PARIS (Jun. 13)
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion of Israel expressed warm confidence today that his personal meeting here with President Charles de Gaulle of France will strengthen Franco-Israel ties. Mr. Ben-Gurion arrived at Orly Airport on an official State visit as the guest of the French Government.
Jaunty and in obviously good spirits, his grey hair waving in a soft breeze, the Israeli leader debarked at the airport from the blue-white El Al Brittania turboprop that had brought him nonstop from Israel. A military band played the French and Israeli national anthems, while the standards of both states fluttered from the flagpoles.
The Prime Minister walked briskly toward a guard of honor drawn up in front of the landing strip, taking the salute of four companies of French air guards in full dress, while the general in command of the Second Aerial Division, M. Duval, stood at attention. On behalf of President de Gaulle, Mr. Ben-Gurion was greeted officially by French Cabinet Minister Roger Frey.
“I am very happy to find myself in France which I know a little and love very much, “the Prime Minister told reporters at the airport. “The ties of friendship which unite Israel to France are many, deep, and, I am sure, unshakable. Israel has faith in the destiny of France. I am especially happy for this chance to meet and to have talks with a number of members of the French Cabinet on problems of interest to our two countries and also of interest to any man who is interested in world affairs.”
“It is an honor and privilege, “Mr. Ben-Gurion declared, “to meet President Charles de Gaulle, who is at the same time the symbol of the liberation of France. the personification of its grandeur, and one of the artisans of the destruction of one of the worst tyrannies which the world has ever seen. I am certain that these personal contacts will contribute toward strengthening the many ties which exist between our two countries.”
Mr. Ben-Gurion and President de Gaulle are scheduled to hold a 90-minute conference tomorrow, which will be officially the first day of the Israeli Premier’s State visit here. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the two leaders will talk literally “tete a tete,” alone except for interpreters. After. the conference, President de Gaulle will tender a formal luncheon for Mr. Ben-Gurion, at the President’s official residence at the Palais d’Elyses.
The subjects which the two statesmen will discuss have not been disclosed in detail. But informed sources said they will discuss in general terms the world situation, particularly the interests of the uncommitted nations. It was stressed that the Israel Prime Minister is not bringing with him any definite proposals or special requests to the French leader.
Mr. Ben-Gurion will call at the Quai D’Orsay tomorrow morning, for a meeting with French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville. He will have a talk with French Premier Michel Debre. tomorrow evening. This conference will be followed by a dinner tendered by M. Debre in honor of the Ben-Gurion party. Another important conference by Mr. Ben-Gurion will be with Pierre Messmer, French Minister of the Armed Forces. In that talk, Mr. Ben-Gurion will be joined by Shimon Peres, Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister.
The Premier will meet also with prominent leaders of the Jewish community of France. Among these meetings will be one with 350 local Jewish leaders at a meeting organized by the French Zionist Federation in conjunction with other major Jewish organizations, including the Representative Council of French Jews, the Jewish Social Fund and the Central Consistoire.
This meeting had been originally scheduled to be held at the Velodrome d’Hiver, the largest auditorium in Paris, to enable the largest number of French Jews possible to hear the Israeli leader. However, that site was over-ruled for security reasons. Both Israeli and French security services have gone to maximum lengths to assure the Israeli leader’s safety while on his visit here.
Mr. and Mrs. Ben-Gurion are scheduled to spend next weekend at the private home of a prominent French personality. From France, they will go to Brussels, for a State visit to Belgium. Thence, they will go to Amsterdam, for an official visit as guests of the Government of The Netherlands. They are scheduled to depart for Israel on June 24.