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British Diplomatic Steps Indicate Difference on Common Market Document on Israel

Britain has taken two diplomatic steps relative to Israel which observers here interpreted today to indicate a British view that the Common Market document on Israel, which Israel opposes, does not reflect a European consensus. That document, which calls for a total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied areas and which was sponsored by France, has not been formally issued. One of the steps was the disclosure by the Israel Foreign Ministry today that British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home has accepted an invitation to visit Israel, probably in Jan. The second step was an official Invitation to Foreign Minister Abba Eban to visit Britain in Nov. at Sir Alec’s Invitation. The observers noted that Eban has met on many occasions with Prime Minister Edward Heath and Sir Alec. The issuance by the British government of an official invitation to Eban was considered a political act related to the Common Market document.

In addition to the visit of Sir Alec. five of the six Common Market ministers have either visited Israel or are scheduled to do so. The exception is France’s Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann. Sir Alec also is scheduled to visit Cairo Sept. 12-15 and Morocco Sept. 15-17. He will then go to Gibraltar. It was reported here that Eban will not meet with Schumann at Orly Airport en route to his official visit to London. The French Foreign Minister said some time ago that on any occasion that Eban passed through Paris, he would be glad to come to the airport and talk to the Israeli leader. Israel’s reaction to that offer is that Eban will see Schumann only on official Invitation. France is the only major West European country which has failed to extend such an official invitation to Eban.

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