WASHINGTON (Dec. 11)
A link between extensive top-level negotiations here by senior Iraqi statesman Nuri as-Said and the forthcoming NATO conference in Paris was seen today by European diplomatic sources. These sources predicted that the Israel-Arab issue will be an important item on the agenda of the Paris meeting.
U.S. officials sought to deny that political aspects of the Israel-Arab dispute would be discussed. However, a tacit admission is made that the “military potentialities” of various Mid-eastern nations may be discussed in a strategical context.
Mr. as-Said is believed by well-informed European diplomats here to have warned President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles personally that the United States must seize initiative by pressuring Israel to offset an alleged pending Soviet campaign to rally a wide Arab front, by demanding drastic Israeli concessions. The Soviets, reportedly, would come out for a return to Israel’s 1947 partition boundaries.
Actually, the Soviet drive would have as its primary targets the pro-Western Arab regimes of Iraq and Jordan. According to the reported line of the Iraqi statesman, Iraq and Jordan would be jeopardized from within if Russia championed the Arab cause against Israel while the United States either remained neutral or took a pro-Israel stand.
Secretary Dulles talked carefully and at great length with the Iraqi leader. Mr. Dulles is described by informed observers as anxious to avoid an American position on the Israel question that would give recognition to the Soviet Union as a legitimate party to the Israel-Arab dispute. Nor does Mr. Dulles want to identify America with Israel in Arab eyes.
European diplomats said Nur as-Said has discussed his ideas with British diplomats. A view exists that Britain is inclined toward his line. There is talk of a British intention to make a stand at the Paris NATO conference. The stand would involve a Western demand for sacrifices by Israel on territorial and Arab refugee issues. In the reported British view, this would improve the British position in the Middle East, and help seal off the region against further Communist penetration.
Today Mr. as-Said ended his talks here. State Department officials were vague. But William Rountree, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, admitted that the Israel-Arab problem was among matters discussed.