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Harriman Sees Test Ban, U.S. Policy on Egypt, Beneficial to Israel

August 8, 1963
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

W. Averell Harriman, Undersecretary of State, who negotiated the tripower nuclear test ban agreement, today told the 68th annual national convention of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. that he saw hope that elimination of sophisticated weapons in the Middle East might ensue from the test ban pact now pending before Congress.

Mr. Harriman said, however, that it would be against Israel’s interests for the United States to diminish its support of the United Arab Republic, because such support gave America “influence” with President Nasser’s regime. He declared that he thought “one of the things that would come out of the general disarmament discussions would be the elimination of sophisticated weapons in the Middle East. That would be a very, very important step.”

He said that, “as far as I am concerned, the army that I respect is the Israeli Army. I think they can take care of themselves.” He told the veterans:

“If the Egyptians are going to get whatever weapons they are after, if we help them or not, it is perfectly possible for Israel to match them if there is an arms race, and I hope they would do it. But I don’t believe that it is in the interests of Israel for the United States to stop having any influence in the Middle East. I think our influence is the greatest for peace. And if we refuse to have anything to do with any of the Arab countries until they do what we want them to do about Israel, it will be against the interests of Israel.

“I think the position that we are now in, is one where we have a certain influence, not as much as we would like, and the direction we would like, but which is the way to eventually make the possibility for Israel to live in peace. If we should drop our contacts and economic relations and general interest in the development of the Arab countries, I think it would add to the danger of Israel, rather than contribute to its security.”

He said his comments on the importance of American ties with Nasser as in Israel’s best interest, reflected his “honest Judgment” as a friend of Israel since the Truman Administration.

He commended the JWV for its “sound-thinking” on world issues, and urged adoption of a resolution supporting the nuclear test ban treaty by the Senate.


While the main portion of Mr. Harriman’s address pertained to the background of the test ban treaty which he negotiated for the U.S.A. in Moscow, he also touched on the situation of the Jews in Russia. He told the Jewish War Veterans that America was trying to get the Soviet authorities to permit Jews to leave Russia but, he said, he did not know whether America could accomplish anything in that regard, declaring: “I don’t know that we can do anything about it except that we have been constantly trying to get them to let the Jews leave the country.”

“There are all sorts of abuses within the Soviet Union which we abhor, “he stated,” and it is a tragic thing that anti-Semitism still exists in the Soviet Union in spite of the claims that they have no racial or religious discrimination. I think it is very, very important for all of us to constantly hold out the real facts that exist about anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.”

“I think world-wide pressure will perhaps tend to relieve their present condition, and I hope that all of us will continue to work for the elimination of the abuses that exist in the Soviet Union–not only to the Jewish people but to many other people.”


JWV national executive director Joseph F. Barr stated at the convention that, while District of Columbia police acted wisely in denying the American Nazi Party the “right”

Mr. Barr said that the Nazis were trying to “entice psychopathic personalities and violence-prone hotheads to come to Washington on August 28 to stir up an outbreak calculated to discredit the non-violent character sought by the Negro groups.”

Police have denied a formal permit to Nazi-like organizations to parade on August 28, but said the Nazis could assemble on the Washington monument grounds, and walk about in small groups, carrying signs and picketing. Mr. Barr said that he could understand the free speech considerations involved under constitutional guarantees, but, nevertheless, thought the deliberate attempts to provoke a riot must be kept under careful scrutiny.

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