WASHINGTON (Dec. 1)
Secretary of State Dean Rusk said today he had conferred with President-elect Richard M. Nixon’s just-named Middle East fact-finding envoy and has no doubt that the new Administration wants the State Department to support the peace-seeking mission of United Nations envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. Mr. Rusk said on a television interview program that he and former Pennsylvania Gov. William W. Scranton met as the latter prepared his tour of six Middle East states, slated to begin Monday. The Secretary of State indicated that the Nixon Administration will seek Israeli and Arab cooperation in support of the Jarring mission.
Commenting on United States-Soviet efforts to achieve a limitation on Middle East arms shipments, Mr. Rusk said Washington had pressed for this goal for over a year but that it appeared a pre-requisite to such a limitation was a general settlement of outstanding political issues. Afterward, he said, the Russians may be willing to talk. He expressed confidence that political compromise on both sides could lead to a solution of the Middle East deadlock.
Mr. Scranton, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Secretary of State, is scheduled tentatively to spent nine days abroad conferring with heads of state and governmental leaders. Mr. Nixon has asked President Nasser of Egypt and other leaders to give his envoy “a full and frank exposition of your views on the situation in your country and the Middle East and world in general.” Mr. Scranton will confer in Israel with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Foreign Minister Abba Eban and possibly senior Foreign Ministry officials.
Mr. Scranton will not carry any Nixon messages to Middle East officials. Mr. Nixon believes that the Middle East is a region where Soviet and American power converge and where another Arab-Israel war is a constant threat. Mr. Scranton’s itinerary was listed as Teheran, Iran, Dec. 4; Beirut, Lebanon, Dec. 5; Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 6; Jidda and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 8; Amman, Jordan, Dec. 9; Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Dec. 10-11. He undertook a similar trip to Western Europe in October. He served as assistant to Secretary of State Christian Herter in the Eisenhower Administration.
(The Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, which reflects the views of the Nasser regime, said that the Scranton visit was agreed upon after Mr. Nixon sent a message “begging” Mr. Nasser to receive Mr. Scranton as a personal emissary. A Cairo report said today that the conditions the Nasser regime required for re-establishing diplomatic relations with the U.S. involved ” no more than an understanding of our position, and that you cease helping the Israeli aggressor and refrain from encouraging her to perpetuate further aggression.” Foreign Minister Abdel Moneim Rifai of Jordan said in Beirut that he welcomed the Scranton visit. Mr. Nixon has sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan telling him that as President he will place the highest priority on Middle East peace and stability and seeks to improve U.S.-Jordanian relations.)