WASHINGTON (Oct. 30)
The White House announced this morning that Israeli Premier Golda Meir will meet Thursday with President Nixon in what was described as part of Nixon’s continuing efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East. Mrs. Meir’s trip to Washington was announced officially in Jerusalem about the same time as here. The Premier is due to arrive tomorrow, but the time is not known.
There was no immediate answer from either the White House or Israel as to who initiated the meeting but a White House spokesman said it was arranged by mutual consent and will be a “working session.” Before meeting with Mrs. Meir, Nixon will consult tonight with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin at Camp David in Maryland. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger will also attend tonight’s meeting.
Presidential spokesman Gerald Warren said “these meetings are all part of the President’s effort to bring lasting peace in the Middle East.” Yesterday, Egypt’s Acting Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi met with Kissinger and met again with him today. There was some speculation that Mrs. Meir and Fahmi may have a face-to-face meeting on prospects for beginning peace negotiations but a White House spokesman appeared to be skeptical about this.
GAME MUST BE GOING BADLY
(In Israel, the immediate reaction to the announcement that Premier Meir is going to Washington tomorrow was one of surprise and some puzzlement. Observers asked why the Premier was playing her strongest card at the beginning of the game and concluded that the game must be going badly for her to feel the need for personal intervention at this early stage. There was also
PEACE TALKS NOT CLOSE AT HAND
Fahmi, emerging from the State Department this afternoon after a four-hour “working lunch” with Kissinger and Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Joseph J. Sisco, dodged tv cameras and reporters’ questions as he raced to his limousine. But he indicated that peace negotiations with Israel were not close at hand.
Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency if he thought a Middle East peace was closer today than it was when he arrived in Washington yesterday, the Egyptian diplomat would say only that he had spoken with Kissinger “in a constructive and business way, very frank.” Asked if Egypt would negotiate directly with Israel, Fahmi replied, “This process must take a long time.” Fahmi is to meet tomorrow with Nixon for further talks in what was described as the beginnings of a discussion between the U.S. and Egypt looking toward finding means to begin negotiations.
At the conclusion of the Kissinger-Fahmi meeting, State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey made it clear that talks were going into both long-term solutions and problems involving the cease-fire. He said the U.S. hoped to use its good offices to get a dialogue under way between the Arabs and Israelis but could not fore east “with any confidence when negotiations might start.
Asked if the U.S. was trying to persuade Israel to return to the cease-fire lines of Oct. 22. McCloskey would say only that the two cease-fire resolutions of the Security Council were on the record and he would not prejudice the positions that were now being discussed by officials of various governments.