Eban Critical of Rogers on Two Points: Canal Crossing, Interim Accord Role

Foreign Ministry circles said here last night that Foreign Minister Abba Eban voiced explicit criticism of the American position on an interim Suez Canal agreement when he met with Secretary of State William P. Rogers directly after the latter addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Oct. 4. The disclosure was made to reporters following Rogers’ assertion on the Sunday CBS “Face the Nation” television program that Eban had not criticized his speech. The Ministry circles said that Eban singled out two points in the current American position which Israel regards as an erosion of Washington’s position of the recent past. These concerned an Egyptian troop crossing of the Suez Canal and Rogers’ suggestion that an interim arrangement should constitute the first stage in implementation of the Security Council Resolution 242.

The US had previously been assuring Israel that an interim agreement would be independent of any final settlement. The US has also been wavering on the matter of an Egyptian troop crossing to occupy areas evacuated by Israeli forces. When the idea of an interim agreement was first broached, the US agreed with Israel that no such crossing was permissable. Ministry circles agreed that Eban did not directly criticize Rogers’ Assembly speech because he had no time prior to meeting with the Secretary of State to study its full text. However, Eban was well aware of the American position and took issue with it. The circles said that Rogers’ claim that his speech was not criticized by Eban was in the nature of a diplomatic evasion. The circles also questioned Rogers’ assertion that his six points were not proposals but “parameters.” The fact that he made them at the General Assembly gave them importance far beyond a mere expression of views, they said.

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