AMSTERDAM (Apr. 17)
Israel appeared to have made important diplomatic gains on two fronts at the meeting of world Socialist party leaders held here over the weekend which was attended by Foreign Minister Yigal Allon. Prime Minister Mario Soarez of Portugal, announced yesterday that his country will recognize Israel and establish full diplomatic ties with it. He said after a meeting with Allon that the move will be announced officially on April 25, the anniversary of Portugal’s revolution. (See related story)
Allon met also for nearly an hour with India’s Minister of Communications Georges Fernandez, that country’s first representative to the Socialist gathering. After the meeting, Fernandez told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Indian government “will examine its relations with Israel within a couple of weeks.” He said the five Indian Socialist ministers feel that diplomatic ties should be established between India and Israel within the feasible future.
At present, Israel has no diplomatic relations with New Delhi though it maintains a Consulate at Bombay which deliberately keeps a low profile. Former Premier Indira Ghandi was especially hostile toward Israel. While Israeli diplomatic circles expected a thawing in relations following Ghandi’s defeat in the Indian elections last month, no signs of a change were evident until Allon’s meeting with Fernandez here.
ALLON MEETS WITH SOCIALIST LEADERS
The Israeli Foreign Minister had a busy 24 hours. He met with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria, Britain’s Prime Minister James Callaghan, Dutch Premier Joop Den Uyl and the Dutch Foreign Minister Van Der Stoel. On his way home to Israel tomorrow, he will stop off in Paris for a meeting with French Foreign Minister Louis de Guiringaud.
The Amsterdam conference was the latest in a series of meetings between Socialist party leaders held within the framework of the Socialist International. It was probably Allon’s last foray abroad as Foreign Minister since he is expected to become Defense Minister in the next Israeli government should the Labor Party win in the May 17 elections. The conference, which ended today, was aimed at coordinating Socialist positions in preparation for the next Helsinld Conference on East-West relations to be held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in June.
CONDITIONAL SUPPORT OF DETENTE
Addressing the gathering, Allon said Israel favored detente “on condition that it be applied” by the Soviet Union. He called on Moscow “not to use slogans but apply them” and observed that “In the eyes of the Soviet Union, all peoples are equal except one which is a little less equal than all the others,” a reference to the Soviet attitude toward Jews.
Allon said that the treatment of Jews in the USSR should be “the barometer of Soviet global attitudes. What hits us today can hit you (the Socialist parties and their countries) tomorrow. We are just the litmus paper on which Russia’s policies are inscribed,” Allon said. He warned that the African crisis “can be repeated elsewhere.” Noting that “in Africa the Soviet Union uses Cubans,” he said “a similar process, could strike across Africa to the Red Sea, southeast Asia and possibly Latin America.”
After his address, several Socialist leaders, including Willy Brandt, head of West Germany’s Social Democratic Party, told Allon they were in full agreement with Israel’s position on that subject. Kreisky, who met with Allon for nearly an hour yesterday, told the JTA afterwards that he felt “the Palestinians have made a step toward Israel” and expressed hope that contacts between Israel and the Palestinians eventually will materialize.
REGRET AT RABIN’S DOWNFALL
Allon’s meetings with the Dutch leaders were described as “close and friendly” but no specific issues were discussed. Almost all of the Socialist diplomats with whom Allon met expressed regret at the downfall of Premier Yitzhak Rabin and praised him for withdrawing from the leadership of the Labor Party under the circumstances.
Kreisky said he believed Rabin’s successor, Defense Minister Shimon Peres, “would turn out to be a great Israeli Prime Minister.” He told the JTA “The new Israeli Labor Party leader has the advantage on his predecessors of being a determined but logical and predictable man. I think he can help Israel along the road to peace.”