WASHINGTON (Sep. 25)
President Richard M. Nixon and Premier Golda Meir met privately for 105 minutes in the White House today, According to a statement issued by White House spokesman Ronald Ziegler, Mrs. Meir stressed Israel’s need for more U.S. military aid to offset Soviet military supplies to the Arabs. Mr. Ziegler would not disclose the President’s reply but indicated that there was no need for “an immediate decision” and that none could be expected during Mrs. Meir’s current visit “or in the immediate future.” Mr. Ziegler said the President listened to Mrs. Meir’s point of view and has taken her request under consideration, reports JTA Washington correspondent Milton Friedman.
The Israeli leader is known to be seeking additional U.S. Phantom and Skyhawk jets and Hawk ground-to-air missiles. She is also believed to be asking for U.S. economic assistance to pay for the weapons. Mr. Ziegler noted that the U.S. is in the process of delivering 50 Phantoms to Israel and that present contracts would not be fulfilled until Jan. 1, 1971.
He said the two leaders “exchanged views on alternatives to the present situation of military confrontation” in the Middle East and discussed the Four Power talks in the overall context of the quest for peace in that region. They also discussed Israeli economic needs and Mrs. Meir outlined economic trends in her country, the spokesman said. He disclosed that the President’s top foreign policy adviser, Dr. Henry Kissinger, met briefly with the President and Mrs. Meir during the course of their meeting.
Mr. Ziegler also disclosed that members of Mrs. Meir’s official party met separately with Secretary of State William P. Rogers and other U.S. officials while the Israeli Premier was talking to the President. He said they discussed yesterday’s statement by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad that Egypt would consider negotiations with Israel if Jerusalem “renounces expansions.” The meeting was attended by Mrs. Meir’s aides headed by Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin. Also present were Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Walworth Barbour, U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
PREMIER RECEIVED WITH CEREMONIAL POMP, GOODWILL MESSAGES VOICED
Mrs. Meir, who arrived from Philadelphia, was received with full military honors at a colorful ceremony on the White House lawn where she was greeted by the President and presented with a bouquet of red roses by Mrs. Nixon.
The national anthem of Israel, Hatikvah, was played to the accompaniment of a 19-gun salute. In their formal exchange of greetings, the President and Mrs. Meir both spoke of the urgent need for peace in the Middle East. Mr. Nixon stressed the dangers of global “repercussions” should a new war break out in the area. He said he knew that peace was desired by both Israel and its Arab neighbors but “the question is how to achieve it.” He emphasized that the peace he envisaged was a “real peace, not simply one of words but one which both parties would have a vested interest in maintaining.” He observed, however, that the problems of the Mideast were too complex to be “susceptible to solution in one meeting or two meetings, or three meetings or even more on the level at which we will be talking.”
He told Mrs. Meir that he addressed her as the head of Government of “a very courageous people, a people determined to maintain their independence” and to “achieve lasting peace in the area in which they live.”
In her response, Mrs. Meir said the history of Israel could not be told “without reference to the unwavering support and friendship shown by successive American Governments and by the American people.” She said “the ties between our two countries are rooted in the Biblical heritage and in a common dedication to human dignity, freedom and democracy. It is this sense of affinity that has encouraged us to ask for America’s understanding and support in difficult times.”
Mrs. Meir said, “I shall be able to tell you, Mr. President, of Israel’s progress in many fields. Tragically, peace is still denied us. But the same faith that sustained us down the ages instills within us the confidence that the hour of peace will come. I look forward to the day when an Israel Prime Minister will be able to come here bearing to the President and the people of the United States the tidings that the Middle East has entered on a new epoch of amity and regional cooperation.”
Mrs. Meir said in conclusion, “I am privileged, Mr. President, to convey to you the best wishes from the President, the Government and the people of Israel, together with their deep appreciation for your invitation to me and for your interest in our welfare and progress. From Jerusalem, city of prophecy and universal inspiration, I bring you the traditional Hebrew greeting—Shalom.”