American Policy in the Middle East

August 19, 1970

Report Outline
New American Peace Initiative
Evolvement of Middle East Policy
Options For Future U.S. Policies
Special Focus

New American Peace Initiative

Fragile Agreement for Egyptain-Israeli Truce

In the pursuit of broad objectives in the Middle East-the promotion of stability and the containment of Communism—the United States has had to balance its support for Israel against its considerable economic interests in the Arab world. It has not yet had to choose between the two. But the growth of Soviet influence in the area since 1955, and particularly since the Six Day War of 1967, has steadily pushed the United States toward such a fateful decision. As renewed Egyptian-Israeli shooting along the Suez Canal continued into 1970, the superpowers found themselves regarding each other uneasily over the shoulders of their “client” states. President Nixon showed his concern on July 3 women he said the Middle East had become “terribly dangerous” and drew a parallel between it and great power involvement in the Balkans that was a prelude to World War I.

It was feared that the two big powers could “drift” into a nuclear confrontation. Moscow's awareness of this danger may have motivated its cautious acceptance of a peace plan submitted quietly to the disputants in June by Secretary of State William P. Rogers, proposing a cease-fire and a resumption of United Nations mediation efforts aimed at implementing a Security Council resolution of Nov. 22, 1907. The resolution proposed a settlement based on withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territory and Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist within secure borders.

Egypt and Jordan, then Israel, agreed to invoke a cease-fire for 90 days, beginning Aug. 8, in their conditional acceptance of the Rogers peace formula. Without waiting for the new cease-fire to take effect. U.N. mediator Gunnar V. Jarring resumed his hitherto unsuccessful Middle East peace mission by engaging Arab and Israeli diplomats at the United Nations in preliminary discussions of issues on which negotiations might be based.

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Aug. 19, 1970  American Policy in the Middle East
Apr. 25, 1969  Arab Guerrillas
Aug. 02, 1967  Israeli Prospects
Jul. 06, 1966  Middle East Enmities
Apr. 14, 1965  Relations with Nasser
Aug. 17, 1960  Arab-Israeli Deadlock
May 27, 1959  Middle East Instability
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