WASHINGTON (Dec. 20)
Prime Minister Edward Heath of Britain, called on United Nations mediator Gunnar V. Jarring today to take the initiative toward a Middle East settlement Instead of waiting for the parties to come to him. Appearing on the CBS television program “Meet The Press,” Heath said that Jarring should be “not only a letter box” for the disputants but “can put forward options to each side.” Heath said it was “obviously true” that the Jarring mission has not been successful to date. His remarks surprised some observers here who noted that he was suggesting that Jarring play a larger role than the one presumably envisaged in his peace-making mandate which derives from the Security Council’s Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967. Paragraph 3 of the resolution requested the United Nations Secretary General to designate a special representative to “establish and maintain contacts with the states concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles of this resolution.”
While the words “to promote agreement and assist efforts” are open to broader interpretations, Jarring has held that his role is that of mediator and could be altered only by Security Council action. Heath did not propose such action in his CBS interview. Heath said, in reply to questions on Secretary of State William P, Rogers’ controversial territorial proposals of last year, that he has been unable to find out what Israel means by “secure borders.” Israel has objected strenuously to the Rogers plan which would have it withdraw to its 1967 boundaries with only minor adjustments. Heath said he has thrown out various suggestions to Israeli leaders since then but has had no reply. He noted that proposals for a U.S.-Soviet peace-keeping force in the Mideast would be acceptable if it was “satisfactory” to both parties–Arabs and Israelis–but he declined to say whether or not Britain was prepared to supply troops for such a force.