WASHINGTON (Oct. 23)
Israel Ambassador Abba Eban today met for one hour with Assistant Secretary of State George C. McGhee at the State Department. He later told reporters that Israel’s participation in a Middle East defense alliance was not discussed.
“We discussed current developments in the Near East with special reference to efforts of the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission which is now meeting in Paris,” he stated.
Mr. Eban said that Israel has “had discussions with the United States for several months on the general problem of regional defense.” However, he added that since the four-power proposals to Egypt were discussed, there have been “no specific” defense discussions between the United States and Israel. Asked if Israel would consider joining in a pact, Mr. Eban replied that he considered that question “hypothetical” and added, “but, when we are approached we will consider it.”
In reply to a question pertaining to whether he expected Israel-bound oil tankers to pass through the Suez Canal, Mr. Eban said that since the British have taken over the Canal that question should be directed to the British. He added, however, that “a U.N. Security Council resolution exists and should be carried out.” He said he had no information on whether or not the British were now permitting Israel-bound tankers through the Suez Canal.
(In Windsor, Ontario, last night, John A. Loftus, economic advisor of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, called for a common Anglo-American policy in the Middle East so that that region could “play its proper role in the grand strategy of freedom.”)