WASHINGTON (Jul. 21)
A smiling Premier Menachem Begin told a throng of well-wishers here yesterday that he defined his visit to the United States “as a real success.” He said he “will be leaving the United States a happy man” and will bring “good tidings to the people of Israel from the United States and from Washington.”
Begin made his remarks to several hundred persons, among them Vice President Walter Mondale and other top Administration and diplomatic officials and American Jewish leaders at a reception in his honor at the Shoreham Americana Hotel. He referred to the uncertainty with which many had anticipated his first meeting with President Carter. “I now can tell you your minds may be at peace,” Begin said.
“There is no confrontation. On the contrary (there has been) a deepening of the friendship between the United States and Israel,” the Premier said.
RAPPORT BODES WELL FOR FUTURE
He said his five hours of talks with Carter were characterized by “understanding,” “cordiality” and “friendship.” He repeated that the “personal rapport established between the President and myself will help us work together in the months and years to come.”
Mondale, who participated in the Carter-Begin talks, confirmed the Premier’s assessment of them and was, if anything, more enthusiastic. He termed the meetings “very successful” and said “one of the reasons is this remarkable new Prime Minister, Mr. Begin.” Mondale added, “I’ve sat through all of the talks with all of the foreign leaders who visit our land and none have gone better, none have been. . . more personally joyous than those between the President and the Prime Minister.”
Jewish leaders at the reception appeared gratified and optimistic. “A spirit of trust has clearly been established. I am hopeful, I’ve started to uncross my fingers,” one of them said. Begin looked healthy and vigorous despite his rigorous schedule of the past three days. Asked about the Premier’s physical condition, an Israeli official said he was holding up remarkably well. He confirmed that no extraordinary medical precautions were taken on the visit in view of Begin’s heart ailment.