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Vatican Denies Officially Reports of Alleged Papal Plan for Mideast Peace

Official Vatican sources have denied knowledge of a reported papal peace proposal for the Middle East that would give Jordan the Gaza Strip and put the former Arab sector of Jerusalem under neutral foreign control. This was reported here today by the National Catholic News Service in a dispatch received from Vatican City.

The alleged papal peace plan was widely publicized last week after a report in the Beirut newspaper, Al Nahar. The newspaper claimed that Pope Paul VI had discussed the plan with President Johnson at their meeting in Rome in December, and that the President then discussed it with Israeli Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol at their talks this month in Texas. The papal proposals were alleged to have been carried to King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli officials by a special papal envoy.