JERUSALEM (Jun. 16)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger sought today to reassure Israeli officials that the nuclear reactors and fuel as well as nuclear technological information the United States planned to supply Egypt could not be used for military purposes. While riding in a car from Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem, Kissinger told Foreign Minister Yigal Allon that the U.S. nuclear aid to Israel was for economic development, according to presidential news secretary Ronald Ziegler.
Allan went on television last night to calm Israeli fears about the new U.S. decisions but he also said that in view of the close relationship between Israel and the U.S., he would have expected advance information. He said Israel would ask Nixon to explain the decision and to provide firm assurances that there was no danger of the nuclear aid being used for military purposes. Observers saw Kissinger’s immediate efforts to reassure the Israelis as an attempt to prevent any ill feelings at the outset of the American Israeli talks.
Allon in his television talk stressed that effective control was scientifically possible. He added that he “could not imagine” the U.S. doing anything to Jeopardize Israel’s security. He said that since the agreement had been announced, Israel had been informed that there would be constant control of uranium to Egypt, both by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, and the U.S. government.
(In New York former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, interviewed on the NBC “Today” show, said Friday that if the nuclear know-how promised Egypt is ever applied for military purposes, the U.S. decision will turn out to have been “a very grave blunder, to put it mildly.” Asked if he could trust Egypt, he said he hoped “we can trust America at this point,” explaining that he was not questioning U.S. intentions but its ability to control Egypt’s application of the nuclear technology it received. He noted that Canada had provided India with help for atomic capability for peaceful use and then India “used it for military purposes.”)
Allon told Israeli television viewers that although the agreement had been “disquieting” to many in Israel, a nuclear power station was a far cry from an atomic bomb.
Information Minister Aharon Yariv said that Israel had also been negotiating with the U.S. for nuclear power stations and Allon noted that Israel’s nuclear research reactor at Nahal Sorek, near Tel Aviv, was the result of a U.S. Israeli agreement.
Likud leaders Menahem Beigin and Samuel Tamer criticized Allen and Yard for their attempts to soothe the public, calling it irresponsible.