JERUSALEM (May. 11)
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned from very reliable sources today that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan saved the talks between Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Premier Golda Meir from virtual breakdown last week. The sources said that Dayan accomplished this by demonstrating unexpected flexibility in private talks he held with Rogers’ top aide, Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco, at a time when the Rogers-Meir talks had deteriorated almost to the point of acrimony. The sources said that when Rogers and Meir held their first meeting here last Thursday, Mrs. Meir did most of the talking and devoted her remarks largely to Jewish history, the Holocaust and similar subjects. While acknowledging the weightiness of these matters, Rogers considered them irrelevant to the issues immediately at hand and was visibly irritated. At one point he was reported to have said, “We did not come here to listen to all this,” the sources said.
According to the sources, Dayan was concerned with the way the talks were going and suggested to Mrs. Meir that he meet privately with Sisco on Friday while Rogers was on an aerial tour of Sinai. The Premier agreed and at his meeting with Sico, Dayan reportedly surprised the American by his flexibility on the issues on how far Israel would pull back from the Suez Canal and the crossing of the canal by Egyptian police. Dayan reportedly made one over-riding condition-that the cease-fire be extended with no time limit. It was also agreed that the principles Israel submitted to the U.S. could now be conveyed to Cairo, with the modifications agreed to between Dayan and Sisco. On that basis Rogers decided to send Sisco back to Cairo, the sources told the JTA.