LONDON (Jun. 24)
Two leading British newspapers reported today that Britain and the United States are becoming increasingly concerned over the lack of progress in Middle East peace efforts and are prepared to put pressure on both sides to compromise.
The Daily Telegraph reported, in a dispatch from the NATO Ministerial Council meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, that British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart and United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk have discussed what they regard as an urgent need to get Middle East peace talks going. “Britain considers the present situation highly dangerous and it might lead to a demand in the Security Council for sanctions against Israel,” the paper said. The dispatch noted, however, that “with the American Presidential election pending and with a large Jewish vote to consider, the U.S. might find herself with the embarrassing choice of deciding whether to use her veto against sanctions.” The Telegraph said that when Mr. Stewart was in Moscow recently, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko hinted that he would be ready to join in efforts with Britain and the U.S. to initiate Middle East peace talks. “This apparently is not envisaged at present but may be taken up if efforts by United Nations peace envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring to bring Arabs and Israelis together remain unsuccessful,” the paper said.
The Daily Mail reported that “Britain and America are prepared to put pressure on both sides” to give Dr. Jarring one more chance “but they need Russia’s influence as the main Arab arms supplier to soften Arab opposition to Israel’s existence. Israel will also be told by the Western powers that she must review her stubbornness toward a withdrawal of forces and an end to hostilities.” The Mail said. The paper noted that Mr. Stewart is particularly concerned by the continued shutdown of the Suez Canal which is costing Britain $48 million a month. Dr. Jarring is now on a vacation in Europe. The UN reported that during his absence he will keep “in close touch with developments relating to his mission.” He expects to resume his mission in mid-July.