JERUSALEM (Sep. 20)
Prospects for completion of a coalition Cabinet this week appeared dim today following a meeting between Premier-designate David Ben Gurion and Progressive Party leader Dr. Pinchus Rosen, who is Minister of Justice in the out-going government.
When the two men failed to make progress toward a solution, Mr. Ben Gurion asked permission to address a meeting of the Progressive Party central committee which is scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv tomorrow. The stumbling block at this point after Mr. Ben Gurion had conceded a number of issues in an effort to get the centrist group to join with the Mapai, Mapam and Achdut Avodah, is control of the labor exchanges. The Histadrut now controls them; the Progressives insist that this function be turned over to the government.
Mr. Ben Gurion, who did not concede the point to Dr. Rosen, asked that the Progressives enter the coalition now and leave unsettled issues for later adjustment This, Dr. Rosen rejected. Mr. Ben Gurion thereupon decided to make a last effort by a direct, personal appeal to the centrist leadership.
Meanwhile, Moshe Kol, chairman of the Progressive Party, indicated that the party would not remain outside the coalition if the religious groups or the General Zionists held adamant in their present opposition position. In response to a question by newsmen, he said that while his party preferred a broad coalition including the General Zionists, “we will not seclude ourselves in a monastery if somebody does not join.”