MIAMI -- Former President Jimmy Carter says the massacre of some 1,000 Palestinian civilians in Israeli-occupied west Beirut might have been avoided if the United States had played a more forceful role in resolving the Lebanese conflict.
'Some of the violence may have been avoided,' Carter said Monday.
'I can't swear to that, but that's my feeling.'
Carter was in Miami to attend a private meeting with south Florida businessmen and politicians to discuss his library and international policy center in Atlanta.
The former president, who was the architect of the 1978 Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, has been generally supportive of President Reagan's peace initiative in the Middle East.
But he criticized the United States for 'belatedly ... playing its role as a strong mediator in bringing the parties together.'
The death count in last week's massacre of Palestinian civilians by Israel's Christian Phalangist allies is about 1,000, officials say.
Carter called for a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. 'The Israelis should pull out of Lebanon as quickly as possible,' he said.
The former president also said that he told Secretary of State George Shultz during the weekend that he would support a decision to send U.S. troops back into Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force.
'If American forces are needed, I told him he would get no criticism from me,' Carter said.