Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Toon Misquotes U.S. Position on ‘palestinian Problem’

June 5, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Malcolm Toon, the career Foreign Service diplomat nominated by President Ford to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today that his position on the “Palestine problem” was contained in the language of the Vladivostok communique of President Ford and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev last November. Toon then proceeded to misquote the language of the communique.

Asked by acting committee chairman Sen. Richard Clark (D.Iowa) what he thought a “fair and peaceful settlement of the Palestine problem was,” Toon replied that the Vladivostok communique had provided for “the legitimate interests and aspirations of the Palestinian people.” None of the committee members challenged that quotation although the word “aspirations” was not included in the Ford-Brezhnev language.

Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency later whether the word “aspirations” was included in the communique, Toon hesitated and replied that “interests” was included. Asked then if he intended to withdraw the word “aspirations” from his official testimony, the Ambassadorial candidate said his statement “should be changed,” but he did not say that he would change it.


Toon told the JTA that he expected to be in Tel Aviv by June 20. His confirmation by the Senate seems to be a virtual certainty. Toon, whose last diplomatic assignment was U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia and whose diplomatic experience has been chiefly in Eastern European nations, told the Senate committee that Israel’s decision to thin out its forces in Sinai was “not meaningful militarily” but was “helpful” in moving the parties toward a settlement. He declined to discuss most questions affecting the Middle East on grounds that it would be inappropriate to do so while the Administration is still engaged in its reassessment of Middle East policy. But Toon said, however, that the U.S. stands for “a secure Israel” and that it would “do anything” it “thinks proper in our own objective terms” toward that end.

When Sen. Clark noted that Toon had not included the issue of Jerusalem in his remarks on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Toon replied, “I don’t think it’s one of the problems we want to face right now.” Toon will succeed the late Kenneth Keating who was Ambassador to Israel from 1973 until his death earlier this year.

Recommended from JTA