WASHINGTON (Jan. 22)
The first indication of the Nixon Administration’s Mideast policy emerged today when Parker T. Hart, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told Congress not to expect “any dramatic forward movement” in the Arab-Israel situation in the near future. Mr. Hart testified before the Near East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. After the secret session, he revealed to newsmen that he felt calm and patience were now required in the Mideast situation. He saw a need for time in finding a solution. He stressed that a “time of danger” existed and said that “we hope that aggravating incidents will be kept down.” Mr. Hart envisaged an opportunity for settlement in the efforts of United Nations special envoy Gunnar V. Jarring.
Ambassador Jarring has been utilizing the temporary resumption of his regular post as Swedish Ambassador to Moscow as a cover for continuing his Middle East peace-seeking mission without attracting attention, Washington Post correspondent Robert H. Estabrook reported from the UN today. Mr. Estabrook reported that Dr. Jarring met secretly with Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban in Switzerland earlier this month. Soviet Middle East peace proposals contained in Moscow’s Dec. 30 note to the United States and other Western Powers, were presumably discussed with Mr. Eban at the meeting, Mr. Estabrook said.
U. S. officials acknowledged yesterday that President Nasser, of Egypt, wrote to President Nixon last week “hoping for better things.” Officially, the State Department said only that a letter from Col. Nasser had been received involving the Middle East situation and that there had been no reply as yet. The letter was believed to have reviewed past Egyptian-U.S. relations and indicated that Col. Nasser sought an improvement but did not ask for a resumption of diplomatic relations which Egypt broke after the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the Post said.
(In Cairo today the official Egyptian spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Hassan el Zayyat, told a news conference that Egypt wants the U.S. to move away from its position of favoring direct Arab-Israel negotiations as expressed in the American note replying to the Soviet Union’s recent peace proposals. He said that if Washington adheres to that position it would represent a “veto on international action” and would “undermine the possibility of a peaceful solution.”
(A report from Cairo said that the El Fatah terrorist organization rejected Soviet proposals for settlement of the Mideast crisis and announced it would accept the “unconditional” aid offered by President Nasser on Monday. The commando group announced a 10-point program reiterating its determination to fight Israel “until there was full liberation” of Palestine.)
(Foreign Minister Abba Eban said on a television interview yesterday that President Nasser’s speech pledging all-out support to terrorists would be taken up with United Nations peace envoy. Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring, when the latter resumes his mission in the Middle East next month.