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Rusk Sees No Need for New Tripartite Declaration on Middle East

February 16, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Dean Rusk made public today a long letter to Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, reiterating the general outlines of the Department’s Near Eastern policy and stating that the Department planned to use a newly appointed panel of private consultants for periodic reviews of the situation.

Mr. Rusk said the security of Israel and the Arab states was a subject of concern to the United States but that problems were complex and that “by quiet diplomacy and a firm public position–whenever feasible in concert with our allies–we have exercised a constructive role contributing to maintenance of stability in the area.”

He said he was unaware of any changes in the British or French positions in the Near East and that “in our view, therefore, there is no need for a new tripartite declaration and a conference.” Such steps had been urged by Sen. Javits.

Mr. Rusk said the United States did not approve of the so-called “Palestine Liberation Organization” or its military arm the “Palestine Liberation Army.” He recalled that last year, U.S. representatives at the United Nations expressed opposition to the distribution of UNRWA food rations to PLA members.

In a reply to Mr. Rusk, Sen. Javits urged the Department “to come up with its own affirmative ideas” to get major powers together who have an interest in stopping the Near East arms race.

Sen. Javits told the Secretary of State that: “U. S. opposition to the admitted practice of a U.N. agency giving food rations and other supplies to a terrorist army is commendable–but what steps is our Government taking to stop it? The American people should not tolerate the use of the U. N. for such a purpose and should expect positive and prompt action to stop it.”

Sen. Javits said he hoped the exchange of correspondence would engender debate on Near East policy in the executive branch and in Congress.

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