WASHINGTON (Jun. 11)
President Ford made it clear in his first meeting with Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin this morning that the United States will insist on movement to-ward peace negotiations in the Middle East, A White House statement, issued shortly after the one-hour-and-45-minute meeting between Ford and Rabin stated that “the President today reiterated America’s determination not to have a stalemate in this peace-making process.” The statement added “He discussed with Prime Minister Rabin various approaches which might be taken to regain the momentum toward a negotiated settlement.”
President Ford spoke similarly during his meeting with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Salzburg, Austria on June 1. He warned at that time that the U.S. would not tolerate stagnation and stalemate in its efforts for a negotiated settlement. some observers here took the White House’s reference to “momentum toward a negotiated settlement” to mean a second-stage interim agreement between Israel and Egypt.
TALKS MARKED BY ‘FRANKNESS,’ ‘CORDIALLY’
The White House statement said “The first meeting gave the President and the Prime Minister the opportunity for a general review of the Middle East situation,” The talks will continue tonight at a working dinner at the White House and at another Ford-Rabin meeting tomorrow morning during which “the two leaders will have a chance to go more deeply into the various issues of the Middle East peace-making process,” the White House statement said. It said that “the talks were conducted in a spirit of frankness and cordiality which has long characterized the friendship between the United States and Israel.”
Rabin was accompanied at his meeting with the President by Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitzl Mordechai Shalov, Minister of the Israel Embassy in Washington: and Mordechai Gazit, director general of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. In addition to the President, the American side was represented by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Joseph J. Sisco and Gen, Brent Scowcroft, who is Kissinger’s assistant in the latter’s capacity as chairman of the National Security Council.
FORD’S LONG ACQUAINTANCE WITH RABIN NOTED
Reporters who covered Ford’s initial meeting with Rabin today and the President’s meeting with President Sadat in Salzburg ten days ago, noted that while the latter event was surrounded by official pomp and ceremony, virtually nothing of a ceremonial nature was visible at the White House today apart from a display of U.S., Israeli and District of Columbia flags.
Questioned about the apparent discrepancy, White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen stressed that it had absolutely “no political significance,” Nessen explained that the two meetings could not be equated with regard to their ceremonial aspects because the President’s meeting with Sadat took place in a third country and most of the protocol was arranged by the Austrian authorities.
Nessen observed that white Ford’s meeting with Sadat was his first with the Egyptian leader the President has had a long acquaintanceship with Rabin dating from the time the latter was Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Ford was a member of Congress. Nessen insisted that there also was “no political significance” in the fact that President Ford will not attend a dinner for Rabin to be given by Ambassador Dinitz at the Israeli Embassy tomorrow night, Kissinger is to attend that event.