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Gaullist Says French Attitude Toward Israel Changes, Hints Partial Lifting of Embargo

A Gaullist deputy said here today that France’s “general attitude toward Israel has changed favorably in recent months” and hinted that there might be a partial lifting of the arms embargo imposed on Israel by former President Charles de Gaulle.

Jean Mercier said at a meeting of the French Committee for Solidarity with Israel that “certain important negotiations have started between France and Israel concerning spare parts” and their outcome was “very hopeful.” He added, however, that within the past year France has “taken certain options within the Arab world which she will be unable to shake off.”

Others attending the meeting were Michel Poniatowsky, secretary general of the Independent Republican Party, the Government’s junior coalition partner, and Sen. Jean Lacanuet, a former Presidential candidate. M. Poniatowsky said it was regrettable that the “exemplary factor” contained in Gen. de Gaulle’s embargo decision two years ago was not followed by the Russians or anyone else. For that reason “the French Government must now reconsider its entire policy” on the embargo issue,” he said. Sen. Lecanuet warned of Soviet penetration in the Mediterranean area and of the dangers of an imposed settlement in the Middle East.