Gromyko: Nixon, Brezhnev in “total” Disagreement on Mideast

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko reportedly said here today that President Nixon and Soviet Communist Party Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev discussed the Middle East in detail during their summit talks in Moscow last month but “their disagreement on the evaluation of the situation was total.” Gromyko was said to have made that evaluation to Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann during their final working session this morning.

The Soviet Foreign Minister arrived here Tuesday for a three-day official visit during which he conferred with President Georges Pompidou, Premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Schumann. The Middle East was said to have been a major item in the talks.

Diplomatic circles here said this morning’s session between Gromyko and Schumann was almost entirely devoted to the Middle East and Vietnam. According to the circles, Gromyko said he was “highly pessimistic” and that Soviet pessimism “was further increased by the near total disagreement between Moscow and Washington” on this subject.

French sources said, however, that French and Soviet views on the Middle East were “near identical.” They said the joint approach became apparent during Gromyko’s meeting with President Pompidou yesterday and was further evidenced in today’s talks with Schumann. Both Ministers reasserted their belief that the only constructive approach to a political solution in the Mideast was through application of the Security Council’s Resolution 242.

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