Washington (Jul. 19)
The State Department said today that Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Joseph J. Sisco will visit Israel some time after July 26 to present U. S. thoughts on the procedure for negotiating an interim settlement to reopen the Suez Canal as well as substantive proposals. The officials said that the U.S. has no blueprint or final outline of what a new settlement should look like and added that the U.S. has been studying the positions of the two sides and reached conclusions of its own which it has not formalized in document or plan form. Sisco is expected to explore these conclusions with Israeli officials. State Department spokesman Charles Bray said today that there were no pre-conditions on the extent or the subjects of the talks set by either side. It is believed that Sisco will discuss the delay in Washington’s reply to Israel’s latest requests for more U.S. military aid.
Sisco’s trip will follow his recent briefing by Michael Sterner, director of the State Department’s Egyptian Desk, Sterner just returned from a mission to Cairo with the chief U.S. diplomat there, Donald Bergus. Bergus and Sterner presented to the Egyptian Government proposals on how the U.S. envisages proceeding, not substantive suggestions, according to State Department officials, and the Cairo Government raised no objections, they said. The Israelis will be informed of them when Sisco visits Jerusalem the officials added. They said the timing of Sisco’s trip had nothing to do with the rumored possible meeting of the UN Security Council on the status of Jerusalem. Bray told newsmen today that he knew of no such meeting and that Sisco’s plans would be determined by technical scheduling rather than the political situation as such. It is not known how long he will remain in Israel but he is not expected to visit any other countries on this trip.