JERUSALEM (Mar. 2)
Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon and Israeli officials continued their talks here today on U.S. Israeli trade relations. American investments in Israel and U.S. aid to this country. Simon observed that Israel was among the 12 top recipients of American economic assistance in the world.
In his first round of talks with Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz yesterday, Simon expressed satisfaction with the progress so far of the Joint U.S.-Israel Investment Committee formed last year of which Simon and Rabinowitz serve as co-chairmen. He noted that since last May, the U.S. “Overseas Private Investment Corporation” has guaranteed 20 American investment projects in Israel of an aggregate value of $135 million.
Israeli officials indicated that they would not raise the question of U.S. aid funding for the transitional quarter between the end of fiscal 1976 on June 30 and the beginning of fiscal 1977 Oct. 1 because that matter is currently being examined by Congress.
But the Israelis are reported to have underscored in their talks with Simon their demand for tough action by the U.S. government against the Arab boycott. They are believed to have stressed that American businessmen would feel secure in investing and trading with Israel only if they are assured that their government stands fully behind them against the Arab boycott.
Simon lunched with Premier Yitzhak Rabin at the latter’s residence today following a meeting this morning with Minister of Commerce and Industry Haim Barlev. The luncheon was attended by several ministers, Knesset members and Treasury officials.
SIMON CITED FOR POSITIVE ROLE
Simon was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by Tel Aviv University today. Prof, Haim Ben-Shahar, president of the university, cited the Treasury Secretary for his critical and sober role as head of the U.S. Federal Energy Administration during the Arab oil embargo and as architect of the Jamaica International Monetary Agreement. He also referred to Simon’s vital part in establishing the U.S.-Israel Economic Committee here last year.
In his address at the university, Simon noted that after nearly 30 years of independence, Israel like the U.S., faced major economic problems. He enumerated these as inflation, the pressing need for capital investment and the high cost of defense. He said those problems were not insurmountable. “I remain convinced that Israel has the spirit and leadership and dedication born of hard times, that will see you through the period ahead,” Simon said.
He pledged that the U.S. will continue to assist Israel and other countries to meet their development objectives. But in order to do that, America must remain a bastion of world economic strength, h