LONDON (Sep. 7)
The situation in Jordan, as a consequence of the assassination of the Prime Minister there, was termed here today by Israel’s Finance Minister Levi Eshkol as a “purely internal matter” which must nevertheless keep Israel “on the alert.” Mr. Eshkol added that he does not think that “the Jordanian situation is serious enough to affect Israel.”
The Israel Finance Minister, who is flying tonight to Mexico, spoke at a press conference here prior to his being received by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Selwyn Lloyd, and talks which he held today with representatives of six of the largest banks in Britain. He revealed that he had similar financial talks in Paris yesterday, including a talk with French Finance Minister Baumgartner.
Mr. Eshkol said that among matters discussed in Paris, was the possible purchase by Israel of a new, 20,000-ton liner for Israel’s expanding merchant marine. Negotiations for this purchase, he stated, are proceeding with a French shipyard and French financiers. As for relations with Britain, he said that an “atmospheres of sincere friendship” has been growing between Britain and Israel, increasing in the last 12 years since Israel’s state was reborn.
DISCUSSES FINANCIAL MATTERS WITH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Later in the day, Mr. Eshkol conferred for an hour with Chancellor of the Exchequer Selwyn Lloyd, discussing with him economic affairs of mutual interest to Israel and Britain, Among the matters discussed was Israel’s possible tie-in with the various regional European economic organizations.
Appearing to have been satisfied with the Lloyd discussion, Mr. Eshkol said he hoped the outcome of the discussions “would be very positive.” He told a press conference at the Israel Embassy in the afternoon that Israel is prepared to increase her trade volume with Britain and “to secure closer links as far as commercial activities are concerned.”
Mr. Eshkol’s talk with the representatives of the six largest banks in Britain centered on the general economic situation in Israel with regard to capital development and the possibilities of inducing banks and other firms to make financial investments in Israel.
Israel, said the Finance Minister, needs not only short-term loans but also long-term loans for development of various industrial expansions, particularly its chemical industry and an expanding merchant marine. Israel wants to double its merchant fleet, Mr. Eshkol declared.
Economic cooperation between Britain and Israel has been growing, Mr. Eshkol stated, The understanding on the levels of the two governments has now developed into closer economic ties, “especially in the last few years,” he said.