Issues for the Future

The search for peace-especially an Arab-Israeli settlement-and the quest for a stable U.S.-Soviet relationship that will help preserve the independence and integrity of each nation in this area will remain our top priorities. Our aim is to see an epoch begin in which strong independent nations in this area-in association with each other as they choose-relate freely and constructively with the world outside. The U.S. is prepared to consider new and fresh ways to assist in the development of the region to the benefit of both Arabs and Israelis once a real peace agreement is achieved.

In pursuing those goals, the United States will face these principal issues in the months ahead:

First, if the United States is to play a major role-as we have promised to do-in helping to bring about an Arab-Israeli settlement and provide supplementary guarantees, what should be the nature and extent of our diplomatic involvement? As I pointed out at the United Nations last October, the primary responsibility for peace rests on the nations of the Middle East. What is the proper relation between the efforts of the international community to encourage a settlement and the responsibility of the negotiating parties themselves?

Second, our bilateral relations with Arab nations are in flux. With some, formal diplomatic relations have been suspended. In others, attitudes toward the U.S. and the West are undergoing reassessment. The changing relationships in the Persian Gulf necessarily raise new issues for American policy. How do we best encourage and assist the constructive forces in the area to build a regional system of stable relationships?

Finally, there is a range of broader worldwide issues that form the background to Middle East politics. Limiting the external supply of arms to the area is one such issue. The U.S.-Soviet military relationship in the Mediterranean area is another. Beyond this, what is our policy toward the broadening commercial association which the European Common Market is establishing with nations in the area? How can we help assure the access of Western Europe and Japan to the supply of oil, and also help assure that the producing states receive fair revenues for their oil?

On some of these issues our work is already well advanced. With others we are coming to grips for the first time. Our purpose is to resolve them in a way that helps us and every nation involved in the Middle East, including above all the states of the area, to build and strengthen the relationships-at every level-that will hold together the structure of peace.