WASHINGTON (Mar. 31)
Diplomatic correspondents at the State Department were taken aback today over the pictorial display of Jordan in the Department’s lobby in honor of King Hussein’s visit that included an entire panel of holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The State Department promised under questioning that it would supply a response as to how this took place. But, meanwhile, considerable questioning indicated a feeling among some of the reporters that the display reflected a change in American policy away from Israel and in favor of Jordan.
When the question was raised whether the display implied that the Department considered East Jerusalem a part of Jordan, spokesman Robert Funseth said that “the exhibit does not imply anything except that it is an exhibit for the King.” When a reporter pressed why the holy places were shown as part of Jordan. Funseth said he did not know but that he would not attach political significance to the people who put pictures on panels. He said the policy on occupied territories was fully explained by William Scranton, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, at the Security Council last week.
However, a reporter pointed out that the Department’s Jordan desk officer said that the inclusion of the holy places in Jerusalem in the display on Jordan was not a mistake but deliberate policy and an indication that the U.S. recognizes the holy places as part of Jordan. Funseth then said he would make inquiries about that and discuss it with the press later.
FORD. HUSSEIN DISCUSS MIDEAST
Meanwhile, the White House said today that President Ford and Hussein devoted their 85-minute meeting this morning mostly to discussion of processes toward peace in the Middle East But no indication was given as to what movement was in prospect. In a notice to the press issued on the Ford-Hussein meeting, the White House stated that “a just and durable peace in the Middle East” is of the “utmost importance to both the United States and Jordan.”
The notice said the President “reiterated his determination to see that the momentum of the peace process is maintained.” It added that the two leaders had “reviewed various possibilities for diplomatic action which might offer realistic hopes for additional movement toward peace.” President Ford and King Hussein also “reviewed briefly the latest developments” in Lebanon, the White House said.
RESOLUTION ON LEBANON
In an action related to the situation in Lebanon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee unanimously adopted a resolution last night requesting Ford to use his good offices to “secure an end to the civil strife and national discord in Lebanon.”
The resolution, offered by Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY), stated that “The Congress views with grave concern any outside efforts to exploit the current strife with the purpose of transforming Lebanon into a radical state in confrontation with Israel.” Javits remarked that the U.S. cannot carry out military intervention because “we are living in a different world today.” He commended the President for dispatching Ambassador G.Dean Brown as a special envoy to Lebanon to help arrange a settlement there.