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Eban Rejects View of Widening Rift Between U.s., Israel; Relations Called Positive

Foreign Minister Abba Eban spoke to the foreign press corps today in what observers regarded as a considered attempt to create a favorable climate for the forthcoming visit of U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers. Eban played down reports of a widening rift between Jerusalem and Washington. “There is no confrontation,” he said. “Not a single word in the dictionary is less suitable to describe the situation than this.” Eban claimed that Israel’s relations with the U.S. were “overwhelmingly positive.” He said the U.S. was “actively strengthening us militarily, economically and politically.” The Foreign Minister conceded that there are basic issues on which Israel and the U.S. differ. But he gave no hint that these included the Rogers Plan itself and Rogers’ thesis that borders were less important than international guarantees. “We hope Mr. Rogers’ visit will make our views clear to him and afford him the opportunity to regard us not only as a problem but as an existing reality.” Eban said.