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Britain Reportedly Preparing New Peace Proposals, Urging Israel to Accept Resolution

Diplomatic observers here reported today that Britain was preparing new proposals for a Middle East settlement and was urging Israel to declare before the United Nations General Assembly that it accepts the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Middle East resolution “in whole and in detail” and is prepared to implement it. That resolution was drafted by Britain and presented by its chief delegate to the UN, Lord Caradon. Unconfirmed reports from various sources today said that Lord Caradon had recently prepared an “interpretation” which clarified the resolution’s “ambiguities” but that Britain hesitated to publish it for fear of introducing a “new element” to the Middle East crisis. Before departing for the current Assembly session, British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart reportedly made it clear that he does not favor an imposed settlement but believes that a settlement agreed to by the parties to the dispute should be guaranteed by the Big Powers as the permanent members of the Security Council, or by the Council itself.

Strong support for the mission of UN peace envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring was voiced by Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel here yesterday after conferring for 90 minutes with UN Secretary-General U Thant. Mr. Eban told reporters he believed Dr. Jarring’s mission was the most hopeful road to peace, no matter how often it appeared to be stalemated. He said “the worst thing” that could happen would be abandoning of the Jarring mission. The mission was established by a Nov. 22, 1967 Council resolution; there have been rumors recently that the Swedish envoy was prepared to give it up because of lack of progress. Mr. Thant said, after his talk with Mr Eban, that “As far as I can see there is not one single government that wishes to see his (Jarring’s) mission terminated.” He said that Dr. Jarring was continuing his contacts with the parties concerned in New York during the Assembly cession.

Meanwhile, pressure continued to be brought to bear on Israel to persuade it to relax its demands for direct, face-to-face talks with the Arabs and a formal peace treaty. The British view is that talks should at least begin under the auspices of Dr. Jarring. U.S. Government officials, according to a report in the Washington Daily News, said that both Israel and the Arabs appear to be “flexible” on a new concept of peace without a formal treaty. The semi-official Cairo newspaper Al Ahram said the British Government has told Israel that the decisions of last year’s Arab summit conference at Khartoum did not nullify the stated willingness of Egypt, Jordan and the other Arab states to reach a peaceful settlement on the basis of the Nov. 22 resolution. The Khartoum decision was for no recognition of Israel, no negotiations and no peace. Foreign Secretary Stewart reportedly recently told Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon that Israel should not insist on direct talks, at least to begin with.

Speaking during general debate in the General Assembly Friday, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Abdul Monem Rifai accused Israel of obstructing the efforts of Dr. Jarring to secure implementation of the Nov. 22 resolution. He claimed that the Arab nations had adopted a very flexible and constructive approach toward this resolution and had taken a very moderate position. He charged that Israel insistence on direct negotiations and secure boundaries was motivated by expansionist aims.

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