JERUSALEM (Dec. 20)
Premier Golda Meir disclosed last night that Israel made numerous approaches and proposals to the Syrian government in recent weeks to arrange a prisoner of war exchange but was repeatedly rebuffed despite many concessions it offered. She said the proposals included one for a meeting between senior Israeli and Syrian officers simillar to the Kilometer 101 talks with the Egyptians. It was conveyed to Damascus through Dr. Roberte Guyer, Undersecretary General of the United Nations, but the Syrians refused, she said. She said there were additional attempts to make contact with the Syrians through representatives of the United States and the International Red Cross but all failed. Mrs. Meir spoke at a special session of the Knesset convened at the government’s request for a final discussion before the Geneva conference which opens tomorrow morning. The Premier’s political statement was followe by a lengthy debate which ended with a substantial vote of confidence for the government. (See separate story.)
Mrs. Meir’s disclosure of her government’s approaches to Syria was made at a time when Israelis were increasingly apprehensive over unconfirmed reports that few if any of its soldiers captured by the Syrians were still alive.
REPORTS POWS IN SYRIA ALIVE
These reports, from Pentagon sources in Washington, intimated that all of the POWs had been murdered which would account for Syria’s persistent refusal to submit a list of POWs to the Red Cross or allow IRC representatives to visit the prisoners.
An Army spokesman said today, however, that recording to information in Israeli possession there was no truth to that report. He said that while there is evidence that some POWs were murdered by the Syrians during the war, there was also evidence that others were alive. He noted that some captured Israelis were shown on television and photos of others appeared in newspapers.
According to reports reaching here from Parts today, U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger said he had received assurances from President ### of Spria that Israel POWs were being “well meated.” American officials who declined to be identified said Ass ###
### had tried but failed to prevent a session on the Sabbath and could not afford to be absent from it.