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State Dep’t, Mum on Ford Letter to Rabin Dealing with Golan Situation

Reports from Israel that President Ford has assured Premier Yitzhak Rabin that in the event of a deadlock in the negotiations regarding the Golan Heights the United States would not put pressure on Israel was neither confirmed nor denied yesterday at the State Department.

Department spokesman Robert Funseth, when asked directly whether there had been a letter to Rabin in the last three weeks in which Syria was mentioned, said “direct that question to the White House.” According to the Israeli report, Ford had indicated that no more than “cosmetic” treatment would be applied should negotiations between Israel and Syria through the U.S. bog down.

Funseth said that there are letters between Ford and Rabin but he added that the press reports regarding the U.S. position “is not consistent” with U.S. efforts to maintain a peace momentum in the area. Earlier yesterday the White House said that this was a “speculative story on which normally we would not comment.” But the White House also refused to confirm or deny the existence of the letter.

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