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Exchange of Remarks With Senator George Murphy on His Trip to Israel and the Vatican.

August 31, 1970

SENATOR Murphy has just reported to the Secretary of State and to me on his trip to Israel and also to the Vatican.

While he was in Israel, he had the opportunity to meet with Israeli Government officials and to get their reactions to the cease-fire initiative.

He has given us a full report and is going to give the Secretary of State a report in writing, which will be useful to the Secretary of State.

He also, in his talks at the Vatican, met with the Pope, and I was very encouraged, as was the Secretary of State, with the fact that the Pope was very much gratified by the Mideast peace initiative and is most hopeful that the cease-fire initiative will succeed.

This kind of support throughout the world is, of course, very constructive at this time. This does not mean that we do not have, as the Secretary of State has said and I have said on several occasions, that we do not have a difficult road in bringing permanent peace to the area. But it does mean that there is hope where there was no hope before and that the leaders of the world are watching this area with the hope that this peace initiative will succeed.

The Senator will now go on, I understand, back to Washington tomorrow where he will be available to vote on the McGovern-Hatfield amendment tomorrow. I haven't asked him how he is going to vote, but I have an idea which way he will vote.

SENATOR MURPHY. I think probably you know how I will vote on it, Mr. President.

Incidentally, they have an expression, Mr. President. They say, "It is easier to hear the dialogue when the guns are quiet."

I am very pleased about the entire cease-fire and I am very hopeful it will be productive on a permanent basis.

THE PRESIDENT. I think also what you said, Senator, in terms of the symbolism of the word that is used, the greeting--will you repeat that?

SENATOR MURPHY. Yes. Throughout all of Israel, and we covered it from one end to the other, as people greet each other, the greeting is: Shalom.

That means peace, and peace is constantly in their mind. They are ready to fight, if they have to. They hope sincerely that they won't have to, that peace can be achieved in a more sensible, more productive way. And we all hope that very much.

Note: The exchange of remarks took place at 11:20 a.m. at the Western White House, San Clemente, Calif. On August 6, 1970, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge on his first visit to the Vatican as the President's representative.

Richard Nixon, Exchange of Remarks With Senator George Murphy on His Trip to Israel and the Vatican. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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