LONDON (Jul. 10)
The optimism which surrounded the renewed activity of United Nations peace envoy Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring appeared to be petering out today and prospects for an immediate break in the Arab-Israel impasse seemed remote. Dr. Jarring met yesterday with British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart and earlier had a second round of discussions with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Moneim al-Rifai. Dr. Jarring also conferred yesterday with Ambassador Gideon Rafael, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Nothing was disclosed of the talks with Mr. al-Rifai. The Jordanian afterwards would say only that “present prospects are not without hope.” The Daily Telegraph noted that the length and apparently detailed nature of the Jarring-Rifai talks suggested that the UN envoy might regard Jordan as the best channel for dealings with the Arab countries.
Mr. Stewart was understood to have expressed his Government’s growing concern over the continued closure of the Suez Canal and to have told Dr. Jarring that if there was no immediate progress toward a Middle East settlement, the problem would rapidly deteriorate. He reportedly predicted a renewal of the “angry Arab debate” in the UN Security Council and new Arab demands for sanctions against Israel.
(The London Times reported from Beirut today that America had delivered about 60 Patton tanks to Jordan at a time when the Jordanian Army was becoming increasingly critical of King Hussein’s military policies and his refusal to buy arms from Soviet Russia, although officers were complaining of shortages of almost every type of military equipment. The Times said that America has been shipping tanks, artillery, ammunition and spare parts and other equipment to Jordan for the past two months. But the shipments were not being publicized, presumably to avert increased Israeli pressure for the American F-4 Phantom jets, the Times said. The paper estimated that Jordan now had about 11 British Hunter planes.)
(In Geneva, United Nations Secretary-General U Thant told a press conference today that he believed concerted action by the Big Powers would be a most potent instrument towards solving Middle East problems of a grave character. Mr. Thant told correspondents that UN Middle East peace envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring was coming to Geneva today to exchange views with him, and for that reason he could not make any assessment about progress toward peace. He said that Dr. Jarring intended to submit a report to him on Middle East mediation efforts before the end of July.)