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Kissinger in Israel; Says He Welcomes Israel’s Decision Endorsing His Step-by-step Approach

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger arrived in sleet-swept, wind buffeted Jerusalem tonight to begin a day-and-a-half of intensive talks with Israeli leaders on the possibilities of a second-stage agreement between Israel and Egypt in Sinai. A fleet of all-weather jeeps stood outside the King David Hotel to transport the Secretary and his party to the residence of Premier Yitzhak Rabin for a working dinner that will launch their discussions. Kissinger will fly to Cairo on Wednesday and is due back here Thursday for a final round of talks with the Israelis.

The jeeps were assembled in anticipation of a heavy snowfall which would make the streets impassable to ordinary vehicles. Kissinger landed earlier this evening at a fog-shrouded Ben Gurion Airport where he and his wife, Nancy, were greeted officially by Foreign Minister and Mrs. Yigal Allon and U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Kenneth Keating.

The Secretary spoke briefly to reporters at the airport. He said he welcomed the Israel government’s decision yesterday endorsing his step-by-step approach to a settlement. He said that while the U.S. could not guarantee the success of this method, it agrees with Israel that this policy should be tested.

Kissinger is meeting tonight with Rabin, Allon and Defense Minister Shimon Peres. Israeli sources said that the opening round of talks would not go into details but rather that Israel and the U.S. would each state its overall view of the situation and of settlement prospects. Most observers here believe that the talks with Kissinger tonight and tomorrow will remain on an “algebraic” level and that the hard “arithmetic” of a settlement will be reached–hopefully-when Kissinger returns Thursday with Cairo’s response to Israel’s views.

The sources here stressed that the Israeli leaders were entering their latest round of talks with Kissinger in a relaxed atmospheres so far as bilateral U.S.-Israeli relations are concerned. There are no indications of delays in U.S. military aid to Israel or any other forms of pressure from Washington, the sources said.

The Israeli leaders were said to want to ascertain, in their initial exchange of views with Kissinger, what guarantees could be obtained that a partial settlement achieved now with Egypt would not be abrogated several months from now at a reconvened Geneva conference. The Israelis are apparently aware that they will eventually have to return to Geneva to negotiate an overall settlement.

Before his departure from Washington, Kissinger indicated that his step-by-step approach was not to be considered a substitute for the Geneva parley in the long run. But Israel wants assurances that whatever concessions it may be required to make toward a partial settlement will not prove to have been wasted when the full conference resumes at Geneva.

The Israeli government is expected to make it clear to Kissinger, and through him to Cairo, that a settlement with Egypt must not be linked to future progress or any arrangements on the other Arab fronts. Israel will insist on reciprocity–“a piece of territory for a piece of peace,” one source said. It will also demand that its agreement be concluded directly with Egypt and not between Egypt and the U.S. on one hand and Israel and the U.S. on the other.

Nevertheless, the sources said, Israel does not insist that certain provisions could not remain under wraps or be contained in undertakings given to third parties. But the broad character of a partial settlement must be contained in an agreement arrived at between the two parties involved. Israeli leaders feel that their armed strength has been increased considerably during the eight months since the disengagement agreement with Syria was concluded and that they could relate to Egypt now from a position of confidence, the sources said.

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