TEL AVIV (Oct. 6)
Gen. David Jones, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, left Israel this morning after a one-day visit in which he conferred with Premier Menachem Begin in his capacity as Defense Minister and Israel’s top military brass. A total news blackout was imposed on the discussions that apparently centered around U.S.-Israeli military relations.
According to informed sources, their dialogue was limited to an exchange of assessments on the military situation in the region but there were no concrete expressions on strategic cooperation such as has developed between the U.S. and Egypt.
Jones’ visit, which followed by four days the visit of U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Robert Komer, represented a resumption of the regular joint military dialogue between the U.S. and Israel that was postponed by the U.S. a month ago Israeli sources believe the visits by Komer and Jones were intended to mollify critics in Israel and the U.S. who have charged that American military cooperation with Egypt is growing at the expense of Israel.
The discussions yesterday were held between Jones and his aides and Israeli General Headquarters staff officers. Jones received short briefings from Chief of Army Intelligence Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, Navy Commander Gen. Zeev Almog, and Air Force Commander Gen. David Ivri. A detailed assessment of the Iraqi-Iranian war is said to have been among the topics discussed. Jones met with Begin later in Jerusalem.
The joint talks are expected to be continued in Washington next month. Jones said he would visit Israel again in December and spend the Christmas holidays here but he declined to elaborate on the nature of that visit.
Neither the Americans nor the Israelis who participated in the talks yesterday would confirm or deny whether the questions of a U.S.-Israeli mutual defense pact or joint maneuvers between the two countries were among the subjects discussed.
Jones, who was greeted with full military honors on his arrival by Chief of Staff Gen. Raphael Eytan, declined on invitation to visit the Golan Heights. However, after his briefings he was taken by helicopter to an Israel Air Force base and was then flown to watch large-scale exercises by the combined services in the southernmost region of the Negev and in Sinai. An army spokesman said later that the American military chief was visibly impressed. Last night, Jones was guest of honor at a military reception given by Eytan who was his official host.