WASHINGTON (Jul. 30)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger met today in what one State Department source said was an effort to “have some quiet diplomacy here.” Emerging after a two-hour meeting with the Secretary, Allon said that they had begun “a month’s pilgrimage in search of peace.” The Israeli official told reporters that he and Kissinger also discussed the next round of negotiations for a Middle East peace settlement which will possibly include the reconvening of the Geneva peace conference.
In a brief statement to reporters after the meeting ended late this afternoon both Allon and Kissinger described the talks as positive. The Secretary said the talks were a continuation of a “characteristically friendly fashion” in which meetings between the two countries were held. Allon thanked Kissinger and President Nixon for their efforts in achieving the disengagement agreements in the Mideast and said the talks today helped “chart the course of peace in the Middle East.” When a reporter asked about the Palestinians, Allon replied that “most Palestinians are Jordanian citizens and most Jordanians are Palestinians.”
According to sources, Kissinger is expected to urge Israel to begin talks with Jordan rather than with Egypt and also to continue to sound out Israel on the question of the Palestinians when he meets again tomorrow with Allon for a working luncheon.
NIXON NAMES ENVOY TO SYRIA
Even as the two diplomats were conferring. President Nixon announced he will nominate Richard Murphy, a career diplomat, as the first U.S. Ambassador to Syria since the Six-Day War Murphy has been U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania since 1971. The resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Syria was announced by Nixon and Syrian President Hafez Assad when they met in Damascus June 16.
BACKGROUND TENSION LOOMS IN TALKS
Meanwhile, the talks between Allon and Kissinger took place as tension in Israel heightened over the possibility of a renewed Middle East war by the end of the year. Because of this, the United States, preoccupied with the conflict in Cyprus for the last two weeks, is expected to push for some kind of movement soon on negotiations to prevent a new conflict. Kissinger is scheduled to meet with officials from Egypt, Jordan and Syria after his talks with Allon.
The Allon-Kissinger talks were also held against the background of a visit by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to Egypt and the departure of Yasir Arafat, Palestine Liberation Organization leader, for the Soviet Union. Arafat went to the USSR at the invitation of Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev and it is expected that the Soviet Union will recognize the PLO as the only representative of the Palestinians.
Allon, who arrived in Washington Sunday for his first visit to the United States since becoming Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier, will also be discussing the long-term military and economic aid that Israel has been seeking from the U.S. and that President Nixon promised when he was in Israel. Allon is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger tomorrow and with Treasury Secretary William Simon and congressional leaders Thursday. He will see Kissinger tomorrow night at a dinner given in Allon’s honor by Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz.