TEL AVIV (Aug. 5)
A 22-man French Parliamentary delegation arrived at Lydda International Airport today on a visit as official guests of the Israel Government and announced that it would work for early conclusion of a French-Israel alliance.
Jacques Soustelle, former Governor-General of Algeria, who headed the mission, declared in a reception ceremony at the airport that “we represent those French people who are convinced that a formal French-Israel alliance should be concluded.”
He pointed out, however, that since this was not an official French Government delegation, it could not conclude any alliance. Members of his delegation would, he said, discuss the question and go into its ramifications in their meetings with the heads of the Israel State.
The French delegation was met at the airport by a welcoming group including representatives of the presidium of the Israel Parliament; S. Peres, director-general of the Defense Ministry, representing Premier Ben Gurion; M. Argov, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset, and Menahem Beigin, leader of the Herut Party.
HERUT GROUP DEMONSTRATES WITH BANNERS “VIVE LA FRANCE”
Some 200 of Mr. Beigin’s followers were at the airport waving banners with the slogans: “Vive la France! Vive I’Alliance France-Israel!” They shouted the slogans throughout the short ceremony.
Replying to greetings voiced by Mr. Peres, M. Soustelle, a former cabinet minister, noted that there was a connection between the Algerian situation and French-Israel relations, but stressed that this was not so in a negative sense. France, he said, like Israel, must seek coexistence with the Arab world and thus their common interests would serve to foster French-Israel relations.
The delegation is expected to have talks with Premier Ben Gurion, Foreign Minister Golda Meir and other members of the Government as well as with the leaders of Israel’s parliamentary parties. They will also tour the country.
The delegation is composed of representatives of all the republican national parties in the French Parliament. The Communists and the right-wing Poujadists are not represented in it. Members of the delegation favor a formal French-Israel alliance in ail spheres, including the military.
A party of 500 Jewish boys and girls arrived here today from France for a five-week vacation and study visit. The youngsters will be divided into smaller groups to spend the five weeks in collective settlements and summer camps.