Eshkol Holds Important Talks with De Gaulle; Honored by French Premier

Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, who arrived here yesterday for a visit to France, conferred here today with President Charles de Gaulle, Prime Minister Georges Pompidou and Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville, as well as other top ranking officials of the French Government including French Defense Minister Pierre Messmer. Accompanying Mr. Eshkol was Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres, as well as Walter Eytan, Israel’s Ambassador to France.

The first of the political talks that opened a busy day’s schedule was held with M. de Murville. Mr. Eshkol described that session as “very friendly and cordial.” Other Israeli sources said that “a full identity of views was reached” at that session. The two leaders were understood to have discussed the international situation and various aspects of the links between France and Israel, reaching full understanding on all the points under discussion.

Escorted by police outriders, Mr. Eshkol arrived at the Foreign Ministry accompanied by Mr. Peres and Mr. Eytan. The automobile carrying Mr. Eshkol flew the Israeli flag. In the Foreign Minister’s study, the Israeli Premier met Olivier Lucet, head of the Ministry’s Political Department and Bernard Nantet, the chief of the Middle East Department, in addition to M. de Murville, and the conference got under way immediately. The conference was conducted in English.

After the conference, and following formal handshakes in front of cameras, Mr. Eshkol took leave of M. de Murville, went to his hotel for a brief rest, and then proceeded to the Hotel Matignon, the official residence of Premier Pompidou, where the latter tendered a luncheon for the visiting Israeli statesman.

Present at that luncheon, in addition to the Israeli party and the French Foreign Minister, were also Louis Joxe, French Minister for State Planning. and the French Ambassador to Israel, Jean Bourdeillette. The two Premiers held a political discussion after the luncheon. That talk, it was believed, was probably the most important of the day’s political conversations. The meeting with President de Gaulle, however, which followed, was the most significant of the day’s events.

The talk with M. Pompidou involved concrete problems of Franco-Israeli cooperation in a number of fields. While the Eshkol visit was officially a “private” trip by the Israeli leader, the “private” character was quickly dissolved as the day proceeded, French observers conceding it was “the least private visit” made to France in recent years.

The meeting between Mr. Eshkol and President de Gaulle was attended by five persons, including two translators, one for each of the statesmen attending that “tete-a-tete” session. The official interpreter for the French side was Rene Sirat, a young rabbi of Algerian origin who is currently working in France as a teacher in the School of Oriental Studies.

The schedule for tomorrow calls for a visit to the UNESCO building here. Premier Eshkol will be the luncheon guest of UNESCO’s director-general. In the afternoon Mr. Eshkol will confer with the French Minister for Education Christian Fouchet and later with Defense Minister Pierre Messmer. The following day, Wednesday, July 1, the Premier will be received in the morning by the French National Assembly.

On Thursday, Mr. Eshkol will be the guest of honor at a banquet given in his honor by French Defense Minister Messmer and will also visit local Jewish institutions. In the evening 3, 000 guests are expected to attend a reception tendered by Ambassador Eytan in the Premier’s honor.

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