JERUSALEM (Mar. 2)
Highly placed political sources maintained today that the Egyptian government would readily agree to continue the Jarring talks and the cease-fire on the basis of Israel’s reply to its latest note, provided it can find a face-saving formula. But the sources noted that the Russians were intervening to apply Big Four pressure on Israel to make concessions before the cease-fire expiration on March 7. The Israeli note expressed readiness to negotiate with Egypt on all points in dispute, including territories, but made it clear that Israel will not return to its pre-June, 1967 boundaries. The Kremlin has been insisting on an immediate Big Four meeting apparently to draft a statement demanding that Israel backtrack from its stand on the 1967 borders. The United States rejected a Soviet attempt to schedule a Four Power meeting yesterday despite tacit support of the Russian move by Britain and France. The U.S. is said to be dissatisfied with the Israeli note to Cairo but does not want to appear to be yielding to Soviet pressure on the matter nor does Washington wish to publicize its differences with Israel at this time. Political circles here said that Moscow was “training its guns” on President Nixon to persuade him to exert more pressure on Israel. According to Israeli analysts, the Kremlin is convinced that Israel could be forced into major concessions if Nixon applied more pressure. Most Israeli circles are sure that Egypt will not terminate the cease-fire next Sunday. They noted that there was much greater military tension during the week before the last cease-fire extension expired on Feb. 5. But they conceded that political tension is currently high.