JERUSALEM (Jun. 29)
The Israeli government is apparently furious over Dr. Nahum Goldmann’s continuing efforts at private diplomacy relating to the Mideast crisis. The 75-year-old president of the World Jewish Congress met with King Hassan of Morocco in Rabat last Wednesday, and earlier in the week with President Tito of Yugoslavia at Brioni, an Adriatic Sea resort. The meeting with the Moroccan ruler was announced by the Royal Palace in Rabat last week and was confirmed yesterday by the World Jewish Congress. Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban said here yesterday that he had been neither informed before the meeting nor briefed afterwards. He said, “There is a custom that citizens who meet foreign heads of state contact their own governments beforehand but all this is a matter of taste. There is no law governing such things.” A Ministry spokesman said no law had been violated by Dr. Goldmann because Israel is not officially at war with Morocco. Dr. Goldmann has come under sharp personal attack by Israeli government figures and many of his former colleagues in the World Zionist Organization since last spring when the government refused to authorize him to accept an invitation from President Gamal Abdel Nasser to go to Cairo. Dr. Goldmann is an Israeli citizen but also holds a Swiss passport.
In a telephone interview from the Italian resort town of Serafino, broadcast here last night, Dr. Goldmann said he had met King Hassan as “an individual with specific views on the Middle East conflict” and not as an Israeli citizen. He said the meeting was arranged through an intermediary in Paris at the behest of King Hassan. Dr. Goldmann said he had wanted to postpone it for reasons of health, but the King insisted that they meet last week. “The King wanted to exchange views with me on what was going on in the Middle East. The situation was causing him concern,” Dr. Goldmann said. He said their talk had no concrete objectives, the King only wanted to hear Dr. Goldmann’s views and their conversation lasted an hour and a half. He said that President Nasser had not known of the meeting, nor had any other Arab head of state or Marshal Tito, and there was no decision that King Hassan should convey details of the talk to President Nasser. He said he felt it was unnecessary to consult with anyone in advance of the meeting because he had not been invited to discuss Israeli affairs.