JERUSALEM (Feb. 28)
The secret talks held in Israel since last week between U.S. Under secretary of State W. Averell Harriman and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and Foreign Minister Golda Meir, will be continued here tomorrow in the Premier’s office, it was announced here this afternoon.
The American, here as the special envoy of the State Department, postponed his departure today for the third time. Originally, he was scheduled to leave Friday, then he decided he would go today. This morning, however, after touring the Jordan River valley and the Hulen region in the north, he met again with Mr. Eshkol and Mrs. Meir in the Premier’s Tel Aviv office, and then later announced that he will not leave until tomorrow.
So far, he has spent 14 hours in his discussions with the Israeli leaders. Present at the discussions, at one time or another, were also Deputy Defense Minister Shimen. Peres and Brig. Yitzhak Rabin, chief of staff of Israel’s defense forces.
The reason given for today’s postponement of Mr. Harriman’s departure was that both sides wish to issue a joint communique which will cover as many details as possible of the “mutual” problems of concern to the United States and Israel. While the communique is expected to be couched in general terms, it is understood that the major matters covered in the lengthy conversations here included the balance of arms in this region and the Arab plans for diversion of the Jordan River headwaters, as well as Israel’s security in general.
ESHKOL AND GOLDA MEIR REPORT TO CABINET ON HARRIMAN TALKS
So far, there has been no announcement whatever about the subjects discussed between the Israelis and Mr. Harriman. However, full reports on those talks were given at the Cabinet’s weekly meeting today by both Mr. Eshkol and Mrs. Meir. Some of the issues discussed, it is understood, including the matter of the balance of arms as between Israel and the neighboring Arab states, will be pursued further in high-level talks between the two governments in Washington.
The possibility was seen here today that Mrs. Meir would go to Washington soon. Her trip, it is believed, will include also a visit to Paris to see France’s Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville and also, possibly, President Charles de Gaulle.
Mr. Harriman’s visit to Israel was touched off by the action of the West German Government, three weeks ago, of announcing it was halting arms deliveries to Israel under the pressure of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said here today that Israel has taken no initiative in regard to discussing the Bonn-Jerusalem crisis with the West German Government, beyond the statement on that issue made by Mr. Eshkol in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. In that statement, he rejected outright a Bonn offer to compensate Israel with money to make up for the undelivered armaments.
Political quarters here believe that Bonn will take no further step on the entire issue until Walter Ulbricht, Communist East Germany’s chief of state, has finished his current visit to Egypt. When Mr. Harriman leaves Israel tomorrow, he will go to India and Afghanistan, presumably on other matters of interest to the American Administration. No date for his return to the United States has been set.