WASHINGTON (Jun. 26)
White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen said today that President Ford is “not personally angry” with anyone over the publication yesterday of a purported Israeli proposal for a second interim agreement with Egypt. Nessen offered that statement when the Jewish Telegraphic Agency asked why the President was so angry over the “leak” that he made his statement assailing it through the State Department. The issuance of a Presidential statement through the State Department is a rare occurrence.
Observers here are puzzling over why the President expressed himself publicly with such ire over a news report, attributed to Israeli sources, which he himself described as “inaccurate and highly misleading.” Some analysts suggested that the Presidential statement originated with the State Department which saw it as a means to pressure Israel and demonstrate to the Arabs that the President has no qualms about applying such pressure. Others believe Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger felt undercut in his role as mediator between Israel and Egypt and urged the President to make his statement as a warning to Jerusalem to keep silent about the negotiations now taking place through diplomatic channels.
(By Joseph Polakoff)