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Gerald Ford Administration: Remarks on The Middle East and the UN

(November 3, 1975)


REPORTER. Mr. President, you have been meeting with President Sadat, and he has made it clear that the Palestinian problem is certainly one of the paramount ones to a Middle East settlement. We have heard very little about how high-ranking Americans feel about what justification, if any, the Palestinians have for asking or demanding a national state of their own. Would you comment on that?

THE PRESIDENT. I would prefer to answer this way, if I might. The Palestinians do allege that they have certain rights, and they are insisting on participating, for example, at a Geneva conference or any overall conference. But they have refused to recognize the State of Israel. And we, of course, strongly back the State of Israel in its attitude that there must be recognition before there can be any contact or any participation by the Palestinians in any negotiations.

Q. If recognition were forthcoming, would there be a possibility that land could be found to create a Palestinian state?

THE PRESIDENT. That, of course, would have to be decided in any overall settlement, and it seems to me that it would be inadvisable for me to pass judgment at this point on what terms of any overall settlement might be.

The parties who will actually do the negotiating are those parties within the area in an overall settlement. And it would be certainly inappropriate for me, under these circumstances, to make any comment. That is for them to negotiate.


Q. Mr. President, there is considerable feeling in south Florida that the attacks in the United Nations on Zionism as being racist are unfair and inaccurate-especially the Jewish community feels this way. Your guest here in Jacksonville, President Sadat, has made similar statements. How do you feel about these allegations, and what action will our Government take if the United Nations brands Zionism as racist?

THE PRESIDENT. I am sure you know Ambassador Moynihan has spoken out very strongly on this issue. I am sure you know that Secretary Kissinger has also spoken out emphatically. I issued a statement doing precisely the same.2 So, this Administration is very, very much opposed to the resolution to which you refer. We are doing all we possibly can in the United Nations to defeat the resolution. We think it is contrary to the basic Charter of the United Nations. And if we can defeat it, which I hope we can, the matter will be resolved. And I am getting more and more optimistic that the possibility does exist, because it is fundamentally contrary to the United Nations Charter. What we will do if we lose is a matter that I will pass judgment on at that time. But I think on sober reflection that a majority of the members of the United Nations will recognize that that is not in consonance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Sources: Public Papers of the President