UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jul. 2)
Diplomatic sources confirmed today that both the new York Soviet Middle East peace plan which was submitted on June 24 to the Big Four meeting in New York by Soviet Ambassador Yacob A. Malik, and the United States’ peace plan announced the following day in Washington by Secretary of State William P. Rogers were formally discussed by the Big Four at their meeting late yesterday afternoon. A spokesman for the U.S. Mission described the Soviet rec- ommecdattons as “some suggestions, some formulations.” He termed them “probably constructive,” adding: “But I don’t think they’re going to cause any dancing In the streets.” Other U.S. diplomatic sources called the Soviet move “a positive step” that “shows a genuine desire on their part to come up with guidelines for (Ambassador Gunnar V.) Jarring that could help a settlement.” A State Department spokesman said the Soviet Initiative was In the form of “negotiating points” rather than a formal “proposal.” He added that “all sides yesterday discussed It, everybody discussed it.” The Soviet Union’s “state of peace” plan submitted by Mr. Malik called for major concessions by the Arab states as well as by Israel and, for the first time, the USSR did not Insist on immediate Israeli withdrawal as a prerequisite for peace.
(In Washington, the administration was said to be studying the Soviet text “sympathetically.” In a related development, Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin met for 45 minutes yesterday afternoon with Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. They discussed the new diplomatic developments in the Mideast, but no details of their talk were disclosed. Mr, Sisco had met earlier in the day with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin.) A UN spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Secretary General U Thant had received the text of the Soviet suggestions on June 18 during his talks with Kremlin leaders in Moscow. The spokesman also confirmed that the “State Department message” presented to Mr. Thant in Moscow on June 20 was the text of the U.S. initiative announced by Mr. Rogers five days later. Sources described the Soviet-suggested “state of peace” as potentially more binding on the Mideast combatants than an “understanding” between them. The USSR initiative reportedly calls for total Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories, Including Jerusalem, and an Israeli solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. In turn, the Arab states would cease their belligerency toward Israel, recognize her Independence and territorial Integrity, stifle terrorist raids from Arab soil and agree to talk peace.
Reports that Secretary General Thant might discuss the U.S. and Soviet plans in Geneva this weekend with Dr. Jarring, his special Mideast mediator, were discounted by Western sources. They said it was probably too soon for such a meeting. Mr. Thant was scheduled to fly tonight to Geneva for a week of economic and administrative meetings and ceremonial functions. Dr. Jarring is currently vacationing in the south of Sweden, but the UN spokesman said he would be “available on short notice” if Mr. Thant were to summon him. The spokesman, asked about the probability of a Jarring-Thant meeting in Geneva, said: “I don’t think there’s anything in the cards on that.” He added that Mr. Thant met for an hour with Mr. Malik as he regularly does with the host of each Big Four session. No details of the specific content of their talk were disclosed. The Four Power ambassadors are scheduled to meet again July 15. Their deputies, who are struggling over a mutually agreeable progress memorandum to serve as the basis for a resumption of the Jarring peace mission, are due to meet again today. Meanwhile there were reports that Dr. Jarring, who is the Swedish Ambassador to the Soviet Union, might meet in Moscow with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad, who is accompanying President Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Egyptian leaders in their solidarity conference with the three top Soviet rulers. It was also learned that the Soviet Defense Minister, Marshal Andrei Grechko, has cabled his Syrian counterpart, Lieut. Gen. Hafez al-Assad, praising Syria’s recent step-up in military strikes against Israel. The unprecedented message read: “We are pleased with your fighting successes. I wish the Syrian people and their armed forces a life full of new victories for the final crushing of the Israeli Invaders.”