TEL AVIV (Oct. 18)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol said today that he had “every reason to believe” that the United States would live up to its signed agreements on the provision of weapons to Israel. He also expressed the hope that France would fulfill the commitments on arms deliveries to Israel it had made before the outbreak of the Six-Day War. France has embargoed all arms shipments to the Middle East since last June.
Mr. Eshkol, in an interview with the Tel Aviv daily, Yediot Achonot, did not specify what weapons were expected from the United States but it was assumed he was referring to the two squadrons of Douglas A-4 Skyhawk jet bombers Israel ordered last year for delivery this Autumn. State Department officials asserted in Washington yesterday that consultations with Congressional leaders would have to precede any decision on provision of weapons to the Middle East.
(Cairo dispatches today quoted Vice-President Aly Sabry of Egypt, visiting Egyptian towns on the west bank of the Suez Canal, as warning the inhabitants there to prepare for all eventualities “including renewal of fighting as ferocious as the political battle presently going on.” Some London observers saw in this an intimation that Egypt was preparing to step up military activity along the canal, the east bank of which is under Israeli occupation.)
In the course of the wide-ranging interview, Mr. Eshkol commented on the many reports of proposals at the United Nations for a Middle East settlement and stressed that Israel would not accept a revival of the 1949 armistice agreements with Egypt, Jordan and Syria. These agreements, he said, had been rendered null and void by the Arab attack last June. The Prime Minister said that Israel was always ready to listen to advice on how to solve Middle East problems, “but we are not prepared to listen to advice from third parties who do not have the power and the possibility to carry out their advice.”
PREMIER IS CRITICAL OF ‘BEVIN SPIRIT’ IN BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE
Mr. Eshkol was particularly irked over the British position in recent days and said Britain, in seeking a Middle East settlement, was motivated by its desire to get the Suez Canal reopened so that oil could flow freely to Britain. He said it was painful to observe that the spirit of the late Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, who took a strongly anti-Jewish position in the last days of the Palestine mandate, had been “revived in a Labor Government Foreign Office in 1967.”
(In Washington, official American sources indicated today that the current talks between Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad of Egypt were primarily aimed at restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, terminated by Cairo last June. They said Egypt had taken the initiative in this move and said it could be a step towards a Middle East settlement.)
(At the United Nations, Corneliu Manescu, the Rumanian Foreign Minister and President of the General Assembly, told newsmen that a solution of the Middle East problem would have to be “equitable and acceptable to all parties.” He said that in working toward a solution, he favored recourse to the Security Council followed by another debate in the General Assembly if necessary.)
Mr. Eshkol warned the Jordanian Government to end infiltration into Israel by marauders from Jordanian bases and intimated that if it continued, Israeli forces would pursue the marauding bands into Jordan. He cautioned, however, that “there is a time for everything.”