Mrs. Meir Willing to Accept Accord with Arabs Similar to Soviet-japanese Pact

Premier Golda Meir said yesterday that she was prepared to accept something less than a formal peace treaty with the Arab states to end the Middle East conflict. She said in a radio interview that “personally” she would be willing to accept the same kind of accord that governed relations between the Soviet Union and Japan after World War II–a document outlining trade and diplomatic relations “until a final peace treaty is signed.” Ambassadors were exchanged between Russia and Japan soon after that accord was reached. Mrs. Meir stressed that this was a personal view. Observers here noted that the concept was broached to the Cabinet almost two years ago by Foreign Minister Abba Eban and was opposed by Herut leader Menachem Beigin. The Premier indicated that there was no decision in the government as yet on this or other specific proposals. The Arab states were considered unlikely to accept an interim settlement along the lines of the Soviet-Japanese formula because it would contradict their 1967 Khartoum stand of no peace, no negotiation and no recognition of Israel.

Mrs. Meir said that no one who has met with President Gamal Abdel Nasser recently has come away with the impression that Egypt is ready to make peace with Israel. She said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco who spent four days in Cairo this month, brought no message to Israel that Nasser wanted peace. Regarding Israel’s stand, she denied that other countries might get the impression that Israel wants peace while retaining all of the occupied Arab territories. “As long as the government has not reached any decision over the territories there can be no impression,” she maintained. Mrs. Meir also rejected the suggestion that the government use the word “withdrawal” in official statements on the future of the territories in order to negate the image of rigidity. That suggestion was made last week by the newspaper Haaretz. Mrs. Meir said she would use any words, “If only I could believe there was some magic word we could use to solve our problems without getting us into more difficult problems.”

NEXT STORY