WASHINGTON (Jan. 6)
Secretary of State William P. Rogers said last night that the United States was trying to get negotiations going between Israel and Egypt and that it did not matter whether they were negotiations for an overall settlement under the auspices of Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring or for an interim Suez agreement with the US acting as mediator.
“We are working in both ways,” Rogers told ABC newsmen Howard K, Smith and Ted Koppel during a television interview. “We have had no fighting there (the Middle East) for about 18 months so that in itself is an encouraging fact. Now we hope that we will be able to get negotiations started,” Rogers said. (At the United Nations today it was announced that Dr. Jarring is expected back there Monday.)
NO INDICATIONS PHANTOMS INCLUDED
Rogers said the US would supply arms to Israel to enable it to defend itself and deter the Arabs from attacking. “On the other hand, we do not want our support to Israel to appear to be encouraging Israel itself to start hostilities,” he said. Asked about Israel’s long standing request for more Phantom jets, Rogers replied:
“We have followed the policy for some time of attempting to maintain a military balance in the Middle East. By that we mean that we will provide arms to Israel in order to make sure that they can defend themselves. If that were not the case, it would be de-stabilizing. It would be incentive for the other side to start a conflict.”
Rogers declined to state the type of arms going to Israel or the timetable of shipments. “We expect to supply arms to Israel to be sure the balance doesn’t shift,” considering the continued Soviet military shipments to Egypt, he said. State Department spokesman Charles Bray had “no comment” today when asked whether Phantom jets are included in the flow of arms to Israel which Rogers referred to last night. The Rogers interview was aired on the ABC television network but was not picked up by ABC affiliates in some cities including New York.