295. Editorial Note
Violence across the border between Israel and Lebanon prompted both countries to lodge complaints with the UN Security Council, which met on June 23, 1972, to discuss the issue. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1972, page 161) In a statement before the Security Council the following day, U.S. Representative to the United Nations George H.W. Bush said, “To be sure, terrorism in the Middle East breeds its own deplorable reactions,” referring to the May 31 terrorist incident at the Lod Airport in Israel and the Israeli reprisals in Lebanon that occurred earlier in the week. He concluded: “As I stated last February in this Council, the United States fully supports the territorial integrity and political independence of Lebanon. My government hopes and expects that the incidents of the type that have occurred along the Israeli-Lebanon border will not recur; that all forces, regular and irregular, will remain on their own side of the frontier; and that quiet will be maintained. We are aware that the Government of Lebanon has made efforts to control terrorist elements on its territory—elements whose activities are as inimical to the interest of many Arab governments as they are to Israel. We are pleased to note the absence of cross-border incidents for nearly four months. We hope that all authorities in the area, including particularly the Government of Israel, will facilitate and not impede these efforts by Lebanon to control terrorism.” (Telegram 2330 from USUN, June 25; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1168, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East—Jarring Talks, June 1–30, 1972)
On June 26, the Security Council adopted Resolution 316—which France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom had introduced—by a vote of 13–0–2, with the United States and Panama abstaining. The resolution condemned the recent Israeli attacks against Lebanon; asked that Israel refrain from resorting to further military actions against Lebanon; deplored the “tragic loss of life resulting from all acts of violence and retaliation” in the region; expressed the “strong desire that appropriate steps will lead” to the release “in the shortest possible time of all Syrian and Lebanese” personnel “abducted” by Israel on June 21; and declared that if these steps did “not result in the release of abducted personnel or if Israel fails to comply with the present resolution,” the Security Council would consider further action. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1972, page 173) After the vote, Bush made a statement before the Security Council criticizing the resolution for not being either fair or balanced, for not showing equal concern for casualties on both sides of the Israeli-Lebanese border, and for not giving equal weight to Arab terrorist attacks and strikes by Israel. He said: “Mr. President, that resolution did not fulfill what we strongly believed are the needs of the situ[Page 1015]ation and my delegation therefore was obliged to abstain.” (Telegram 2345 from USUN, June 27; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1168, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East—Jarring Talks, June 1–30, 1972) The United States introduced its own draft resolution, but the Security Council did not put it to a vote.