Philip C Habib

Middle East Peace Berkeley Speech of Special Envoy Habib

Middle East Peace Berkeley Speech of Special Envoy Habib


In this speech at his alma mater, Middle East special envoy Philip Habib addresses issues of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East. Habib emphasizes the importance of Middle East peace to American interests and asks for support for the administration’s initiatives to achieve it. He delivered the speech just months before the 1982 Lebanon War began when Israel invaded southern Lebanon to counter attacks launched by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).


[MIDDLE EAST.] PHILIP C. HABIB, Autograph Draft, Copies of Typed Drafts with Autograph Emendations, and Reading Copy of “United States Diplomacy and the Middle East,” an address delivered at the 114th University of California Charter Day Banquet at the University of California Berkeley, April 15, 1982. Includes correspondence, invitations, seating charts, schedules, and media coverage related to the Charter Day Banquet. Approximately 90 pp. Very good.


Excerpts from Speech

“In the immediate aftermath of World War II a host of young men found this campus the perfect place in which to trace their way back to a normal life. I was one of them. We supped at the table of knowledge. It was a veritable feast for the mind. The university through its facilities and its faculty recharged our spirits, revived our intellects, and renewed our ambitions.”


“In no area of the world is the task of diplomacy more critical than in the Middle East. In no area of the world is the task of American diplomacy so uniquely important.”


“The situation in Afghanistan, the fighting in the western Sahara, the war between Iraq and Iran, petroleum resources, the threats to stability in the Persian Gulf, competition with the Soviet Union—each problem in its own way touches upon our future and in some cases has the potential to impinge upon our daily lives.”


“the overriding concern of the United States in the Middle East remains the pursuit and support of peace. American diplomacy in the region must therefore encompass a coherent peace process. It is not a question of a single act—but of a process with confidence building along the way.”


“It is equally important to recognize that an effective role on the part of the United States in the negotiations requires that there be some consensus here in the United States in support of the efforts and positions that the administration will take. There is no doubt that there is a consensus in support of our long-term commitment to the security of Israel. There is also, general support for our efforts to protect access to the resources of the region and work to avoid radical changes contrary to our perceived interests.”


“There is an added degree of consensus which it would be helpful if we could achieve. It should not be too much to hope that we will be able to accept that the administration knows what it is doing. In recent years, there has often been a lack of confidence that the elected and appointed officials of the government know what they are doing, and that they can be supported with the assurance that they are working for the national interest. This lack of confidence is presumed to be a consequence of the traumatic events of the sixties and early seventies. It is time that we go on into the eighties without the millstones of the past around our necks.”


“Patience is a virtue in diplomacy. There are even times when delay is called for. But delay is a useful policy only when it serves a purpose. We are now reaching a stage where the search for peace in the Middle East must not be routine and where the momentum and purpose of negotiation must be renewed. There must be movement toward peace—or confrontation and conflict will threaten to dominate the future.”


Historical Background

Early in 1982, Chancellor Ira Michael Heyman of the University of California Berkeley invited Philip C. Habib to be the principal speaker at the University’s 114th Charter Anniversary Exercises on April 15. Habib received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Berkeley in 1952, and he accepted the invitation to return to his alma mater. He also spent most of the month as a visiting professor at the University.


The University of California began on March 23, 1868, when Governor Henry Haight signed an act chartering a public college dedicated to the agricultural, mining, and mechanical arts. Each year, the University celebrated March 23 as Charter Day with a series of events. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were previous Charter Day speakers.



Philip C. Habib (1920-1992) was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in a Jewish neighborhood by Lebanese Maronite Catholic parents. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 1942 with a degree in forestry. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and rose to the rank of captain. After the war, he earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1952. He also took the Foreign Service examination and began a career with the United States Foreign Service in 1949. After service in Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and South Vietnam, Habib served as chief of staff for the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Talks from 1968 to 1971. He served as Ambassador to South Korea from 1971 to 1974. He then served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Public Affairs from 1974 to 1976 and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 1976 to 1978, when a heart attack forced his resignation. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan called Habib out of retirement to serve as special envoy to the Middle East, where he negotiated a peace that allowed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to evacuate from the city of Beirut, which Israel had besieged. In 1986, Reagan sent Habib to the Philippines to convince Ferdinand Marcos to step down, and then to Central America to negotiate regarding conflict in Nicaragua. Habib supported Costa Rican president Óscar Arias’s peace plan focused on democratization, but Reagan refused to let him meet with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and Habib resigned. Habib died while on vacation in France, and the New York Times described him as “the outstanding professional diplomat of his generation in the United States.”



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Item: 67372

Price: $1,200.00
Philip C HabibPhilip C HabibPhilip C Habib
Philip C Habib
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