JERUSALEM (Oct. 16)
Conflicting reports over the existence of a secret U.S. -Israel document specifically stating that no Palestine Liberation Organization members will participate in the Geneva conference and that the question of a Palestinian state will not be raised there puzzled Israelis today and added to the confusion over the state of relations with Washington.
Haaretz’s U.S. correspondent, Yoel Markus, claimed today that such a document was executed in addition to the U.S.-Israel working paper on Geneva procedures which the Cabinet and Knesset approved last week. He also suggested that similar documents may have been signed between the U.S. and the Arab states.
Markus attributed his information to “knowledgeable sources.” Political sources here immediately denied the existence of an unpublicized Israel-U.S. paper. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, who was directly involved in drafting the working paper and, allegedly, the secret document as well, said on a radio interview yesterday that there was nothing in writhing. But he said. “There is, nevertheless, a clear understanding with Washington that Israel will walk out (of Geneva) if the terrorist group (PLO) is included. “(Late story P. 3.)
Dayan stressed that the U.S. had not signed any documents accepting the Israeli view but noted that the original draft of the working paper that was unacceptable to Israel had been withdrawn. That draft, reportedly, would have permitted minor PLO officials to participate in the united Arab delegation at Geneva. “This section was taken out of the paper with U.S. consent,” Dayan said.
STATE DEPARTMENT VIEW
On Friday, the State Department denied Dayan’s statement in the Knesset the day before that there was full agreement between the U.S. and Israel that no PLO members would participate in the Geneva talks. The Department’s chief spokesman, Hodding Carter, said the U.S.-Israel working paper did not imply such an understanding and that in fact there was no understanding with Israel that the PLO would not be represented at Geneva. (See separate story from Washington.)
According to Markus, that denial was inaccurate because of the separate paper alleged to have been prepared by Dayan. he said it was not a written agreement between the two parties but rather an American acceptance of Israel’s position from which Israel was not expected to deviate in future peace talks.
Neither Dayan nor the Haaretz report clarified what is meant by an “American understanding of the Israeli view” or if it implied U.S. approval of a walk-out by Israel if the PLO is represented or the issue of a Palestinian state is raised at Geneva.
DAYAN SEEKING TO MOLLIFY U.S.
Meanwhile, Dayan is seeking to mollify the anger in Washington over accounts of his appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee last Wednesday at which he was quoted as having described his Oct. 4-5 talks with President Carter as “brutal.” In a message to Carter transmitted by the State Department Friday, the Foreign Minister said their talks had been “decent, pleasant, useful, constructive and productive.”
He attributed the term “brutal” to a mistranslation of the Hebrew word that carries a connotation of “serious.” U.S. Administration officials reportedly were satisfied with Dayan’s explanation.
In yesterday’s radio interview, Dayan said, “I don’t know if brutal is exactly the right word to describe the negotiations (with Carter) but there were some very hard moments, especially when President Carter accused us of being more obstructive than the Arabs–that is Syria–and we know how difficult Syria can be.” Dayan reiterated that if a PLO member appeared as part of the Arab delegation at Geneva, Israel would leave the confab.
In another development, reports from Cairo today said Carter has sent a message to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat assuring him that he will continue his efforts to reconvene the Geneva conference and reach a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. According to the semiofficial Egyptian daily, Al Ahram, Carter’s message was conveyed to Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy by U.S. Ambassador Hermann F. Eilts.