Soviet Union Reported to Have Submitted Plan for ‘state of Peace’ to Big Four

The Soviet Union has reportedly submitted a plan for a “state of peace” in the Middle East that would include major concessions by the Arab states as well as by Israel, according to informed sources here. Under the plan, Israel would withdraw from all occupied territories, including Jerusalem, and would provide a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. In return, the Arabs would end their posture of belligerency, recognize the independence and territorial integrity of Israel, express a willingness to talk peace, and act to end terrorist activities from their soil. For the first time, the USSR has withdrawn her insistence on immediate Israeli withdrawal as a prerequisite to peace. According to disclosures here today by informed sources and in reports from Israeli newspapers Maariv and Yediot Aharonot, the proposals were made at last Wednesday’s Big Four meeting in New York by Soviet Ambassador Yakob S. Malik.

A new Soviet initiative appeared to be confirmed last night when Mr. Malik, in a rare conversation with newsmen at a cocktail party, said he expected “replies to some questions” he had submitted “at previous meetings.” The Big Four ambassadors were scheduled to meet this afternoon at Mr. Malik’s residence. (In Washington today the Soviet Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly F. Dobrynin, met again with Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. They were believed to have discussed the new and controversial American peace plan, which both Israel and the Arabs have criticized. State Department officials described the meeting as “one of an ongoing series” of talks regarding the Middle East. There was no further comment.) The reports from Israel indicated that the U.S. and Britain doubt the sincerity of the purported Malik plan, seeing it as merely a maneuver. The Israeli Foreign Ministry, which receives regular reports through diplomatic channels on the proceedings of the Big Four in New York and the Big Two in Washington, has denied any knowledge of the reported Malik plan.

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