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Carter Outlines U.S. Mideast Course

October 27, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Carter’s address at a Democratic Party fund-raising dinner in Los Angeles Saturday night was seen here today as outlining the course his Administration spokesmen will take in coping with the tide of uneasiness among Israel’s sympathizers over his Middle East policy. (See related story P. 4.)

The White House yesterday issued the transcript of his extemporaneous address that showed “applause” welcomed his remarks that “my overwhelming commitment and the commitment of the nation is to guarantee a strong, independent, secure and peaceful Israel” and when he repeated the statement he made to Congressmen at the White House after the Soviet-American Mideast declaration that he would “rather commit suicide than to hurt the nation of Israel.”

“If I should ever hurt Israel, which I won’t,” the President said, “I think political suicide would almost automatically result because it is not only our Jewish citizens who have this deep commitment to Israel but there is an overwhelming support throughout the nation because there is a common bond of commitment to the same principles of openness and freedom and democracy and strength and courage that ties us together in an irrevocable way.”


The President pointed out that “It is important though, for the people of our nation to remember that now that we are moving toward a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East dispute, that we have two roles to play.” One role, he said, is “an unshakeable partnership with Israel–the only staunch and dependable major ally on which Israel can depend.” The other is “as a mediator, a trusted political entity that cannot afford to betray the trust of all those that we hope to bring together in Geneva before this year is over to talk about

Carter said he was “convinced” that the Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese and Israelis want “permanent peace.” He added, “But if I ever betray any of these leaders as they look to me and to our country to bring them together, the hopes of peace will be dashed for many years to come.” In this context, the President did not name Palestinians.

“It is very difficult for me at times to explain to the public the private negotiations items that have convinced me that we are making good progress,” the President said. “I don’t know that we will be successful. But I am committed to this hope with my utmost commitment as a human being who loves Israel, as a President of a country that feels a sense of partnership.”

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