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U.S. Dissociates Itself from Its Envoy’s Vote at UN Commission on Measure Supporting the PLO

September 7, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Genva, Ambassador Beverly Carter, voted for two resolutions unfavorable to Israel and supportive of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Today, the State Department formally disassociated itself from his votes and declared that he was acting as an individual and had voted in “a personal capacity and “without instructions. ” Officially, the Department contended to reporters, it would have opposed both resolutions because they are contrary to U.S. policy.

One resolution called for peace talks to begin immediately between Israel and the PLO without preconditions. It urged all other member UN states to “enable negotiations to begin immediately between Israel and the Palestinian people through their representative, the PLO, to restore all rights” of self determination. Carter was one of 15 members of the UN Subcommission on Protection of Minorities to support this resolution. Five members of the 26 member commission abstained and six were absent. No negative votes were cast.

The resolution was offered by Ben Wittaker of Great Britain as a replacement to an original draft that urged all UN member states to “extend their support ” to the PLO. This was discarded when commission members failed to agree Carter reportedly described the measure as an “over-kill” of the Palestinian situation.

The second resolution, adopted by consensus, called on Israel to “desist forthwith from the bombing of the civilian population” in south Lebanon. This resolution also said “the subcommission deeply deplores the violation of fundamental rights of the Arab population in Palestine. The Israeli observer at the meeting was forbidden from speaking. The subcommission had agreed not to allow observers to join the discussion on resolutions.

When the news of Ambassador Carter’s vote reached the State Department, “tempers were not very good because he did not ask for guidance, ” a State Department source said. The source said the U.S. would not have officially approved either resolution, the resolution explicitly favorable to the PLO because of U.S. policy requiring that the PLO must first recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace, and the other resolution because it would have had to be ” more even-handed and include the PLO.”

Carter’s official title is “Ambassador-at-large and Coordinator for State and Local Government” with offices in the State Department. He was appointed about a year ago, the State Department said, as on expert in human rights. The source described Carter as “a Black leader in America.”

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