Messmer Most Knowledgeable on Mideast, Israeli Minister Says

France’s new Premier, Pierre Messmer, was described by an Israeli Cabinet minister today as one of the few Frenchmen thoroughly acquainted with the Middle East. That remark by Transport Minister Shimon Peres at a meeting of the Israel-France Friendship Association in Haifa was the first assessment of Messmer by a member of the Israeli Government.

Referring to Messmer’s appointment by President Georges Pompidou last week, Peres said, “I do not know if as a result of this the French attitude towards Israel would change but I am convinced that Messmer’s attitude will not suffer from a lack of knowledge of the subject.” Peres said there was no reason why France’s position on Israel should not change for the better. A change is possible, he said.

(Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told a visiting Canadian United Jewish Appeal delegation in Tel Aviv Friday night that France is supplying weapons and other military supplies to Arab countries-principally Egypt-through Libya. He said Libya in fact, may even pay the bills for this equipment. In reply to questions. Gen. Dayan said France had not resumed the sale of weapons to Israel.

The Defense Minister praised the US however for supplying Israel with all the military equipment it needs. He said Israel had no complaints on that score and expressed hope that the US policy will not change after the Presidential elections.)

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