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Rogers, Nixon Confer on Mideast Trip; Still Unresolved Problems, but Trip Useful

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As Secretary of State William P. Rogers reported today to President Nixon on his Middle East trip, White House spokesman Ronald Ziegler told newsmen that the Administration does not “underestimate the great problems that are unresolved.” He added, however, that the trip was “helpful to the eventual solutions in the area and helpful for maintaining the momentum of the discussions.” Ziegler said that Dr. Henry A. Kissinger. Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, had joined the discussion 15 minutes after Rogers arrived at the White House. Ziegler refused to go into detail on any aspect of the negotiations towards reopening the Suez Canal pending “clarification of positions by the parties concerned.” But he repeated Rogers’ statement on his return yesterday to Washington that the trip was “very worth while” and said that there is some basis to the belief that the differences between the parties have narrowed somewhat. Ziegler said he was not prepared to give an assessment on whether the Soviets were playing a helpful role in efforts to reopen the canal. Asked about reports that the Israeli government had requested $500 million in loans and grants, Ziegler referred newsmen to State Department spokesman Charles Bray’s statement earlier today in which the latter said he would “neither confirm nor deny the reports.”

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