U.S. Delegate Warren Austin last week
read to the Security Council the long-awaited "clarification of the
U.S. position" on Palestine. After 20 minutes of Austin's ponderous
prose, a fellow delegate summed up his remarks in this mocking
sentence: "We must do nothing—and do it quickly."
Thin Distinction. "The Council's action," said Austin, "[must be]
directed to keeping the peace and not to enforcing partition." The thin
distinction would be easier to make in the Council chamber than in the
embattled Holy Land. The comic effort to make it, however, followed
logically from past U.S. efforts to please everyone, which had ended by
pleasing no one. Zionists were crying traitor at the U.S. The U.S.
position in the strategically important Arab world was hurt in ways
that might cost years and possibly blood to repair.