WASHINGTON (Oct. 23)
Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger, preoccupied with an increasingly murkier situation in the Middle East, cancelled a news conference planned for today and postponed a long scheduled visit to Peking that had been set for next weekend. Announcement of the two actions followed Dr. Kissinger’s long conference at the White House this morning with President Nixon and his abrupt and urgent call to meet Soviet leaders in Moscow and his unexpected visit afterwards to Tel Aviv over the past three days.
Dr. Kissinger, State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said, probably will hold his news conference tomorrow and possibly at the White House rather than in the State Department. Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency if he would clear up when, where and under whose auspices Israel, Egypt, Syria and other parties to the hostilities in the Middle East would meet to negotiate a settlement in accordance with the Security Council’s resolution adopted early yesterday in New York, Ambassador McCloskey replied that those questions were unanswerable today but might be answered tomorrow.
Asked who broke the cease-fire, McCloskey replied that he could not say but that the United States “expects full performance at least by the parties” that had agreed to the cease-fire. In this connection he noted that Syria and Saudi Arabi have not given an official reaction or response with respect to rejection or acceptance of the UN resolution and that Iraq, Libya and the Palestine Liberation Organization have rejected it.
McCloskey who accompanied Dr. Kissinger on his travels and is intimate with details of the U.S. role in the Middle East said that the United States is engaged in “intensive” diplomatic activities with the parties themselves and others at the United Nations. A high State Department source afterwards cautioned against interpreting McCloskey’s expectations as meaning the U.S. and USSR had agreed on a formula or a forum for negotiations between the parties. “This will arise” the source said “from the diplomatic contacts that presumably we will have once the fighting stops.”
Asked by JTA if the Jackson Amendment regarding Soviet emigration was discussed either in Moscow or in Tel Aviv as a factor in the Middle East situation, McCloskey said that he may not be aware of discussion on the legislation but noted that Dr. Kissinger had spent time alone with Israeli Premier Golda Meir in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile JTA learned that the House Rules Committee has not yet acted on the Mills-Vanik measure, identical to the Jackson Amendment, although the measure tentatively had been set to have come for a vote in the House last week. Delay, it was said, had been asked by the Nixon Administration in view of the effects of the Middle East hostilities on Soviet-American detente.
McCloskey also said that the possibility of a U.S. Soviet peace keeping force in the Middle East did not arise in the discussions over the weekend but that he was not excluding anything from arrangements for “monitoring” a cease-fire in the Middle East. Application of Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, he said, was “a subject examined pretty thoroughly” in the Moscow talks. This was interpreted to mean that the resolution language on borders about which the Soviet and the U.S. do not agree may have been discussed for a joint understanding and implementation.
At the State Department, sources said that “one consideration” for the urgent meeting in Moscow was Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin’s 60 our visit to Cairo earlier in the week. Dr. Kissinger’s visit to Tel Aviv was to give the Israelis details of the Moscow deliberations. McCloskey said that the current U.S. resupply of weapons to Israel “is continuing” and that the Soviet airlift to Egypt and Syria is also continuing. He emphatically denied the U.S. resupply of weapons was used to pressure Israel into accepting the cease-fire resolution when it was getting the upper hand over the Arab attackers.