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Israel Seeks to Establish Diplomatic Ties with South Vietnam Government

Israeli officials said today that the time was ripe to establish diplomatic relations with the South Vietnamese regime in Saigon before a coalition government including Communist elements takes over in that country. The Communist countries, except Rumania, broke relations with Israel after the Six-Day War and it is assumed here that Israel would find it difficult to establish relations with Saigon once Communists had a voice in government there.

The regime of President Nguyen Van Thieu has expressed willingness in the past to exchange ambassadors with Israel. But such a move has been opposed here by Mapam and other coalition elements. Advocates of a new approach by Israel have noted that Israel maintains diplomatic relations with other rightist regimes in Southeast Asia, including Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. They stress that Israel’s policy has always been to maintain diplomatic relations with as many countries as possible. They said that Israel would be willing to establish relations with North Vietnam, North Korea and other states linked to the Communist bloc, but none of them are prepared to establish relations with Israel.