Secretary of Interior Udall Explains Why He is Not to Visit Israel

Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, who is leaving on Thursday for a tour of Middle Eastern countries, denied here today explanations by State Department officials that Israel is not on his itinerary because Israel failed to invite him. Replying to a query from Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, Mr. Udall said: “There is only one reason why I am not planning to go to Israel, and that is that the status of our cooperative efforts with Israel does not require it.” In his letter to Mr. Udall, Rep. Halpern also took exception to reports that the Saudi Arabian Government had told the Interior Secretary that he would be unwelcome if he visited Israel on the same journey.

Mr. Udall said that “there is little to be gained by my visiting Israel” before Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker reported on the findings of his trip to Israel last fall in connection with a desalting plant project which the United States is considering financing for Israel.

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