WASHINGTON (Jul. 15)
A high administration official warned yesterday that inflammatory rhetoric on the Middle East could harm the delicate American diplomatic initiatives now under way. The official spoke at a special State Department briefing for 475 visiting state and locally elected office holders. He made his remarks when pressed by some of his visitors as to why the administration was not more forthright in aiding Israel and warning Moscow against military intervention. Under rules of the briefing, the official could not be identified or quoted directly. He said that because of the sensitive nature of Mideast diplomacy, the U.S. was being very careful in its public comments. He quoted President Nixon’s July 1 television statement that the U.S. would do everything necessary to maintain Israel’s deterrent military power. According to the official, the President’s words were about as firm as could be made publicly at this time. He said the administration believes that any rhetoric about the Mideast situation tends to be inflammatory.