LONDON (Mar. 15)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel discussed the Middle East situation with British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home this afternoon at an informal meeting which Israeli circles described later as useful and of an “explanatory” nature. Eban stopped off here briefly enroute to the United States where he will meet Secretary of State William P. Rogers later this week as well as United Nations Secretary General U Thant and Mideast mediator Gunnar V. Jarging. No statement was issued after the meeting between Eban and Sir Alec. The British Foreign Secretary reportedly reiterated his government’s view that Israel is entitled to secure, internationally recognized borders. The two sides differ on the role of the Four Powers and on the degree of reliance that can be placed on an international peace-keeping force, whether provided by the Big Four or the UN.
During the course of the meeting, Eban reportedly referred to the interview with Premier Golda Meir, published in the Times Saturday, in order to explain to Sir Alec the reasons behind Israel’s boundary proposals. He reportedly gave a detailed explanation of why Israel considers it vital to retain control over the Sharm el-Sheikh strong point in southern Sinai. He also referred to Israel’s note of Feb. 26 which was conveyed to Cairo by Jarring and to the talks held with Jarring by Israel’s UN Ambassador Yosef Tekoah concerning Israel’s position. Eban reportedly stressed that his government is prepared to negotiate on all subjects without prior conditions. Liberal Party members who have taken up the cause of a 21-year-old Palestinian Arab student arrested and allegedly tortured by the Israelis, delivered a letter of protest addressed to Eban at the Israeli Embassy here today. The letter claimed that torture was inflicted on Muayyad Othman el Bahsh during three years of detention in Israel for alleged membership in El Fatah.