JERUSALEM (Sep. 17)
Dr. Joseph E. Johnson, the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission’s special emissary to the Middle East for a fresh study of the Arab refugee problem, left for Amman, Jordan, today, after two days of conferences with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Foreign Minister Golda Meir, and other Israeli officials. An official communique issued after the conclusion of the talks described the conversations as “frank, full, friendly and thorough, held in a friendly atmosphere.”
Dr. Johnson is scheduled to resume his talks with Mrs. Meir and with Arab foreign ministers at United Nations headquarters, where Israel’s Foreign Minister, as well as the Arab Ministers, are going to attend the session of the UN General Assembly, convening Tuesday. After the Johnson conference, Mrs. Meir left for New York to attend the Assembly as head of Israel’s delegation. (Mrs. Meir arrived in New York late this afternoon.)
Aside from the formal wording of the communique, officials here declined to reveal anything specific about the nature of the talks with Dr. Johnson. The news blackout was, presumably, imposed at the specific request of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. Dr. Johnson would say only that he would submit his report about the conversations with Israeli and Arab leaders to the full Palestine Conciliation Commission which is under instructions to report on the refugee problem to the Assembly not later than October 15.
During his lengthy talks here, Dr. Johnson is understood to have been given Israel’s basic approach to the Arab refugee problem. Israel’s prerequisite for solution of the refugee problem is understood to be that it be approached primarily as a human problem, rather than as a political issue. Israel’s officials are believed to have emphasized to Dr. Johnson, among other things, the fact that Israel has already absorbed about 500, 000 refugees from the Arab countries when it admitted into this country and integrated a half million Jews from Arab countries.