WASHINGTON (May. 28)
Attention of official Washington was directed today toward the meeting of the Israeli Cabinet, which was exceptionally held today in Tel Aviv instead of in Jerusalem, and at which Foreign Minister Abba Eban reported of his talks with President Johnson, French President de Gaulle and British statesmen on the Arab-Israeli crisis.
It was hoped here that President Johnson’s views as conveyed to Mr. Eban, suggesting restraint by Israel in order to give the United Nations time to develop a formula for resolving the Egyptian-Israeli conflict without a shooting war, would be taken into consideration by the Israel Cabinet today following Mr. Eban’s report. It is understood that Mr. Eban has, during his flying trip to Washington, also received definite affirmation from highest Government officials that the U.S. is definitely opposed to any Egyptian blockade of the Strait of Tiran preventing the passage of ships through the Gulf of Akaba to and from the Israeli port of Eilat.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Dean Rusk had a brief meeting with the Soviet Charge d’Affairs, Yuri Tcherniakov, who made an urgent call at the State Department. No details of the talk were made known but it was assumed that the Soviet diplomat delivered a special message to the State Department from Moscow with regard to the Arab-Israeli crisis. The crisis is expected to reach its height within a few days, when two Liberian-flag tankers carrying oil to Israel are due to pass the Gulf of Akaba on their way to Eilat.
It was learned here today that, during his stay in Washington, Mr. Eban stressed that the Israel Government was not satisfied merely with the reopening of the Strait of Tiran. Additionally, Mr. Eban was said to have made two other requests: Withdrawal of the Egyptian forces recently built up in the Sinai Peninsula along Israel’s borders, and a halt to the terrorist attacks inside Israel. He expressed the hope that the big world maritime powers would do what is necessary to reopen free navigation through the Strait of Tiran. Such measures, Mr. Eban had said here, could include the dispatch of ships of the maritime nations carrying cargo to Israel, “or other adequate means.”