HELSINKI (Sep. 3)
Prime Minister Ahti Karjalainen said today, after a half-hour talk with visiting Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, that Finland’s stand in favor of direct Israel-Arab peace talks remained firm.
It was indicated that, if the proposal came up at the next United Nations General Assembly session, Finland would vote for it as it did at the UN Assembly last year. The Finnish Prime Minister told a press conference that “it is our regular policy to support proposals of peaceful negotiations and to try to prevent violence. There is no change in this policy.”
Mr. Ben-Gurion, who arrived at Helsinki last night on his five-nation Scandinavian tour, lunched at President Kekconnen’s home after a friendly talk, and was guest of honor at an official dinner given tonight by the Finnish Government. The Prime Minister had begun his month-long tour with visits to Sweden and Norway.
Before his departure from Oslo Saturday night, Mr. Ben-Gurion hinted that Israel was making plans to deal with Egypt’s new rocket capability. Recalling the remark attributed to President Nasser to the effect that Egyptian missiles could reach any point in Israel, Mr. Ben-Gurion told the heavily-attended press conference that “this makes our situation serious.” He added: “We hope we can do something to balance the situation and we will make every effort to prevent war. When asked Just how Israel planned to offset the Egyptian rockets, the Prime Minister replied “I have certain things in mind.” He declined to elaborate.
PREFERS UNITY OF ARAB STATES; SEES SOVIET JEWS WILLING TO GO TO ISRAEL
He expressed disagreement with the viewpoint that an extension of Arab disunity, such as that manifested in the recent clash at the Arab League Council in Lebanon, would aid Middle East peace, asserting that “the more they are united, the nearer peace will come.” He also said that the had no reason to think the United States had changed its friendly relationship with Israel.
Answering a question about Christian missionaries in Israel, he said: “We will not interfere with the missionaries’ work in Israel, even if they succeed from time to time in converting come Jewish children. Israel is a free country with freedom of religion.” Concerning the Soviet Union, the Prime Minister told the correspondents that Israel wanted to be friendly with all nations “irrespective of their regimes, but the USSR is not too friendly to us.” He expressed the opinion that a majority of Russian Jews would come to Israel if they were permitted to leave Russia.
At a farewell dinner to Norwegian Premier Einar Gerhardsen, at Oslo, the two Premiers exchanged pledges of continued friendship. The Norwegian Premier said the Israeli’s visit “has contributed to making the young State of Israel more of a living fact for the Norwegian people.” The visiting Prime Minister, in his reply, referred to Norwegian pioneering in that country’s arid north, and compared it to similar pioneering in Israel’s Negev. He said such pioneering, particularly by Norway, “can serve as an example to all nations,” and could also be “a source of inspiration and encouragement to the newly developing countries.”