WASHINGTON (Aug. 31)
Yugoslavian Foreign Minister Marko Nikezic conferred here today with Secretary of State Dean Rusk after visiting President Johnson last night to deliver a message from Yugoslavia’s President Tito, dealing with the latter’s efforts to work out a settlement of the Israeli-Arab crisis.
The Tito message, it was indicated here, concerned a proposal that a resolution be backed in the next session of the United Nations General Assembly, calling on Israel to withdraw its armed forces from captured Arab territories and implying that the Arab countries note the fact of Israel’s existence.
(Mr. Nikezic this afternoon met also with Secretary-General U Thant at the United Nations headquarters in New York and handed him a copy of President Tito’s letter which he presented last night to President Johnson dealing with solution to the problems of the Middle East. Similar letters were delivered in Paris, Moscow and London.)
George Christian, White House press secretary, declined to disclose the contents of the Tito message, but said: “We are interested in any effort to arrange a durable peace in the Middle East.” The meetings with Mr. Nikezic were described by both the White House and the State Department as “part of a continuing exchange with a number of interested governments on the current situation in the Middle East, in an effort to bring about a just and peaceful solution.”
The Yugoslavian Foreign Minister said here today he would not characterize the message he delivered to President Johnson from President Tito last night as containing “new proposals,” nor would he describe his conference today with Secretary Rusk as offering any fresh approaches to the situation in the Middle East. Today’s meeting, he told newsmen, touched on various “ideas and estimates” of the Middle East problem.
Administration officials said here today they doubted that Tito’s formula for a Middle East peace, as presented to President Johnson, would be acceptable either to Israel or to the Arab states. President Tito’s plan was reported privately as calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory they occupied in their war with the Arabs in June; reestablishment of the U.N. emergency force to guarantee peace along the Israeli-Arab frontiers; and a big-power guarantee by the U.S.A., Russia, Britain and France of the previous borders. Israel, in return for withdrawing its forces would receive “semi recognition” by the Arabs.
Attending the White House meeting with the Yugoslav Foreign Minister last night were Special Assistant to the President, Walt Rostow, Assistant Secretary of State Lucius Battle, and the new Yugoslavian Ambassador, Bogdan Crnobrnja. The meeting with Mr. Rusk took place at a breakfast this morning, lasting an hour and a half. A spokesman for the State Department said “we will study the viewpoint expressed by Yugoslavia and respond at a later date.”