WASHINGTON (May. 30)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger was expected to return to Washington sometime after midnight tonight and report details of the Syrian-Israeli disengagement accord to President Nixon and Congressional leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow morning. Of special interest to Congress in their meeting with the Secretary. Congressional sources made clear to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, is the reported commitment he made to Israel that the United States government will not diplomatically oppose Israeli response to attacks by “irregular forces” coming from Syria. This commitment was seen as requiring explicit definitions.
Meanwhile an authoritative White House source said no comment will be forthcoming from the Administration, beyond the President’s statement yesterday, regarding the accord to be signed tomorrow in Geneva. Neither would the White House comment on the report that the accord means the way is now clear for the President to visit Egypt, Israel and perhaps other Arab countries during the second week in June.
At the capital, key Congressional members welcomed the agreement and praised Kissinger’s 32-day successful effort towards helping attain it. but cautioned against excess optimism on results. A senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who asked that his name not be used until he heard the details from Kissinger himself, said that the preliminary feeling at the Capital was that the agreement represented “another plus on the chart but not something to get too exuberant about right now.”
A TRACE. NOT A SETTLEMENT
“At least some kind of a settlement has gotten through,” he added. “Maybe it is not the best but it is something to work with.” Equally cautious was the reaction in non-official quarters close to political circles here. “Anything that will help bring peace to the area is to the good but this is a truce, not a settlement,” one observer said. “I must think. how long can a peace keeping force be kept there? Some hot-headed Palestinians can upset the apple cart. Then what happens?”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee sources emphasized to JTA that they will scrutinize Kissinger’s reported pledge to Premier Golda Meir on “irregulars.” According to unofficial reports here. Kissinger promised her the U.S. government will say in a letter to Israel that attacks by “irregular forces” will constitute an infringement of the Syrian-Israeli agreement, that the United States will understand an Israeli response to such attacks and will not oppose it diplomatically in the United Nations or elsewhere.
ACCORD MUST GO TO APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES
This reported U.S. commitment was considered by some Senate sources as an Executive agreement within the President’s powers and thus not subject to Senate confirmation. However, it was noted that under the Case Act of Aug. 22, 1972. authored by Sen. Clifford P. Case (R.NJ), details of any agreement or commitment involving the United States, oral or written, must be transmitted to the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations Committees of Congress within 60 days after they enter into force.
“The whole package–everything–dealing with both sides of this agreement must go to the appropriate committees,” a source said. This, he said, includes full disclosure of the Kissinger “ideas” to Syria and Israel.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, JTA learned, now has the “package” on the Israeli-Egyptian disengagement signed in Jan. But its contents are secret and have been read only by the committee’s members. It is understood that in this accord the Egyptians agreed to restrain terrorist activities from Egypt against Israel. Such a clause was desired by Israel in its accord with Syria but the Damascus government refused to accept it and the reported pledge by Kissinger to Mrs. Meir presumably followed to induce Israel’s acceptance of the remainder of the agreement.