News Brief

Foreign Minister Michel Debre yesterday called for immediate withdrawal of Israel from all territories “it occupied by force” in the June, 1967 war. M. Debre delivered his remarks in a speech before the Chamber of Deputies, his first major foreign policy statement since taking office. According to M. Debre, “nothing can be achieved in the Middle East unless Israel first withdraws.” He said “the situation demands that both sides, Israel and the Arabs, recognize and respect their mutual borders as well as their rights to exist under normal conditions.” M. Debre said this also implied the right to free navigation through international waterways.)

Mr. Rusk has conferred with Mr. Eban, Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Monem Rifai and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad in New York. Reports that UN peace envoy Gunnar V. Jarring has tried to arrange behind-the-scenes meetings between Mr. Eban and the Arabs have been discounted at the UN as “premature” – but this does not mean that they will not take place. (The Washington Evening Star reported today that Mr. Rusk and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko discussed the Middle East at a private meeting. The paper reported that “the Israelis, under American pressure, have softened their initial demands for face-to-face talks with the Arabs on a peace settlement” and said that Israel, which has insisted in direct negotiations, is “prepared to begin exchanges with the Arabs indirectly” through Mr. Jarring.)

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