JERUSALEM (Aug. 25)
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban will visit Paris at the end of this month for talks with French Cabinet members, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said tonight. This will be the first visit by an Israeli Cabinet member to France since just before the 1967 June war when Mr. Eban reportedly sought to enlist France’s backing for a possible Israeli strike to reopen the Tiran Straits which were blocked by Egypt in May.
Relations between France and Israel, which had been close in preceeding years, deteriorated almost overnight when the 1967 war erupted and President Charles de Gaulle announced France was suspending plans to deliver Mirage jet planes which Israel had contracted and later paid for, and which remain undelivered. The issue of the planes was expected to be one of the main items in the Paris talks, sources said. Diplomatic sources indicated that Mr. Eban may see Prime Minister Maurice Couve de Murville but nothing was known about any Eban meeting with Gen. de Gaulle. Political observers here have noted that French official statements directed against Israel have been less vehement in tone than in previous months. The Paris visit was arranged through diplomatic channels and also was based in part on Mr. Eban’s conversations with other European foreign ministers in recent months.