JERUSALEM (Nov. 25)
Contacts between Foreign Minister Abba Eban and Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. United Nations special peace envoy to the Middle East, will resume at the beginning of December. They probably will get together on Cyprus where Dr. Jarring established his headquarters a year ago, reliable sources said today. (According to a report from Washington today, Dr. Jarring was due to leave the United States this week and was said to be transferring his mediation efforts back to Nicosia, Cyprus. The report said that he was to confer today with Secretary of State Dean Rusk. He may set up his headquarters in Geneva, UN sources said.)
It was learned meanwhile that Israel has made it clear to Dr. Jarring that his mission might be ended prematurely if he raises any substantive proposals of his own in which either side in the Middle East dispute sees itself wronged and consequently loses trust in his good offices. It is believed here that Dr. Jarring is himself aware of this pitfall and will continue as before as a mediator, hearing the views of each party and conveying them to the other side. If he does act on his own initiative, observers said, it will be only on procedural matters which might include urging each party to clarify its views in replying to the other side. It is not known here how long the next stage of Dr. Jarring’s mission will last. His mandate expires Nov. 30 and is expected to be renewed. It is generally believed that it will not be a matter of days or weeks since neither side has shown any inclination to break off contacts with Dr. Jarring.
Diplomatic sources indicated today that no new developments can be expected in American-Israeli relations before next February or March. They noted that there was little point in raising new matters with the present Administration which has only eight weeks remaining in office or with President-elect Nixon and his staff who have not yet assumed responsibility for American policies. The sources said that February or March were more likely to see new developments than January, when the new President is inaugurated, because the Middle East is not expected to be first priority on the next Administration’s agenda.
The Vietnam war and domestic matters take precedence over it, the sources said. They believed that in late winter Prime Minister Levi Eshkol or another Cabinet minister would visit the U.S. to meet with the new President. Mr. Eshkol was supposed to go to the United States next months but postponed his visit for reasons of health and has not announced a new date. One subject of major importance now outstanding between the U.S. and Israel is the purchase of 50 F-4 Phantom jet supersonic fighter-bombers which is presently being negotiated in Washington. Sources here said the negotiations are in the last technical stages.
Circles close to the Prime Minister’s office today welcomed statements concerning Israel which President-elect Nixon made in an interview published yesterday in the London Observer. They noted that Mr. Nixon repeated his stress on the need to keep Israel’s deterrent strength intact, a position he took during his pre-election campaign. They attached significance to the fact that he repeated this position now that his status has changed and he is shortly to assume responsibility for American policy. Mr. Nixon has not yet replied to Prime Minister Eshkol’s cable congratulating him on his election victory on Nov. 5. He has replied to congratulatory messages from President Nasser of Egypt and other heads of government.
(In Cairo, the semi-official newspaper Al Ahram said that the mission of Dr. Jarring seemed to be dead. It announced that Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad would visit Syria and Algeria to seek support for a new Arab summit meeting, a move supported by Jordan.)