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U.S. Rejects Soviet Bid for Earlier Big Four Meeting; Terms It Premature

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The State Department rejected today a Soviet attempt to have Thursday’s scheduled Big Four meeting in New York held today instead. Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said a meeting today would be “premature.” The USSR, with the tacit support of Britain and France, tried over the weekend to persuade the lone dissenter, the United States, to agree to the session rescheduling. The Soviets are eager to engineer a Big Four statement emphasizing Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab areas. One State Department official, reacting to charges in the Soviet press that the U.S. supports Israeli “intransigence,” retorted: “That’s nonsense, and they should know better.” Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin was to meet today with Secretary of State William P. Rogers. Yesterday, United Nations negotiator Gunnar V. Jarring summoned Egyptian Ambassador Mohammed H. el-Zayyat to show him Israel’s most recent statement–the one submitted to Dr. Jarring last Friday, in which Israel insisted she would not give up all the occupied territories. Dr. Zayyat had not been scheduled to confer again with Dr. Jarring until today. In a related development, there were reports this morning that the Nixon administration has been pressuring Israel to delete the no-total-withdrawal passage from her letter to Dr. Jarring. But a State Department official, asked if the U.S. has done so, replied: “I think I’m certain in saying ‘no.’ “

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