WASHINGTON (Feb. 25)
French President Georges Pompidou told a Joint session of Congress today that France reaffirms “the right of the State of Israel not only to exist but also to security” from the Arab nations. He emphasized that a peace settlement in the Middle East must include a solution to the problem of the Palestinian Arab refugees and a renunciation of force by Israel and her Arab neighbors.
“Who does not understand that there is no assured future for Israel outside a lasting entente with the world which surrounds it.” M. Pompidou told the senators and House members. The entente, he said “implies renunciation of military conquest.” This, along with the solution of the refugee problem, “in a situation where feelings and fanaticism are increasing daily should, to be quickly reached, proceed from the United Nations action and in particular from the four permanent members of the Security Council to define and propose the general conditions for a settlement and to provide guarantees for it,” M. Pompidou said. The four Security Council members are the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France.
The French President, who arrived in this country Monday and is scheduled to visit a number of major cities before departing for Paris on March 3, has been assailed in this country for the sale of Mirage jets to Libya while imposing an embargo on Mirage jets to Israel that has been paid for. About half of the members of Congress attended the joint session. Those absent had announced in advance they would not attend as a protest against France’s sale of jets to Libya. Congressional aides, invited by the Speaker of the House, attended the session and filled the empty seats of the protesting congressmen. Unlike yesterday, when a young student interrupted M. Pompidou’s address to the National Press Club by shouting “murderer” and “French Hitler,” there were no incidents during his address to the joint session. However, shortly after M. Pompidou began his address, New York Representative Lester L. Wolff left his seat and walked out of the chamber demonstrating his opposition to French Middle East policy. Wolff was the only Congressman to walk out during Pompidou’s address.
WHITE HOUSE DENIES IT REACHED DECISION TO SELL MORE PLANES TO ISRAEL
Focusing on the sale of Jets to Libya, M. Pompidou asserted that Israel had achieved “undeniable success on the battlefield.” But, he added: “Who can not see the precariousness and, in the long run, sterile nature of the victories gained?” Most of his address was concerned with past friendships between France and the United States and the outlook for this country in Vietnam war which, he hinted, was similar to the war France had with Algeria.
Earlier in the day a broadcast by CBS stated that a decision had been reached by the White House to sell 25 additional jets to Israel. The United States has been selling jets to Israel and on Jan. 30 President Nixon said he would announce in 30 days whether or not the U.S. would sell additional planes. The CBS broadcast said this decision would be announced next week. Ronald L. Ziegler, White House Press Secretary, told newsmen “the matter is still under consideration and no decision has been made. There will be a full discussion of the situation before a decision is made.”
(In Jerusalem the Israel Foreign Ministry gave no confirmation today to a CBS radio report in New York that President Nixon had already informed Israel of his decision regarding the sale to Israel of Phantom jet planes and other weapons. A Ministry spokesman was queried about the report.)