175. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Kissinger in Ankara1

Tosec 10221/119886. Subject: Javits and Percy Letters on the Middle East. For the Secretary from McCloskey.

1. Following are texts of Javits’ letter, signed by 75 Senators,2 released today and the Percy letter, which was not rpt not released:

2. Dear Mr. President: You will recall that last December a substantial majority of the Senate wrote you urging a reiteration of our nation’s long-standing commitment to Israel’s security “by a policy of continued military supplies and diplomatic and economic support.”3

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3. Since 1967, it has been American policy that the Arab-Israel conflict should be settled on the basis of secure and recognized boundaries that are defensible, and direct negotiations between the nations involved. We believe that this approach continues to offer the best hope for a just and lasting peace.

4. While the suspension of the second-stage negotiations is regrettable, the history of the Arab-Israel conflict demonstrates that any Israeli withdrawal must be accompanied by meaningful steps toward peace by its Arab neighbors.

5. Recent events underscore America’s need for reliable allies and the desirability of greater participation by the Congress in the formulation of American foreign policy. Cooperation between the Congress and the President is essential for America’s effectiveness in the world. During this time of uncertainty over the future direction of our policy, we support you in strengthening our ties with nations which share our democratic traditions and help to safeguard our national interests. We believe that the special relationship between our country and Israel does not prejudice improved relations with other nations in the region.

6. We believe that a strong Israel constitutes a most reliable barrier to domination of the area by outside parties. Given the recent heavy flow of Soviet weaponry to Arab states, it is imperative that we not permit the military balance to shift against Israel.

7. We believe that preserving the peace requires that Israel obtain a level of military and economic support adequate to deter a renewal of war by Israel’s neighbors. Withholding military equipment from Israel would be dangerous, discouraging accommodation by Israel’s neighbors and encouraging a resort to force.

8. Within the next several weeks, the Congress expects to receive your foreign aid requests for fiscal year 1976. We trust that your recommendations will be responsive to Israel’s urgent military and economic needs. We urge you to make it clear, as we do, that the United States acting in its own national interests stands firmly with Israel in the search for peace in future negotiations, and that this premise is the basis of the current reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

9. Respectfully yours, End text.

10. Percy decided to send his anti-Javits letter as a personal message from him to the President only. Following is text of Percy letter:

11. Dear Mr. President: In view of the letter on the Middle East circulated in the Senate by a number of my distinguished colleagues, I wish to directly express to you my own position.

12. I concur with the co-signers in their profound support for the security and survival of the state of Israel; however, I do not believe that an expression of concern for the interests of only one party to the [Page 648] conflict is adequate at a time when American good will toward all the parties is required in order to facilitate a fair and equitable settlement.

13. I am interested that the administration has chosen to reassess its policies, and I am heartened that Secretary Kissinger has agreed to consult with the Congress as part of the reassessment. Since the goal of all of us is to promote a just and equitable peace in the region, it is important that those consultations take place in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and with candor. The originators of the above-mentioned letter, who are so knowledgeable about the problems [garble—in the Middle?] East, will have much to contribute to such consultations.

14. In regard to Israel, I believe strongly and without equivocation of any sort, that the United States has an absolute moral obligation to provide diplomatic, political and appropriate levels of economic and military assistance support during the difficult time of negotiation and during the rearrangements following negotiation. With such continuing American support, and with determined efforts by the Government of Israel to achieve a successful negotiation, I believe that Israel can finally achieve the peace, security and the essential recognition of her neighbors which she has long sought and deserved.

15. In regard to the Arab states, I believe strongly and without equivocation that the United States, by continuing diplomatic effort, can build on what has already been accomplished in improving our relations with Arab leaders on the basis of understanding and trust. The progress which has already been achieved gives hope that the Arab states will realize that our approach to peace in the area rests on a basis of concern for all the parties, just as we seek peace and security for all the parties. I have outlined in my recent report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the steps that Arab states in my opinion can take to demonstrate their desire for a peaceful and lasting settlement of the Mideast conflict.

16. Obviously, the search for peace will succeed only when the parties directly involved are prepared to make the concessions necessary to a settlement. I deeply believe that the process of accommodation, which is so long in coming, could be accelerated if direct talks would be undertaken.

17. It is my hope that the executive and legislative branches will reach substantial consensus on Middle East policy, as a result of consultation within the context of the reassessment, and that Israel and the Arab states will reach agreement soon on positive steps toward peace in their own mutual interest.

18. Sincerely, Charles H. Percy, United States Senator

End text.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 158, Geopolitical File, Israel, May 1975. Confidential; Immediate.
  2. Another Senator signed the letter after its release, bringing the number of signatories to 76.
  3. On December 9, 1974, 71 Senators signed a letter to President Ford, criticizing the United Nations for dealing with the PLO and for UNESCO expulsion of Israel. The Senators’ letter urged Ford to “reiterate our nation’s long-standing commitment to Israel’s security by a policy of continued military supplies and diplomatic and economic support.” (Israel’s Foreign Relations: Selected Documents, volume 3: 1974–1977, Document 53)