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House Republican Leader Tells Israel to Hold Occupied Areas Pending Peace Talks

March 1, 1968
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Congressman Gerald R. Ford, Republican leader in the. House, warned Israel here last night to “retain territories presently occupied and not budge until such time as appropriate mutual arrangements are made in face-to-face talks agreeable to both sides.” The Republican leader, who will serve as chairman of his party’s forthcoming national convention, spoke at a Jewish mens’ club here.

He warned his audience that U.S. policies in the Middle East are “wavering” and that the Administration may be “eager to resume relations with Egypt.” He denounced the U.S. sale of jet planes to Jordan and possible renewed aid to Egypt, declaring that, instead, U.S. Phantom jet planes should be delivered to Israel immediately. “They should be on their way now, not after the elections,” he said, because the jets are “vital to Israel’s deterrent capacity and it takes time to train pilots, technicians and mechanics for such sophisticated equipment.”

Congressman Ford referred to Arab terrorists active against Israel as the self-styled “Viet Cong of the Middle East” and warned of the massive Soviet naval build-up in the Mediterranean which, he said, could provide cover for Arab commando raids across the cease-fire line. Instead of wooing Nasser by resuming aid to Egypt, “we would do much better to spend such sums for the strengthening of the Sixth Fleet,” he said.

Mr. Ford said that Republicans in Congress would initiate action to relieve the plight of Russia Jewry. He suggested that Federal contract compliance laws which forbid the placement of government contracts with firms practicing bias should be applied in kind to trade with the Soviet Union so that “cultural genocide” and anti-Jewish pressures “might be ameliorated” there.

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