Dilemmas of power; 4; Joseph J. Sisco
Would you read them in Baltimore in cooperation with the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting and Johns Hopkins University. Resent the annual undergraduate student project the 1971 Milton as Eisenhower symposium an 11 part series of featured speakers presenting formal addresses followed by an informal question and answer session. This year's topic. Soviet American relations dilemma. On this program Joseph J. Assistant Secretary of State who are near Eastern and South Asian affairs. Confrontation in the Middle East. Dr. Eisenhower ladies and gentlemen I would like to welcome you once again to the Milton S. Eisenhower symposium today a former resident of the state of Maryland has devoted the past 20
years serving the United States government beginning in 1951 when he joined the State Department. Five years later he then became associated with the foreign service. Since 1951 he has officiated as a political advisor on successive United States delegations to the United Nations General Assembly and in 1967. This gentleman represented the United States at the special session of the unit of the General Assembly dealing with the Middle East crisis. On occasion he has also acted as a United States representative in the United Nations Security Council. This magna cum lab of five Beta Kappa graduate of Knox College and to the United States Army after graduation serving as an infantry officer. He continued his studies at the end of World War Two receiving his
mam Ph.D. degrees in the University of Chicago specializing in the area of Soviet affairs. In 1960 he was awarded the state department of period Service Award and in 1966 he was cited as one of the 10 outstanding career officers in government service by the National Civil Service League. From 1965 until 1969 this gentleman had been assistant secretary of state for international organization as well in this office. He dealt with problems confronting the area and as they were discussed at the United Nations in 1969 he was promoted to minister in the Foreign Service and in the present position of assistant secretary of state and South Asian affairs on behalf of the coach. Ladies and gentlemen it is my pleasure to present to you today the honorable Joseph
Sisko. I'm very pleased to be participating in this distinguished series of discussions on problems of international affairs. You will soon discover that I am going to speak very informally very directly very briefly because I would like to give as many of you as possible an opportunity to raise questions raise questions about American policy its direction the reasons for it. The Vietnam problem has often been referred to
as perhaps our most agonizing problem. And President Nixon on the other hand has often referred to the question of the Middle East and the area of the Middle East as perhaps the most dangerous trouble spot that confronts us at the present time. And I think the reason for this is that there is more than just one problem when we're dealing with the so-called Middle Eastern question in the first instance the historic Arab-Israeli dispute where deep suspicions and deep mistrust has characterized this issue over the last two decades two decades that have seen three outbreaks of war two decades of instability
two decades of insecurity. And alongside the Arab-Israeli dispute have been a number of intra Arab different intra Arab differences that have also conscript contributed to instability in the area and superimposed on the Arab-Israeli dispute and differences within the Arab world themselves has been the constant specter of the possibility of confrontation between the major powers and in particular the Soviet Union and the United States because this is an area of important interest to both an area that has been characterized more by conflict
than by cooperation. And of course as one looks at this problem in regional terms in terms of the Arab-Israeli dispute in terms of the differences between one Arab state and another Arab state and as one views the area in terms of major power interests. If we were to come to any appreciation as to what the problem is and the opportunities are we have to look at this area as well within the broad spectrum of overall relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. We're now embarked on a policy of trying to work out practical differences between ourselves and the Soviet Union wherever this is possible.
If one looks at relationships between the United States and the Soviet Union from an idiot a logical point of view and Scripturally and it is a logical point of view that it's very hard to see where the elements of compromise might be or when one deals with idiology you're dealing with matters of principle and matters of idiology and principle are very difficult to reconcile. But viewed pragmatically within the broad strategic balance that exists in the world between the United States and the Soviet Union it ought to be possible to work out pragmatic adjustments on problems such as Berlin in areas such as the SALT talks that have made some progress over recent weeks
on matters such as security in Europe. In the Middle East we and the Soviet Union share one parallel interest and that is the avoidance of a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over this area. I do not say that American and Soviet interests in so far as peace and stability are concerned in the Middle East are one in the same. The avoidance of war certainly is but the fact of the matter is that the Soviet Union has been able to exploit the Arab-Israeli dispute. The Soviet Union has been able to exploit instability in the Middle East do it.
The disadvantage of the overall interests of the United States in the area and I want to touch upon this a bit later. In the diplomacy of the United States over the last three years we have operated on one fundamental assumption and that is that we as an outside power with important political economic and strategic interests in the area are able to catalyze are able to encourage. But we are not a substitute for negotiations between the parties. That if there is to be a peace in the Middle East it must be a peace that is arrived at on the basis of agreement between the parties
not on the basis of an imposed solution from the outside. If there is a lesson to be learned from the last 20 years of instability. It is that third parties can be helpful in certain instances. But there is no substitute for a binding agreement between the two sides. A binding agreement that would replace the defacto armistice arrangements that have existed in the last 20 years and have given rise to three Arab-Israeli wars. So the first thing that I would underscore is that any activity undertaken by the United States in this area is not in substitution of the efforts of the parties themselves or those efforts must be primary for the
armistice arrangements of the last 20 years must give way to a binding contractual peace between the two sides. If in fact a fundamental settlement is someday to be achieved. Under the new administration a few years ago at the outset it was decided that our role should be that of a catalyst. And if you were to ask me what is American policy in substance I would say to you that it is the November 1967 Security Council resolution which laid down the basic principles of an overall settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute. While this resolution contains fundamental principles it is
not a blueprint. It is not the peace treaty. Yes it calls for a peace agreement between the two sides. Yeah it embraces the principle of with withdrawal of Israeli forces. Yes it calls for the opening of the Suez Canal a just solution of the refugee problem. But these are mere Barebone principles. They do not represent a negotiated agreement between the two sides and the resolution was very clear that the objective was an agreement between the two. Now what has been the difficulty. I happen to play an intimate role in the negotiation of that November 1967 resolution. At the time that Ambassador Arthur Goldberg headed our delegation in New York
that resolution was adopted by 15 votes of the Security Council unanimously. But the difficulty is look whereas one resolution was voted in fact that resolution was voted on the basis of two different interpretations. The American interpretation of the British interpretation the Israeli interpretation was one namely that whereas that resolution called for withdrawal of Israeli forces it did not call for total Israeli withdrawal it did not define in precise terms from where to where Israeli forces were to be withdrawn. That resolution talked in terms of withdrawal to so-called
secure and recognized borders but those secure and recognized borders were not defined. These were to be the subject of negotiation and agreement between the Israelis on the one hand and the Arabs on the other. Now that was the British American Israeli interpretation of the November 1967 resolution. Now there was another interpretation and that interpretation was the Arab Soviet interpretation namely that that resolution stated that it called for total Israeli withdrawal to the lines that existed before the June war. That is not what in our judgment that resolution said neither do we feel that the legislative history supports that particular interpretation. So you have one side saying yes the principle of withdrawal is
embraced in that resolution but the question of the final lines have to be a matter of negotiation between the two sides and you have the other side saying no that Security Council resolution Cold War total Israeli withdrawal to the line that existed before the June war. And that fundamental difference has plagued all of the discussions that have been conducted by Ambassador Yari the United Nations representative seeking to achieve some a common common ground for progress toward an overall settlement. And we came to the conclusion some eight or nine months ago that in view of the continuing fundamental differences between the two sides that it was unlikely that an overall settlement could be achieved in the foreseeable future.
So we placed our emphasis really on two things. First of all an American initiative about a year and a half ago in achieving a ceasefire along the Egyptian Israeli front. We are now in the 16th month of that ceasefire a cease fire which originally included a commitment of only three months. The practical realities being that three months ceasefire are now having been extended on a de facto basis. Admittedly to its 16th month here in November. We came through a very difficult period. There is no doubt that right after the achievement of the ceasefire are a serious series of violations were committed both by the Soviet Union and
Egypt not only in the cease fire but of the standstill portion of that cease fire there was embraced in that proposal a commitment on the part of both sides that neither would try to improve their respective military positions as part of their agreement to the cease fire itself. The violations of that cease fire stand still carried with it the risk of creating an imbalance in the situation in the Middle East. And particularly as I reflect today on the concern with respect to the balance and with the respect to aircraft I think it is well to remind all of us that in the last year and a half the United States as the prime
supporter of Israel politically and militarily has maintained that balance by the kind of ongoing military relationship that was established early in this administration. And I would say to you that we understand clearly the importance and the significance that both sides attach to having sufficient military equipment to assure their own respective security. The president is definitely committed to maintaining that balance. And I think the record will bear him out in this regard. Now secondly apart from a C spar which in my judgment is probably the most important development that has occurred in the Middle East in the last two years. The most important because if any of you go to Israel today if any of you go to any of the Arab countries
you will find that the average man on the street will point to the fact that that is the most important development that has occurred. You will find reflected a little different psychological atmosphere in the Middle East. In the last 18 months then that which prevailed previously and the difference is that after 18 months people on both sides of this issue have come to like the ceasefire. I can recall walking through the streets of Jerusalem just three months ago. And asking a young Israeli what that cease fire meant to him it was interesting his response. He said Well the very first thing that strikes me is that I no longer see as many black bordered pictures of young men that have lost their lives along the Egyptian-Israeli front. Well that's what it meant to that young man.
I can recall just three months ago putting the same question to a young Arab in the streets of Cairo and he made it equally clear in his own way that there was no desire for a resumption of shooting or what has occurred for example in Egypt is a very interesting thing. Not only have the Egyptians said a year ago in response to a yachting initiative that they are willing to sign a peace agreement with Israel and I remind you that that's a way of saying something that has not been said before on the side of the Arabs that not only has that been said but with a change of leadership in Cairo that leadership is much more internally oriented than the previous leadership. There is much more concerned with getting on with the job of developing Egypt. There is much more concerned with getting on with the job
of meeting for the welfare needs of the people. And this is a favorable development in terms of the overall situation. But the ceasefire obviously is not enough. And if as we believe the fundamental differences are such that an overall settlement is not possible. What is left is possible progress of a more limited scale and the opportunity for this in our judgment. A rose when the Israeli government and the government of Egypt indicated a willingness to talk about the possibility of some interim agreement which would include the opening of the Suez Canal. Now the United States was not the one that took the initiative. In contrast to the cease far in focusing on the question of
a partial agreement the role of catalyst that the United States is trying to play to achieve an interim agreement today has been undertaken at the behest of Egypt and Israel. Both these countries said to the United States we want you to play the middleman role. Now why do we feel that an interim agreement in the foreseeable future remains a possibility. And why would this represent a positive development. We feel that it would represent a positive development because it is the one step practical step a small step that would have a reinforcing effect on the cease bar which as I've indicated has already existed for 16 months that it seems to me is the first requirement. Secondly our
judgment is that if an interim agreement can be achieved it will create a more favorable atmosphere for further efforts to achieve an overall settlement from the point of view of Cairo an interim agreement means the return of an important resource to Egypt namely the Suez Canal from the point of view of Israel an interim agreement would provide a practical test of peace on the ground itself. The parties for the first time would enter into a practical arrangement on the ground and actually test if it could work. And of course if it could work. This too is the kind of thing which might help develop the one underlying condition that has never been present in this area if in fact. A piece is to be achieved and that
is the development of a live and let live attitude of feeling on the part of one that they were there to stay. A feeling on the part of the other side that the return of at least most of the territories presently occupied would become a feasible possibility. Now I don't say that we're anywhere near either an overall settlement or that there are not fundamental differences that remain with respect to an interim agreement. We do feel however that with goodwill on both sides we have the interest that each side has in achieving such a practical test of peace that in time it ought to be possible to reconcile the differences.
We feel that these discussions have reached the point where it's necessary to intensify the process. I can tell you from personal experience that it's very difficult to negotiate any kind of an agreement let alone one between the Arabs and the Israelis by shuttling from capital to capital. Our own feeling is that both sides have put forward positive ideas regarding an interim agreement. Both sides hold very very strongly to a number of fundamental points which require reconciliation and reconciliation is not going to be possible on the basis of negotiations at great distance. So the present thrust of our efforts at the moment are how to achieve a process which will allow the United
States as the honest broker on this part of the settlement to help reconcile the differences and to help bridge the chasm that exists today. There's a good deal more I could say but I've already gone beyond the 20 or 25 minutes that I've allotted I would only leave you with this one concluding thought. And then I will open the floor to questions in hopes of developing the areas of interest that you may have. The United States does not claim to have all of the answers. The United States is a very difficult position because frankly we're under pressure from both sides to adopt a position which each side would feel favors their own interests and their own view the role that we're trying to
play here is a role to try to find common ground that meet the legitimate concerns of both sides. Obviously neither side is going to be able to get everything that it was in any agreement let alone an interim agreement involving the opening of the Suez Canal. But the important thing is that American diplomacy is active. I am convinced that active American diplomacy in this field per se is the most important and the most significant deterrent in the area. This in addition to maintaining the relative balance I think are the most important elements of the cease fire are of the last 16 months. And I would hope that in the process of the
next X number of months that through this quiet effort and it's not going to be done by propaganda statements in public forums but only by quiet efforts and quiet diplomacy that perhaps reason will prevail. That's our hope. That's our objective. I thank you very much. Thank you Mr. Cisco I would like to remind you that our next session will be a panel discussion on the United States the Soviet Union and communist China. Mr. Cisco has agreed to entertain questions. We will alternate from the. Please do not touch the microphone and please limit yourself to one question if we have
time later you may ask another. Thank you. May I just add on my own please limit your speeches to a bit before you ask your corrected please. Where shall we start on the right here. This gentleman right here Mr. Cisco you did not mention the refusal of the Voice of America. To broadcast programs to the Soviet Union. But as it falls under that your jurisdiction of the State Department I feel that it warrants some discussion at a meeting in July with Jewish leaders Henry Loomis of the US Information Agency said that one of the main reasons that programs aren't broadcast is that too few Jews in the Soviet Union know yet. But according to the latest census in the Soviet Union nearly 1 million Jews said that they know yet according to the same census about the same number of Latvians know Latvian. But there are lapping broadcasts. Mr. Lewis also said that another reason that you these
programs aren't broadcast is that might harm U.S.-Soviet relations by going against stated Soviet policy of national unity. Yet there are Latvian and Estonian Independence Day broadcasts which seem to go directly in conflict with Soviet policy. Could you please explain these two discrepancies. I think that I'd first like to make a comment or two broadly on the question that you but you raised. I think the reasons that Mr. Loomis gave you in so far as. Why the narrow question that you have raised has been is being pursued on that matter are are the reasons and the official reasons. And certainly the policy of the United States government. I think on the question of the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union I think from where we sit. We have to ask ourselves one question primarily.
What is the most effective policy. What works. What will achieve the objective and I'm assuming from what you say. And certainly I hope you will assume from what I say that the objective is what is in the same namely. We obviously have worked and have worked very assiduously. To try to maximize the opportunity. For Jews to. Not only leave the Soviet Union but elsewhere. I think the question that you raise is. How can your government be most effective and I think our government has been effective. Our judgment is that on a governmental The governmental relationship and you may not agree but I'm just telling you what our judgment is our judgment is that on a government to government relationship that we're much more effective. In giving that the kind of quiet support that we've been giving to this effort. I'm sure that we would not shrink.
From saying a good deal more publicly on this matter if we felt. That saying more publicly. Yes we as you well know. We like everybody else that's interested in this problem speak very directly for example in the third committee of the United Nations when this matter comes up. But it isn't that speech as important as it is that in our judgment that's the most effective. And we feel that on the basis of what has been achieved over the last couple of years that the quiet efforts of the United States government has been pursuing in support of other. Has I think shown some real progress and I think that's what you ought to understand as to the reasons. For the concrete kind of responses that you've had to the more nor narrow question of whether there is a broadcaster and there are a number of other such such points.
Right here you spoke about the idea of upholding the military balance in the Mideast right. And I was wondering why haven't you sent Phantom's as Israel has asked since the Soviets have increased the shipments of military arms and the new made 23 Fox back to the Arab nations. And if you seem to feel that the military balance is being upheld Why do the Arabs have three times the amount of military hardware that the Israelis have right now. Try to answer each of those questions because there are some of what you say is accurate and some of what you said is not. First of all we have maintained the balance and will continue to maintain the balance the balance is made up of a number of factors. The question of armed forces on the ground the question of armed forces on the sea the question of the number of airplanes the question of the relative military capacity of both.
Now I'm Nabil Asli not going to get into numbers here but I think one thing that you ought to find reassuring is that our assessment in terms of the balance and the Israeli assessment in terms of the balance is agreed in one important respect namely that the balance is being maintained which means that Israel's security is not in jeopardy that the Arabs are in no position today militarily to dislodge the Israelis by force from the occupied territories. So we're satisfied that the balance is being maintained. Secondly in so far as the present issue is concerned as you know about 10 days ago Secretary Rogers announced that in light of the Soviet Egypt and
communique of about two weeks ago that we would undertake a fresh reconsideration and a fresh look at the problem. We're doing that. I do not expect that this review will take very long and then decisions will be taken on this matter. But as ever when I say decision I don't want you to imply from what I say either positively or negatively because what has to be weighed in the balance is not only the technical considerations that I've alluded to. There are a number of important political and psychological factors in terms of feelings of security or insecurity. There is the also the question of what is going on diplomatically in terms of the diplomatic process in order to achieve an interim agreement. Now neither Israel nor the United States. I want to say to you categorically I have linked the question of
additional aircraft with the question of pursuing an interim peace agreement. But the fact of the matter is that no matter what decision you take whether it relates to the question of military assistance or whether you take a decision with respect to the diplomatic process or the elements of an interim agreement all of these things unfortunately are related. And so that the whole picture really has to be weighed. It's being weighed. And I would only say this to you that the president committed himself two and a half years ago to assuring that the balance would be maintained the balance is being maintained. It's not in our interests to allow the balance to be upset in a diverse way. Gentleman right here. The recent Senate defeat of the 3 million dollar foreign aid bill affect the Middle East situation in the State Department in general. Well first in general I think that there is no doubt that
if in fact there were or will be the kind of sharp abrupt cut off that this would undermine any number of American policy objectives in just so many countries around the world that I would even hesitate to begin to enumerate them. Candidly I am hopeful that. This fact will be seen by the members of Congress and I perhaps may be accused of being unduly optimistic but I really can't really believe that the matter will be left to rest in the present situation. Mr Cisco. You stated that the State Department has done things for Soviet Jewry and. I would like. In to my knowledge there has only been one thing on public or private which was one
communicated one communication from Secretary Rogers. To bring in during the Leningrad trials there were no statements which any of us know of. Before the trials during the trials at which time the State Department stated that they could make no statement because they were afraid it would have an adverse effect or an out of it we were proved right for after the commutation of the sentences. Well first of all I think what you say about the period of the learning Leningrad trials it's true we didn't say anything publicly. We worked quietly and I would say with effect. Now secondly there been any number of times when this issue has been taken up. With the Soviet Union. And I would suggest that you contact some of the leading Jewish organizations in this country and I think they can fill you in in terms of the times and the occasions when the circumstances when we've done this right here.
My question intelligible I have to read a little bit from Secretary Rogers October 4 speech even when it's already going our way but you know from my own give everybody the whole thing. And Secretary Rogers October 4 statements the United Nations Nations the following points were listed as the positive results of an interim agreement on the Suez right now. And he said that the interim agreement would make the next step toward peace less difficult for all parties to take to restore the use of the canal as a waterway for international shipping reestablish Egypt's authority over major national asset would separate the combatants would produce a first Israeli withdrawal would extend the ceasefire would diminish the risk of major power involvement and would be an important step toward the complete implementation. I never have any objections to anyone reading this who really disliked or it's trite and I'm biased and untrue pirates and bad bitches you know so that people would know what he said. I'll be sorry I said that I could see.
Well Live Earth. How do you expect Israel to agree to such a saddle men. At least two of whose results that is the real stablish meant to be Gyptian authority over Suez and the first Israeli withdrawal are specifically pro or Gyptian and none of whose results are specifically pro-Israeli. Stop right there then we'll take your second question in a moment. The Israeli position let me make it very very clear. There is no problem in terms of opening the Suez Canal. There are quite agreeable that in any urban agreement the canal should be open. Israel has never questioned the sovereignty of Egypt over the canal and I will add by way of reinforcing what you had to say. Israel definitely seized the opening of the canal as a concession on its part simply because as you've indicated very well it does restore the sovereignty the operation the control of the canal to Egypt.
Secondly Israel has also agrees I don't have to say it negatively I will say it positively. Israel also agrees that any interim agreement must embrace some Israeli withdrawal. Now the Israeli government has not taken any decision as to how far it will withdraw. Now let me tell you what the concern is on both sides. The concern in so far as the Egyptians are concerned is that they're afraid that an interim agreement that allows for a certain withdrawal of X number of kilometers will in their judgment become a new final agreement leaving the Israelis in occupation of the rest of the Sinai. There is their worry. And therefore the Egyptians have wanted as much assurance as possible that if they agree to this first step it will actually provide the basis for ongoing negotiations to
achieve the remainder of the overall settlement. Now that's the Egyptian concern and the Israeli concern. They've not questioned Egypt's control or operation of the canal. They've not questioned the idea of withdrawal. But what they do say is that if they agreed to withdraw a certain number of kilometers the withdrawal should not be such that they are place at an outburst of strategic situation in other words as you well know Israel considers the Suez Canal as the best possible secure line that it could ever hope to achieve. And they've indicated a willingness to withdraw to another line and they've gone further and this will interest you because this has been in the public domain but not a great deal has been said. Israel has said explicitly and you can find it in the foreign minister speech before the General Assembly. That Egypt can be assured
that the line through which they withdraw in any interim agreement will not be the final line and they've gone further. They have said we are willing to withdraw to any other such line that is agreed to in the context of an overall settlement. So what I'm trying to get across is that the question of sovereignty over the canal withdrawal These are not at issue. These are not at issue at all as a matter of fact. This is part of the common ground that has already been achieved between the two sides now you'll have another crisis. But what very quickly because you're you're you're looking more to actually my question you see I wasn't questioning whether there was you know a question of giving up the canal or retreating what I'm saying is what can the Israelis expect in return because none of these results are you know are even yes they have what it is. What do the Israelis get out of them. They they get out of it. A commitment in terms of a cease fire and by the way the speech from what
you read you will note said that in our judgment a six month ceasefire is too short. Secondly the Israelis would get a practical opportunity to see whether this arrangement would work. This is important to them according to the Israelis they really do want to enter into for the first time. A mutual arrangement between the two sides where there's actually a commitment between the two sides not like the armistice arrangements of the last 20 years. And the Israelis really want to test this right here. Yesterday the United States carried out its 70th protective reaction strike into North Vietnam of this year in January of 1069. Israel carried out its own protective reaction policies against Lebanon by attacking the Beirut airport. This was in retaliation for an attack in the Athens airport on a civilian client. No lives were lost in the attack on the Beirut airport but one life was lost at the Athens airport the attack by the guerrillas who are based in
Lebanon. Why did the United States State Department protest the act in the strongest of terms. That's the Israeli action. If the United States had been carrying out a similar policy in Vietnam why did the United States vote in the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for its acts. Its us was and is carrying out similar military acts in North Vietnam. I think I understand your point. I can recall that situation very clearly first of all I just don't think the analogy you draw between Vietnam in this situation is an analogy at all. But the reason why the United States was critical of that particular action was this. First I'm not here either to justify the incident that preceded that particular action or the retaliation. If there's anything that we've learned about the situation in the Middle East it's that it's very very difficult to begin to make judgments
in a situation where either side issue ting with one side taking the initiative one day and the other side taking the initiative the other day in that particular instance. I remember the history of it very well. We felt quite strongly that the retaliation of the Israelis was completely out of proportion with the incident that had brought it about. And that was the judgment that was made and that was the reason for the condemnation of the Security Council government or Cisco and all the years of effort in trying to achieve peace in the Near East. What part is Russia playing in achieving this result. Well I tried to say rather directly in my opening remarks. That is if you analyze Soviet policy I think you could make a very good case that the Russians have pursued a policy of trying to avoid a war in the area that
whenever there is any real risk that an incident can mushroom into a renewal of Arab-Israeli conflict that the Russians have been active diplomatically. Why. Because they don't want to be confronted with a decision to confront or not confront the United States any more frankly than we would want to make this particular decision. They realize that a renewal generally of Arab-Israeli hostility carries with it the risk of confrontation and carries with it the risk of World War Three particularly with a very substantial Soviet presence in Egypt. Now having said that I don't want you to get the impression that I feel that the Soviet Union has been pursuing a policy of peace and stability in the area as we have. On the contrary I've tried to emphasize that in my judgment. The Soviet Union has derived political advantage from the no peace no
war situation and the instability that has existed since the jewel and for this reason we're up against a political strategy in this area bulwark by increasing military strength and in order for us to be affective there is no satisfactory answer other than a resolution of the Arab-Israeli dispute which gives reasonable hope for stability in the area and that means that our diplomacy not only has to be active but it has to be a diplomacy with teeth. It has to be a diplomacy that is backed with military strength. And when I read in the pages as I do about the difficulties that our Navy is having in terms of maintaining its modernization in the Mediterranean believe me from where I sit this is a matter of great concern. Now this is a rather old fashioned view that I'm expressing. And I guess I'm rather old fashioned but if we're going to cope with the Soviet political strategy in the
Middle East and I'll go beyond that in the Persian Gulf and subsequently in the Indian Ocean. It not only means a diplomacy that tries to meet the legitimate concerns of both but it also means a diplomacy that has Sprint. If you go back to the Jordanian crisis of a year ago we came very very close to having a most serious situation. Now how did we avoid it. Well I think we avoided it because in the first instance the Jordanian government stood fast and did a good job in terms of outside interference from the Syrians and the Iraqis. Secondly there was great fear among these two Arab states. Of a possible intervention on the part of Israel. If this matter had gone further and third I like to think that the matter was settled diplomatically because of the strong posture adopted by President Nixon in that particular instance.
You spoke earlier about the Israelis will be getting a chance to test Arab intention on interim Suez solution right. Well the Israelis were able to test Arab intentions in 1956 when a previous Republican administration forced Israeli withdraw from the Suez and also in the cease fire agreement. When the Russians and the Egyptians moved missiles up to the Suez. These were two times when Israel was able to test our big tensions and tensions. Why should Israel give the Arabs another chance to violate an agreement. I think that's a legitimate question. But you know interestingly enough the question reflects more doubt than the Israeli government itself. First of all. Let me say that. In so far as the Suez crisis of 1956 and I'm happy to say that. I was a member of the State Department at the time and played a very small part in it. I think you've got to distinguish between the situation in 56 and the situation in 1967.
I hesitate. Not one iota in saying to you that Israel was the aggressor in 1956 with the help of Great Britain and France but with equal vigor. I say to you that the Cassis belli for the 1967 war was the day that President Nasser opposed the canal by declaration. So the two circumstances are considerably different considerably different. Secondly I can't really dispute you when you say that there is very very good cause to be doubtful as to whether anything can work whether peace is possible in this area. What I find in my office is a very interesting thing. So often we're concentrating on what the next step is whether it be with an Arab representative or an Israeli representative and we're trying to focus on what the possible next step is. And invariably invariably the tendency is to look to the past.
And believe me there are plenty of injustices that have committed been committed in the path. But all sides can claim injustices. But if we focus on the past. If people can not break the shackles of the past then in fact. The possibility of peace is doomed in this area. I don't happen to believe it because I think there is a slightly different. I'll be very modest a slightly different atmosphere in the Middle East today than that which existed some years ago. People are fed up with war. And that goes in Israel as well as in Egypt. And I find that that is a hopeful basis for proceeding and conducting American diplomacy in this area. What are the terms for the State Department through its official policy and its unofficial relations with Iraq Syria and Egypt to alleviate the plight of the persecuted Jews in these three Arab countries.
I really don't have anything very startling to say. We are dealing with this thing on a day by day basis quietly because we're convinced this is the most effective way to proceed. Gentleman right here. From what I've read and a lot of this is from Americans you were say agencies I seem to feel that the United States State Department is done very little for Soviet Jews. Could you comment on what I feel is a great possibility that the reason for not making much of a fuss over it is because the State Department is afraid to hurt Soviet American relations especially regarding the SALT talks in the Middle East. I would only I think I'm repeating myself I would only say that obviously in pursuing this question as well as all others. You've got to take into account overall relations there in mind. There isn't any one of us in this room who doesn't attach importance. To the question of the treatment of Jews in the
Soviet Union. But I would say equally you and others recognize that we are in a very delicate nuclear balance in the world and the the prospect and the attempt to work out problems pragmatically with the Soviet Union involves your survival and my own. And I would suggest without any derogation in so far as the question of the treatment of the Jews in the Soviet Union or elsewhere that the importance of working out questions such as Berlin and the SALT talks and so on are of equal interest. It's a matter of perspective. I reject the notion that we have not pursued this matter vigorously. We have pursued vigorously. We have pursued it quietly. We have pursued it effectively. Thank you.
Next week a panel consisting of Herbert S. Dinnerstein Samuel P. Huntington and Richard M. Pfeiffer will discuss the United States the USSR and China. WB JCA in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting has presented the 1971 Milton as Eisenhower symposium. Soviet American relations the dilemmas of power. The executive producer and editor is Thomas Egil an. Original theme music by Donald who works for printed copy of this program send $1 to dilemmas of power. Transcript. Number four Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting. Owings Mills Maryland 2 1 1 1 7.
- Dilemmas of power
- Episode Number
- Joseph J. Sisco
- Producing Organization
- Johns Hopkins University
- WBJC (Radio station : Baltimore, Md.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Series Description
- This series presents a variety of lectures on Soviet-American relations. The lectures are followed by informal question and answer sessions.
- Politics and Government
- Media type
Composer: Schwartz, Donald
Producing Organization: Johns Hopkins University
Producing Organization: WBJC (Radio station : Baltimore, Md.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 5488 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Dilemmas of power; 4; Joseph J. Sisco,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-2v2ccx6f.
- MLA: “Dilemmas of power; 4; Joseph J. Sisco.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-2v2ccx6f>.
- APA: Dilemmas of power; 4; Joseph J. Sisco. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-2v2ccx6f