WASHINGTON (Dec. 1)
Premier Golda Meir of Israel arrived in Washington last night and told newsmen at a press conference at Andrews Air Force Base that “Israel is prepared for any form of an agreement that will bring peace in the Middle East.” She added that “Israel has no fears of any agreement that President Nixon might make with the Soviet government” during his trip to Moscow next May. During a 15-minute news conference in the Air Base lounge, Mrs. Meir stated that “Israel is prepared for anything – a final peace agreement or something toward an agreement – anything that has no shooting connected with it.”
In response to other questions the Prime Minister said she was worried about the Egyptian threats of a shooting war because “we don’t want any shooting.” But, she added, “if we are worried about results, the answer is no.” She went on to emphasize that Israel wishes to avoid any shooting whatever, pointing out that “no matter who wins there will be loss of lives and we don’t want anyone shot.”
She also disclaimed any worry about the United Nations General Assembly debate on the Middle East which begins tomorrow. Israel would welcome any discussion that led to something constructive for peace, she said, “but I’m afraid that that’s not the intention of those who asked for this debate. The situation should be dealt with and not by making speeches.”
Mrs. Meir shrugged off a question as to whether she was in the US to obtain Phantom jets, saying only that relations with the US were “very friendly.” She also expressed gratitude that the President and Secretary of State William P. Rogers had “taken time to listen to our problems.” There is nothing extraordinary in a meeting of this kind, she stated, “many come to Washington to lay their problems before the President.”
Asked whether Israel was now more flexible toward an interim agreement that would include reopening the Suez Canal, Mrs. Meir smiled and replied: “That’s all?” Her answer drew laughter.
Mrs. Meir looked tired as she stepped from the Presidential plane that whisked her from Kennedy Airport in New York following a 13-hour flight by an El Al jet from Tel Aviv. She brightened visibly, however, as she stood between US and Israeli flags at the Air Base lounge and replied to questions by newsmen. Tight security precautions were evident last night and continued today. Mrs. Meir’s whereabouts today have not been disclosed. She was resting somewhere in Washington awaiting her appointment tomorrow afternoon with Nixon at the White House which will follow a working lunch with Rogers.
Mrs. Meir is expected to be accompanied to her White House meeting by Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin and her two principal sides, political advisor Simcha Dinitz and Brig. Gen. Israel Lior, her military advisor. Avner Idan, deputy chief of the Israeli Embassy here was understood to be a probable participant in the discussion. On the American side, the White House meeting will be attended by Rogers, probably accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joseph J. Sisco, Deputy Assistant Secretary Alfred Atherton and Israel Desk Officer Heywood Stackhouse. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird is also expected to be present. On Friday Mrs. Meir is to meet with leading Senators at the Capitol at the invitation of Sen. Stuart Symington (D., Mo.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee for the Middle East.