WASHINGTON (Feb. 2)
Israeli sources here said this afternoon that the agreement announced earlier in the day on the US role in Israeli-Egyptian proximity talks for an interim Suez agreement stemmed directly from an unparalleled understanding reached by President Nixon and Premier Golda Meir at their White House meeting last Dec. 2. The sources said that Nixon pledged that Israel would receive all the planes and military equipment it would need for two years and that Israel would not have to pay in political terms either in talks with Egypt on an interim accord or in negotiations for an overall Middle East settlement.
According to the sources, Israel received virtually everything it wanted with regard to the US position except a guarantee that the US would use its veto in any action at the United Nations with which Israel disagreed. Other sources noted that it was clearly understood that the US could never in any event give the right of its veto to any other power.
According to the Israeli sources, the Nixon-Meir accord was followed by instructions to US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joseph J. Sisco and Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin from their respective governments to follow up and bring about a complete understanding with regard to the US role in interim talks. The sources cautioned, however, that this was only the beginning toward arriving at some agreement in the Middle East. They stressed that it would be a mistake to think differently.
INDIA-PAKISTAN WAR FACTOR IN DECISION
The sources said that Nixon’s order which, in effect overruled the position of the State Department bureaucracy, was based least of all on election year political consideration. They contended that Nixon’s position was based on the results of the recent India-Pakistan war which convinced him that the military imbalance which prevailed on the Indian sub-continent must not be repeated in the Middle East.
The thinking in Israeli circles here is that Egypt may not go along with the American initiative for an interim agreement but will probably seek to urge action along the lines of UN mediator Gunnar V. Jarring’s proposals of Feb. 8, 1971 which Egypt accepted and Israel rejected. The circles pointed out that Dr. Jarring went to Africa last week to develop a different formulation of his proposals in consultation with African leaders.
However, they said, it seemed clear that Dr. Jarring is not seeking any change in the matter of boundaries between Israel and Egypt. Mrs. Meir said in an interview with the NY Times last week that Israel will insist on retaining Sharm el-Sheikh and a land bridge linking it to Israel. Egypt and the Soviet Union are expected to hold to the Jarring formula.