Rogers Seen Set to Announce Temporary Postponement of U.S. Jet Sale to Israel

Informed sources said here today that Secretary of State William P. Rogers may announce another temporary postponement of the United States decision on Israel’s request for more Phantom and Skyhawk jets when he meets newsmen later this week. They based their supposition on reports emanating from Washington concerning a new U.S. peace initiative in the Mideast and recent moves by the Kremlin and Egypt. (According to Washington reports, Mr. Rogers has tentatively scheduled a press conference for Thursday. He leaves Washington at the end of the week on a two-week trip to Asia.) Sources here said Mr. Rogers will reiterate America’s concern for the security and territorial integrity of Israel and the need to maintain an arms balance in the Mideast. He is also expected to state U.S. opposition to any further extension of Soviet involvement in the region, but his statement is expected to fall short of a warning to Moscow. Israeli circles believe that Mr. Rogers may attach political conditions to Israel’s request for more jets, although this would be done in an inconspicuous way.

Sources said there were indications that the reported new U.S. peace moves are based on a revival of the Jarring mission. Under the plan, the United Nations special Mideast envoy, Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, would summon Israel and the Arab states to indirect talks, to be followed eventually by direct negotiations. According to informed sources here, the U.S. is expected to ask Israel to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution of November 22, 1967 which includes “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent (Six-Day War) conflict” and agreement to talks – not necessarily direct talks as Israel wants – between Israel and the Arab states. There were indications in Washington today that Israel has already been informed of aspects of the new U.S. peace proposals. The State Department has imposed a news blackout on these moves.

(But according to New York Times correspondent Sam Pope Brewer, “the outlines of the new American peace plan were discussed in the last 72 hours with Soviet, Israeli and Arab representatives in Washington and at the United Nations.” It was understood that Mr. Rogers conveyed the highlights of the American peace plan to Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin at an unannounced meeting last Friday and to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin at an announced meeting last Saturday, Mr, Brewer reported.) According to Jerusalem circles Foreign Minister Abba Eban cancelled a South American tour scheduled for next month on the advice of colleagues who share his “dovish” views. They expressed the view that the absence of a leading “dove” from crucial cabinet sessions might weaken their position against the “hawkish” faction. The Foreign Ministry announced last week that Mr. Eban had called off his trip to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina because the political situation prevented his being away from Jerusalem for an extended period.

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