WASHINGTON (Apr. 8)
Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, left today on what was officially described as an “orientation visit” in the Middle East. State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said Mr. Sisco was due to arrive in Cairo Friday after a brief stop-over in Paris. He will go subsequently to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Mr. McCloskey gave no dates for his arrival in those countries but said his stay in each of them would be brief. Mr. Sisco is accompanied on his Mideast trip by Alfred G. Atherton. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Richard B. Parker, chief of the State Department’s Egyptian desk, is accompanying him as far as Cairo. Mr. McCloskey was unable to confirm whom Mr. Sisco would see in Cairo. He said a meeting with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was “a possibility.” He added that Mr. Sisco would not talk about the resumption of U.S.-Egyptian diplomatic relations while he is in Cairo. Asked what motivated the Assistant Secretary’s trip, Mr. McCloskey said it was “in our interest and desire” that he make it.