WASHINGTON (May. 16)
Secretary of State Rogers denied today that Israel has asked the United States for guarantees in the event of an Egyptian violation of an interim agreement under which Israel would pull its forces back from the Suez Canal. Rogers appeared on the NBC television program “Meet The Press.” He was questioned twice about guarantees in connection with his recent visit to Israel and Arab countries and both times replied with a categorical “No.” He said the “necessity for peace is so great” that the U.S. is prepared to play a “responsible role” to achieve it but he would not elaborate. Rogers told the newsmen that he saw “no signs of a slowdown” in the discussions underway for a Mideast settlement because of the present political upheaval in Egypt. He said that to date there was “no indication that the government of Egypt is not in control.”
Rogers was questioned about his meeting tomorrow with United Nations Secretary General U Thant and UN mediator Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. He was asked if the talks would deal in part with the transfer of the American role in the current negotiations for an interim settlement to Dr. Jarring. Rogers replied that he “would not put it that way.” He said the U.S. was focusing the efforts for peace on the Jarring mission, based on the Security Council Resolution 242. He emphasized that the U.S. “will not interfere” with Dr. Jarring’s efforts to reach a settlement. He said “We have made it clear from the beginning that we pin our hopes on Jarring and Resolution 242.” Rogers would not reply directly when he was asked it the possibility of an interim settlement to reopen the Suez Canal hinged on Israel’s right to use the waterway. He said that if an interim solution was worked out, the canal should be open to all. He said that was one of the points under consideration.