JERUSALEM (Apr. 17)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s announced decision to go ahead with his Mideast visit next week was welcomed by political circles here as evidence of his determination not to be deterred from his peace-making efforts either by the political uncertainties in Israel or by the cold water which Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev has poured on his attempts.
In a speech in Moscow last Thursday in honor of Syrian President Hafez Assad, Brezhnev termed the U.S. efforts “ersatz” and demanded that all future disengagement talks be moved to Geneva. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko apparently adopted a less aggressive pose in his Friday meeting with President Nixon and Kissinger in Washington. But whatever the vagaries of the Soviet attitude, the Secretary is seen as plainly determined to continue his efforts. He is ignoring too the Soviet encouragement of the Syrian hard line on the Golan disengagement and gambling on his own ability to find common ground between the Israeli and Syrians plans, observers here believe.
Kissinger’s decision was particularly welcomed here since initial reports from Washington after Premier Golda Meir’s resignation described Kissinger’s doubts as to whether Israel would be able to pursue negotiations during the coming period due to political uncertainty. Political circles here discount the theory that Kissinger is hastening to the Mideast in order to negotiate with Mrs. Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan before they are replaced by less familiar faces.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Abba Eban has instructed all Israeli legations abroad to stress to host governments that it is “business as usual” in Jerusalem despite the political troubles. The Israeli government would be legally and morally qualified to conduct foreign policy and to rule the country–whether it was to be a transitional government or a new administration, the envoys were instructed to say. (By David Landau)