PARIS (Jan. 5)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol may pay an official visit to France during 1966, it was revealed here today. The possibility was raised by high-level Israeli and French diplomatic circles here.
Top political circles in France have already indicated their “readiness” for such a visit, which would be the first of an official character by an Israeli Premier since Israel was established 18 years ago. A final decision, however, will have to be taken by the French only after their new Government is installed. President Charles de Gaulle’s new Cabinet is scheduled to be sworn in next week.
Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had visited France twice, and Mr. Eshkol was in Paris in 1964. But those visits were officially considered as having had a “private” character; Israeli diplomats are due to continue their negotiations about a possible Eshkol official visit to Paris with high officials of the French Foreign Ministry and other top-level personalities in the French Government. An effort is to be made to finalize the plans for an Eshkol visit and to work out practical arrangements.
An official Eshkol visit to Paris is seen in many quarters as French balance of the recent visit to President de Gaulle by Marshal Amer, Egypt’s vice-president. The visit would be viewed as another demonstration of continuing and unchanged ties between France and Israel.