NEW YORK (Sep. 20)
Premier Golda Meir planned to return to Israel tonight or tomorrow after completing talks with President Nixon and other leading Administration officials during which she made it plain to the President that nothing would persuade Israel to return to the Middle East peace talks at the United Nations until there is a complete rollback of the missiles illegally installed by Egypt in the Suez Canal standstill zone. Mrs. Meir was scheduled to give a report here tonight on her talks in an address to the leadership of the United Jewish Appeal and the Israel Bond Organization via a closed circuit telecast to 19 cities. Israel Embassy officials said she would speak extemporaneously and that no text would be released on her address. She also was scheduled to address a closed meeting earlier in the evening of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
President Nixon reportedly told Mrs. Meir that he doubted that the Egyptians and their Soviet backers could be persuaded to remove the missiles but that he was continuing to try. He also reportedly promised her that he would confer on the issue with Soviet Premier Kosygin in the near future. Appearing on the ABC “Issues and Answers” television program today. Mrs. Meir said she thought the Nixon Administration “will make more efforts” to obtain what the State Department previously called “rectification” of the Egyptian truce violations. “But what the outcome of those efforts will be I don’t know.” She also rejected, on that program, the idea of “partial” rectification, saying “What is partial rectification in a state of war?” She added “Suppose the Egyptians removed all the missiles but left the launchers intact. They could be refitted with missiles very quickly.”
MRS. MEIR SAYS PRESIDENT SHOWED ‘SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING’
Premier Meir met with the President in the White House for 90 minutes and had four hours of meetings with Secretary of State William P. Rogers. There was no official communique following the meetings. But Mrs. Meir Indicated by her remarks at a press conference in Washington late Friday that the President had demonstrated sympathy and understanding for Israel’s position and that earlier disagreements between Israel and the U.S. on the nature of Egyptian truce violations have been completely cleared up. Informed sources said that Mr. Nixon was so impressed by Mrs. Meir’s statement of Israel’s determination not to return to the Jarring talks before the truce violations are totally rectified that he forebore from trying to persuade her to do otherwise. In an interview taped in Washington for broadcast on Israeli radio Saturday, Mrs. Meir told her countrymen that she had ended her talks in Washington with a feeling that matters had been clarified and that understanding had been increased. Washington press reports yesterday claimed that the Meir-Nixon talks ended in an impasse on American military and economic aid to Israel. Mrs. Meir said in her taped broadcast to Jerusalem that she came to the U.S. with a larger “shopping list” than on her previous visit, just one year ago. She said she had raised two or three central points concerning military equipment, economic aid and political issues. Diplomatic sources in Washington said today there was no “impasse” but noted that wide ranging commitments should not be expected from limited meetings, The sources said that the absence of full-scale U.S. backing for Israel’s position in the current crisis was not reason for pessimism.
Mrs. Meir reportedly took to Washington major requests for new military equipment and for economic aid for Israel’s economy, staggering under unprecedented military burdens. Informed sources said that President Nixon was determined to maintain the Middle East power balance by beefing up Israel’s military and economic strength. There was no indication that he attached any strings to such aid or made it contingent on Israel’s return to the Jarring peace talks. The Washington Post claimed however that U.S. aid to Israel would be “doled out in small amounts.” At her press conference in Washington, Premier Meir insisted that under present conditions Israel would not return to the Jarring talks even if the U.S. supplied it with enough arms to counter-balance the Soviet supplies to Egypt. “We need modern arms regardless of what happens on the other side of the (Suez) canal,” she said. “But it is a matter of principle with Israel. Nations that make agreements are expected to abide by their agreements.” She said Egyptian truce violations were not a thing of the past but are continuing daily. (Even as she spoke, Israel reported it had filed a new complaint today with the United Nations, charging that work was being done by Egypt on new missile site in the truce zone.)
REPORT MRS. MEIR. PRESIDENT, DISCUSSED ISRAEL’S FUTURE BORDERS
The Israeli Premier told her press conference audience that Israel would not resume fighting in the Suez Canal zone If the other side did not start shooting. “We’re enjoying every minute of the cease-fire and peace,” she said. “No people are being killed and no people are being hurt.” However, Mrs. Meir repeatedly returned in her remarks to the cease-fire violations and the stalled Jarring talks. “We have won the war and we have always said that we will not sit at a table speaking as a victor to the vanquished. Neither do we want to sit down with Egyptians who didn’t keep their promise, because every time we don’t agree, we will be threatened by missiles In the Suez area.” Mrs. Meir described her talks with President Nixon only in general terms. Informed sources said the two leaders had discussed the question of Israel’s future borders, using maps, but failed to
Mrs. Meir and President Nixon also discussed the fighting in Jordan and the plight of 54 airline hijack victims still held hostage by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Mrs. Meir said in her Jerusalem broadcast that the U.S. has from the start taken a firm stand and is not prepared to abandon its citizens. “President Nixon expressed the duty of the U.S. to protect all of its citizens and there was no need at all for an argument on this,” she said. She added that there had been no attempt to pressure Israel in connection with a deal for release of the hostages. On the “Issues and Answers” program Mrs. Meir reiterated Foreign Minister Abba Eban’s statement last week that Israel’s acceptance of arrangements by Britain. West Germany and Switzerland to exchange Arab terrorists in their custody for the hostages was sufficient contribution by Israel, “They will only return to kill Israelis,” she said. (The Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda commented yesterday that Premier Meir’s visit to Washington came at a time when some Americans were calling for armed intervention in Jordan on the “pretext” of protecting U.S. citizens.)