Pompidou, Schumann Hail Resumption of Talks; Franco-israeli Relations Seen Improving

President Georges Pompidou told newsmen today that a Middle Eastern peace must be “full and complete” and “must not mean a return to the situation as it existed prior to the Six-Day War, as this would mean the danger of renewed hostilities.” He also implied that peace meant a resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arabs, Later in the day, in speaking to diplomats, Pompidou expressed great satisfaction at the resumption of the Jarring talks following a three-month extension of the cease-fire. But he warned: “This is not enough. What is needed is a change of attitude. All the concerned parties must show a different spirit if the Jarring mission is to succeed.” Pompidou, who angered world Jewry last spring when he refused to deliver 50 Mirage jets Israel had already paid for, was especially warm today to Israeli Ambassador Asher Ben-Nathan, telling him “Shalom, shalom–this is my wish to you and Israel.”

His statements and attitude today elicited speculation in political circles here of a possible change in France’s policy toward Israel. (In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Abba Eban praised Pompidou’s endorsement of a “complete” peace treaty and observed that Franco-Israeli relations had improved somewhat over the past year. Kol Israel reported from Paris tonight that French officials are no longer grim when receiving Israeli diplomats–in fact are noticeably more gracious–and that strongly anti-Israel verbal attacks have apparently been curtailed.) Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann invited Ben-Nathan in for an hour-long talk today, and, while he did not deal with France-Israeli ties, he hailed the resumption of the Jarring talks and was less passionate than heretofore on the importance of the Big Four talks in New York.

NEXT STORY