JERUSALEM (Mar. 22)
Israeli officials said tonight that diplomatic relations between Israel and South Viet Nam would not be established for the present. The same officials confirmed that “feelers” for technical cooperation had been put out by South Viet Nam officials recently.
Earlier, informed sources had been quoted as saying that Israel would not, under present circumstances, give any consideration to recognition of South Viet Nam, and that Israel had not negotiated with South Viet Nam on such aid. Those comments were made in response to a statement in Washington yesterday by South Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Van Thai that the Saigon regime had decided to establish “full and normal diplomatic relations” with Israel “as a result of negotiation with Israeli diplomats just concluded in Bangkok.”
The officials declined to say what the Israeli response had been to the “feelers.” But it was clear that talks had taken place between official representatives of the two governments.
The Israeli officials were emphatic in stating that the negotiations did not cover aid to the South Viet Nam Government in establishing soldier-farmer units in that country along the lines of Israel’s Nahal plan, to which the South Viet Nam envoy had referred specifically in his Washington statement.
When Indochina was partitioned after the French defeat, Israel recognized Laos and Cambodia, but not South Viet Nam. This was in line with a standing procedure against recognizing divided states. This practice was rescinded later. However, the issue has not come up again until the current development.