France, Britain Reach Accord on Mideast; Call for Four Power Plan, Peace Mission Renewal

Agreement on the highly dangerous nature of the Middle East situation is understood to have been reached here by Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann and British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who met for four hours yesterday at the Quai d’Orsay. Similar accord is understood to have been reached between Sir Alec and Premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas, who met for an hour last evening at the Premier’s residence in the Hotel Matignon. The Mideast and possible steps toward a settlement dominated the conversations. Both Sir Alec and Mr. Schumann are understood to have agreed that the current level of tension in the Mideast could endanger world peace; that direct Arab-Israeli talks, even under the Rhodes formula, seem out of the question under current conditions, and that a peace plan by a single nation, whether the United States or the Soviet Union, must be regarded as “utopic.” The two ministers thus agreed that the only possible settlement of the Mideast crisis is through Four Power concord on a peace project. The next step, if and when agreement among the Four is reached, would be to reactivate the Gunnar V. Jarring mission with precise and concrete directives.

French circles here also say the British Foreign Secretary showed sympathy for France’s arms embargo policy. According to these circles. Sir Alec agreed with his French counterpart that it would be detrimental to any peace prospects if Israel received now large supplies of weapons, especially offensive ones. After the four-hour meeting, Mr. Schumann beamingly told newsmen, “I can find no points of disagreement between us.” It is believed here that Sir Alec showed a “supple” position on the Mideast in order to bring about a Franco-British rapprochement before the forthcoming talks on Britain’s bid for acceptance by the Common Market, which was not discussed yesterday. It is understood that the two sides decided to consult more often and more closely on all international affairs, especially the Mideast, as a result of yesterday’s talks, which both British and French circles described as “highly successful.”

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