JERUSALEM (Feb. 17)
President Johnson told Foreign Minister Abba Eban in Washington that as long as he was President, Israel does not need to fear for existence.
This was reported by the Foreign Ministry here today following the return of Mr. Eban from his first visit as Foreign Minister to the United States, Canada, Britain and France. Official sources here said the results of the talks were a confirmation of Israel’s close and friendly links with those nations. They stressed that Mr. Eban was met in all four capitals with deep understanding for Israel’s problems and assurances for its security.
Middle East experts here reported today that Mr. Eban’s tour of western capitals has been getting considerable attention in the Arab countries. They said Arab attention has been focused particularly on Mr. Eban’s discussion of the possibility of the Soviet Union duplicating in the Middle East its successful mediation in Tashkent of the India-Fakistan dispute.
The press in Arab countries has taken this to mean that Mr. Eban hopes for a Tashkent-style initiative for peace in the Middle East, the experts reported. A Cairo radio commentator rejected this prospect as “impossible” on grounds that the Soviet Union would not agree to “a design” which would be “perpetuating the imperialist base called Israel. ” The Lebanese newspaper, Al Hayat, commented on Mr. Eban’s “flexible realism” and welcomed it.