JERUSALEM (Oct. 8)
Israeli officials welcomed last night the “temporary suspension” of the Big Four deputies’ consultations in New York caused by the withdrawal from them by the United States. The officials further expressed the hope that the suspension would lead to a total cessation of the ambassadors’ talks. They recalled that Israel has opposed the talks from the beginning on the ground that the Four Power forum was heavily weighted against her. The Soviet Union, they noted, is committed to the support of Egypt, and France is openly hostile to Israel. Israel’s only real friend among the four is the United States, the officials concluded. (At the United Nations today, a British spokesman stated “categorically” that his government was not hostile toward Israel. Britain, it is additionally understood, feels that a continuation of the cease-fire is most desirable pending a peace settlement–a position similar to Israel’s.)
Although American friendship for Israel is felt to be qualified, while that of the USSR for Egypt is not, diplomatic observers here pointed with gratification to what they described as the new “no-nonsense” approach adopted by President Nixon in his handling of Soviet penetration attempts. The observers traced this new policy back to the President’s statement this summer firmly opposing Soviet predominance in the Mediterranean area. The observers believe the President’s new attitude is due in large degree to his disillusionment at the Soviet Union’s breaking its word by not condemning Egypt’s standstill violations. The statement Tuesday by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad that Egypt would not “rectify” the missile situation was described by political circles here last night as “a rehash of old stuff, but more of it.” His offer to extend the cease-fire without rolling back the missiles did not make much of an impression among the political circles here, being dismissed as “the logical thing to do under the circumstances.” But they noted that Mr. Riad’s statement as distributed here by Cairo’s Middle East News Agency had him saying: “If we can we shall double the number of missiles in the canal zone.” That sentence was omitted in his original statement over Cairo radio in which Mr. Riad claimed no new missiles were moved into the truce zone by Egypt after the standstill took effect Aug. 8.