LONDON (Sep. 9)
A blunt warning that the United States will not be deterred from pursuing its latest Middle East plan by Israel’s negative reaction to President Reagan’s proposals was made here today by U.S. Defense Secretary Caspa Weinberger.
One of the differences between this and previous Administrations was that “we will not turn and run,” he told an interviewer in the London Times. “We will not say: ‘O dear, Mr. Begin doesn’t like it, we can’t proceed with it,’ or anything of the kind.” The President, Weinberger stated, “does not operate that way. He had devoted a great deal of time and thought and effort to developing this initiative.”
The Reagan plan, Weinberger continued, offered “one of the best hopes for peace” in the Middle East in recent years. “When I was in Israel I expressed the disappointment that I think we all feel that Mr. Begin after an hour or half-an-hour, or whatever it was, of consideration with his Cabinet flatly rejected it and then within a few days started action that seemed to be designed to emphasize their opposition and contempt for this attempt to bring peace.”
Weinberger said that despite Premier Menachem Begin’s reaction, the U.S. cannot say “That’s the end of it. I think we have to continue to do what we’re trying to do, to demonstrate to all countries involved, including Israel, that it’s very much in their interest and advantage.” He added that although the U.S. intends to pursue the Reagan proposals, pressure will not be exerted on Israel to accept them.
During his visit to London, which is ending today, Weinberger held talks with British Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers.