissinger said the resolutions creating the cease-fire for the first time in 25 years have called on the parties involved to negotiate a settlement. He said neither Israel nor the Arabs nor the U.S. and the USSR can allow this “opportunity” to be missed. He said as late as yesterday afternoon he and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin discussed the site and participation for talks.


Kissinger said the conditions that produced four wars between Israel and the Arab states in 25 years cannot be allowed to continue. He said the U.S. is making a serious effort to bring about negotiations and he believed the situation was now in a “crucial” state where the “chances for peace in the Middle East are quite promising.”

He noted: “Israel has experienced once again the traumas of war” and is being given the opportunity for negotiations that it always sought; the Arab nations have now been assured that the other nations of the world are concerned about their problems; the Soviet Union is not threatened in any “of its legitimate interests in the Middle East”; the U.S. is interested in nothing more than that the world “is safer and more secure”; and any peace arrived at must be “peace with justice.”

Asked about the charge by Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.) that the Soviet Union had sent a “brutal and threatening warning” to the U.S., Kissinger replied that Jackson was not “privy” to National Security Council meetings. He said he would not disclose the diplomatic exchanges until the situation was resolved one way or the other. Jackson said of the Soviet warning, that “this is terribly serious” and could bring about a Soviet-United States confrontation in the area. He added “we are right at the brink again,” and he urged Americans to get behind the President “in a firm and united stand.”


On the question of detente, Kissinger said the U.S. always considered itself in an ideological and political rivalry with the Soviet Union but felt the two superpowers had a mutual interest in preventing a nuclear holocaust. He said if the U.S. and the USSR can work together to bring about peace in the Middle East then the detente will have proven itself.

At the outset of the press conference, Kissinger went over in summary form the events in the Middle East since the outbreak of war on Oct 6. He reiterated that the U.S. as well as Israel did not expect the Arab attack and that the U.S. tried to work for a cease-fire and moderation in the area. Kissinger said he went to Moscow last Saturday at Brezhnev’s request and that the discussions there developed a formula the U.S. believed was acceptable to all parties and would lead to a “just solution.”

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