Eban and Dougla-home Start Dialogue; Mideast Power Balance Discussed at Meeting

Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban had his first official meeting today with his new British counterpart. Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home. In a joint statement released afterwards, the two diplomats said “We have inaugurated a dialogue and have made provisions for continuation of this dialogue.” Informed sources here told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the problem of the power balance in the Middle East had been raised at the meeting but no concrete requests for arms supplies were made by Israel. The sources said that Mr. Eban reiterated Israel’s position on direct negotiations with the Arabs and rejected the idea of a hypothetical set of conditions for a cease-fire in the Suez Canal zone. He reportedly said that as long as Nasser refused to observe a cease-fire it was useless to discuss hypothetical conditions with a friendly nation. Once Nasser a-greed to a real discussion, Israel had a position on all points and would present them, Mr. Eban said.

According to sources here, the Israeli Foreign Minister said he was not opposed to preliminary explorations and contacts which might lead to direct talks. In this connection he pointed out that at least once, the United Nations’ special envoy. Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, suggested parallel talks between Israelis and Arabs on Cyprus. Mr. Eban went to Nicosia but left after 24 hours when no Arab delegates showed up. In his talks with the British Foreign Secretary. Mr. Eban reportedly stressed the importance of the preferential trade treaty that he signed on Israel’s behalf with the six Common Market countries in Luxembourg this week. The European states are reportedly less reserved toward the Middle East conflict and more sympathetic toward Israel’s stand since Soviet involvement on the Arab side became clear.

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