JERUSALEM (Jul. 21)
Extension of a local commanders agreement between Israel and Jordan in the Jerusalem area was discussed here today and the negotiators will get down to specific proposals at a meeting scheduled for next week, it was announced this afternoon. This follows a meeting on the Gaza frontier yesterday at which Israel and Egyptian negotiators came to an “oral agreement” on details of a local commanders pact.
At today’s session here, the Israel and Jordan negotiators exchanged drafts of a new commanders pact. The present Israel-Jordan commanders agreement covers only the Jerusalem area, but the extension will, if accepted, cover the entire demarcation line between the two states, the largest border between Israel and any of the four neighbor Arab states. Maj. Gen. E.L.M. Burns, United Nations truce chief, will chair the next meeting. (Burns was today renamed truce chief for another year.)
At the Gaza session yesterday, where Gen. Burns also presided, it was officially stated that “progress in drafting clauses regarding representation and communications” was made on the local commanders agreement. There was, however, a divergence between the Egyptian written draft of the document and the “oral agreement.” The “oral agreement” is interpreted in two different ways, with Gen. Burns and the Israel delegate on one side, and the Egyptian delegate on the other.
(The New York Times reports from Gaza today that eleven of 14 clauses in the draft local commanders agreement are settled, with only three clauses still to be agreed upon. These three, the dispatch says, deal with the degree of UN participation in the operations of the local commanders agreement, and with the level on which the pact will be signed. The Israelis are represented as wanting it signed on high political levels and the Egyptians are reported to be opposed, preferring signature on an operational level.)
Meanwhile, Israel objected to an Egyptian charge that Israel did not want the UN involved in the pact. On the contrary, the Israel delegate insisted, “we want them, they help us settle disputes.” Gen. Burns was optimistic at the end of yesterday’s session. However, he refused to guess when a pact would be reached. The meetings at Gaza were recessed until next Wednesday.