WASHINGTON (Dec. 17)
The Israeli Government is under an incorrect impression if it believes that there is a Dec. 31 deadline for a United States decision on Israeli Premier Golda Meir’s personal appeal to President Nixon for more Phantom jets and financial assistance. State Department officials said today.
These officials said Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban correctly reported after meeting with Secretary of State William P. Rogers that the applications remained under consideration. But Israeli leaders are under a misapprehension if they feel that a definite yes or no answer will be forthcoming by the end of this year, the sources said.
Authorities said it was unlikely that the complex situation would permit a decision on Israel’s financial and defense requirements until some time in 1970. Mrs. Meir had apparently gotten an impression from President Nixon during her visit earlier this year that he would take final action on the matter by the year’s end. One official said the decision might be made “before the end of the Jewish Year–sometime next summer” although he had no information that any deadline had been agreed by the president.
State Department officials said that differences remained after the Rogers Eban Talk. The differences were said to be about the same as those that existed before the meeting. They were described as “significant.” U.S. action on Israeli military and financial needs was not depicted as being contingent upon Israeli cooperation with Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ policy on withdrawal from occupied territories.
Mr. Eban met for more than two and a half hours yesterday with Mr. Rogers. He said afterwards that he had a “very comprehensive” discussion with Mr. Rogers on “all matters of mutual interest” but declined to give details. He said Israel’s policy “remained dedicated to peace by agreement through negotiations with our neighbors.” He advised newsmen to inquire of the State Department about the U.S. position.
Mr. Rogers’ Dec. 9 speech outlining American Middle East policy caused consternation in the Israel Government. The secretary of State called for Israel’s withdrawal from virtually all occupied territory in return for a binding commitment to place by the Arabs. He also suggested that Jordan share a religious civic and administrative role with Israel in Jerusalem and defended the Big Power approach to a Mideast settlement.
Mr. Eban said yesterday that Israel would not move from the occupied territories without the establishment of real peace. He said the world community could help best by getting the negotiating process going. Questioned about Israel’s formula for a territorial settlement, Mr. Eban said the issue was not one of territory but of peace. He said all questions were open to negotiation without prior conditions if the Arabs wanted to talk peace. He said Israel wants peace and the Arabs do not, but rejected the suggestion that a “deadlock” exists.