WASHINGTON (Mar. 2)
A State Department source said today that a report on the present status of United Nations mediator Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring’s peace efforts was expected sometime this week, possibly before Thursday when the Four Powers are scheduled to meet again on the Middle East. The source said that “time was required” for Dr. Jarring and UN Secretary General U Thant to prepare their report. Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey told newsmen at today’s briefing that the U.S. thought it would be “premature” for the Big Four to meet before Thursday’s scheduled meeting. The U.S. rejected a Soviet bid for a Four Power meeting yesterday, in advance of the Thant-Jarring report and urged Moscow to stop what it called propaganda exchanges on the Middle East. McCloskey said, “We (the U.S.) have attempted throughout to conduct ourselves in as quiet diplomacy as we can and we prefer that approaches by the Soviets to this government and other governments were not publicized.”
McCloskey referred to announcements yesterday that the Soviet ambassadors in London and Paris called on the respective government leaders to urge an immediate Big Four session. Asked if the U.S. was concerned over the fate of the Suez cease-fire, due to expire next Sunday, McCloskey said the matter was important. But he would not comment when asked if the U.S. feared a breakdown in the Jarring peace talks. On another matter, McCloskey denied emphatically that the U.S. had any intentions of “filling the vacuum” that will be left in the Persian Gulf Oil sheikdoms when Britain withdraws its forces from that region at the end of the year. The question was raised by British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home’s announcement in the House of Commons yesterday that the British government was not renewing its treaties with the nine Gulf protectorates which expire on Dec. 31. The Jordanian Embassy announced today that King Hussein’s brother- Prince Hassan, will visit Washington privately soon. The Embassy said the purpose of his visit was to accept a 707 jet transport from the Boeing Company in Seattle.