State Department Refutes Egypt’s Claim That It Has Not Violated Truce

A State Department official today refuted the claim by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad that his country in no way violated the cease-fire agreement. The Department spokesman, John King, said that the United States has “a full public record that there have been serious violations of the standstill provisions of the cease-fire,” Mr. Riad, in a television interview yesterday, said that U.S. intelligence photographs proved nothing because they were of dummy missile sites which were being shifted constantly and were legally within the 32-mile standstill zone. Refuting Mr. Riad’s claim, Mr. King quoted at length from Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ Oct. 9 press conference statement in which Mr. Rogers said that he himself had closely studied the U.S. evidence with intelligence experts and was completely satisfied that serious violations had occurred. Mr. Rogers said further at the time that there was “no doubt about the fact that all of the parties agreed that after the cease-fire there would be no improvement in the military situation in the 50 kilometer zone and the language (of the agreement) is perfectly clear.” Mr. King said he was “not aware” that the U.S. planned to make public the evidence in its possession. He had no comments on a report in The Washington Star yesterday that American pilots were flying Phantom jets to Israel.

According to The Washington Star, U.S. Marine Corps reserve pilots have been “secretly ferrying” new F-4 Phantom jets from this country to Israel for the last three weeks. The report by Orr Kelly, stated the pilots fly as civilians under contract to the McConnell-Douglas Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, Mo., the manufacturers of the jet plane, “but the flights are made with the full cooperation of the United States government.” A Defense Department spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had “absolutely no comment.” Spokesmen for the aircraft company could not be reached for comment. Mr. King also refused to comment, when questioned by a Tass correspondent, on a Washington Post report this morning that the State Department was feuding with the United States Information Agency over the latter’s allegedly “hard line” toward the Soviet Union in the Middle East and other areas of big power conflict. According to the Post, Secretary Rogers reminded USIA director Frank Shakespeare that the USIA was not entitled to strike out on its own in foreign policy matters. The Post said the issue arose after the USIA issued an internal policy guide to its staff seeking to get the agency to draw an explicit parallel between the Soviet missiles in the Suez cease-fire zone and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. An earlier conflict arose between the State Department and the USIA when the State Department “toned down” a message to USIA posts abroad charging direct Soviet responsibility for the Suez truce violations, the Post said, adding that the State Department wanted to avoid accusing the Russians directly because of efforts to get the Jarring peace talks going and because Moscow was not a formal signatory to the cease-fire arrangements.

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