I AM deeply gratified today to sign this important measure which was approved last week by an overwhelming majority of both Houses of the Congress. My signature reaffirms the commitment of the United States to work toward a just and lasting peace for all nations and all peoples in the Middle East.
The Sinai agreement, which American civilians will help support, is a significant step toward an overall settlement in the Middle East. But neither the United States nor Egypt nor Israel see it as an end to itself.
The war in October 1973 brought home to Americans just how dangerous another Arab-Israeli conflict would be, not only for the people of the area but for the entire world. It also brought home the pressing need for a just settlement of the problems which underlie the tension and instability in that part of the world.
As a result, for 2 years our Government, with the government of the countries directly involved, has been engaged in vigorous diplomatic efforts to promote the prospects of peace on the basis of Security Council Resolutions 338 and 242.
With the help and the negotiating skill of Secretary of State Kissinger, we have made great progress, in good part because of the trust placed in the United States by both Israel and its Arab neighbors. This confidence must be maintained if there is to be further progress and if the United States is to retain the mutually beneficial relationships it has established with Israel and the Arab States.
We must continue our diplomatic efforts with the parties in order to sustain the momentum toward peace generated by the Sinai agreement, and the United States must accept the responsibilities which flow from our stake in peace in the Middle East and from our bilateral relationships which form the foundation for success in our diplomatic efforts.
I will soon consult Congress on what is required to sustain these bilateral relationships, just as the Administration has consulted Congress very fully over the past month on the latest diplomatic step, including the use of United States civilians to further the peace process.
We anticipate the same support and understanding by the Congress. The overall Middle East policy of the United States is founded upon the most basic reasons of national necessity as well as our desire to help bring peace to a region whose peoples have suffered too much already.
I reaffirm today that we will not accept stagnation or stalemate in the Middle East. The participation of the United States civilians in the Sinai early warning system demonstrates that determination.
I appreciate very greatly the cooperation of the Congress in this important contribution to stability and peace.
Thank you very much.
Sources: Public Papers of the President