JERUSALEM (Jan. 22)
Israel’s views on reported plans of the United States for a new initiative to end the Arab refugee deadlock were conveyed today by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to United States Ambassador Walworth Barbour.
A meeting for that purpose was called at the Prime Minister’s request. It was held in his office and attended also by Avraham Harman, Israel Ambassador to the United States and Shimshon Arad, head of the American desk of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
The views conveyed to the American envoy were developed during discussions last week with the participation of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Harman, Michael Comay, head of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations and other key officials.
Although officials continued to decline to reveal details of the discussions, it was understood that at the Ben-Gurion–Barbour meeting, Israel’s security needs were stressed in connection with any refugee settlement involving proposals that Israel accept the return of a number of the refugees.
It was reportedly emphasized that before such refugee demands were presented to Israel, there must be some change in the avowed Arab stand of insistence, that a state of war exists with Israel and in a halt to Arab activities threatening Israel’s security. Arab economic warfare against Israel also was brought up.
Another general issue raised in the talk was that evidence of a basic readiness by the Arabs to seek genuinely a solution must be ascertained before concessions are demanded from Israel. Ambassador Harman left today for the United States where he was scheduled to meet next week with State Department officials to whom he will convey Israel’s views on the refugee and related issues.