JERUSALEM (Apr. 19)
The Cabinet was briefed today on the talks held by top government officials with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco here last week. Reports were made by Premier Golda Meir, Foreign Minister Abba Eban, Deputy Premier Yigal Allon and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. No details were made available to the press. It was reliably reported however, that Mr. Sisco urged Israeli leaders to be more “flexible” in their diplomacy and image-building efforts. Mr. Eban said in a television and radio appearance over the week end that the talks with the U.S. diplomat had improved the possibilities of cooperation between Israel and Washington, although points of difference between them remain. Mr. Eban said that Secretary of State William P. Rogers had apparently come around to the Israeli view with regard to Soviet intention in the Mideast. He noted that Mr. Rogers remarked recently that the Russians do not seek peace in the area but a “controlled tension,” an expression that Mr. Eban himself has used in the past.
(New York Times correspondent Raymond H. Anderson’s Cairo dispatch today, reported that SAM-3 missile bases have already been set up in Egypt and “this development has already halted free-wheeling Israeli air strikes deep inside Egypt. The strengthening of its air defenses has enabled Cairo to reject even more firmly Western endeavors to restore the 1967 cease-fire,” he wrote.) The Foreign Minister said Mr. Sisco brought “nothing new” with him from Washington or from Cairo where he stopped for four days before coming to Israel. According to Mr. Eban, Egypt remains intransigent and there is little hope that Cairo will agree to re-establish the cease-fire which it renounced a year ago. Nor will Egypt consider the possibility of talks unless Israel first withdraws from all occupied Arab territories, Mr. Eban said. He stated that the latter condition was unacceptable to both Israel and the U.S. and does not conform to the United Nations resolution governing the international legal situation in the area. Israeli newspapers, summarizing the results of the visit, said that aside from the acknowledged concern of the United States over Israel’s security, all other areas of American-Israeli disagreement remained as they were before the envoy’s visit.
VIOLENCE GREETS SISCO IN LEBANON AND JORDAN; TALKS IN BEIRUT TERMED ‘VERY USEFUL’
Mr. Sisco spent only four hours in Beirut, Lebanon yesterday as the capital of that “pro-Western” Arab nation was rocked by anti-American demonstrations. Some 10,000 leftist students, urged on by Palestinian guerrilla leaders, staged a protest march through Beirut streets. Students from the U.S.-financed American University hurled stones at the U.S. Embassy-smashing several windows and also smashed the windows of a U.S. Embassy car. One group of demonstrators ripped up an American flag, spat on it, wiped their shoes on it, and burned it to ashes. Many demonstrators wore armbands saying “kick out Sisco”. “Sisco the war criminal.” They set fire to pictures of Mr. Sisco and burned a cardboard model of a U.S. Phantom jet plane. During his brief stay, Mr. Sisco conferred with President Charles Helou, Premier Rashid Karami and Foreign Minister Nassim Majdalani. After two hours of talks, which he described only as “very useful”. Mr. Sisco was flown by helicopter back to the airport and took off without ceremony for Teheran, Iran where he will attend a U.S. chiefs of mission meeting later this week.
The violence that greeted Mr. Sisco in Beirut, followed violent anti-American demonstrations in Amman that forced him to cancel a scheduled visit to Jordan. The only Arab country where Mr. Sisco received a cordial, if not warm, greeting on his current “orientation tour” was Egypt, which is regarded as a radical state, has Soviet troops and technicians on its soil and has not had diplomatic relations with the U.S. since the 1967 Arab-Israel war. Observers noted that in the two Arab states considered most pro-Western and most friendly to the United States, the Governments appeared helpless to prevent demonstrations against Mr. Sisco. In Jordan, the U.S. found itself in trouble not only with the guerrillas but with the hitherto friendly regime of King Hussein. The Jordanian Government demanded, and got, the recall of U.S. Ambassador Harrison Symes. It was on Mr. Symes’ recommendation that Mr. Sisco, who was supposed to go to Amman from Jerusalem last Thursday, cancelled his trip. The Jordanian Government regarded the cancellation a rebuff and apparently saw in it a lack of faith on the part of the U.S. in the stability of the Hussein government and its ability to control the guerrillas within its borders. (In Washington, State Department officials said Friday the U.S. acceded to the Jordanian request in the hope that it “will not impair the close and cordial relations between (our) two countries.” State Department press officer Robert McCloskey said the Department thought Symes had done a good job in his two-and-a-half years to Jordan in trying to “promote friendly and constructive relations.” Department officials suggested that Symes had been in Jordan long enough, and was due for a change anyway.