Rogers: Prospects for Jarring Talks Very Good; U.s.-israeli Relations Excellent

Secretary of State William P. Rogers advised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today that the prospects for resumption of the Jarring peace talks were “very good” and that there was “a glimmer of hope” for a settlement.” But the committee chairman, Sen. J.W. Fulbright, Democrat of Arkansas, disagreed, observing that the prospects “don’t appear to be as good as a year ago.” Secretary Rogers testified as the committee opened hearings on the administration’s military assistance recommendations, which include $500 million for Israel, $30 million for Jordan and $5 million for Lebanon. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird will testify tomorrow. Mr. Rogers said today that current American-Israeli relations were “excellent” and that American-Arab relations were “much better than before the cease-fire.”

Asked by Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, whether the U.S. was taking sufficient action against “Russian cheating” in the Middle East and whether it was keeping its “deal” with Israel. Mr. Rogers replied that the U.S. was pursuing a “wise” policy in the Mideast. He said Washington has “worked very closely with Israel” on the matter of her defenses, and that “the thrust of our effort” is to resume peace negotiations and seek a “reasonable settlement.” Regarding an eventual peace treaty, Mr. Rogers said that “We are going to play a large role in this settlement–not in imposing a settlement but in getting one.” He said it was regrettable that there has been so much emphasis on the Arab-Israeli disagreements of the past, while “very little attention has been given to the solution which for 20 years has escaped mankind.” Secretary Rogers said he favored the administration’s aid recommendations for Israel, Jordan and Lebanon in order to help “friendly governments in the Middle East preserve their independence and integrity.”

In addition, he said, the U.S. wants to help relieve Israel’s “impossible financial burden.” and is thus providing her with materiel, “some at concessionary rates.” In the course of today’s almost four hour hearing, Secretary Rogers emphasized that Israel has “made clear” that it does not need and does not want American troops to aid her. “They will be able to meet their threats with their own troops,” he said, adding: “On the other hand, they do need our (non-troop) support.” Sen. Javits, noting a Soviet-Egyptian “complicity” in the Egyptian violations of the standstill cease-fire terms, stated that “Like the Russians’ having put a lot of stuff in Egypt, the Soviet Union can’t let Egypt down even if it has to put all its army and navy in there.” That, he said, is because “Its prestige is involved.” Sen. Frank Church, Idaho Democrat, said he would seek strictures on American aid to Cambodia because “we’re involved in Cambodia as much as the Russians are with the Egyptians.”

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