WASHINGTON (Feb. 7)
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan lunched today with US Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird at the Pentagon under security precautions which veteran newsmen here described as the strictest in Pentagon history. Later in the afternoon Dayan met with Secretary of State William P. Rogers at the State Department. He was accompanied to both meetings by Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin.
Dayan refused to discuss what transpired at the meetings. “I am only a guest here,” he told a Jewish Telegraphic Agency reporter outside the State Department. Asked if the sale of more US Phantom jets to Israel or a Suez Canal interim agreement with Egypt were subjects of discussion, Dayan said “better ask them,” referring to his Pentagon and State Department hosts.
Present at the Laird luncheon in addition to Rabin were four Israel Embassy officials connected with Israel’s arms purchasing mission here. Also present were Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joseph J. Sisco and seven civilian and military officials of the State and Defense departments. Police blocked off 150 feet on each side of the corridor where Gen. Dayan entered the Pentagon. They sealed off the entire floor where Dayan and his hosts lunched in Laird’s private dining room and the entire floor above.
There was no immediate explanation for the stringency of the security arrangements. A State Department official told the JTA later that they were not unusual. “We just play it safe,” he said. It was learned that at the specific request of the Israeli Embassy, reporters were not permitted to approach Dayan at the Pentagon but press photographers were permitted beyond the police barricades.
Prior to his departure Friday from Israel, Dayan said that he would not discuss anything concrete with US administration officials but would participate in what he termed an exchange of views on the Mideast situation. He stated that since he was not a participant in the clarification talks between the US and Israel that led to Israel’s acceptance of the proximity talks he would not discuss this problem during his visit in the US.
Dayan is visiting this country on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal and State of Israel Bonds. He will meet with leaders of the American Jewish community in three major cities.