State Department Denies Egyptian Report That Sisco Plans Trip to Cairo

The State Department today denied Cairo reports that Joseph J. Sisco. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, is expected to visit Cairo next month before the Rabat, Morocco Arab summit conference to discuss America’s most recent proposals for a Mideast settlement. Egypt has told the United States that it is willing to receive Mr. Sisco. That word was relayed to him by Ashraf Ghorbal, an Egyptian diplomat attached to the Indian Embassy here, who is looking after Egyptian interests.Mr.Sisco apparently had asked Cairo if it would be willing to receive him.

If Mr. Sisco were to visit Cairo, he would be the first top ranking American diplomat to do so since Egypt broke diplomatic relations with the U.S. during the 1967 Six-Day War. A number of Americans have visited President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the past two years, among them former Treasury Secretary Robert Anderson and David Rockefeller, president of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Sources here said that if Mr. Sisco went to Cairo, he undoubtedly would discuss the latest U.S. proposals for peace. They were given to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin in Washington last month and the State Department is still awaiting a Soviet reply. Egypt has rejected the proposals as unacceptable, claiming they favored Israel. But Moscow and Cairo were reportedly still discussing them.

In a related matter, officials here reported U.S. displeasure with what was said to be the circulation of distorted versions of the Government’s proposal to the Russians on the “roll back” of Israeli troops from Sinai. It has been reported that America envisioned a return to the pre-May, 1948 British Mandatory frontier, which would leave Gaza in Israeli hands.

Officials here said that the State Department was “sensitive”to Israel’s security needs and envisages withdrawal of its forces only after direct Egyptian-Israeli negotiations on the issues of Sharm el-Sheikh, Gaza and a Sinai demilitarized zone. In the U.S. view, Israeli troops would “roll back” only after Israel had agreed with Egypt on security matters in the context of talks between the parties directly concerned.

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