Washington (Jul. 19)
State Department spokesman Charles Bray refused today to “speculate on the future course of events” when asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency if, in light of the Jordanian Government’s statement that it now controls the guerrilla movement, the U.S. will hold Jordan responsible for terrorist actions against Israel. Bray repeated the U.S. condemnation of all acts of terror, but would not say if the statement this morning by the Jordanian Prime Minister would change the U.S. position in the future. He did say however, that it would not affect the Administration’s position in negotiations with Congress for military aid and economic assistance for the Jordanian Government. Premier Wasft Tell, of Jordan told a press conference in Amman today that there were no longer any Palestinian commando bases in Jordan. Tell said that out of 2,500 guerrillas originally based in the country, 2,300 were rounded up after recent clashes with the Jordanian Army. He said, “Only about 200 fedayeen remain at large, but we shall find most of them.” He declared that hereafter, Jordan will not tolerate the presence of groups with “ideological tendencies.” Tell made no mention of the scores of Arab commandos reportedly surrendering to Israel.
Israeli officials here labeled as “utter baloney” reports in the New York Times this morning that some of the Palestinian guerrillas fleeing into Israel were really Israeli infiltrators into the terrorist movements. The report was based in part on the official Jordanian spokesman’s explanation of the terrorist flight into Israel. Guerrilla lenders, however, said that most were bona fide terrorist who fled to Israel to avoid starvation and capture by the Jordanian troops. Israeli officials noted the irony of Arabs fleeing from their brothers to their “enemy” to avoid what the Jordanian Army apparently does to people it captures.