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Mrs. Meir Authorizes Dayan to Speak for Her on Defense Matters in Washington Talks

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Premier Golda Meir has authorized Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to speak in her name on defense matters when he meets with top U.S. officials in Washington later this month, it was learned today. She notified President Nixon of Gen. Dayan’s authority in a note that was delivered to the U.S. State Department Monday by Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin, informed sources said. Mrs. Meir’s note also queried the President on various points related to Israel’s pending decision to return to the Jarring peace talks. She reportedly asked if the U.S. was willing to pledge in writing that it will continue to supply arms to Israel over the next two years. She also wanted to know what position the U.S. will take on Drawing “secure borders” acceptable to Israel and whether the U.S. is willing to guarantee Israel continued political support in the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. Mrs. Meir’s formal appointment of Gen. Dayan as her government’s spokesman in crucial talks in Washington was regarded here as highly significant.

The Defense Minister has recently advocated in public statements that Israel return to the Jarring talks under conditions considerably less than its demands for total rectification of Egyptian truce violations in the Suez cease-fire zone. He has also proposed a mutual “thinning out” of Israeli and Egyptian military forces on both banks of the Suez Canal, a development that would permit the return of Egyptian civilians to their bombed out towns along the waterway and which could lead to the early reopening of the canal to shipping. Transport Minister Shimon Peres, a close political ally of Gen. Dayan, told a Labor Party meeting in Tel Aviv last night that he supported Premier Meir “because she supports the position taken by Gen. Dayan.” He said the Dayan plan for a mutual reduction of forces along the Suez Canal would not compromise Israel’s security. He said the government has agreed that “the Jordan (river) will be our security border and that Sharm el-Sheikh would remain in Israeli control.” But, he added, “we have never said that we shall not permit the Egyptians to return and cultivate their lands west of the Suez Canal.” He said Egyptian civilians could return to what he called “empty ghost towns” if both sides carried out Gen. Dayan’s plan for a reduction of heavy military equipment on both sides of the waterway.

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