LONDON (Jun. 19)
The Foreign Office replied in the negative today when asked whether Foreign Secretary James Callaghan had discussed an arms deal with Syria during his meeting here today with the visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul Halim Khaddam. A Foreign Office spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it had no comment on Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon’s expression of concern in the Knesset yesterday about the pending British-Egyptian arms deal. The spokesman said that Callaghan’s reply will reach Allon “indue course.”
Khaddam, who is also Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister, arrived here today for a brief visit enroute to Washington where he is scheduled to meet with President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger tomorrow. He met with Callaghan for 75 minutes at Admiralty House this morning. A Foreign Office spokesman said the two ministers reviewed the Middle East situation and bilateral relations.
The spokesman told the JTA that the Foreign Secretary was pleased with the opportunity to obtain a first-hand insight into Syria’s official thinking from Khaddam whom he met for the first time today. The Syrian diplomat invited the Foreign Secretary to visit Syria and the invitation was accepted, the spokesman said. No date was announced. Callaghan and Khaddam also discussed ways to bring about closer relations between Syria and the United Kingdom in the fields of economic and commercial cooperation and cultural exchanges, the spokesman said.