WASHINGTON (Dec. 6)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger said today that the U.S. government is “prepared to consider individual or joint guarantees” of a Middle East peace settlement by forces outside the region but that he is “somewhat dubious” about the “permanent stationing” of U.S. or Soviet troops there.
“We don’t rule it out totally,” Kissinger told a news conference at the State Department, but the U.S. will be “reluctant to get into this,” he said. He recalled that the United States told the UN Security Council in Oct., when it was establishing the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), that it opposed the participation in that force of any of the Council’s five permanent members, “all of which incidentally have nuclear weapon capability.”
Kissinger said the issue of guarantees would come up only after a settlement is reached among the parties on borders and security arrangements such as demilitarized zones and joint inspection teams. “Then we will know what it is the outside parties should guarantee,” he said. Kissinger observed that despite outbreaks of fighting along the cease-fire lines and the break off of Israeli-Egyptian disengagement talks at Kilometer 101, it is “extremely probable” that the Middle East peace conference will begin on schedule in Geneva Dec. 18.
Kissinger said that “Some technical details remain to be worked out such as the form and nature of the invitations” to the parties. But he said these matters were “relatively easily solvable.” He said the U.S. continued to be in touch with all the parties concerned–Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordon, the Soviet Union and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. He said that the Geneva conference would deal first with military matters and then with settlement aspects in accordance with Resolution 242.
USSR HAS PLAYED CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE
On the breakoff of talks at Kilometer 101 between Egyptian and Israeli military negotiators and the shooting down today of an Egyptian plane (see separate story), Kissinger said both sides are “in danger of imminent encirclement” and this means that there is “need for separation of forces to reduce this danger.” He said he did not believe that the cease-fire “will come apart” and that “the Geneva conference will be jeopardized.”
Regarding participation by the Soviet Union in negotiations for a Mideast settlement, Kissinger said “we did not consider some Soviet actions as constructive” but in “setting up the conference, the Soviet Union has played a constructive one.” He said he could not predict what the Soviet Union would do once the Geneva conference opened, but if the Soviet Union attempted to set forth “extreme resolutions, it will make a settlement extremely difficult.”
Asked about the role of the Palestinians, Kissinger said their participation and role in the conference would be “best settled by the parties at the conference.” On the solution of the “Palestinian question,” a settlement would have to be found between the “rights of the Palestinians and the limitations of absorption in the mandated territory of Palestine,” he said.