Officials Mum on Reports That U.S. Proposed Israel, Egypt Supervise Own Cease-fire

The Foreign Ministry declined comment this morning on reports in yesterday evening’s newspapers that the United States has privately proposed supervision of a Suez Canal cease-fire by Israeli and Egyptian aerial reconnaissance. The reports were similar to those carried by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service two days ago. A Ministry spokesman said only that “matters have not yet fully taken shape” and that “contacts with the United States are going on.” (In Washington today. State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey described a similar report in today’s New York Times as “imprudent, speculative and possibly misleading.” The report, by correspondent Hedrick Smith, was the lead story in the Times and contended that “The United States is sounding out Israel and the United Arab Republic on arrangements for each side to police the other’s observance of the proposed 90-day cease-fire in the Middle East, rather than rely primarily on United Nations truce observers.” The Times story was understood to be based on a background, or no-attribution, session by a top administration official.) Informed Israeli sources said internal governmental discussions have turned up objections to inspection of the Israeli defense layout by “outsiders.” Moreover, it was noted, Israeli reconnaissance planes can photograph the Egyptian side of the canal to a fair distance and with an efficiency adequate for the detection of military deployment. A press report contending that Israeli and Egyptian aircraft carrying out mutual inspection would fly into enemy airspace is discounted by informed sources.

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