UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (May. 22)
Secretary-General U Thant, who is leaving tonight for Cairo, said this morning that, for the time being, he has no plans to go to Israel. Asked specifically whether he intends to go also to Israel during the forthcoming trip, he replied: “I have no such plans for the moment. Right now, I am going to Cairo and will be back here Friday afternoon.”
A ranking diplomat representing one of the foremost western major powers here said: “Since the United Arab Republic and Israel are among the principals involved in the current crisis in the Middle East, it seems inconceivable that Mr. Thant would go to Cairo and not, during the same journey visit Israel — if Israel invites him to come there.” An Israeli source pointed out that Mr. Thant has for a long time had “a standing invitation” to visit Israel.
A United Nations spokesman said that an administrative expert from the Secretariat left for Egypt yesterday to work out with Major General Indar Jet Rikhye, commander of UNEF, the technical details regarding the evacuation of UNEF’s military personnel and massive equipment. He said that, while in Egypt Mr. Thant would confer with Gen. Rikhye.
Asked whether it was true that some of the Arab refugees in the Gaza area are receiving United Nations relief while they are serving in the Palestine Liberation Organization, the spokesman conceded: “Some of the refugees undoubtedly are on the ration rolls of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.” He said that the United Nations will check UNRWA headquarters in Beirut to obtain the latest information as to the number of Arab refugees in the Gaza area that are currently under UNRWA rolls. In his report to the General Assembly and the Security Council over the weekend, Mr. Thant noted that there are 307,000 Arab refugees in the Gaza area.