JERUSALEM (May. 5)
Israeli and American security agents were completing preparations today for the arrival of Secretary of State William P. Rogers who is expected here at noon tomorrow. At the same time, groups which insist that Israel retain all of the Arab territories it conquered in 1967 announced that they planned demonstrations against the Rogers Plan. The “Greater Israel League” said it would send out pickets tomorrow with posters demanding that Rogers abandon his plan which calls for the restoration of Israel’s pre-June, 1967 borders. The “All Party Anti-Retreat Committee” scheduled a mass meeting here today. The Moscow-oriented Rakach Communist faction said it planned an anti-Vietnam war demonstration outside the U. S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on Saturday but the rally was just coincidental to Rogers’ visit. Political circles here said Rogers’ scheduled address to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Friday was unprecedented. He will be the first foreign national to attend a meeting of the committee. The meeting was at Rogers’ request and circles here continued to point to the parallel with Foreign Minister Abba Eban’s recent meeting with 40 U.S. Senators in Washington which caused Rogers some annoyance.
Israelis pointed out however that the Knesset committee can by no means be compared in importance and influence to the Foreign Relations Committee of the U. S. Senate. Israeli foreign policy is shaped by Premier Golda Meir and her “inner circle,” they noted. The closest equivalent to the U. S. Senate’s body would be the Cabinet’s ministerial committee on security affairs, they said. Government circles denied press reports that Rogers had been denied a request to address the Cabinet. They said the U. S. Secretary of State would meet with all or most members of the Cabinet at working sessions with Mrs. Meir’s inner council or at the two formal dinners scheduled during his visit. Reliable reports reaching here today indicated that Rogers has made little headway in Cairo toward an interim settlement to reopen the Suez Canal. The reports said Egypt was standing firm on its demand that its forces cross the canal and re-occupy the zone that Israel evacuates under an interim agreement. The Egyptians regard the east bank of the canal as far more important than the lost revenues that reopening the canal would restore.
The reports pointed out that the canal revenues of $240 million a year have been made up by the oil-rich Arab countries in the form of subsidies to Egypt. Egyptian commentators consider it unlikely that the canal will be reopened in the near future but they welcomed Rogers’ assertion that peace must be based on the Security Council’s Resolution 242, the reports said. Rogers was reported to have said on arrival in Cairo, that the U. S. is prepared to explore with Israel and Egypt ways of reopening the canal. He paid tribute to the late President Nasser for his acceptance of the U. S. peace initiative and to Sadat’s “positive” response to suggestions by Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring. Sadat was reported to have stated that he will talk with an open mind to Rogers but that he wants to see more pressure put on the Israelis. Rogers, whose main task here is to convince the Egyptian government that the U. S. is seriously trying to promote a solution to the conflict, also met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad and pledged American efforts to aid in a settlement with Israel. This meeting was the highest level meeting in the Egyptian capital between officials of the two nations since Egypt broke diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1967 because of American support for Israel in the Six-Day War.