Nixon: Israel, Egypt ‘forthcoming’ on Jarring Plan; Encouraged by Developments

President Nixon said yesterday that he thought both Egypt and Israel had been “forthcoming” in response to United Nations mediator Gunnar V. Jarring’s latest peace moves but indicated that of the two parties, Egypt was somewhat the more “forthcoming.” Nixon addressed himself briefly to the Middle East situation near the end of an impromptu White House press conference that was devoted mainly to the Indo-China war. He insisted that the United States will not put pressure on Israel or on any of the Arab states to get them to accept any proposals. “For the United States publicly to move in and indicate what we think ought to be done while these delicate negotiations go on would not help,” Nixon said. He added that he was “encouraged by the developments that have occurred so far.”

The President said he had “hopes that when the present cease-fire expires that it will be extended,” adding, “I will say that neither side will gain anything by starting the fighting again. It is a war in which either side will be a loser.” Nixon was asked if he thought Israel was “balking” on the Jarring proposals and if the U.S. would use its “power of persuasion to get them to accept something along that line.” Nixon replied, “I don’t think it would be helpful…to speculate here that we would use powers of persuasion with Israel or, for that matter, with Egypt or Jordan, on the Middle East.” He said, “Egypt has been more forthcoming than we had expected and I believe that Israel has been somewhat more forthcoming.” He termed the Middle East a “difficult area” and observed that “there are going to be day-to-day blasts by one side or the other or concessions by one side or the other or concessions by one side or the other before an eventual settlement is reached.”

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