WASHINGTON (Oct. 21)
The United States sees indications that both side in the Middle East want the Suez cease-fire extended and would like to see their conflict ended, State Department spokesman John king said today. Mr. King said the U.S. was discussing these indications in “diplomatic channels,” one of which he identified as the recent talks between Secretary of State Rogers and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrel Gromyko. Mr. King said that U.S. efforts were aimed at achieving rectification of the standstill cease-fire violations “that will satisfy both parties and will get the (Jarring) talks started.” He again declined to define what the U.S. means by rectification beyond that statement. Mr. King also had no comment on the accusation by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in a New York Times interview today that the U.S. was “using” Israel as an instrument of its policies in the Mideast.
According to the New York Times correspondent C. L. Sulzberger, President Sadat reiterated several times during the interview that the Mideast conflict could be settled swiftly and peacefully if the U.S. stopped supporting Israel. Mr. Sadat was quoted as saying: “If the United States were not behind the Israeli expansion drive, the whole question of the Arab-Israeli conflict would be solved by the Jarring mission within 24 hours.” One observer of the Mideast scene noted that if the Soviet Union were not behind the Egyptian drive against Israel the conflict would be solved by the Jarring mission within 12 hours. Mr. King also said he had no information on reports from Beirut that a plan for re-opening the Suez Canal has been submitted to Washington by Egypt. He said, however, that re-opening the waterway, closed for the past three years, was one of the elements of Mr. Rogers’ peace initiative. John K. Cooley, The Christian Science Monitor correspondent in Beirut, wrote today that the plan, which envisages the re-opening of the Canal to ships of all nations including Israel, was recently sent to Washington for possible consideration at the highest level in the Big Power and Jarring talks.