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U.S. Opposes Tampering with Resolution 242 but Loophole Seems to Remain

August 17, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States today appeared to close the door tightly against any “tampering” with United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. However, cracks in the asserted U.S. opposition to any change in it or to it continued to exist–cracks that could be widened under suitable circumstances.

“We are basically opposed to altering or amending 242,” State Department spokesman Hodding Carter said. He was responding to questions stemming from a reported French government move and Arab suggestions to establish the Palestine Liberation Organization as a party to negotiations in Mideast peace talks by action of the Security Council.

Carter called 242 a “matter carefully wrought” and “to try to amend that would needlessly complicate” the political process. It is “something that cannot be tampered with,” he said.

When a reporter suggested that possibly a new resolution would be offered that would embrace all of 242 but add the idea of a “Palestine homeland,” the spokesman replied that “any attempt to alter this fundamentally, to do what you’re suggesting, is something we would oppose.” The discussion ended after Carter said, “basically we are opposed to trying to remove or alter what has been the framework document for the negotiations.”


Much of the feeling that the U.S. position is not as airtight as it now appears is based on President Carter’s statement about the PLO on Aug. 9 in Plains, Ga. The President said that “if the Palestinians recognize the applicability of UN Resolution 242, then it would open a new opportunity for us to start discussions with them. The thing that has made the Palestinians reluctant to accept 242 is that at the time it was passed it only referred to the Palestinians as refugees. If the Palestinians should say ‘we recognize UN Resolution 242 in its entirety but we think the Palestinians have addi-

The question arose: how can the U.S. continue to accept 242 in its entirety without amendment and accept the demand by the PLO that the Palestinians be referred to as more than “refugees,” the designation for them in the resolution?

Another factor is that Hodding Carter spoke of the U.S. position as “basically” opposed to any amendment or change in the resolution. He summarized the President’s statement in Plains as being that “if the PLO were to say we accept 242 but state the question of the Palestinians is more than refugees, that would open the way for us to talk to them.”

The U.S. position is, by written agreement with Israel, that it will not communicate with the PLO unless the terrorist organization accepts 242. Israel will not have any dealings with the PLO under any circumstances. That situation provides a basis for a confrontation between Washington and Jerusalem should the President accept the PLO’s version of 242.

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