Joseph J. Sisco, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, told an assembly of Jewish community relations leaders here today that the “forces of moderation in the Middle East today had the upper hand,” thus strengthening possibilities for further agreements through “the diplomatic process.” Addressing the plenary meeting of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Sisco said that the Middle East had undergone “important psychological changes” since the Yom Kippur War and that the “front-line Arab states” — Egypt, Jordan and Syria –along with Saudi Arabia–have come to accept “the concept of co-existence” with Israel. “It is my belief that people of both sides are absolutely sick and tired of war,” he said. But, he added, unless there was continuing diplomatic progress, the possibility of further outbreaks continued.
REASSESSMENT TO BE COMPLETED SHORTLY
During an appearance that lasted more than an hour, Sisco indicated in reply to questions that the Administration’s ongoing reassessment of Mideast policy would be completed shortly. But he could give “no precise date.” He said the reassessment was focused on “the diplomatic options” arising out of the collapse of the Kissinger “shuttle” in March. He defined the two major options as pursuing the step-by-step process between Egypt and Israel or seeking an overall agreement at Geneva. He reiterated that the U.S. favored the step-by-step approach because of “the difficult and complex issues” which when separated are “more manageable” and each successful step becomes a “confidence building” measure. He added, however, that the Administration would make no final judgement on which direction to move diplomatically until consultations–such as the latest Israeli proposal to Egypt transmitted through the United States–are completed. Sisco in direct charge of the reassessment process.
On the question of military assistance, Sisco said that the U.S. will address itself to the problem after the reassessment. It has not been considered yet, he said. He said the decision to sell arms to Jordan had been made before the reassessment and that there had been no change on the arms sale policy to Saudi Arabia which was only for self-defense. He said if the U.S. did not sell to Saudi Arabia others would and with “considerably less safeguards.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.