WASHINGTON (Jun. 16)
With Premier Yitzhak Rabin having reached an “understanding” with President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger during his five days of discussions here and in New York, the United States turned its attention today to further contacts with Egypt and other Arab countries. The Syrian Foreign Minister, Abda Halim Khaddam is due in Washington this Friday for a visit of undetermined duration, indicating the possibility of extended talks with U.S. officials.
The American course toward diplomatic progress in the Middle East, either by a new interim agreement between Israel and Egypt or an overall settlement, remained uncertain, however. The Administration is yet to come up with its foreign aid package for Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria which, most observers agree, will be a tangible indication of the extent of the American commitment to those four countries in economic and military terms during the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
An aide to Sen, Hubert H. Humphrey (D. Minn, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on the foreign aid program, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that hearings on the program probably will not begin until some time in July. Secretary Kissinger said last Thursday, in response to a JTA question, that a precise date has not been set for the presentation of this program to Congress.
On May 15, Sen. Humphrey had said that unless the State Department was forthcoming soon with its foreign aid proposals, his subcommittee would begin hearings without the government’s presentation directly after the Rabin visit. If the hearings are not held until some time in July, as now indicated, it would be the first time in foreign aid history that the United States has entered a new fiscal year without a complete aid program.
COMMON U.S.-ISRAEL TIES
U.S.-Israel relations were underlined in the closing days of Rabin’s visit in philosophical comments by President Ford and two members of his Cabinet. The President observed that the basis of U.S.-Israeli relations was the two countries’ mutual dedication to democracy. Kissinger made the same point in a toast at a dinner for Rabin given last Thursday night by Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz, at the Israeli Embassy.
Last night, at the 27th anniversary ball for Israel, held by the Embassy at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Caspar Weinberger stated that the “ties” for a strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel that “unquestionably will continue,” were based on “similarity of beliefs,” He pointed to the “deep human concern for the loss fortunate” and the “deep attachment to human liberty and dignity of each individual” as examples of those beliefs. Dinitz reiterated what Rabin had said on the CBS “Face the Nation” program Sunday, prior to his departure from the U.S. that all negotiations and pieces of paper that are signed will be unable to guarantee Israel’s security “unless Israel is strong by itself and for itself,” Dinitz presented the Israel Cultural Award at the ball to humorist Sam Levinson.