JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
The Cabinet sitting in secret as a ministerial defense committee heard reports from Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Yigal Allon on the Nixon visit last night. No details were released. On the whole, official Jerusalem has expressed itself as well satisfied with the Nixon visit, the talks with him and the joint communique issued Monday. Officials said the talks and the communique indicated in effect–over and above the extremely warm expressions of general support–the Administration’s agreement in principle to Israel’s requests for long-term military and economic aid that would extend till the end of the decade. Further negotiations on both sorts of aid are to begin forthwith, with an Israeli military delegation due in Washington next month.
The officials said that the agreement in principle was what Israel had hoped for from the talks with the President. There had been no question, they said, of the President’s approving the details of the various requests on the spot, without further consultations in Washington. Before the visit, some officials had seemed to anticipate that the deals would in fact be clinched by the President himself during his visit. But the Premier himself had said, it is now reliably learned, that it was not Nixon’s style of work to go into such details–and what could be expected was his overall commitment to consider the requests favorably, followed by further talks in Washington.
The main thing, one well placed source said, is that the President has accepted “the new and much bigger dimensions” of Israel’s military and economic needs for the mid- and late seventies. Rabin’s statement Monday night that he had appointed two top scientists to report on possible dangers of Egypt’s receipt of a nuclear reactor, and his cautious tone on the subject, contrasted with earlier soothing statements by Allon and Information Minister Aharon Yariv over the weekend, when news of the U.S.-Cairo nuclear pact was announced. Sources close to Allon explained that the Foreign Minister deliberately adopted the soothing tone–at the Cabinet’s behest–to allay to some extent public fears and anxieties and thereby ensure that the nuclear episode did not impinge unduly on the Nixon visit and the President’s welcome here. The Cabinet had felt that the visit–and the issues to be discussed during it–were too weighty to be jeopardized by this nuclear issue. Nevertheless, the residue of surprise and alarm remains.