WASHINGTON (Sep. 30)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger will visit Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Israel from Oct. 9-13 inclusive on his eighth trip to the area in search of further progress towards a Middle East settlement. The State Department said his purpose is to continue consultations on negotiations looking to “a just and lasting peace” in the Middle East. An announcement in Cairo, however, went further, saying that Kissinger would continue consultations “on the coming stage of the Geneva talks on a just and permanent peace.”
Neither the Washington nor the Cairo announcements, which had long been expected, elaborated on details. Kissinger indicated some movement towards additional views from the Arabs in that he invited Arab League leaders to dinner tonight in New York where they are attending the United Nations General Assembly. The dinner will be at the U.S. Mission to the UN.
The Secretary, in New York for four days, will meet separately Wednesday with Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy. Before Kissinger left Washington yesterday, he had lunch, followed by a working session, with the Syrian Foreign Minister, Abdel Halim Khaddam.
Kissinger had met with the same foreign ministers in the continuing round of Middle East discussions at the White House and State Department in Washington that stretched over most of last summer. His present round of talks appear to be a reprise of the summer meetings, compressed into a few days, to acquaint the Secretary with the latest thinking on both sides of the Middle East conflict before he visits the region again.
The announcements of Kissinger’s trip came while Arab oil producing nations were fuming at the Secretary and President Ford for their attacks against their petroleum output and pricing practices. In that connection, the State Department was asked today whether Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer, was not included in the Kissinger itinerary since that country was presumed to have been originally on his schedule. Spokesman John King replied that there had been “some speculation” about Saudi Arabia’s inclusion but it is not on the schedule.
U.S. EMBASSY DISMAYED OVER GRANT CUT
Meanwhile, an apparently accurate but unconfirmed report circulated here that the American Embassy in Cairo was dismayed to learn that the Ford Administration is willing to eliminate the grant of $250 million in economic support to Egypt designated in the Foreign Aid Bill pending in Congress. King said that he could not speculate whether a new aid bill or “a continuing resolution” would be asked from Congress. A continuing resolution would extend last year’s aid program which did not include such aid to Egypt.
Israel is earmarked thus far in both branches of Congress to get $250 million in economic aid, five times as much as the Administration had originally asked. Congress also has authorized the $250 million for Egypt but the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have yet to act on the measure and Congress is seeking to cut the budget drastically in view of U.S. economic prospects. With regard to the Embassy’s reported dismay. King said he would not discuss confidential communications between the Department and an Embassy and declared he cannot confirm or deny the report.