Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

U.S. Says It Will Return to Interim Accord Efforts ‘in Due Course’

December 15, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said today that the US presumes that the General Assembly’s Middle East debate has concluded and that “in due course we will return to efforts for an interim agreement.” Responding to questions at today’s news briefing, McCloskey said he did not know what form the renewed efforts would take or where they will begin. “There is no script written out on how we ourselves and the parties will conduct themselves in the immediate period ahead,” he said.

At another point he told newsmen that the two parties must negotiate and the US will “serve as a catalyst or mediator and use its good offices, but not in a role where the US will stake down a specific proposal from which we will be asked to move away from.”

McCloskey’s response was hazy and uncertain when he was asked to explain why the US abstained in last night’s General Assembly vote which overwhelmingly backed an Egyptian supported resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from Egyptian territory. He was questioned pointedly why the US chose to abstain this time when it voted against a similar resolution in the General Assembly last year. McCloskey referred to the statement issued in the UN by US Ambassador Christopher H. Phillips.

McCloskey was asked how American abstention squared with the State Department’s assertion last week that it agreed completely with the Israeli position that negotiations must be without preconditions. The State Department spokesman replied that the US took its position in the context of an interim agreement. “We feel and believe,” he said, “that the two parties should enter negotiations without conditions to either.” He added, however, that “certainly, compromises of their maximum positions would be required by both sides.” McCloskey said that as far as an overall settlement is concerned, the total framework is contained in Resolution 242 and Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ speech of 1969.

Recommended from JTA