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Rogers Expects Response Soon from Arabs Rather Than Soviets on U.S. Peace Initiative

Secretary of State William P. Rogers said today that “we expect a response some time soon” on the United States’ Middle East peace initiative, “possibly from Arab rather than Soviet sources.” He said he had obtained that word from Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin yesterday. Mr. Rogers, holding his first news conference since his return Sunday from an international tour, called the SAM-3 missile activity in Egypt “a very serious development” in which “all parties are well aware of what the risks are.” The Secretary asserted: “I think their (the Soviet Union’s) presence there is part of their foreign policy. They feel it helps their position with Egypt and other Arab countries.” He added: “We would not expect them to leave readily, but it is conceivable that part of the settlement under the Security Council resolution would be the removal of foreign troops from the area.” On the question of more American jets for Israel, Mr. Rogers stated: “We stand where we stood when I had my last press conference (here).” At that time, June 25, he held a jet decision further in abeyance and said, “I think for the moment the emphasis should be on diplomatic initiatives, and announcement now would be counter-productive.” Asked whether he thought Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike across the Suez Canal, Mr. Rogers replied: “I hope not. Everyone is quite aware of the risks that would be involved.”