WASHINGTON (Dec. 16)
President Richard M. Nixon has reportedly indicated to Republican Congressional leaders that he appreciates Israel’s security needs and desire for a real peace while supporting Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ statement of American Middle East policy made here a week ago. Mr. Rogers called for Israeli withdrawal from virtually all occupied Arab territory in return for a binding commitment to peace by the Arabs.
Mr. Nixon reportedly stated his views at a routine meeting of top Republican lawmakers on various legislative matters. The meeting was attended by a number of Senators who strongly support Israel, among them Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts and Charles M. Mathias of Maryland. Senate Republican leader Hugh Scott, a long time advocate of Israel’s cause, recently insisted that Israel must not withdraw from the occupied territories without a real peace settlement.
One source said President Nixon conceded that Israel had some valid arguments against the Four Power approach to the Middle East conflict. But he was said to have stressed, nevertheless, that the U.S. wants to avoid a confrontation with the Soviet Union and is anxious to establish better relations with the Arab states. It was believed too that the President feared an unilateral polarization in which the U.S. would find itself allied with Israel. There was no information available on the President’s thinking related to Israel’s request for additional jet planes, other arms and financial assistance.