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Ford Raps Israel on Leaks

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President Ford today rebuked Israel for what he described as “leakage” of information concerning diplomatic exchanges between the United States and Israel. The rebuke followed a report today in the Israeli newspaper Maariv that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger had sent a message to Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon in which he criticized Israel’s decision to establish four new settlements on the Golan Heights.

Ford’s statement was released by the State Department. It said: “The President has authorized the State Department to state, we strongly deplore this constant leakage of most confidential information. The Department has conveyed a message from the President to the Israeli government conveying these views.”

According to Maariv, Kissinger’s message arrived less than three weeks ago. The newspaper said that American Ambassador Malcolm Toon tried to deliver the message to Israel Premier Yitzhak Rabin who refused to accept it. Maariv said Rabin told Toon that the Syrians could not dictate to Israel if and when additional settlements should be set up.

Last June the U.S. government lodged a similar protest against leaks from the Israeli government after the New York Times published maps of the Sinai peninsula showing the final troop positions that had been agreed between Israel and Egypt as part of the second interim agreement.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Robert Funseth also said today he did not know whether Israel had consulted the United States on Allon’s secret trip to Europe over the weekend. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has admitted that Allon went to two European-capitals but would not say which ones or what was the purpose of the trip. Ford recently asked the Israeli government to consult with the U.S. before taking actions such as its Dec. 2 bombings of terrorist strongholds in Lebanon and Israel’s announcement that it will boycott the Jan. 12 UN Security Council debate on the Mideast because the PLO has been invited to participate.

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