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Proposed Policy in Persian Gulf

June 21, 1987

The Soviet Union has placed some Kuwaiti oil tankers under its protection. The United States is negotiating to put the U.S. flag on more Kuwaiti oil tankers. It appears that the United States and the Soviet Union have an interest in common to keep the Persian Gulf open to international trade.

White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker has said, "It would not be a bad thing." But President Reagan killed the idea in Venice. Why?

The President is passing up a golden opportunity to stop the Persian Gulf war and to further his policy of keeping the gulf open at the same time. The United States and the Soviet Union should negotiate an agreement to work together within the United Nations for an end to the Iran-Iraq war.

There is a very notable precedent for such cooperation. In 1956 President Abdel Nasser of Egypt nationalized and closed the Suez Canal. Israel attacked Egypt. Britain and France joined with Israel in a war to keep the canal open. At the urging of both the United States and the Soviet Union, the United Nations brought about an end to the 1956 war.

There now exists a remarkable opportunity to strengthen the United Nations and also to end the Iran-Iraq war. We must take full advantage of this unusual confluence of American and Soviet interests. It would be a giant step toward peace. Let us pay attention to the lesson of history for a change.

SIDNEY SIEGEL

North Hollywood

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