LONDON (May. 10)
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance is expected to give Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon a full briefing on President Carter’s meeting with President Hafez Assad of Syria in Geneva yesterday when he and Allon meet here tomorrow. The Israeli diplomat will also meet with Prime Minister James Callaghan and with other British government and opposition leaders while he is in London.
But the primary purpose of his visit here is to discuss various bilateral and international matters with Vance and to find out what transpired at the Carter-Assad meeting and what the next stages of Middle East diplomacy might be. Israeli circles are uneasy over Carter’s apparent hints that he will exert pressure on Israel for a peace settlement with the Arabs, despite assurances by Carter and Vance that there is no such intention.
The Israelis were nonplussed by the State Department’s reminder last week that Israel is not on the top priority list of nations receiving American military supplies. They believe the reminder was gratuitous because Israel never had such priority. They regard it therefore as a subtle form of pressure.
After his meetings with Vance and Callaghan, Allon is scheduled to meet with Foreign Secretary David Owen at the Foreign Ministry and to hold private talks with former Prime Minister Harold Wilson and with Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, leader of the Conservative Party.
WARY ABOUT PLO MOVE
Meanwhile observers continue to be wary about a report that Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat told Soviet leaders in Moscow recently that the PLO was prepared to accept Security Council Resolution 242 and thereby implicitly recognize Israel’s right to exist if Israel reciprocated by recognizing the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own.
The Hearst newspapers reported that the Soviet Union has informed the State Department of this change in the PLO’s position. This was based on a meeting last week in Washington between the Soviet Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Dobrynin, and Vance.
(The PLO office in Geneva quoted its top foreign affairs spokesman Farouk Kaddoumi today as denying reports that the PLO was prepared to recognize Israel and accept a united Palestinian-Jordan state. Kaddoumi reportedly insisted that “the resolutions of the Palestinian National Council’s 13th session are clear and precise. They speak of the establishment of an independent national Palestinian state on all liberated territory.”)
(In Washington, the State Department denied having any knowledge that Vance may meet soon with Arafat. Unconfirmed reports that such a meeting was in the offing were rife yesterday in Geneva following reports that the PLO was ready to recognize Israel’s right to exist and that Vance was interested in following through on this. The State Department also said that the U.S. “position on the PLO remains absolutely unchanged.”)