Jerusalem (Nov. 1)
Premier Golda Meir and Foreign Minister Abba Eban met today with US Ambassador Walworth Barbour in what was described officially as the first in a series of “conversations and clarifications” to be held between Israel and the US over the coming weeks. Mrs. Meir reportedly reiterated the tough stand she took in her Knesset speech last Tuesday, declaring to the American envoy that Israel cannot be expected to enter into negotiations with Egypt when America has “stacked the cards” from the beginning to Israel’s disadvantage. The Premier had charged in her Knesset address that Secretary of State William P. Rogers has shifted toward the Egyptian position on an interim agreement to reopen the Suez Canal.
Mrs. Meir and Eban reportedly assured Barbour, however, that Israel is still interested in any form of agreement–interim or permanent–and is willing to continue talks. They also reiterated Israel’s demand for immediate resumption of the supply of Phantom jets from the US. Mrs. Mei restated Israel’s position that only assurances of secure boundaries could bring about an Israeli withdrawal from the present lines and that a partial withdrawal may be made in the interests of an interim settlement but not to the extent demanded by Egypt.
They reportedly told the American Ambassador that public opinion in Israel was solidly behind the government’s position and the latter would not yield to pressure for any concessions that would place Israel at a disadvantage. The meeting with Barbour was the first since the envoy’s return to Israel after an extended home leave.